Here is another installment of the Small Town series. Today's country is Italy. All of these small towns have 50,000 inhabitants or less. I will be covering 10 different towns in today's post. I have included as much as I can about each small town.
Marano di Napoli is a comune (municipality) in the Metropolitan City of Naples in the Italian region Campania, located about 9 kilometres (6 miles) northwest of Naples. Partly located on the Camaldoli hill, it is one of the most populous municipalities in the metropolitan city. The Maranese territory shows anthropological traces dating back to the Neolithic age which tells us how this area has been inhabited since ancient ages: in fact settlements dating back approximately 8,000 years ago (along the Marano-San Rocco route) have been found. Of the Osco-Samnite period we find traces especially in the area of Masseria Spinosa, Vallesana and Monteleone; however most of them have been destroyed leaving today only three still viable roads, namely Cupa dei Cani, Pendine and Cupa Orlando.
With the Roman period we have a real flowering area which has become a crossroads of economic, recreational and religious activities, as it is located along the Consularis Campana which connected Pozzuoli (an important commercial port in the imperial period) to Capua (connected to Rome with the Appian Way). Evidence from the Roman period are the Mausoleo del Ciaurro (the most important funerary architectural work in Campania) and five statues preserved in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples depicting a freedman named Dama, his wife Terzia (both belonged to Emperor Tiberius), Hercules and two fauns. In 1806, following the administrative reform under the Neapolitan reign of Giuseppe Bonaparte, the feud was abolished to make room for the nascent Maranese municipal administration. Later Marano will follow the fortunes first of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and then of Italy. From 1948 the quarter of Quarto achieved independence by forming an autonomous municipality.
San Remo- 47,043 inhabitants
Sanremo or San Remois a city and comune on the Mediterranean coast of Liguria, in northwestern Italy. Founded in Roman times, it is known as a tourist destination on the Italian Riviera. It hosts numerous cultural events, such as the Sanremo Music Festival and the Milan–San Remo cycling classic. Once the Roman settlement of Matutia or Villa Matutiana, Sanremo expanded in the Early Middle Ages when the population moved to the high grounds. The nobility built a castle and the walled village of La Pigna to protect the town from Saracen raids. At first subjected to the countship of Ventimiglia, the community later passed under the dominion of the Genoese bishops. In 1297 they sold it to the Doria and De Mari families. It became a free town in the second half of the 15th century, after which it expanded to the Pigna hill and at Saint Syrus Cathedral. The almost perfectly preserved old village remains.
Sanremo remained independent of Genoese Republic. In 1753, after 20 years of fierce conflicts, it rose against Genoese hegemonical attempts. At that time Genoa built the fortress of Santa Tecla, situated on the beach near the port. The fortress was used as a prison until 2002. It is now being transformed into a museum. After the French domination and the Savoy restoration in 1814, Sanremo was annexed to the Kingdom of Sardinia. From the middle of the 18th century the town grew rapidly, in part due to the development of tourism, which saw the first grand hotels built and the town extended along the coast. The Empress "Sissi" of Austria, Empress Maria Alexandrovna of Russia, and Emperor Nicholas II of Russia vacationed in Sanremo, while Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel made it his permanent home. The San Remo conference, 19–26 April 1920, of the post-World War I Allied Supreme Council determined the allocation of Class "A" League of Nations mandates for administration of the former Ottoman-ruled lands of the Middle East by the victorious powers. The most notable of these was the British Mandate of Palestine.
Vercelli, is a city and comune in the Province of Vercelli, Piedmont, northern Italy. One of the oldest urban sites in northern Italy, it was founded, according to most historians, around the year 600 BC. The city is situated on the river Sesia in the plain of the river Po between Milan and Turin. It is an important centre for the cultivation of rice, and is surrounded by rice paddies, which are flooded in the summer. The climate is typical of the Po Valley with cold, foggy winters (0.4 °C (33 °F) in January) and oppressive heat during the summer months (23.45 °C (74 °F) in July). Rainfall is most prevalent during the spring and autumn; thunderstorms are common in the summer. The languages spoken in Vercelli are Italian and Piedmontese; the variety of Piedmontese native to the city is called Varsleis. The world's first university funded by public money was established in Vercelli in 1228 (the seventh university founded in Italy), but was closed in 1372. Today it has a university of literature and philosophy as a part of the Università del Piemonte Orientale and a satellite campus of the Politecnico di Torino.
