15 Enchanting Fairy Tale Towns In Italy To Explore

Welcome to an adventure through Italy’s fairy tale towns! Picture cobblestone streets, colourful houses, and ancient stories. Italy has so many magical destinations to explore and these historic towns feel like they’re from a storybook.

From sunny coastlines to romantic canals, each place has its own special magic. Discover the hidden gems and enchanting wonders of Italy, full of history, culture, and lots of fun!

Let’s have a look at these enchanting fairy tale towns in Italy that will transport you to a whimsical world!

fairy tale towns in italy

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1. Positano

Positano, situated along the Amalfi Coast, looks like it’s straight from a fairy tale. The photos look exactly how it is in person, with colourful buildings of all shapes and sizes dotting the coastline and cliffs above the Tyrrhenian Sea. 

With beautiful wisteria-lined alleyways, cozy cafes, and restaurants with jaw-dropped views – like La Tagliata and Il Ritrovo –  you’ll feel worlds away. 

Positano’s beauty has long been a muse for artists, writers, and romantics alike, inspiring countless works of art and literature. It’s not surprising that Positano is one of the most romantic places in Italy – if not the world! 

This charming town is perfect for honeymoons and couples’ getaways, and what better way to celebrate than with a stay at the historic Hotel Palazzo Murat, a stunning 18th century villa surrounded by landscaped gardens and views of the town. It was once the summer residence of Gioacchino Murat, the king of Naples, and husband of Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister.

Whether you choose to spend your time in Positano shopping for luxurious linen clothing or vibrant ceramics, take day trips to other incredible places along the Amalfi Coast, relax and soak in the ambiance, this picture-perfect place promises to be unforgettable.

The sunset casts a golden glow over the cliffs, painting the sky in hues of pink and orange, while the lights of the buildings twinkle like stars against the darkening backdrop of the Mediterranean. In this moment, Positano truly feels like a place where dreams are made real—a fairy tale town nestled on the shores of Italy’s Amalfi Coast.

Positano romantic cliffside view

2. Burano

Burano is a small island right off the coast of Venice, Italy. The town on the island looks like it is right out of a fairy tale, and an amazing spot to visit in Italy.

In a very untypical manner for Italy, houses in Burano are super colourful. If you walk through the streets along the canals, you can see every colour the rainbow has to offer. 

Because the island and the town are so small, it has a super charming vibe. But that doesn’t mean that there is not a lot to do. Burano and its sister island Murano are known for glass making, so you can buy beautiful souvenirs to bring home. Of course, you can also book a boat tour to Venice or Torcello, the other cute island closeby. You should also check out the Lace museum, as the islands are famous for producing lace as well.

There are not a lot of hotels in Burano itself, so most people choose to stay in Venice or on the Lido. A great hotel on the Lido with an amazing view is the Villa Laguna

One of the best times to visit Burano and Venice in general is in winter, as it is less crowded. We love Venice at New Year’s Eve, for a special flair. 

Recommended by Shades of Summr

3. Ragusa

Ragusa, in Sicily, is so charming. Today, Ragusa is separated between Ragusa Ibla (The Old Town) and Ragusa Superiore (The Modern Town). These two parts of the cities were separated until 1926 when they were unified as a provincial capital. 

Ragusa Superiore is on the hill and apart from the Cathedral San Giovanni Battista there’s not much to see there. However, as you go down the 340 steps is when the fairytale starts.

The views of the Ragusa Ibla, especially from the Santa Maria delle Scale are out of this world beautiful. The best part? Even in the middle of summer, Ragusa is very quiet, so you can really enjoy its beauty without being surrounded by millions of other people.

In a town of slightly more than 70,000 people you will find many churches. Make sure to visit Duomo di San Giorgio, The Church of The Souls of Purgatory and Santa Maria Dell Itria. Palazzo Arezzo Di Trifiletti is great for admiring the baroque interior. But the best activity in Ragusa is just walking around its cobbled streets and getting lost in them. Every corner and building is just picture-perfect. 

