(CNN) – Travelers flock to famous destinations like Venice, Florence, Rome and even Naples when visiting Italy.
But the villages of the European country are equally, if not more, unknown to many, even among some Italians.
In fact, Italy is full of 5,000 beautiful villages with great food, clean scenery and few residents.
Here are eight beautiful Italian towns you’ve never heard of.
Castel di Tora
The lakeside town of Castel di Tora is in the Lazio region of Italy.
One of the best-kept secrets of Lazio, the central Italian region, Castel di Tora is a great place to visit on a day trip from Rome. The country road leading to the village passes through deep forests, so visitors can see some cows and sheep along the way.
The town itself is perched on a bushy hill overlooking the man-made Lake Turano, built by Italy’s wartime fascist leader Benito Mussolini, where locals can be found lounging on stone benches, sunbathing or taking a dip in the sparkling turquoise waters.
A metal bridge connects the main road to the old quarter, which consists of several elegantly remodeled stone houses with panoramic balconies suspended over the lake.
The small town square is the perfect place for lunch and/or a quick espresso. Fresh fish is served in bars by the lake;
Fishing for carp up to two meters long, which must then be released, and going for a refreshing swim or taking a leisurely boat ride along the shores of the lake are many activities to enjoy here.
It’s a bit of a challenge to get to, and there’s a chance you’ll get lost on country roads or end up at a Buddhist retreat along the way, but this well-preserved medieval town is well worth a visit.
Located in the Lazio region of Italy and close to the city of Rieti, Frasso Sabino is a throwback to simpler times.
Forget the bustling bars and restaurants, Sfilata Frasso — Moda e Riciclo, an eco-friendly fashion show featuring dresses made from recycled products like plastic bottles and empty coffee capsules, is probably the only significant event in town.
The remains of the Castello Sforza Cesarini dating back to the 11th century are located above Frasso Sabino.
To approach the fort, the visitor must climb uphill along the wide stone steps of its open-air ramparts.
The medieval town of Campiglia Marittima is close to the beaches of the Etruscan coast.
The most beautiful towns in Italy
Located in Tuscany, this hilltop town overlooks the beautiful beaches of the famous Etruscan coast.
Fishermen found shelter here in the past. And today travelers go to Campiglia Marittima in search of tranquility, nature and excellent wine. On clear days, views from the community, located about 90 kilometers southwest of Florence, extend to the Tuscan archipelago and Corsica.
The ruins of the Rocco walled fortress overlook this medieval town, surrounded by greenery, and its ancient quarter is a labyrinth of cobbled streets and narrow passages.
Nestled in the Alps of the Trento region, Luserna is an incredibly special place. The tiny village is home to around 200 citizens who speak an old and unusual dialect of Bavarian origin called Cimbro (or Zimbrier) brought by medieval settlers.
Road and location signs are in multiple languages here, the locals are very proud of their roots, so you may find yourself wondering if you’re in another country as you navigate the many surrounding forests.
Lucerne also has wonderful ski slopes, and visitors can also enjoy winter activities such as dog sledding and snowshoeing.
The bear trail (yes, you might run into one) includes miles of hiking trails that lead to a wonderful vantage point overlooking the snowy peaks.
The Italian town of Bobbio has an ancient bridge with an unusual structure.
This town in Emilia Romagna looks like it could be a filming location for the TV series “Game of Thrones”.
Upon entering, visitors are greeted by the impressive sight of the Ponte Gobbo, an ancient stone bridge that spans the cold Trebbia River to connect it to the main Bobbio road.
The irregular structure, also known as the “Devil’s Bridge” or the “Hunchback Bridge”, measures 280 meters (about 920 feet) and has 11 different arcades.
Founded by the Celts during their invasion of Italy, Bobbio is made up of pretty walkways that lead to a maze of streets lined with aristocratic palazzos.
An Irish monk, San Columbanus, contributed to Bobbio’s greatness by establishing the Bobbio Abbey monastery, one of the town’s most prominent landmarks.
There is also the Cathedral of Bobbio, a curious cathedral that houses precious ancient manuscripts, along with other treasures. As for village activities, Bobbio often holds small fairs to showcase delicacies such as snails, grapes and truffles.
Its name might come from an ancient word that translates roughly to “burial place” in the local dialect, but Petritoli is a coveted wedding destination today.
Couples have flocked to this remote corner of Italy’s Marche region in recent years to exchange vows amid the clean pastures and clean air of this small town.
Overlooking green hills dotted with olive groves, vineyards and blackberries, Petritoli offers outstanding views of the Adriatic coast.
As for local specialties, the hand-made moccolotti (known as rigatoni) with thick meat sauce and pecorino sheep cheese stand out.
to the butcher
Located near Syracuse, Buccheri offers a quiet respite from the crowds while being close to comfortable beaches and incredible sights.
In the rural village there are the ruins of an elegant castle, but the most picturesque places to visit here are the ancient snow caves or “niviere”, natural refrigerators built to store ice and snow, as well as the small towns. chapels and dammuso-style huts.
In the Middle Ages, special snow collectors known as “nivaroli” gathered ice from the mountains to make ice cream and sweet granitas called granita.
Although today it is made in much simpler ways, granite is still very popular in the village. Other local favorites include pasta dishes with saffron and local truffles.
The picturesque Civita Castellana is located in the Lazio region of central Italy.
Perched on a crimson tuff near the Umbrian border, Civita is a place where time stands still.
The town’s long and winding main road leads to the ancient quarter, overlooking the crevasses and caves, built by an ancient Italian tribe called the Falisci, which are believed to have once been used as bandit hideouts.
The rivers in the area have porous rock with deep ravines and fissures where the tombs of ancient pre-Italic tribes once stood.
The highlights here are the town’s mosaic-covered Duomo, the Civita Castellana Cathedral and the majestic ancient fortress.
There are also various artisan pottery shops, as well as fresh ricotta and premium ham, which visitors can buy directly from the farmers.
Correction: An earlier version of this story had a photo mislabeled as Civita Castellana. The image has been replaced with one showing the correct village.