Embedded in the most solid natural element, stone villages are among the most spectacular building agglomerates in the whole of the Bel Paese. Let's set off to discover some of the best, to mark for an upcoming vacation or trip out of town.
From Piedmont to Liguria: Chianale and Apricale
The beautiful village of Chianale, nestled in an area on the border between Piedmont and France, is located in the upper Varaita Valley and is surrounded by a lake and thick woods. This village is one of the most spectacular for lovers of the combination of nature and architectural elements, as it is built entirely of stone. In Chianale everything is made with this raw material, from the arched bridge to the houses of the locals to the religious buildings. The village, crossed by a romantic river, is ideal for those who want to immerse themselves in a place where time seems to have stopped.
Among the most beautiful stone villages in Italy there is also a jewel hidden in the Ligurian hinterland: the small village of Apricale, a few minutes from the Riviera di Ponente, boasts a breathtaking view with the beautiful Maritime Alps as a backdrop to buildings in harmony with the landscape, built entirely of stone as a testimony of medieval times. Due to the sun exposure that the town enjoys, the shining stone is tinged with iridescent shades. With a position perched on top of a hill, the village is distinguished by its stone alleys, a classic example of Ligurian caruggi. Each street leads to the main square Torracca, the beating heart of local life. Points of interest include the Church of the Purification of the Virgin Mary with different architectural styles, between the Gothic structure and subsequent Baroque influences. The Castle of the Lizard, built on a rock spur, dominates the village and enchants tourists.
In the center of the peninsula: Pitigliano and Corinaldo
Also on the Tyrrhenian coast we find Pitigliano, in the province of Grosseto, which rises in the area of tuff and has been nicknamed "Little Jerusalem". In this beautiful village in the Tuscan countryside for many centuries resides a small Jewish community. From afar Pitigliano is immediately recognizable by the beautiful houses that seem to be united to the rocky element on which they stand. The dominant position over the entire valley that embraces it makes this village even more fascinating, whose points of interest include Palazzo Orsini, the Cathedral and of course the Ghetto area. Land of wines of the highest quality, here the cellars are dug into the tuff, perfect to preserve the fragrant white wine of the area.
Moving on to the other coast, we arrive ideally in the Marche region: about twenty kilometers from Senigallia there is a hill on the top of which lies Corinaldo. This town boasts the best preserved and longest walls in the whole region, as well as the spectacular Via Piaggia, a real stone spine made up of a hundred steps, which winds high through the city. Along the sides of the steps are some of the most beautiful stone buildings in Italy. At the end of the staircase you come across the famous Pozzo della Polenta, shrouded in a mysterious legend handed down every month of July with a historical re-enactment. The village is known among other things for being the birthplace of Santa Maria Goretti.
Rolling to the South: the stone villages on the tufa rock
Perhaps among the most famous stone villages there is Civita di Bagnoregio, which stands alone on top of a hill and seems to merge with the rock on which it rests. Although it is called the city that dies, because of the foundations of tuff gradually eroded by the action of the streams downstream, this beautiful town is known to be one of the most beautiful in Italy and, to preserve the charm, it is accessed only through a pedestrian bridge. In fact, it is a real pearl in the province of Viterbo where you can get lost among the various stone houses and small, charming squares.
Finally, near Benevento stands Sant'Agata de'Goti, a real inlay of medieval houses that from afar seem to rise directly from the earth. The village, built on a block of tuff, develops horizontally in a central position with respect to the two streams that lap it. Its ancient origins date back to the times of the first Samnite war. Here the visit can not fail to include the Cathedral of the Assumption, the Castle and the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, ending with a good glass of wine at sunset, which will leave visitors really breathless.