I discovered the magic of traveling to small villages in Italy. This off-the-beaten path type of travel allowed me to have a real feel for the people and to experience the local flavor of an area. With no crowds, I was able to see how the people live, listen to the stories they shared, and have incredible photo opportunities.
While visiting the small Italian village of Colle d’Anchise, a small town of 900 in the hills of Molise, I felt like I was stepping back in time.
A woman was carrying greens wrapped in a scarf on her head, a man was sweeping his doorstep with a handmade broom, and a woman was outside cleaning fava beans, freshly picked from her garden.
For me this travel experience had no price tag, as I was able to see firsthand how real people live today in a place without all the modern conveniences.
In the nearby smaller village of Longano, the people shared stories of their lives, mostly in Italian and sometimes a little English. In fact I was surprised to learn that some of them actually knew any English. They were especially determined to tell me about any relatives in America, or about any of their own travels to other countries.
To outsiders, life may seem harder, despite being simple, yet the people I met seemed happy, and nobody was complaining or acting rude. Within minutes of arriving in the piazza in Longano, I could see that all the local residents who were outside, knew immediately that I was from someplace else.
They were very curious, asking questions about where I was from, and were eager to continue a conversation. I learned a lot from the local people regarding the simplicity of life and its relationship to happiness.
The value of these interactions was priceless and I wished I could stay longer. The more we talked the more they seemed to want me to stay. One man invited me and my family to return and stay for a month, promising a home cooked meal of pigeon.
Visiting a small non touristy village guarantees no crowds, the photo opportunities are endless. Around every corner there was another scene more interesting than the last.
The men sitting on the church steps were pleased when I asked to photograph them. When I asked an older woman for permission to photograph her, she seemed surprised and asked “perche,” why, then smiled and allowed me to capture the magic of the moment.
A visit to a little-known place is full of surprises and never disappointing. The memories of the experiences with the people I met will remain with me for a lifetime.
What are your experiences with visiting small villages in Italy? I’d like to hear your stories so please leave a comment.
Grazie and Ciao
If you like this post you may be interested to read more about the many small towns and villages I visited during my 3-month solo travel adventure in Italy. Memoirs of a Solo Traveler – My Love Affair with Italy is available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle editions, and also Amazon.UK.