When we think of Italian hill towns, we often think of those in Tuscany and Umbria but there are great hill towns to visit all over Italy. They usually have a medieval centre and may have walls enclosing the historic centre or a castle at the top. They are also good places to go for a view of the surrounding countryside.
Here are some of the Italian hill towns they I have visited.
San Gimignano, Tuscany
San Gimignano is a small walled village southwest of Florence and probably one of Italy’s most well known hill towns. It is famous for its fascinating medieval architecture and towers that rise above of all the other buildings offering an impressive view of the city from the surrounding valley.
At the height of its glory, San Gimignano’s patrician families had built around 72 tower-houses as symbols of their wealth and power, of which only 14 have survived
Siena, in the heart of Tuscany, is a good example of a classic hill town but it’s larger than many of the others. The town is famous for its Palio, a horse race run around the town’s fan-shaped main square, il Campo.
Assisi is a town on the western flank of Monte Subasio. Best known as the birthplace of St. Francis, Italy’s patron saint, Assisi lies amid Umbria’s rolling hills. If you are staying in Rome, Assisi is only a day trip away. Folks have travelled here for centuries to visit the Basilica of San Francesco (where St. Francis is buried) and the Basilica of Santa Chiara (to see the tomb of St. Clare). Shopping here is a delight with many things to look out for, as the Umbrian region is known for a variety of different products. Including, Olive Oil, Wine, Truffles, Linens and embroidery .
Norcia , Umbria
Norcia is a charming town in the high country of Umbria. It is is probably most famous in modern times for its pork products. Norcia is well worth a visit for additional reasons – its mountain air and broad streets make for a pleasurable excursion. Norcia is surrounded by the Sybilline mountains and is completely enclosed by a full circuit of walls. Norcia, which is quite small, is an easy and relaxing town for a stroll around.
Gubbio is a town located in the region of Umbria. Peacefully set on the slopes of Monte Ingino, Gubbio is known for its medieval palaces, churches and cathedrals.
Camerino, Le Marche
Camerino is a town in central-eastern Italy le Marche. It is located in the Apennines. Camerino, poised on a ridge between two river valleys is home to the University of Camerino which was founded in the Middle Ages. While spending extended periods of time in Le Marche ,this small but impressive hill town was one of our favourites that we visited many times.
Urbino, le Marche
Urbino is a Renaissance hill town with an impressive Ducal Palace that houses one of Italy’s top collections of Renaissance paintings in 80 of the palace’s renovated rooms. Urbino’s university dates from 1506 and the town, nestled on a high sloping hillside, retains much of its picturesque medieval aspect.
This is just a few of the many hill towns you will find in Italy.