Italy is renowned for its stunning architecture, rich history, and breathtaking landscapes. Among the many hidden gems that this beautiful country has to offer are some of most beautiful villages in Italy, known in Italian as the “borghi più belli d’Italia”.
The “borghi più belli d’Italia” or “the most beautiful villages in Italy” is an exclusive club of small towns and villages scattered throughout Italy. To be a part of this club, a village must meet strict criteria, including having a population of less than 15,000 people and possessing significant cultural, historical, and architectural heritage.
These villages are carefully selected based on their natural beauty, preservation of their historical and cultural heritage, and the ability to offer visitors an authentic Italian experience. As of 2023, there are over 321 “borghi più belli d’Italia” spread across the country, 14 of those are in Puglia, each with its unique charm and character, waiting to be discovered by visitors.
These picturesque towns and villages are scattered throughout the Italian countryside, each with its unique charm and character. In this post, we will delve into the world of the “borghi più belli d’Italia” in Puglia exploring what makes these hidden gems so special and why they are a must-see for anyone visiting Italy. Join us on this journey through some of the most enchanting and beautiful villages in Italy.
At the end of the post you will also find a practical map with location of each village!
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Alberobello is a small town in the heart of Puglia, known for its unique trulli houses. These traditional dry stone huts with conical roofs are made without mortar, and their distinct architecture has earned Alberobello a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. Visitors can wander the narrow streets and alleyways of the Rione Monti neighborhood, admiring the picturesque trulli and browsing local artisan shops. The town also boasts several historic churches and monuments, such as the 18th-century Basilica dei Santi Medici Cosma e Damiano. Alberobello’s charming atmosphere, combined with its fascinating cultural heritage, make it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the beautiful region of Puglia. Definitely one of the best towns in Puglia
Alberona is a picturesque village located in the province of Foggia. Nestled in the rolling hills of the Gargano National Park, this small community of around 1,000 inhabitants is known for its stunning views of the surrounding countryside, quaint medieval architecture, and rich culinary traditions. Visitors can wander the narrow streets of the historic center, visit the ancient castle and church of Santa Maria Assunta, or take a scenic hike through the nearby woods and olive groves. With its warm hospitality and authentic Italian charm, Alberona is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.
Bovino is a charming medieval village located in the province of Foggia. With its narrow, winding streets, ancient stone buildings, and impressive castle, Bovino is a true gem of the region. Visitors can explore the historic center, with its beautiful churches, quaint shops, and traditional restaurants serving up delicious local specialties, including the famous “caciocavallo” cheese. The village is also surrounded by the stunning countryside and rolling hills of the Daunia Mountains which provide the perfect backdrop for outdoor activities such as hiking and cycling. Bovino is also well-known for its cultural events, including the annual “Palio dei Rioni” horse race and the “Bovino Summer Festival,” which features live music and performances throughout the summer months. With its rich history, beautiful architecture, and warm hospitality, Bovino is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an authentic Italian experience.
Cisternino is a small, picturesque village located in the heart of the Itria Valley. This charming town is renowned for its whitewashed buildings, winding streets, and stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Visitors can explore the historic center, with its ancient churches, quaint shops, and traditional restaurants serving up some of the best cuisine in the region, including the famous local meat dish, “bombette”. Cisternino is also a popular base for exploring the nearby towns of Martina Franca and Ostuni, as well as the stunning beaches along the Adriatic coast. The village is famous for its annual “Sagra della Bruschetta,” a festival celebrating the delicious grilled bread topped with local olive oil, tomatoes, and herbs. With its warm hospitality, rich culinary traditions, and beautiful architecture, Cisternino is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an authentic Italian experience.
Locorotondo is a picturesque hilltop town located in the heart of the Itria Valley. This charming town is renowned for its whitewashed buildings, narrow alleys, and stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Visitors can explore the historic center, with its beautiful churches, traditional shops, and excellent restaurants serving up some of the best cuisine in the region, including local wines and olive oils. The town is also famous for its annual “Sagra del Vino,” a festival celebrating the local wine and culinary traditions. Locorotondo is an ideal base for exploring the nearby towns of Alberobello and Martina Franca, as well as the stunning beaches along the Adriatic coast. With its warm hospitality, rich culinary traditions, and beautiful architecture, Locorotondo is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an authentic Italian experience.
Maruggio is a charming town located in the Southern part of Puglia in the province of Taranto. Situated on the Ionian coast, this picturesque town is famous for its stunning beaches, historic landmarks, and unique culinary culture.
The town’s history dates back to the pre-Roman era, and there are several ancient ruins scattered throughout the town and nearby that bear witness to its rich history. Maruggio is also known for its beautiful beaches, including Campomarino Beach, a long stretch of golden sand that’s perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Visitors can also enjoy water sports such as windsurfing, kite surfing, and paddleboarding.
Monte Sant’Angelo is a small, picturesque town located in the province of Foggia. The town is perched on a rocky hill, overlooking the Adriatic Sea, and is famous for its rich history and stunning architecture.
One of the most notable landmarks in Monte Sant’Angelo is the Basilica of San Michele, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the 5th century. The sanctuary is dedicated to the archangel Michael and is considered to be one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Italy.
Other notable landmarks in the town include the Norman Castle, the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, and the Bishop’s Palace. Visitors can also explore the narrow streets of the historic town center and enjoy stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
Otranto is a small town located on the eastern coast of the Salento area of Puglia. The town is situated on a promontory overlooking the Adriatic Sea and is known for its stunning beaches, historic landmarks, and vibrant cultural scene.
