Rank these places in Italy

Old Jun 30th, 2010, 12:24 PM
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Waldo is offline  
Old Jun 30th, 2010, 01:47 PM
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Ok, my light-hearted response:

Cinque Terre
the Piedmont

The coast (Amalfi, Capri) doesn't even make my list.

Now, here are the explanations and qualifiers:

If I was "allowed" to include Rome and the Tuscan countryside, Rome would be at the top of the list, and rural Tuscany would be up there with Venice.

We love great Italian food (most regions, any price range), lots and lots of art (primarily painting) and history spanning the eras, love to sit at cafes and people-watch.

Venice is not known so much for its great food, but everything about the city is so magical, that we love going back there. Florence has fabulous art, but the city just doesn't "click" with us so much; we've been to Italy a bunch of times, and pretty much visit some "old" places and some new places each time, and have only been to Florence three times.

We loved the food of the Piedmont; it's perhaps my favorite regional food of Italy (another very personal opinion). And if you're a wine lover, it's an important place to visit. But not high on the list for art and culture.

Why Amalfi, etc. doesn't make my list: I don't like southern Italian cuisine (obviously, a very personal preference). Also, I have a fear of heights, so even the thought of the road along the cliffs makes my stomach quiver.

Don't worry about visiting, or not visiting, touristy spots on your first trip to Italy (depending on the time of year that's you'll be going). There's a reason certain places are full of tourists - there's a lot of wonderful things to see in those places! Even in Venice or Rome, or in San Gimignano in the middle of the day, you can easily reach quieter spots that have (or seem to have, to tourist eyes) more local people going about their daily lives. And if you walk or bus even a little out of the tourist flow, you can easily end up at a restaurant where you're the only group speaking English, or in a piazza full of parents watching their kids ride bikes or kick a soccer ball.

I'm not saying that places off the beaten track aren't worth it - they definitely are! It's just that you can't do it all on one trip. Just assume you'll have plenty of vacations to Italy in the future to explore the places that you can't fit into this trip!
Lexma90 is offline  
Old Jun 30th, 2010, 07:15 PM
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I admit that "light-hearted polls" are not what I'm usually participating at, but somehow I think this one could make a fine counterbalance to those zillions of "Rome-Venice-Florence" itineraries that quite everybody seems to be invariantly following (and I'll admit that they're already tiring me when just reading them). Not that Rome, Venice, Florence are no great places to visit - of course they are (and seasoned Fodorites know that I'm going to Venice all the time). It's just ridiculous to which extent Italy is being reduced this way, and actually: belittled. There is SO much more to this amazing country...
So what I'm doing is posting a ranking of all the regions I know (and I know all Italian regions except for Sardinia, Trentino and Calabria); that's 19 regions, plus separate entries for, yes, Rome, Florence, Venice (actually three worlds apart, not least because of the tourist numbers), and two more for splitting each Tuscany and Lazio in north and south (I happen to think those respective parts of the two regions have nothing in common). Making a total of 23 (sorry, melmcc, this only makes sense if I DO include Rome and Tuscany); my strictly personal ranking:
1. Rome
2. southern Tuscany
3. Venice
4. Umbria
5. Piemonte
6. Sicily
7. northern Tuscany
8. Abruzzo
9. Emilia-Romagna
10. Lombardia
11. Veneto
12. southern Lazio
13. Marche
14. Florence
15. northern Lazio
16. Puglia
17. Friuli-Venezia Giulia
18. Molise
19. Liguria (which included the Cinque Terre)
20. Basilicata
21. South Tyrol
22. Campania (which includes Capri and Amalfi)
23. Valle d'Aosta
franco is offline  
Old Jun 30th, 2010, 07:15 PM
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Thanks for all the great responses! Rome and Tuscan countryside are already on the itinerary, just trying to decide where else we want to go.
melmcc is offline  
Old Jun 30th, 2010, 07:18 PM
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...Liguria INCLUDES the Cinque Terre... of course! Excuse the typo.
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Old Jun 30th, 2010, 07:34 PM
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We love Sicily and we love Bologna just for the eating.

And although I have soft spot for Brunelleschi,as an architect and a prickly man of principles, the crowds in Florence drive me nuts.
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Old Jul 1st, 2010, 02:41 AM
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" the crowds in Florence drive me nuts."

We like Italy in late October but it is even busy in Florence then. November through mid March are the only break from the crowds these days. And we stay out of the center near Piazza della Liberta most of the time to avoid the hordes.

It was much more pleasant 25 years ago.
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Old Jul 1st, 2010, 08:37 AM
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Old Jul 4th, 2010, 05:46 PM
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Melmcc - Umbria is a little slice of heaven, less crowded than Tuscany, and some of my favorite place are Citta di Castello (which is quite close to San Sepolcro on the Tuscan border - very charming little town), Gubbio, Norcia, Montefalco, Spello, Spoleto, Umbertide, Todi and Orvieto. I've always stayed in Ronti, and apart from Orvieto, everything's within an hour or a little more from there. I wasn't crazy about Perugia any of the times I went, nor Assisi though it is certainly worth seeing the basilica and then the very top of the town - the middle is a bit much with every incarnation of St. Francis the brain can conceive. But to answer your original question, my list would be Ronti as a base in Umbria, Florence, Venice and Le Marche.

How long will you be traveling since you are already going so many other places?
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Old Jul 4th, 2010, 07:04 PM
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It was much more pleasant 25 years ago.

The first time we were in Florence was either 1979 or 80. I remember we stayed in the Floretine version of the Bates Motel. I could have sworn the mother was dead and hidden in another room.
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Old Jul 5th, 2010, 08:50 AM
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Coast( Amalfi, Capri, etc)-3
Cinque Terre-4

These are my rankings based upon gut reactions to these places the first time. I returned to Venice and Florence again and again for the magic and art.

I know you said not to mention Rome-have you been there? It ranks up there also for me as a place to visit first in Italy. DH and I returned there after a 10-year hiatus and it was like coming home. We returned to a restaurant and they made the same dinner we'd had there 10 years before.

When are you going? And, please let us know where you end up.
TDudette is offline  
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