Three essential villages to visit in Italy

Brisighella 'the three hills village'

Brisighella 'the three hills village'


Panicale is a picturesque medieval hamlet in the hills of Umbria offering great views over Lake Trasimeno and surrounding countryside is reached via a panoramic road running along olive groves. 

It has managed to maintain most of its original structure intact. Located in an area once inhabited by the Etruscans and later represented a safe refuge for Roman soldiers who survived the battle of Lake Trasimeno, won by Hannibal's Carthaginians.

As recently as 1898, the old moat was filled with gravel, leaving space for gardens and a ring road. The southern part of the ring road is called Fosso Largo (Wide Moat), and the northern part Fosso Stretto (Narrow Moat). Parts of the moat were turned into gardens leased for 99 years to the owners of the adjoining houses. The lease expired in 1997, the local council 'forgot' to extend it. Which meant the property of the land automatically reverted to the leaseholders. It is rumoured that some of the city council members responsible for the renewal were themselves owners of houses and leasers of gardens, thereby assuring themselves and families of retaining their gardens. 

Panicale's pride however is Pietro Vannucci, known as Il Perugino (1446 - 1524). Il Perugino is probably best known for being Raphael's teacher. His recently restored 'Martyrdom of San Sebastiano', hangs in the Church of San Sebastiano.


Voted one of the most beautiful medieval villages of Italy, sits serenely on a hillside between Florence and Ravenna amidst natural and untouched scenery.

Well-recognised as “The three hills village”, its character is enhanced by three surrounding rocky hills: one sporting a 14th century Castle, la Rocca,  another an 18th century church sanctuary, the Monticino,  and the third with an impressive Clock Tower of the 19th century.

The scenery could be mistaken for a film set of a long-gone world, created by a sea of greenery, old paths, cobbled streets and ancient houses in a unique picturesque setting.  It remains a hospitable village, rich in traditions, flavours, architectural and natural beauty. Thermal baths and the quiet surroundings are just one of the many attractions of Brisighella.  


One of Italy’s best preserved medieval towns is perched on the steep slopes of Monte Ingino in Umbria. Gothic buildings loom and the town hall built in the 14th century is still in use today by the current presiding council. One of its 15th c. intellects was burnt at the stake for heresy, believing the earth circled around the sun and the stars had planets revolving around them.

Old old old, Gubbio is a place to soak up thousands of years of history –long known for its ceramics, still a time honoured craft as well as one of Italy’s best areas for white truffles which are still produced in strict compliance with ancient techniques. A perfect place to buy and select some truffles to take home. Traditionally called the ‘town of fools’ where fool stand for free, dreamer, idealist, passionate linked to the values, traditions and history of their land. To become a fool of Gubbio all you need do is run 3 laps around the Bargello fountain (also known as the ‘fountain of the fools) and be baptised by a splash of water from the fountain to become an honorary fool of Gubbio.

To take in the 3 villages, join us on tour - 'Enchanting Italy Uncovered' departs 27 September 2018.