The best place to stay is San Giorgio Palace Hotel Ragusa Ibla, a boutique hotel that offers panoramic views of Santa Domenica Valley. Perfect choice to enjoy the fairytale town of Ragusa from your balcony.

Recommended by Megi Vorera

4. Gaeta

Gaeta is located between Rome and Naples and is easy to reach by train or car on a road trip. This pretty coastal town has a beautiful historic centre, nature to explore, and fantastic beaches far less crowded than the nearby Amalfi Coast with just as much fairytale charm!

Gaeta’s history goes back to the Middle Ages, and walking through the historic centre of town feels like a fairytale. The architecture here is like a step back in time, with small side streets to explore, architecture from the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods, and the Angiono Castle above you overlooking the skyline.

While here, make sure you visit some of the churches. Gaeta is known as the city of 100 churches and the castle mentioned above, Angiono Castle. The castle is only open to the public on certain days by tour; it’s best to check before your visit. One church you don’t want to miss is Santissima Trinita and the Grotta del Turco, which has tall rocks that plunge into the blue sea and a cave to visit.

Gaeta is home to many different B&Bs that you can stay in. These give you a wonderful look into life in Gaeta and many offer spectacular views. B&B La Gaetana is a great option located in the historic center with beautiful views and a rooftop.

Recommended by Meghan the Traveling Teacher

5. Spello

With its cobblestone streets and flower-filled alleyways, a trip to the gorgeous town of Spello in Umbria feels like you’re stepping into a page of a storybook. The town’s picturesque setting on top of a hill, with incredible views of the surrounding Umbrian countryside, adds to its fairytale-like quality.

Most visitors to Spello only visit on a day trip, but the town is a wonderful base from which to explore the Italian region of Umbria. For example, from Spello, you’re only five minutes by train or a stunning ten-kilometre hike through olive groves from Assisi. 

But undoubtedly, the best thing to do in Spello is to wander the streets and admire the floral alleyways, the pretty churches and the stunning views overlooking the Umbrian countryside. 

If you’re a fan of Renaissance art, visiting the Baglioni Chapel in the Collegiata di Santa Maria Maggiore to see Pinturicchio’s artwork is a must. 

This delightful tiny town has many excellent restaurants and wonderful delicatessens. And because it mainly caters to Italian tourists, the food here is just incredible – try the local black truffles,  Chianina beef, olive oils, and wild boar. 

There is no need to worry about driving; Spello is easily accessible by train. From the train station, it’s just a ten-minute walk into town. And with restricted parking, this is the best way to get to Spello. But be sure to wear comfortable shoes; Spello is a hill town with many steep hills. You will rarely be walking on the flat – it is either uphill or downhill, but that’s all part of the town’s charm. 

If you’re looking to spend some time here, a dreamy place to stay is Albergo Il Cacciatore. Rooms overlook the Umbrian Valley and you can enjoy your complimentary breakfast on the outdoor panoramic terrace with storybook views.

Recommended by Life Part 2 and Beyond

6. San Nicola Arcella

The cozy town of San Nicola Arcella, in northern Calabria, often resembles a scene straight out of a fairy tale. Picture-perfect pastel buildings around the main piazza, each adorned with charming wrought iron balconies. The sight of bougainvillea spilling over the railings adds a touch of magic to this storybook town. Strolling through the winding alleyways of the historic centre treats you to a stunning view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, especially as the sun sets.

San Nicola Arcella sits atop a cliff overlooking the sea. In the summer, the beach is very popular. For adventurers, a hike to the ArcoMagno is a must-do, rewarding your efforts with a hidden treasure. This natural wonder, an arch-shaped rock formation, stretches over the sea. Additionally, you have the option to rent pedal boats or embark on mini cruises, allowing you to explore the coastlines of Calabria and Basilicata.

Another interesting site is the Crawford Tower made famous by the American author, Francis Crawford. Within the town, the historic centre is worthy of a visit as well as the Church of San Nicola of Tolentino.  But the highlight of the day is watching the sunset over the sea from the Terrace.  At night, the Calabria coastline is truly magical.