Siena- 42,867 inhabitants
Siena is a city in Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the province of Siena. The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions, with over 163,000 international arrivals in 2008. Siena is famous for its cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year. Siena, like other Tuscan hill towns, was first settled in the time of the Etruscans (c. 900–400 BC) when it was inhabited by a tribe called the Saina. The Etruscans were a tribe of advanced people who changed the face of central Italy through their use of irrigation to reclaim previously unfarmable land, and their custom of building their settlements in well-defended hill forts.
A Roman town called Saena Julia was founded at the site in the time of the Emperor Augustus. Some archaeologists assert that Siena was controlled for a period by a Gaulish tribe called the Senones. According to local legend, Siena was founded by Senius and Aschius, two sons of Remus and thus nephews of Romulus, after whom Rome was named. Supposedly after their father's murder by Romulus, they fled Rome, taking with them the statue of the she-wolf suckling the infants (Capitoline Wolf), thus appropriating that symbol for the town. Additionally they rode white and black horses, giving rise to the Balzana, or coat of arms of Siena with a white band atop a dark band. Some claim the name Siena derives from Senius. Other etymologies derive the name from the Etruscan family name Saina, the Roman family name Saenii, or the Latin word senex "old" or its derived form seneo "to be old".
Faenza- 41,714 inhabitants
Faenza is an Italian city and comune in the province of Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, situated 50 kilometres (31 miles) southeast of Bologna. Faenza is home to a historical manufacture of majolica-ware glazed earthenware pottery, known from the French name of the town as faience. At the beginning of the 14th century the Guelph Manfredi began a rule over Faenza that was to last for almost two centuries. The peak of splendour was reached under Carlo II Manfredi, in the second half of the century, when the city centre was renewed. In 1488 Galeotto Manfredi was assassinated by his wife: his son Astorre III succeeded him, but was in turn killed in Rome as a prisoner of Cesare Borgia, who had captured Faenza in 1501. After a brief period of Venetian domination Faenza became part of the Papal States until 1797. Faenza lost 1,322 of its citizens during World War II. After months of bombings and a bloody battle was finally liberated by the New Zealand Army (2nd New Zealand Division) on 17 December 1944.
Marino- 38,013 inhabitants
Marino is an Italian city and comune in Lazio (central Italy), on the Alban Hills, Italy, 21 kilometres (13 miles) southeast of Rome, and a territory of 26.10 square kilometres (10.08 sq mi). It is bounded by other communes, Castel Gandolfo, Albano Laziale, Rocca di Papa, Grottaferrata, and Ciampino. Marino is famous for its white wine, and for its Grape Festival, which has been celebrated since 1924. The territory of Marino was inhabited by Latin tribes from the 1st millennium BC. The ancient cities of Bovillae (Frattocchie), Mugilla (Santa Maria delle Mole, a frazione of the comune of Marino) and Ferentum (Marino itself) were part of the Latin League. Under the Roman Republic it was a summer resort for Roman patricians, who built luxurious villas in the area to escape the heat of Rome. In 846 AD, Bovillae - until then the largest settlement - was destroyed by the Saracens, and the population moved to the more easily defendable area of Ferentum, which was fortified under the new name of Marinum. From 1090 it was a dominium of the Counts of Tusculum, and later a fief of the Frangipane and, beginning in 1266, the Orsini.
In 1272, San Bonaventura founded the first confraternity of Italy there. In 1347 it was besieged in vain by Cola di Rienzo. Fifty years later, it was the site of the battle between Alberico da Barbiano and the French troops supporting Antipope Clement VII. In 1419 it was bought by the Colonna, who maintained it until 1914. Marino hosted famous historical figures, from Charles VIII of France to Alfonso II d'Este and many others. Vittoria Colonna was born in Marino in 1492 and lived there for part of her life. In 1571, Marino's people welcomed Marcantonio Colonna, a protagonist of the Battle of Lepanto, with a triumph, remembered yearly by a festival. It became part of Italy in 1870.
On 14 March 1880 the railway Rome-Ciampino-Marino was opened for service. On 1 April 1906 an electric tram line replaced the former. In 1954 the electric tram line was replaced by buses.
