They say home is where the heart is . . .
A story is only as good as its scenery – this exact allegation has been proven countless times within tales such as Harry Potter (Hogwarts) and The Hobbit (the village Hobbiton).
Both whimsical places, right? And these are just two examples of many.
Whether you’re writing a thriller, horror, fantasy or romance, every great story requires a town or village to remember. A place within which you can free your inner architect and design the destination of your dreams (or your nightmares if that’s what you’re going for)!
So, who said you can’t receive a bit of help, eh? Here are five whimsical villages for your next writing journey:
1. Hildesheim, Lower Saxony, Germany
This German village is more than just meets the eye. Why? Well, with its medieval, vintage construction and gothic-style town hall, its centuries preserved youth remains remedied in its architecture.
One of its most memorable sights is the magnificent marketplace. (All the alliteration, seesh!)
Although the thing which caught my attention the most was the mention of an old tavern called the Stadtschänke. Who doesn’t want their characters to wind down in a tavern after a long day’s work of heroic acts?
Despite it being so tiny, Hildesheim in fact, has many sister towns all over the world. It even hosts the yearly “Jazztime” festival on the weekend of Pentecost (in May or June).
So, colour, history and character . . . the perfect concoction, I’d say!
2. Tsumago-Juku, Japan
Tsumago-Juku is a popular post town on the Nakasendō mountain route in Japan. It was formally declared a Nationally Designated Architectural Preservation site in 1976, with its centuries old constructions and shrines stealing the public’s affection.
Why not break away from the old European side of the writing world? We need a little more cultural variety, don’t you agree?
So feel free to explore!
I personally think this dark and musky town sets the bar pretty high in terms of majestic-ness. Supposedly, there once existed the grand Tsumago castle – yes, a Japanese castle! – as well as the Rurisan Kōtoku-ji Temple.
How’s that for a mouth-full?
3. Campobasso, Italy
A sweet little village in southern Italy, sounds ideal right?
What’s more, get a good look at that contemporary paving! Was it crafted that way on purpose? You tell me! I can already picture the smell of fresh tulip flowers, buzzing pizza parlours, and a shiny red scooter racing through the crowds and in between the buildings.
One of Campobasso’s most intricate details is its Villa de Capoa, a wonderful garden spruced with a wide variety of wildlife and statues of past heroes. Think about it, your hero can tower amongst those statues!
4. Rocamadour, France
Travelling further through Europe, we were bound to make a pit stop in good old southern France! Strangely, the Rocamadour village has the overwhelming presence of a real life fairy-tale!
Sporting a bordering forest, centuries of historical pilgrimage, and an infamous church of Notre Dame. What more can you want? Upon one of its many walls there is even a mysterious cult image – creepy much? – of the Black Madonna. Apparently, the Black Madonna is a picture of Mary with the infant Jesus, butttt, she has extremely darkened skin.
Nice little titbit there, along with the whole cult thing . . . make with it what you want!
5. Dolceacqua, Italy
We’re finally on to our last remaining village. Good news everybody, we’re back in Italy! More good news, this village actually has a bridge!
Oh, and it doesn’t stop there, no.
The parish of Dolceaqua is conveniently laid on the border of France as well! Soooo, if your character perhaps has a secret lover in another country, or if he/she needs to flee France in a hurry, this might be the ideal location for them to lay low.
With a population of roughly 2078 people, who’d be the wiser?
Anyway, thank you so much for supporting me on yet another of my silly articles – blog posts?? – I am indeed super grateful for every additional reader! Please do subscribe, follow me on my social media, and share the happiness only writers can bring!!