Though Italy is full of amazing small towns, the medieval town of Pennabilli stands out for its uniquely vibrant, artistic and spiritual qualities. Once two different castle villages, Penna and Billi, today’s Pennabilli encompasses two beautiful hilltops with incredible scenic views, and a charming central piazza. The cobblestone streets are dotted with small markets and specialty shops. And the dining? From rustic bars and trattorie offering pasta casalingua (homemade) to Michelin-starred fine dining, the food in Pennabilli simply mouth-watering.
Because Tonino Guerra, a famous Italian screenwriter and artist, made Pennabilli his home, there are unexpected artistic treasures around virtually every corner, from poetry on mosaics to paintings and sculpture to a garden nurturing forgotten fruit. There are also several permanent museums and a magnificent cathedral.
But other surprises still await. A sister city to one in Tibet, Pennabilli has twice hosted the Dalai Lama, and proudly displays the evidence with Tibetan prayer wheels and flags atop one of those two hillsides. With its stunning location in the Apennine mountains of Romagna, Pennabilli provides easy access to a wealth of other fascinating, historical locales, from Ravenna to San Leo, Rimini to the Republic of San Marino. Pennabilli itself is host to numerous cultural events and shows.
Finally, there’s the warmth and welcoming spirit of the townspeople. Whether it’s a result of living in this special environment or just some intangible influence, the people here have a way of inspiring us, and genuinely appreciate our presence. Chances are, you’ll make a few new friends.
There’s no doubt Pennabilli is unusually representative of small-town Italy. Yet its unique charms also separate it from any other. It’s truly a place to find oneself among nature, perhaps slow down, yet also be surprised and uplifted.
For information on travel and accommodations in Pennabilli, click here.