Italy offers one of the most beautiful European landscape. The long coastline harbors numerous small towns that can end up being wonderful surprises encountered in extended tourist routes. Many of them are former fishing towns and retained their old appearance. Even when new buildings are erected, they blend in the landscape, so no shiny glass finds its place there. Here are 10 beautiful Italian coastal towns.
Positano takes its place on Amalfi coast, one of the most popular Italian destination. After reaching its development peak in the 16th and 17th centuries, Positano lost many residents in the the 19th century. John Steinbeck writes that “Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.”
Manarola is one of the five towns from the Italian Riviera region called Cinque Terre National Park. UNESCO classified the area a World Heritage Site. According to a date marked on the cornerstone of San Lorenzo church, Manarola was probably founded in 1338. The name of this beautiful Italian coastal town probably means “large wheel”, as a reference to the town’s mill wheel.
You can’t drive a car in Vernazza, another town from the Cinque Terre region. The classic fishing village was founded almost 1,000 years ago. Only 1,000 people live in what is considered one of the most classical Italian fishing villages.
Corniglia does not have direct access to the sea, but due to its higher altitude, it offers amazing panoramas. The small town is surrounded by vineyards. Corniglia dates back to the Romans and was mentioned by Boccaccio in a Decameron novel.
5. Porto Ercole
Porto Ercole is the Italian way of saying “Port Hercules”. The town is located on a small island connected to the main land by two land stripes. Porto Ercole was founded in the late 13th century and is just 150 miles north of Rome. The Dutch Royal family had a summer residence here in the second part of the last century.
Ponza is the name of an island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, as well as the name of the town on the island found somewhere near the mainland between Rome and Naples. Allegedly, the island was named after Pontius Pilat, the judge who decided Jesus was an heretic. As most other coastal towns, Ponza lives of tourism and fishing.
If you want to find Otranto, you have to look right at Italy’s heel. The Adriatic and Ionic seas meet at Otranto, which is one of the closest Italian territories to Albania. Its geographical location makes Otranto’s history immensely rich. The famous pirate Barbarossa captured what was in the 16th century the city of Otranto, but the occupation lasted just for a short while.
8. La Maddalena
The town La Maddalena lies on a small homonymous island right next to Sardinia. Consequently, the almost 12,000 islanders speak one special dialect called Maddalenino, a blend of Sardinian and Corsican. To get there, you need to take a boat, but there are plenty of rides from the mainland.
This Northern Italian coastal town was once an important seaport. Out of 12,000 inhabitants in the 1880s, there were 500 ship captains living in the “city of a thousand white sails.” Camogli means “house of wives” (Cassa delle Mogli).
Praiano is positioned in south west Italy on the famous Amalfi coast. People used to produce renowned silk in Praiano until the 19th century. After discovering corals nearby in the same period, fishing and tourism blossomed in Praiano. The town hosts the old Church of San Luca Evangelista built in 1123.
These are 10 beautiful Italian coastal towns, but the list is wide open. Drop us a line if you think we should include others!