To really enjoy this fairytale town, consider staying at the Hotel Villa Principe for a couple of nights.  It has stunning views of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Pollino Mountains. 

For an authentic Italian experience, come to San Nicola Arcella.  You will not be disappointed.

Recommended by Practical Travel Concepts

7. Erice

Erice is the epitome of a fairytale town. Sitting about 750 metres above sea level, the ancient walled town on the west coast of Sicily features quaint cobbled alleyways with wispy clouds, known as the kisses of Venus, which wrap around its mountain-top setting.

The fortified town offers outstanding views. From up here, you can look down on Trapani and see stunning landscapes that stretch out to Punta del Saraceno and Capo San Vito to the northeast. On a clear day, you can even spot the Aegadian Islands off Sicily’s north-western coast.

If you’re feeling energetic, you could cycle or hike up to Erice, or even take a car up the winding road. However, the best option is to take the cable car. The scenic ride looks down on Trapani Bay as well as the salt pans which the area is famous for.

Once you reach the top, explore the quaint town and stop off at one of many charming cafes, artisan shops, gardens and medieval churches. Don’t forget to try some of Erice’s famous almond paste sweets while you’re here.

There are plenty of other things to do in Erice. These include visiting the Venus Castle, a medieval fortress built during Arab rule and the Torretta Pepoli, a 12th-century tower that now houses an astronomy museum.

Although you can stay in Erice, most people opt to visit as a day trip and stay in one of the towns or cities closer to the beaches. Trapani is a good place to base yourself – this is also the town where you catch the cable car from with a regular bus connecting the city centre to the cable car station.

Recommended by Meet Me In Departures

8. Alghero

One of Italy’s most storybook small cities is Alghero on the stunning island of Sardinia. 

Including the fortified city of Alghero in a Sardinia itinerary during a European summer vacation is a must! It’s romantic for couples, safe for solo travellers, and an excellent family destination!

Alghero’s history is fascinating! It is the last remaining Italian city with Catalan roots, and its history is reflected in the architecture, along with the restaurants that offer paella and other dishes you’d find in the Catalonia region of Spain.

Overall, Alghero is a tranquil city, and one of the best things to do there is to stroll through the idyllic Old Town. It features captivating architecture, small piazzas, quaint churches, local shops, and lovely cafés hidden along narrow streets.

One of the best hotels in the heart of Alghero is Casa dei Liuti. La Bottega dei Sapori is also an excellent restaurant for savoring local food.

What’s nice about Alghero is that it’s small enough to walk everywhere. Check out all the beautiful churches, including the Cattedrale di Santa Maria, admire the scenic views from the Bastioni Marco Polo, walk through the Coral Museum, and enjoy a beach day at Lido San Giovanni.

The charming city of Alghero also has many street markets, making it even more of a fairytale city.

Recommended by Brown Eyed Flower Child

9. Alberobello

Alberobello is a small town in Puglia, Italy. From the moment you step off the train, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale and will be on the lookout for hobbits and dwarves. 

Alberobello owes its fairytale appearance to the trulli, whitewashed houses with conical roofs made of slabs of stone.  These whimsical buildings are of historical and architectural importance and the town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Stroll through the narrow streets. Some of the trulli have been converted into shops, restaurants and guesthouses, so it is worth taking a look inside. Of the more than 1000 trulli in Alberobello, only one is two-story. Trullo Solvano is a museum where you can see the traditional layout and furnishings of a trullo house. In this fairytale town, even the church is a trullo. Enter the church of Sant’Antonio. You won’t see another one anywhere.

If you happen to be in Alberobello in the summer, there’s a good chance you’ll stumble upon the Alberobello Light Experience Festival, which traditionally takes place in July or August. During the festival, numerous light installations illuminate the town and add to its magical atmosphere.

Take a break in one of the trulli restaurants and enjoy the local specialties. Most of these establishments have just a few tables and the owner will prepare pasta orecchiette in front of you and serve local cheeses, washed down with an excellent local wine.

