Romanticized indeed.>A village has history, is has customs it has people whose families have know each other fo decades. Within families everybody actually gives a shit about each other. A tiny, shit town hasn none of that. It is barren of significance.
Man, writing this response is a pain, I keep changing my opinion as I remember different facts and places that I've visited.
Basically, in my place you've got the picturesque idyllic villages with cozy apartments and vine cellars and views of pretty landscapes - things that the inhabitants have arranged for tourists in order to make money. Living there is indeed not bad at all, though it might be a boring kind of lifestyle for some people.
You've also got the villages that aren't based on tourism. What you'll find there is 3 families (or rather, what remains of them), their houses, barns and farmland; maybe a tiny cross or a chapel somewhere nearby.
None of these really have any sort of interesting historical or cultural background that you seem to be talking about. Even in the quite pleasant tourist village the houses that you might marvel at are actually newly built, or at least expanded, while in regular ones they're just blocks of brick with a balcony. The old houses crumble and are replaced, the people do their best to live comfortable lives and don't bother too much with tradition. It's all for show, in a away. All that shit about how much they can't live without their donkey and playing their traditional bagpipe is a farce in the same way in Britain as it is here. In reality they live in the same way as in towns, they drive cars, buy groceries, watch TV and tend crops alongside all of that. The most interesting history that you'll find here is usually some personal story related to WWII. In fact, towns are way better in regards to stuff like this, actually having folklore societies, museums, medieval churches, castles and older residential buildings, since more people are willing to preserve them. Everything is within walking distance, the shops, the school, the coffee places… Villages, on the other hand, are somewhat isolated; they're close, but you still have to use a car.
It's true that families in villages are more knit-together than in towns, but I'd say it's simply because they have no other choice, no other person to talk to (and nothing interesting to talk about). In a town you'll become familiar with everyone's faces sooner or later, but to actually build closeness with them you'll have to force yourself to interact with them and be a likeable person, because they already have a wide choice and their own old acquaintances. There's also no reason why families there wouldn't have known each other for decades.
What I'm trying to say is whatever image you have conjured up of a perfect village doesn't exist (or is at least extremely rare) and if history is what you want, living in a town would probably be more fulfilling.
Ah, but if you're from the US, what I call a town you would probably consider to be a village either way…