I always recommend that visitors save sights for a return trip. After all, if it all becomes a blur, how can your trip of a lifetime be a memorable one? And that’s what it’s all about, right? If kids are left to romp in a park or stay back in the villa for a day, you’d be pleasantly surprised as to what you’ll experience.
Caramelized onions or black truffles
A recent trip to Todi brought me over to a random parking lot. There, an incredible church I would have otherwise passed right by, was open for a special service and I got to take a peak inside. A walk to a bar / coffee shop allowed me to take away (Italian-style) a virtual smorgasbörd of sumptuousness: pork loin with applesauce and caramelized onions and a split pea flan with truffles and white sauce! Who needs fast food when you can find homemade gourmet at a roadside pit stop?
Slow Travel, reduce your footprint
In our effort to promote SlowTravel, aim for those lesser known corners, or stay just out of town, or look out for strange local museums, often with the title, Civico Museo in them. Sometimes, folklore museums usually offer a unique view of life in days of yore. In Matera, I happened upon a little cave – it was actually a dwelling and the family had raised a dozen kids there. In Pisa I try to duck into the contemporary art gallery of Palazzo Blu or go nearby to my favorite Piaggio (Vespa) museum to check out the exhibits. While in Lucca, the pilgrim museum may not pique your interest, but once inside, offers a super experience for showing how Lucca had been a central stopoff for people of all cloths since the middle ages. The Museo degli Innocenti (in a converted orphanage) in downtown Florence sounds so-so until you discover that some of the greatest talents of the Renaissance created works to soothe the poor souls there.
There are so many undiscovered places in Italy
If you want to explore some of the hidden parts of Italy, look just a town or two away. You’ll soon discover the violin makers of Cremona (where you can imbibe in the world’s greatest risotto with strawberries), or walk the canals of Mantova. Visit WWI and WWII sites such as those in the lovely northern town of Bassano del Grappa or attend a terrific jazz festival pretty much in towns large or small across the Boot all summer long. Check out the travertine town of Ascoli Piceno (and enjoy some Olive Ascolane with fizzy white wine while you’re there, too! Eat a meal at a culinary school.
As the Italians like to quip, there’s “an embarrassment of riches” to choose from. Let us know what areas you want to explore, and we’re here to steer you in the right direction – and away from the maddening crowds!