Enjoy a stay at B&B Trulli Miriva, set within a charming trulli reminiscent of one you’d find in a child’s storybook.

Recommended by Map and Camera

10. Orta San Giulio

If you’re keen to explore Italy’s lake district but want a less crowded and truly romantic setting, the diminutive Lake Orta in the Piedmont region should be on your radar. The main town to base yourself in is the small lakeside town of Orta San Giulio,  which is well off-the-beaten-path but surely won’t be for long. 

The town itself is a fairytale setting and easily walkable in just a few hours, though it’s popular with day trippers from nearby Lake Maggiore. At night when they leave, the narrow streets glow from the streetlamps and local eateries and outdoor cafes still serve dinner and drinks late into the evening.

Just uphill from the town and overlooking Lake Orta is the UNESCO heritage site of the Sacre Monte (sacred mountain), a series of twenty chapels with sculptures and paintings and surrounded by nature, dedicated to the life of St. Francis.

Perhaps the most popular attraction of Orta San Giulio is the tiny island that lies just offshore. Take a short boat ride out to Isola San Giulio and visit the famous Basilica, then follow the path of silence around the island as you contemplate the immense beauty of this part of Italy.

Continue the magic with a stay at the luxurious Relais & Chateaux Villa Crespi, by far the most celebrated 5-star hotel in the region.

Recommended by Travlinmad

11. Bellagio

Bellagio on Lake Como in Northern Italy is a charming village with a definite fairy-tale vibe. Perched on a hill next to the famous lake, Bellagio with its pastel-coloured houses, quaint marketplace, and steep cobble-stone streets is a popular destination for regular tourists as well as the jet-set.

Even though Bellagio is small, there is plenty to do in town and nearby. A definite must-see are the Gardens of Villa Melzi and Villa Serbelloni. Another popular activity is a stroll along the lake-side promenade with blooming trees and flowers. And if you are up for more strenuous exercise there are several hiking paths with wonderful views over the lake and the surrounding mountains.

Of course, no stay in Bellagio would be complete without taking a boat trip to some of the other towns along Lake Como. Whether you visit Nesso with its picturesque bridge, Villa del Balbianello of Star Wars fame, or the quaint village of Menaggio – you will feel as if you had stepped straight into a story book!

Lake Como is extremely popular and accommodation in the summer sells out fast so make sure to book early! If you are looking for a central location in town, Hotel Centrale Bellagio offers simple rooms in a charming building at reasonable prices.

Recommended by Kitty Meets World

12. Taormina

Perched on a hill overlooking the Ionian Sea, Taormina is a picturesque Sicilian town offering visitors a blend of natural beauty, historic architecture, and vibrant cultural tapestry. The cobblestone narrow streets, the stunning backdrop of Mount Etna and the beautiful views of Isola Bella make Taormina an unmissable fairytale destination in Italy.  

There are plenty of fun things to do in Taormina. Consider taking a tour of the ancient Greco-Roman theatre, Teatro Antico di Taormina, an iconic landmark known for its stunning preservation and history. 

You could also spend time strolling through the town’s narrow medieval streets, visiting the charming boutiques, lively cafés, and the delightful gardens of Villa Comunale, which offer tranquility and spectacular views. For those looking to explore deeper, a trip to the nearby small island of Isola Bella is a must. Accessible via a thin strip of beach, this nature reserve boasts lush vegetation and clear waters ideal for snorkelling. 

Accommodation options in Taormina cater to a range of tastes. A fantastic budget-friendly option is Hotel Elios Tao which is well connected to the main monuments. The hotel has a lovely terrace with stunning views of Mount Etna.  

Recommended by Merryl’s Travel & Tricks

13. Civita di Bagnoregio

The northern part of Lazio, the region of Italy with Rome, is home to dozens of small hilltop towns that sit atop flat cliffs of rock.

Locals call this area Tuscia, and it’s where very few have been fortunate to have explored it thoroughly.

