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Italy in February

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Apologies for the rambling message but I am just starting to plan a last-minute one-week trip to Italy in mid-February. The catch is that we need to fly into Rome but do not want to spend time there. (That's where we went on our last visit so we'd rather see something new.)

A bit about us: We are middle-aged New Yorkers who have seen much of the north of Italy. We love to walk around and explore new towns and cities, are not interested in spending all of our time studying ruins or being surrounded by fellow tourists, and good food is essential. A few interesting museums and shops would be nice too. Favorite places so far are smallish cities that feel like people actually live in them (like Bologna and Perugia) but we also adored the quiet charming towns we saw elsewhere in Umbria and just about everything we saw in Tuscany. We do not want to be surrounded by tourists and day-trippers, which is perhaps not likely in February but I am trying to give you and idea of what we are hoping to find. Our least favorite part of Italy is what we saw of Lake Como - all tourists, everything in English, bad food, etc. (Sorry - I know people will disagree but that was our impression.)

A friend has suggested Calcata and then Sorrento and Ravello. What are your thoughts on that? We usually rent a car and drive from town to town and are happy to do so on this trip but I am a bit nervous about the windy roads. Hoping they're not too bad in the off-season.

Anyway, where would you go if you had to fly into Rome, had a car, and didn't want to stay in Rome? And why?

Thank you for reading this and for any advice!

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