On 2 February 1944, during World War II, Marino was heavily bombed by USAAF B-25 aircraft from the US XII Air Force. In 1974, Ciampino became a separate comune. In the Due Santi district, there is the Roman campus of the University of Dallas, which opened in 1994 and is used by its students for its summer programs.
Castelvetrano- 28,072 inhabitants
Castelvetrano is a town and comune in the province of Trapani, Sicily, southern Italy. The archeological site of Selinunte is located within the municipal territory. The first recorded mentions of Castelvetrano in the historical record date back to the 12th and 13th centuries. By the 15th century, records exist of a federation of local cities which include Castelvetrano. The church of St. John, outside the city walls, dates back to this period and was founded in 1412.
Sorrento- 16,609 inhabitants
Sorrento is a town overlooking the Bay of Naples in Southern Italy. A popular tourist destination due to its variety of small antique shops and location on the Amalfi Coast, it can be reached easily from Naples and Pompeii as it is at the south-eastern end of the Circumvesuviana rail line. The town is most known for its small shops selling ceramics, lacework and marquetry (woodwork). The Sorrentine Peninsula has views of Naples, Vesuvius and the Isle of Capri. The Amalfi Drive, connecting Sorrento and Amalfi, is a narrow road that threads along the high cliffs above the Tyrrhenian Sea. Ferries and hydrofoils connect the town to Naples, Amalfi, Positano, Capri and Ischia. Sorrento's sea cliffs and luxury hotels have attracted celebrities including Enrico Caruso and Luciano Pavarotti. Limoncello, a digestif made from lemon rinds, alcohol, water and sugar, is produced in Sorrento. Other agricultural production includes citrus fruit, wine, nuts and olives.
Vernazza- 850 inhabitants
Vernazza is a town and comune located in the province of La Spezia, Liguria, northwestern Italy. It is one of the five towns that make up the Cinque Terre region. Vernazza is the fourth town heading north, has no car traffic, and remains one of the truest "fishing villages" on the Italian Riviera. It is the only natural port of Cinque Terre and is famous for its elegant houses. Vernazza's name is derived from the Latin adjective verna, meaning "native". The aptly named indigenous wine, vernaccia ("local" or "ours"), helped give birth to the village's moniker. In 1997, the Cinque Terre was recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and in 1999 the National Park of the Cinque Terre was created.
Today the main source of revenue for Vernazza is tourism. However, as a testimony to the strength of centuries-old tradition, fishing, wine and olive oil production still continue. On 25 October 2011, Vernazza was struck by torrential rains, massive flooding, and mudslides affecting not only Cinque Terre, but also Val di Vara and Val di Magra within Liguria, as well as the province of Lunigiana. The flood left the town buried in over 4 metres of mud and debris (submerging even the train station in mud), causing over 100 million euro worth of damage. The town was evacuated and remained in a state of emergency for many months.
Portofino- 416 inhabitants
Portofino is an Italian fishing village and holiday resort famous for its picturesque harbour and historical association with celebrity and artistic visitors. It is a comune located in the Metropolitan City of Genoa on the Italian Riviera. The town is clustered around its small harbour, and is known for the colourfully painted buildings that line the shore. Pliny the Elder (AD 23 – AD 79) referred to Portus Delphini (Port of the Dolphin) as on the Ligurian coast between Genoa and the Gulf of Tigullio. The village is mentioned in a diploma from 986 by Adelaide of Italy, which assigned it to the nearby Abbey of San Fruttuoso di Capodimonte. In 1171, together with the neighbouring Santa Margherita Ligure, it was included in Rapallo's commune jurisdiction.
After 1229 it was part of the Republic of Genoa. The town's natural harbour supported a fleet of fishing boats, but was somewhat too cramped to provide more than a temporary safe haven for the growing merchant marine of the Republic of Genoa. In 1409 Portofino was sold to the Republic of Florence by Charles VI of France, but when the latter was ousted from Genoa the Florentines gave it back. In the 15th century it was a fief of families such as the Fieschi, Spinola, Adorno, and Doria. In 1815 it became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia and, from 1861, of the unified Kingdom of Italy.
There you have it another 10 small towns. Have a awesome day :)