(CNN) — Travelers tend to go to the well-known destinations such as Venice, Florence, Rome and even Naples when visiting Italy.
But there are many equally, if not more, beautiful villages in the European country that are largely unknown, even to some Italians.
In fact, Italy is dotted with over 5,000 beautiful under-the-radar villages with great food, pristine landscapes and few inhabitants.
Here are eight beautiful Italian villages you’ve probably never heard of.
Castle of Tora
The lakeside town of Castel di Tora is located in the Italian region of Latium.
Castel di Tora, one of the best kept secrets of Latium, Italy’s central region, is a great place to head to for a day trip in Rome. The country road leading to the town passes through deep forests, so visitors can spot some wandering cows and sheep along the way.
The town itself is perched on a bushy hilltop overlooking the man-made Lake Turano, built by wartime fascist leader Benito Mussolini, where locals can lounge on stone benches while tanning or taking a dip in the sparkling turquoise waters.
A metal bridge connects the main road to the old quarter, which consists of several elegantly restyled stone dwellings with panoramic balconies hanging over the lake.
The town’s small square is an ideal place for lunch and/or a quick espresso. Fresh fish is served in the lakeside taverns, which have open panoramic verandas.
Fishing for two meters long carp, which must then be released, and taking a refreshing dip or taking a relaxing boat trip along the shores of the lake are among the many activities to enjoy here.
It’s a bit of a challenge to get to, and chances are you’ll get lost on country lanes or find yourself in a Buddhist retreat along the way, but this incredibly well-maintained medieval village is well worth a visit.
Frasso Sabino is located deep in the Italian region of Latium and near the town of Rieti. It’s kind of a return to simpler times.
Forget the bustling bars and restaurants, Sfilata Frasso — Moda e Riciclo, an eco-fashion show featuring dresses made from recycled items such as plastic bottles and empty coffee capsules, is probably the only major event at the city’s social venue.
The remains of Castello Sforza Cesarini, dating back to the 11th century, tower over Frasso Sabino.
To get close to the fortress, visitors must take an uphill walk up the wide stone steps of the open-air defensive walls.
The medieval village of Campiglia Marittima is close to the beaches of the Etruscan Coast.
Most beautiful villages in Italy
Located in Tuscany, this hilltop village overlooks the beautiful beaches of the popular Etruscan Coast.
Fishermen used to find refuge here. And today, day-trippers flock to Campiglia Marittima in search of peace, nature and good wine. On clear days, the views of the community, located about 90 kilometers southwest of Florence, extend to the Tuscan archipelago and Corsica.
The ruins of the walled fortress of Rocco overlook this medieval town, surrounded by greenery, while the old quarter is a maze of narrow cobbled alleys and passageways.
Luserna, high on the Alps in the Trento region, is an incredibly unique place. The small village is home to about 200 villagers who speak an old and unusual dialect of Bavarian origin, Cimbro (or Cimbrian), which was brought over by medieval settlers.
The road and location signs are displayed here in several languages, the locals are very proud of their heritage, so you might wonder if you have wandered into another country while navigating the many forests in the area.
Luserna also has beautiful ski slopes, and visitors can also enjoy winter activities such as sled dog rides and snowshoe hikes.
The Bear Trail (yes, you might run into one) contains miles of hiking trails, leading to a beautifully scenic spot overlooking snow-capped peaks.
The Italian town of Bobbio has an old bridge with an unusual structure.
Pixel Shop/Adobe Stock
This village in Emilia Romagna seems to be the filming location for the TV series ‘Game of Thrones’.
Upon entering, visitors are greeted by the imposing sight of Ponte Gobbo, an ancient stone bridge that crosses the chilly Trebbia River to connect Bobbio to the main road.
The irregular structure, also known as “Devil’s Bridge” or “Hunchback Bridge”, measures 280 meters (about 920 feet) and has 11 uneven arcades.
Founded by the Celtics during their invasion of Italy, Bobbio is made up of pretty walkways that lead to a labyrinth of winding alleyways lined with aristocratic palazzos.
St. Columbanus, an Irish monk, contributed to Bobbio’s greatness by establishing Bobbio Abbey, one of the city’s most notable landmarks.
There is also Bobbio Cathedral, a picturesque cathedral with precious ancient manuscripts and other treasures. As for the activities in the city, Bobbio often organizes small fairs with delicacies such as snails, grapes and truffles.
The name may come from an old word that roughly translates to “cemetery” in the local dialect, but Petritoli is a coveted wedding destination today.
Couples have flocked to this remote corner of Italy’s Marche region in recent years to exchange vows amid the pristine meadows and clean air of this small village.
Petritoli overlooks green hills dotted with olive groves, vineyards and mulberry trees and offers stunning views of the Adriatic coast.
As for local specialties, handcrafted moccolotti (more commonly known as rigatoni) with a dense meat sauce and pecorino sheep’s cheese are among the highlights.
Located near Syracuse, Sicily, Buccheri offers a peaceful respite from the crowds, while still being close to cozy beaches and incredible sights.
The rural village is home to the ruins of a majestic castle, but arguably the most picturesque places to visit here are the ancient snow caves, or ‘niviere’, natural refrigerators built to store ice and snow, as well as the small chapels and cottages in dammuso style.
In the Middle Ages, special snow collectors known as “nivaroli” collected ice from the mountains to make ice cream and delicious slushies called granita.
Although it is made much simpler these days, granita is still hugely popular in the village. Other local favorites include pasta dishes with saffron and local truffles.
Picturesque Civita Castellana is located in the Lazio region of central Italy.
Perched on a brownish-red tuff promontory near the border with Umbria, Civita is a place where time stands still.
The town’s long and winding main road leads to the Old Quarter, overlooking gorges and caves, built by an ancient Italian tribe called Falisci, which are thought to have once been used as bandit camps.
The nearby rivers have porous rocks with deep fissures and fissures, which were once the burial places of ancient pre-Italian tribes.
The main highlights here are the city’s mosaic-covered duomo, the cathedral of Civita Castellana and the majestic old fortress.
There are also the various artisan ceramic boutiques, as well as the fresh ricotta and premium ham, which visitors can purchase directly from farmers.
Correction: An earlier version of this story featured a photo incorrectly tagged as Civita Castellana. The image has been replaced by an image of the correct city.