How do you plan a trip in Italy? I often do research online looking for interesting places or simply follow a road that inevitably brings me to a small village, mountain or forest that are waiting to be explored. Not too long ago I discovered “The Orange Flag Programme” (“Bandiera Arancione” in Italian) of the Touring Club Italiano, which helps me to find sustainable tourism destinations in Italy and the best small towns.
The website of the Orange Flag Programme lists 199 small inland villages and towns across the country. Every year the Touring Club Italiano checks whether the listed locations comply with the strict requirements to ensure the quality of visitors’ experience. Each small town that receives an Orange flag has to have efficient waste management programmes in place, use renewable resources and solutions for energy conservation, maintain public parks, offer tourists local food, support local craftsmanship and protect strong cultural identity.
Visiting the Orange flag towns is a great way to get to know the authentic side of Italy as all of them are easily accessible by car, train or bus, yet most of them are not overcrowded with tourists. Sure enough, some of the towns are more famous than others: San Gimignano in Tuscany, for instance, gets almost 500 tourists per each local resident every year, Alberobello in Puglia is one of the most visited towns in the region and Nemi in Lazio is known across the world. However, none of the Orange flag locations that I have seen has ever disappointed me.
If you decide to visit any Orange flag towns make sure you go to the Italian website as the English-language version for some reason doesn’t list all locations. Click on each region to see a list of small towns that strive to offer the best of sustainable tourism in Italy.
Photos by Green Holiday Italy©