Choosing an area of Italy to visit - help?
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Dec 4, 2012 5:41 PM Last Post By: italiangirl88
Dec 1, 2012 11:10 PM
Choosing an area of Italy to visit - help?I've wanted to go to Europe for years, but every year it ends up getting pushed back. However, next summer it looks like I'll finally be able to make it work. I'm planning to go to Italy, but unfortunately I will only have 7 full days in the country. I know that's not nearly enough, but that's what I've got, and it will be the last week of August. I plan to only cover a small section of the country, as I don't want to spend all my time moving from A to B. I also will not be renting a car, so I'll need to take trains and buses everywhere.
Although I'm doing a lot of reading on my own, I'm hoping some of you can help point me to an area of the country that I might enjoy most.
Here are some things I'm hoping to see/do:
interesting old architecture (by this I mean the classic old European streets and towns)
a couple of day hikes (in the mountains, forest or along the coast, maybe up to 6-8 hours long)
Italian food (I love pizza and pasta, so I plan to stuff my face with as much as I can. Obviously I can do this anywhere in the country, but maybe some areas are better for pizza and pasta.)
cycling (if there's a nice area where you can rent a bike for the day)
rafting or kayaking (this isn't necessary at all, but if there's a nice place to do it, I'd be interested)
Here are some things I'm NOT interested in:
museums and churches
old ruins (if I pass them, I might check them out, but I'm not going to go out of my way for them)
I don't drink and don't care about nightlife
I'll probably try flying into one city and flying home from another, and so I've come up with 3 areas that I think I might enjoy. One is the north, around Venice and Milan. The second is around Naples and Sicily, and the third is Sardinia. Bearing in mind what I said above about what I want to see, which of these 3 areas would you recommend I check out, or is there another area you think I might prefer?
Thanks for any and all suggestions,
Dec 1, 2012 11:42 PM
1The first place that came to mind reading your interests was Tuscany....
Dec 1, 2012 11:47 PM
2Of the three you have chosen as possibliities....
All 3 have interesting old towns,streets etc..in fact every region of Italy does.
Sardinia would be my choice for hiking.
Food is good everywhere.....of those 3 areas,I think Naples/ Sicily is the best for pizza and pasta-
(Of course Naples and Sicily are pretty far apart...I wouldn't try to do both in a week).
The Veneto would be the best for cycling.Maybe mountain biking in Sardinia....
Dec 2, 2012 2:28 AM
3Smaller towns would be cheaper.
You are going at the top of tourist season. European families go on vacation in August.
So you'll have plenty of company. I don't wanna discourage you. Just know in advance.
Here's a taste of stuff beyond.. art and buildings. Its why that stuff got made. Spooky bunch, those Medicci.
Have fun/not schedules.
Dec 2, 2012 2:29 AM
Dec 2, 2012 2:30 AM
5Here's that taste;
Dec 2, 2012 4:15 AM
6Since you move with public transportations I'd prefer the northern part of Italy: it is served by train much much better that the rest of the country.
Venice is a good place, however is very expensive and full of turist traps. I0m not a fan of Venice, anyway it worths a day if you fly around.
I'd consider the following places to visit:
Mantova: it is really a beautiful town, and has great food . Try "Tortelli di Zucca".
Verona/Lake Garda: one of the most interesting places in Italy. If you are interested in hukes you may try to glimb up to trhe monte Baldo and come back by cableway (or vice-versa: http://www.funiviedelbaldo.it/)
Dolomites/Merano: great hikes and great food too. It can be done with a couple of days, consider that Verona/Bolzano is 2 hrs, Verona/Merano is 3 hrs (by train).
You may plan a to spend a day at each city, they are close to each other but allow 1 to 2 hours/day dedicated to transportations: leave hotel, go to the station, wait for the next train, travel time and so on...
Dec 2, 2012 4:27 AM
7I must admit that given OP's wishes, the first place that came to mind was Tuscany -- certainly for the picturesque little towns. I don't know how good public transport is though.
Dec 2, 2012 4:43 AM
8I'm with Lucapal and bjd re Tuscany. I'm no expert on Sardinia and icily so don't comment on these,but Sicily alone would occupy a week and I wouldn't consider linking it with Naples - one or the other perhaps.
However, one place i thought might meet your needs is Lucca - I know it is touristy, and last week of August will be end of high season so it will be busy. However, you can cycle there and hire bikes, the beach at eg. Viareggio is 30 minutes away by both bus and train, which each run at least once per hour, and there are regular if slightly less frequent buses and trains into the Massa Carrara to places like Bagni di Lucca and Aulla for walks in the mountains - the route there along the Serchio valley is both picturesque and has the possibility of other walks. Lucca is less than an hour by bus from Pisa airport, so might be worth checking out to see if it meets your wish list
Dec 2, 2012 12:36 PM
9Thank you very much to all of you. You've given me several things to consider.
Although I hadn't really thought about it much before, it seems like I should probably investigate Tuscany a little further.
Dec 4, 2012 5:41 PM
10I would say northern Italy or Tuscany...it's easier for transportation (good and fast train connections). And you'll have all of you mentioned. Tuscany it's great because has lots of places of interests at short distance. E.g. if you love old architecture you should visit Siena and San Gimignano. San Gimignano it's a old village very very pictoresque and unique. Ciclyng it's perfect because the countryside its beautiful and plain, you can bump into the vinegards, old pictoreqe country villas (cascina) and have a good taste of cuisine...
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