A medieval stroll through 10 walled Italian towns that will transport you to the origins of humanity. They can all be seen in one day.
We all know Italy’s worldwide image, a large set of beautiful towns and villages worth visiting that makes all the experience very unique. Well, guess what, this time we will go through a list of 10 medieval walled cities in Italy to see in one day.
Montagnana is one of those places that once you visit it won’t get out of your mind. It has a population of more than 9000 inhabitants and is the perfect location to start getting in touch with Veneto’s history, art and culture. With these tall imposing walls that can be seen from far away, Montagnana’s town must be on your Italian travel bucket list. Trust us, you won’t find such an astonishing medieval walled location so easily.
This tiny borough is antiche, it's that simple. A proof of its historical richness can be the evidence that has been found over there. All the area has been populated since the third century BC, according to archaeological excavations carried out in the area. The first settlement is from Roman times in the 3rd century AD. Although not everything was shiny blue skies for the people of Montagnana, in March 1242 the whole village was burned down by Ezzelino III da Romano, an italian dictator also known as "the ferocious" or "the terrible", who later conquered it when he settled in a nearby city called Padua.
On the outskirts of the center is the Villa Pisani, one of the masterpieces of Andrea Palladio. It is one of the Palladian villas declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. A place worth visiting if you are interested in old tales of ancient civilization. Another mandatory tour is the Fiumicello, a medieval construction from the Venetian era that was a waterway used to transport goods and people.
San Gimignano is a tiny walled settlement located on top of the Tuscany hills in the “bel paese”, of course. You may find it 35 minutes by care to the northwest of the city of Siena and about the same distance from the majestic Florence. Great fast tour around these three gorgeous locations in Tuscany.
The historic center of San Gimignano was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco which will give these amazing old vibes that everyone has watched in movies. Nowadays, the town of San Giminiano is eminently touristy and its small size makes it perfect for a half-day or one-day excursion. Within its small center, on the main street Via San Giovanni there are many souvenir shops as well as several restaurants, take-away pizzerias, and charming rural hotels with wonderful views of the surroundings.
Now listen, trust us when we strongly advise you to go any season but summer. Warm temperatures and crowds will clog up the place and you will be a bit disappointed. March or October are nice times to go take a look. This tuscany jewel is also famous for the white wine whose strain grows there. Have you ever heard about “Vernaccia di San Gimignano”? Well, go google that!
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Perugia is the capital of the Italian language and is gloriously positioned on the top of a hill which gives it a sort of crown vibe that suits it very glamorously. Thanks to the political and economical power of the Umbrian city, thousands of students from the five continents come to Perugia every year to study Italian at its university, one of the oldest in all of Italy, inaugurated in the 14th century.
A big trait of visiting Perugia is the host influence that holds. It’s plenty of festivals; a very popular one is the Chocolate Party in October and the cheerful Jazz Festival in summer. Another beauty are the huge etruscan well-kept walls that surround the town, but, this is not it. There’s even more stuff, yes!
Three must-sees are kept hidden in the streets of Perugia: The Fontana Maggiore, crowning the center of the piazza, the work of the famous sculptors Nicola and Giovanni Pisano at the end of 1200; the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, a beautiful Gothic building that could look more like a palace than a cathedral due to its external façade; and the Rocca Paolina: an underground labyrinth made up of dozens of huge stone corridors. Not bad, huh?
Monteriggioni is not only a fantastic and charismatic place with a name that sounds like a war movie but also a spot that deserves the time to be visited and you will confirm it as soon as you step in it. If you enjoy taking pictures you will love it because it’s very “instagrammable''. It is a municipality of 8,701 inhabitants in the province of Siena in the Italian region of Tuscany.
What drives tourists crazy is that wide wall that surrounds it. The murals are kind of circular with a total length of 570 meters and were built between 1213 and 1219, following the natural contours of the hill. Except for some work done in the 16th century, very little has been done on Monteriggioni's walls or its buildings since they were first built.
And this is clearly what makes it unique. The walls and houses of Monteriggioni are among the best preserved examples of their kind in all of Italy, so it is not surprising that it attracts tourists, and also architects, medieval historians and archaeologists. In the past it served as a defensive fortification and played a vital role in the conflicts between Siena and Florence during the Middle Ages, when Florence was struggling to expand.
Fun fact: this tuscan jewel can be seen as a replica in the famous Assassin's Creed video game saga. In the game it is called Villa Auditore because it is in charge of the Auditore family. Amazing, right?
Cittadella hits you differently. It’s tiny, charming and so cozy. The medieval vibes and the local population gives you the opportunity to enjoy a different kind of experience in the Veneto region that is already full of wonderful fairytale towns.
The past is just so interesting and old. Cittadella, being part of the province of Padua, was the victim of invasions and destruction for decades. The Italian north was dominated by different empires that had different forms of administration and treatment of the lands. So this makes it a very interesting city to visit.
What can you do in Cittadella? The most advisable activity is to walk over the ringed-walled murals to take a look of the exteriors and interiors of the fortress. You need to pay the entrance ticket and enjoy. The walk lasts a little less than an hour but each step is worth all the time in the world because you can see the roofs of the buildings that are very well preserved, the river that surrounds the center and some of the natural landscape.
