With Italians holidaying at home post-lockdown but wary of busy hotspots, the country’s historic but often half-empty villages are emerging from the shadows
When Italy shuttered for the lockdown, the obscure village of Campli, in the central region of Abruzzo, got to work. Its mission was simple: to put itself on tourists’ maps. It is not short of attractions, with churches frescoed by students of Giotto and Raphael, acres of lush woodland and Abruzzo’s oldest Sagra della Porchetta, a traditional festival in which locals feast on succulent, slow-cooked pork. And when Italy reopened regional borders on 3 June, Campli was ready to cash in. “BorGO!”, a new package of initiatives, runs on Saturday evenings through June: the pedestrianised historic centre will be given over to restaurateurs; the cathedral and Santa Scala shrine will stay open until 11pm, and there will be free guided tours of landmarks such as the Palazzo Farnese, also until 11pm.
A similar story is unfolding up and down the country. Last month, Monteverde, a hilltop village of 770 people in Campania, revealed plans to attract longer-term visitors with a package including lodging in a brand-new hostel and free co-working facilities. Montefalco, an Umbrian town known for dense, full-bodies sagrantino wines, kicked off the tourist season with a village-wide alfresco lunch on 2 June.