After seeing the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun, circa 2003, Italy was immediately added to my must-visit list. I pictured the country as a dreamy place with sunflowers and wine and handsome Italian men. Can you visualize it?!
Italy lived up to the hype on my first visit there in 2007. I flew into Milan with a couple of friends. We rented a car and drove through the Tuscan countryside to Rome. I remember the delight of seeing sunflowers and hilltop towns and sipping on wine. It was better than I imagined. The Italian culture was easy to fall in love with, and the people we encountered were wonderful.
I’ve had the opportunity to see more of Italy since then. The history, architecture, style, food and wine, and overall culture can capture me for days. But exploring the hilltop towns in the regions of Tuscany, Lazio, and Umbria makes the best-of-Italy list for sure.
Two of my favorite hilltop towns in Italy are Orvieto and Civita di Bagnoregio. They happen to be about a 35-minute drive from each other which makes it easy to visit both in the same trip. They are also about an hour from Rome, so you can add a day trip from Rome to visit them. There is a train that goes to/from Rome—Orvieto, and you can take a bus roundtrip from Orvieto to Civita di Bagnoregio.
Orvieto, located in Umbria, is a popular hilltop town well-known among tourists. But don’t let the tourists stop you from going. There’s a reason it’s popular. It gets 5+ stars on my “dreamy list.” Orvieto makes you feel like you’re in a romantic Italian movie. It has it all – quaint shops, gelato, dining by candlelight on terraces, a majestic cathedral, and much more. Be sure to visit during the daylight and after sunset. Walking the streets in the midst of the glistening lights and moonlight is guaranteed to be one of your highlights.
You can get to Orvieto by train or car. If you take the train, you can hop on a bus or on the funicular to get to the top of the hill. If you go by car, there is a free parking lot behind the train station and you can walk through the train station to get the bus or funicular. Or enjoy a brisk walk up the hill on the stone streets.
Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy
Civita di Bagnorego, located in Lazio, is one of the most unique hilltop towns in Italy. It’s mysterious and unbelievably beautiful. It has a population of around seven people in the winter season, and the only way to access it is on a stone footbridge with a steady incline from the town of Bagnoregio. My favorite thing to do once entering the town is to slowly stroll through the ghost town – taking in all the views and peeking around each corner. I also love to sit in the town square and enjoy a glass of wine and a cheese plate.
You can get to Civita di Bagnoregio by bus or car. There are a couple of parking lots in Bagnoregio near the footbridge. Bagnoregio is also a great small town to walk around and grab something to eat at one of the quaint eateries.
These two dreamy hilltop towns don’t disappoint. When I think of Italy, Orvieto, and Civita di Bagnoregio immediately pops into my head, and I can visualize myself walking their streets.
If you are ready for your dream trip to Italy, contact us, and we’ll help you book it.