Live like a local, must visit Italian tiny towns to add to your bucket list

The top 10 most popular Italian small towns searched for by Italians during the past year

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Italy is one of those countries that is on everyone’s bucket list. Rome, Venice, Milan… they’re all places that we’d like to visit at least once in our lives. But Italy is full of charming small towns that are just as beautiful and worth visiting. The desire to travel is stronger than ever, and Americans are already dreaming of their next vacation. If you decide to cross Italy off your bucket list, why not add one of these popular travel destinations, among the Italians themselves, into your itinerary? 

 

Holidu, the search engine for vacation rentals, decided to carry out a study to find out which small Italian towns Italians have been looking for in the last year. Starting from a list of 7,000 Italian towns with less than 20,000 inhabitants, Holidu extracted data on the average number of Google searches in Italian during the past 12 months for these cities with the terms “what to see” and “what to do” in order to determine the final ranking. This list is full of hidden gems: small Italian towns that aren’t well-known travel destinations except by Italians themselves!

 

These bucket list-worthy towns were found using the Google search volume, and the data highlighted that: 

  • The top 3 towns are all located in and around the Gulf of Naples 
  • The south of Italy dominates the list with 7 of the top 10 spots! 
  • Coastal towns reign supreme: 7 out of the 10 towns are located near the coast

1. Sorrento – Campania | 3280 searches per month

Sorrento takes first places in this ranking of most-searched Italian cities of last year, with more than 3000 searches per month. This tiny town overlooking the Gulf of Naples offers its visitors magnificent views of the Mediterranean and the imposing Vesuvius volcano. Thanks to the fertile volcanic land, Sorrento is well known for its fragrant lemons, and the limoncello made from the local harvest! From Sorrento, you can easily explore the nearby Amalfi Coast and its towns, some of which are also in this ranking.

 

Top 3 things you can’t miss:

  1. Limoncello tasting at a local distillery
  2. Valley of the Mills
  3. Marina Piccola

Vacation Rentals in Sorrento

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Sorrento, Italy credit Damiano Baschiera via Unsplash

2. Ischia – Campania | 2780 searches per month

Italians have searched for the terms “Things to do in Ischia” and “What to see in Ischia” on average over 2700 times a month in the last year, but that doesn’t surprise us: the beautiful city of Ischia looks like it belongs in a fairy tale! It is located on the island of the same name in the picturesque Gulf of Naples and is well-known for the thermal baths and crystal-clear water that surrounds the island. In the 50s and 60s, it was the vacation destination for the rich and famous, but it still attracts plenty of domestic tourists nowadays.

 

Top 3 things you can’t miss:

  1. The iconic castle of Ischia
  2. The Nitrodi spring
  3. Maronti Beach

Vacation Rentals in Campania

classifica-top-10-borghi-italiani-più-belli-da-visitare_Castello-Aragonese_Ischia_Foto-di-Ermi_Jack_Pixabay

Castello Aragonese Ischia credit Ermi Jack via Pixabay

3. Capri – Campania | 2780 searches per month

A must stay is the stunning Capri in Campania, coming in at third place on our bucket list worthy tiny towns. Capri is probably one of the more well-known towns of this list, thanks to its location on the island with the same name. It’s easy to reach by boat from Naples, which makes it a great day trip during your tour around Italy. Spas, historical and archeological buildings and secluded coves await you on this gem in the Gulf of Naples. Don’t forget to stop by one of the elegant bars and restaurants with sea views and enjoy the local special: Caprese salad.

 

Top 3 things you can’t miss:

  1. The Blue Grotto
  2. Villa Jovis
  3. The Piazzetta di Capri

Vacation Rentals in Capri

classifica-top-10-borghi-italiani-più-belli-da-visitare_Capri_Foto-di-Martyna-Bober_Unsplash

Capri credit Martyna Bober via Unsplash

4. Taormina – Sicily | 2380 searches per month

Excellent cuisine, breathtaking views and wonderful beaches make up this corner of Sicily. Taormina is a quaint town located on top of a hill overlooking the sea. Taormina has been a beloved vacation destination for the rich and famous since the 17th century. If you decide to add Taormina to your bucket list, you’ll be in great company: famous visitors include actress Greta Garbo, composers Wagner and Brahms, and writers Oscar Wilde and Alexander Dumas. Wander along its medieval streets and discover a historical monument behind every corner.

 

Top 3 things you can’t miss:

  1. The Greek theater
  2. Corso Umberto I, Taormina’s main street
  3. Isola Bella

Vacation Rentals in Sicily

classifica-top-10-borghi-italiani-più-belli-da-visitare_Taormina_Foto-di-Ben-Kerckx_Pixabay

   Taormina credit Ben Kerckx via Pixabay

5. Positano – Campania | 2080 searches per month

One of the pearls of the Amalfi Coast, Positano is a beloved destination by many Italians. With the intense blue of the sea and the colors of the flowers that adorn the winding alleys, this colorful hillside town earns fifth place in the ranking. Positano is well known for its fashion and especially its shoes: visit artisan shoemakers and buy yourself a pair of the iconic Positano sandals as a souvenir! 