Cittadella exudes tradition and tenderness since everything that is found within these thick walls is tranquility and order. The cleanliness and care that the inhabitants have is impressive. Fun thing to try: if you stand right in the middle of the main street you can see the entrance and exit at both ways, right and left.
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Civitella del Tronto
Civitella del Tronto is an amazing Italian little town in Abruzzo, in the province of Teramo. With 5,402 inhabitants this place was included in the list of the most beautiful towns in Italy, thanks to two strongest attractions: a spanish fortress and a very characteristic landscape.
The history behind this beauty is truly tragic and unfortunate. In 1557 it was besieged by Francisco de Guisa before a group of Spaniards, and then between 1860 and 1861 it was invaded by troops from the kingdom of Sardinia before another army from the kingdom of the Two Sicilies. After the war times, King Felipe II decided to rebuild a more secure fortress as we can admire today.
Today the whole place can be visited by tourists. Most of them go in search of those tall powerful walls. The fortress is located 600 meters above sea level and from the inside you can visit the Museum of Weapons that is spread over four rooms, where weapons, ammo and old maps are preserved.
Still haven’t made up your mind? From Civitella Del Tronto you can admire and enjoy the massifs of the Gran Sasso, the Laga, the Maiella, the Gemelli Mountains and even the Adriatic Sea.
Corinaldo was awarded as a Destinazione Europea Turistica d'Eccellenza and is located a few steps from the coast. His name is Corinaldo. And of course the perfectly preserved structure of the high walls from the year 400 that protect the historic center of the city is still the main interest.
Like many places in Europe, Corinaldo had been destroyed during times of war but was later raised from scratch in 1367. As you wander through its passages you will see the medieval style that the town hides. A must-see tourist attraction is the Santuario di Santa Maria Goretti, Chiesa del Suffragio and Palazzo Comunale. Three beautiful ancestral relics to understand the historical dimension of Corinaldo.
Cool tip: you may go in October when Halloween and the Festa delle streghe are celebrated; two demonstrations where the streets are decorated with "horror" themes. People's happiness is everywhere!
Candelo is located in the Piemonte region, in the northeast of Italy. One thing you will notice is the population of 7000 inhabitants living in a very small space. Before getting in the theme you should definitely consider climbing up the stairs, reach the top of the walls and enjoy the sunset as you watch all the center down below.
The circulating Italian mural is called ricetto and in the past it was protected only by families but also the everyday alimentary goods such as the cheese, flour and wine because those were the tough workers. The construction of the surrounding structure dates from the beginning of XIV.
A nice time to visit Candelo is when cultural events are organized such as the Festa di Sant’Antonio in January or during the Carnevale Storico in May. Even December is a wonderful time just because of Christmas markets.
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Glorenza may be the tiniest "city" in Italy but its size doesn't match its huge heart. The charm, tradition and cultural interest of this walled city in Italy are three qualities that Glorenza is proud to demonstrate. It is located a few kilometers from the Swiss border and its most notable attraction is the enormous structure that keeps the center away from the outskirts, which are perfectly preserved. They were fortified in the 14th century by the Habsburgs to serve as a bridge to their Swiss possessions.
At the beginning it was composed of 30 houses, all arranged in a row in a single alley, the Laubengasse. The population was powerful, they had the right to establish markets and enjoyed many privileges. Time went on and Glorenza quickly became a flourishing city mainly thanks to the trade in salt from the Inn river valley, the Valtelina wine and a good load of metals from Lombardy.
Currently about 900 people live permanently. The funny thing here, along with the entire Alto Adige region, is that society is more represented by Austrian culture than by Italian. You will be able to witness that their traditions, which range from food to clothing, are very different than the typical Italian stuff. A good period to visit Glorenza is November 2 when the Sealamorkt ("Market of Souls", for the solemnity of the Day of the Dead) is celebrated, the last memory of the great mercantile tradition.
Palmanova, unknown to some and famous to others, is located in the northeast of Italy, in the province of Udine. Many consider it as "The Perfect City" and for its surprising urban planning that can be seen when touring the city and seeing it from the sky.
This old settlement is an icon of Renaissance society, a strong period of artistic "darkness" such as the Middle Ages. When on location you will notice its star shape. The clearest way to see the geometric art is from the sky. Beside all that, it is well-known that the walls were built in that way for defensive reasons, when people were under attack they needed to be sure to resist all of the offensive actions of the enemies. Something very important at that time of war.
When there were clashes in the city the advantage of its polygonal walls allowed citizens to apply crossfire. The thick barrier and low buildings (not visible from the outside) protected its population.
Ok, let’s go with the important part. What to see in Palmanova? Easy: a must-see attraction is to go through the underground tunnels that were used to unite various sectors of the fortification and ensure the transit of the soldiers. You cannot miss the Duomo of Palmanova, the religious center and the Historical Civic Museum and the Military Museum that will help you understand technical aspects of the history in Palmanova.
As you see, Italy is not lacking in history and culture. We have already shown you the walled cities in Italy to visit in one day, now it's your turn. Visit these amazing villages and tag us in your stories and Instagram posts so we can have a look! You can follow us right here Hostelsclub.
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