Greg and Sue were so intrigued when Greg’s parents introduced them to Italian hill towns 15 years ago, they briefly reserved the website italyhilltowns. They thought they might do the definitive book and guide about them.
But that was before they realized perhaps no one has ever counted all of them. And, for good reason.
On Monday, we drove through two areas of Italy famous for hill towns, Tuscany and Umbria (where Perugia is) to our south.
We are staying in one such town, and our drive to Perugia, maybe 40 minutes on back roads, included seeing dozens more. We even drove up and over one of them.
When we first landed in Italy, a castle or village on a hill was an instant photo op for Regina. When there is one on every hill, it can become a bit of a yawn.
In our blog yesterday, we noted that one reported estimate of abandoned villages or ghost towns, many of them hill towns, in Italy pegged the number at 20,000. Although there has been a steady decline in populations in these towns that once were situated to avoid and repel invaders, second homes and inernational investors have saved many of these towns in popular Tuscany and Umbria. Even the smallest often have a castle or tower with a nearby church, often loaded with valuable medieval artwork.
We decided to return from Perugia today along the shores of Lago Trasimeno. There aren’t a lot of lakes in Italy, but this one is the 4th biggest, except during times of drought and high demand for water from nearby residents, because the lake is fairly shallow.
We took some time to walk San Sevino, a small but immaculate hill town, on the south end of the lake. We were the only tourists. From there, you could see other hill towns and three islands. One of the islands has a small village and castle and monastery ruins. It’s a great area to see castles and medieval buildings of all sorts.