 

Top 3 things you can’t miss:

  1. The Santa Maria Assunta church
  2. Sirenuse, three small islands off the coast
  3. The Sentiero degli Dei walking trail

Vacation Rentals in Positano

classifica-top-10-borghi-italiani-più-belli-da-visitare_Positano_Foto-di-Ana-Eva_Pexels

Positano credit Ana Eva via Pexels

6. Sirmione – Lombardy | 2020 searches per month

What can you see and do in Sirmione? Italians have googled these questions more than 2000 times in the past year, earning this town in the north of Italy a well-deserved sixth place in the ranking. This medieval town on the shore of Lake Garda enchants every visitor! The city is located on a  tiny peninsula that extends into Lake Garda and has existed since prehistoric times. A visit to Sirmione will feel like you’re travelling through time! 

 

Top 3 things you can’t miss:

  1. Rocca Scaligera castle
  2. The thermal baths Terme di Sirmione
  3. The Grotte di Catullo archeological site

Vacation Rentals in Lombardy

classifica-top-10-borghi-italiani-più-belli-da-visitare_Castello-di-Sirmione_Foto-di-Gianni-Crestani_Pixabay

 Castello di Sirmione credit Gianni Crestani via Pixabay

7. Tropea – Calabria | 1890 searches per month

A maze of picturesque alleys makes up the historic center of Tropea, a village in the beautiful Calabria region. This town is known for being the center of the Costa degli Dei (the Coast of the Gods), which runs along the north coast of Italy’s ‘toe’. The coast of Tropea is certainly fit for the gods: with white sand and calm waters, the beaches of Tropea are among the best of Italy! The town is said to be founded by the legendary Hercules, and wandering among its streets you’ll be transported to ancient times, surrounded by historical buildings and catching glimpses of the azure sea and sky. 

 

Top 3 things you can’t miss:

  1. The Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola
  2. The Zungri Caves
  3. The Grotta del Palombaro

Vacation Rentals in Calabria

classifica-top-10-borghi-italiani-più-belli-da-visitare_Tropea_Foto-di-Jdexter_Pixabay

   Tropea credit Jdexter via Pixabay

8. San Gimignano – Tuscany | 1810 searches per month

Deep in the Tuscan countryside, you can admire one of the most iconic views of the area: the skyline of San Gimignano and its famous towers. Once upon a time, this tiny town had 72 towers, one for every wealthy family that lived in the city, but now only about a dozen of them remain. San Gimignano is a typical Italian town, with winding streets and spectacular architecture, and has been a part of the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1990.

 

Top 3 things you can’t miss:

  1. The Piazza del Duomo
  2. San Gimignano Cathedral
  3. The Piazza della Cisterna

Vacation Rentals in Tuscany

classifica-top-10-borghi-italiani-più-belli-da-visitare_San-gimignano_Foto-di-Zotx_Pixabay

  San Gimignano credit Zotx via Pixabay

9. Vieste – Apulia | 1780 searches per month

For the first time this ranking takes us to the east coast of Italy, to Vieste, also called the Pearl of the Gargano. This town takes the ninth position in the ranking, with over 1700 monthly searches for things to do and see in this destination. Vieste fascinates its visitors with white houses that almost seem to sparkle against the background of the intense blue of the sea. From this town on the Apulian coast, it’s also possible to explore the nearby Tremiti Islands.

 

Top 3 things you can’t miss:

  1. The Arco di San Felice
  2. Vieste marine caves
  3. The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

Vacation Rentals in Apulia

classifica-top-10-borghi-italiani-più-belli-da-visitare_Vieste_Foto-di-Iessephoto_Pixabay

   Vieste credit Iessephoto via Pixabay

10. Urbino – Marche | 1670 searches per month

Urbino, a charming town in the hills of the Marche region, completes the top 10 of the most sought after villages online, with well over 1600 searches per month. This city was one of the most important centers of the Italian Renaissance: it is the birthplace of the renowned painter and architect Raphael, one of the most well-known artists of the Renaissance. The picturesque town is famed for its art museums and historical city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998.

 

Top 3 things you can’t miss:

  1. The Palazzo Ducale
  2. The Fortezza Albornoz
  3. The Urbino Cathedral

Vacation Rentals in Italy

classifica-top-10-borghi-italiani-più-belli-da-visitare_Urbino_Foto-di-valtercirillo_Pixabay

 Urbino credit valtercirillo via Pixabay

Discover the rest of the ranking in the table below:

Screenshot 2021-08-26 at 11.04.22

Methodology:

The ranking was drawn up by the team of experts from Holidu, the search engine for vacation rentals, starting from a list of Italian cities and their population provided by ISTAT (Italian National Institute of Statistics). The research focused on villages and towns with populations of up to 20,000 inhabitants: for each of the towns involved in the research, data was collected on the number of average monthly searches in the last 12 months for the terms “What to see in [City]” & “Things to do in [City]” by Italians on the search engine Google. The ranking aims to discover the search trends of Italians and identify the most interesting travel destinations within Italy according to those trends. The data was collected in March 2021.

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