The most famous village in Tuscia that has drawn filmmakers, photographers, and all travellers who venture off the beaten path is Civita di Bagnoregio. The view here is truly something unique for Italy: a rock with colours that alternate like those of a lollipop, and standing out in the middle of a valley of ravines that resembles a lunar landscape.

At sunset, when it snows, or in the early morning when fog surrounds the town, the observer’s mind falters: is what he sees real or a fairy tale?

Just think that the great Japanese cartoonist Hayao Miyazaki was inspired by the very landscape of Civita di Bagnoregio to create the suspended city in his animated film “Laputa: Castle in the Sky.”

Reaching Civita is not super easy, but the view will repay the adventurous. Take a train to Viterbo or Orvieto and then a local bus to Bagnoregio.

From there, another local bus will take you to a yard-parking lot that is about 1.5 km from the entrance to the “suspended town.” After purchasing a ticket that costs €5, walk over the scenic bridge across the valley that leads to the entrance portal to the historic town.

Now you can leisurely explore this town with its medieval and Renaissance architecture so well preserved, and admire the valley so special from above.

If you want to have the experience of sleeping in a town where only 10 other people live, it’s recommended you choose the best this destination can offer in terms of hospitality, namely Corte della Maestà Antica Residenza.

Recommended by Rome Travelogues

14. Fiè allo Sciliar

Set at 900 metres above sea level in Italy’s majestic Dolomites, Fiè allo Sciliar (aka Völs am Schlern in German) is often passed by as visitors swarm to ski towns and hiking bases like Cortina d’Ampezzo or Corvara in Badia. 

But, leave those towns for another trip!  Instead, make your way to Fiè and its storybook setting, nestled at the base of the dramatic Sciliar range (fun fact: the Loacker cookie logo).   

Fiè allo Sciliar’s focus is the green-tile roofed and onion-domed church and cobblestone main square and fountain.  Local shops surround the square and surrounding streets – including bakeries, butcher shops, and a florist. 

A quick two-minute walk leads you to a pond and trail where you may encounter the village’s goats.  If not, keep strolling up the hill to the tiny church of St. Peter, where the goats are likely basking in the sun and enjoying the spectacular views.  Take in the Sciliar range and vibrant green hills, Prösels Castle (dating from the 1200s), the Isarco Valley, and Fiè allo Sciliar.   

Walking through the village, you’ll encounter locals in traditional blue aprons and clothing that looks like it’s been swiped straight out of a fairy tale.  Depending on the time of year, you’ll find outdoor markets, food festivals, and events like the Oswald von Wolkenstein Ride – an annual horseback riding tournament. 

Enjoy a stay at Romantik Hotel Turm, a luxury wellness centre with an on-site restaurant. This unique property looks like it was plucked out of a storybook and features a tower dating back to the 13th century.

Recommended by Mom in Italy

15. Matera

Matera, situated in Southern Italy’s Basilicata region. This town, straight out of a storybook, is adorned with ancient stone structures known as ‘Sassi ‘. 

These unique cave dwellings, carved into limestone cliffs and recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, are the heart and soul of Matera. Their charm and beauty will transport you to wonder and awe. Exploring these unique dwellings is one of the few things to do in Matera. 

You can also wander around Piazza Vittorio Veneto, where you can relax while sipping coffee at an al fresco café and admiring the fascinating architecture. 

Do not miss the opportunity to admire the magnificent interiors of the Church of Saint Mary of Idris, perched on Monterrone. Take advantage of the breathtaking views from the rock church’s terrace, which offers a panoramic view of Matera. 

If you plan to extend a day or two in Matera, staying in a cave hotel is a unique experience that will make the most of your travel memorable. You can stay at the Caveoso Hotel , located in Piazza San Pietro Caveoso inside the Matera Sassi.

A beautiful place to stay, it blends modern comforts with historic ambiance. Cozy rooms adorned with local craftsmanship, stunning views of the Sassi, and warm hospitality create an unforgettable experience.

Recommended by Italy in Focus

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