The town’s historic center is enclosed by ancient walls, and its winding streets are lined with beautiful Baroque architecture and quaint cafes and restaurants. One of the town’s most famous landmarks is the Cathedral of Otranto, a medieval church that features a stunning mosaic floor depicting biblical scenes.
Another attraction is the Castle of Otranto, a medieval fortress located in the historic center of the town. The castle dates back to the 15th century and was built by the Aragonese as a defense against Turkish invasions. The castle has a pentagonal shape and features impressive towers, walls, and a moat. Today, the castle is open to the public and hosts various cultural events and exhibitions.
Otranto’s beaches are a major attraction for tourists, with crystal-clear waters and golden sands that offer a perfect setting for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.
Pietramontecorvino is a small town situated on a hilltop in the Province of Foggia, and its historic center is characterized by winding streets, stone houses, and ancient architecture.
The town’s main attraction is the Castello di Pietra, a medieval castle that dates back to the 11th century. The castle features a tower, a drawbridge, and a courtyard, and it offers visitors a glimpse into the town’s rich history. Pietramontecorvino is also known for its beautiful churches, including the Chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo, which boasts a stunning Baroque facade and an ornate interior.
The town is surrounded by breathtaking countryside, with rolling hills, olive groves, and vineyards that offer scenic hiking and biking trails. The nearby Gargano National Park is also a popular destination for nature lovers.
Presicce – Acquarica
Presicce-Acquarica is a small town located in the southern part of Puglia in the province of Lecce. It is known for its rich history, beautiful architecture, and stunning natural beauty. The town is divided into two distinct parts: Presicce and Acquarica.
Presicce is the older and more historic part of the town, characterized by its narrow streets, picturesque alleyways, and ancient buildings. Visitors can explore its numerous churches, palaces, and museums, which showcase the town’s rich cultural heritage. Acquarica, on the other hand, is the newer and more modern part of the town, known for its shops, restaurants, and lively atmosphere.
One of the town’s main attractions is the Palazzo Ducale, an impressive Renaissance palace that was once the residence of the dukes of Presicce. The town is also home to several beautiful churches, including the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli and the Church of San Giovanni Battista.
In addition to its cultural and historical landmarks, Presicce-Acquarica boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy, such as the Marina of Pescoluse (also knows as the Maldive of Salento). The nearby coast is also dotted with picturesque coves and hidden bays, making it a popular destination for water sports enthusiasts and nature lovers.
Roseto Valforte is a small, picturesque village located in the province of Foggia. It is said that the name “Roseto” was given to the town due to the abundance of wild roses that grew in the surrounding hills. The town is known for its stunning natural beauty, with rolling hills and olive groves surrounding the historic center. Despite its small size, Roseto Valforte has a rich history, with evidence of human settlement dating back to prehistoric times. The town has a number of historic buildings, including the Church of San Michele Arcangelo, which dates back to the 16th century.
The town is also famous for its traditional cuisine, with local dishes featuring ingredients like lamb, truffles, and mushrooms. The area is known for its excellent wines, and visitors can enjoy wine tasting at one of the many local wineries. The large amount of flowers and the black truffle that abounds in the woods make Roseto the “city of honey and truffles”.
Sammichele di Bari
Sammichele di Bari is a charming town located in the province of Bari. The town is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, with evidence of human settlement dating back to ancient times. Today, Sammichele di Bari is a popular tourist destination, offering visitors a glimpse into traditional Italian life and culture.
The historic center of Sammichele di Bari is a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys, lined with charming houses and buildings dating back to the medieval era. The town is home to several important landmarks, including the Castello Caracciolo, Church of Maddalena, Church Matrice Santa Maria del Carmine.
The town is surrounded by beautiful countryside, dotted with olive groves and vineyards, making it a perfect destination for nature lovers and foodies alike.
Specchia is a picturesque town located in the province of Lecce. It is situated on a hilltop, offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The town is known for its well-preserved historic center, characterized by narrow alleys, stone buildings, and traditional architecture.
One of the main attractions of Specchia is the Palazzo Risolo, an impressive 17th-century building that now serves as the town hall. The Palazzo features beautiful frescoes, stuccos, and a magnificent terrace with panoramic views. The Church of Santa Maria della Grazia is another must-visit attraction in Specchia, dating back to the 16th century and boasting a magnificent Baroque facade. Visitors can also explore the Castle of Specchia, which dates back to the 14th century and was once a strategic stronghold in the region.
Specchia is also famous for its delicious cuisine, with traditional dishes like “pasticciotto” and “friselle” being particularly popular like in the rest of the Salento area. The town hosts several cultural events and festivals throughout the year, including the “Sagra del Peperoncino” (Chili Pepper Festival) and the “Festa della Madonna di Costantinopoli,” which attract visitors from all over the region.
Vico del Gargano
Vico del Gargano is a charming town located in the province of Foggia. Nestled in the Gargano National Park, it sits atop a hill overlooking the Adriatic Sea and the surrounding countryside. The town is known for its narrow, winding streets, whitewashed houses, and beautiful views.
Vico del Gargano has a rich history dating back to the 7th century AD when it was founded by the Lombards. It has been inhabited by various civilizations, including the Normans, the Angevins, and the Aragonese, which has left a significant influence on its architecture and culture. One of the town’s main attractions is the Castle of Vico, which dates back to the 10th century and was built by the Byzantines. Visitors can also explore the ancient walls and gates that surround the town and enjoy the breathtaking views from the Belvedere terrace.
Vico del Gargano is also known for its traditional cuisine, including fresh seafood, homemade pasta, and local wines. The town hosts several cultural events and festivals throughout the year, including the Feast of San Rocco and the Palio delle Contrade, which showcase its rich history and traditions.