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Request for help finding MY ideal 'base' towns in Italy

Request for help finding MY ideal 'base' towns in Italy

Feb 5th, 2008, 09:03 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 126
Request for help finding MY ideal 'base' towns in Italy

I realize there are many threads discussing this topic, but the vast majority address it from the standpoint of convenience for day trips. That's definitely important, but I'm asking for a little more.

My desire is to be based in a smaller town that is large enough to have a decent selection of restaurants within walking distance (or a short bus/taxi ride) of lodging. I would say we want 3-4* (out of a possible 5*) accommodations and, for restaurants, we would favor trattorie more often than megabuck ristoranti. Enjoying the evening 'passeggiata' prior to dinner would be a definite bonus.

My reasoning is that I don't want to have to drive back 20-30 miles on dark, twisty, narrow country roads after an evening of wine and food, to a room in the countryside or tiny town. Yeah, I know we could have a designated driver, but my feeling is this is a vacation and all should be allowed to enjoy it to the fullest (while still being safe and in compliance with the law).

We are thinking of 4-6 nights in each of 2 or 3 locales, from Umbria north. However, I would greatly appreciate hearing of towns in other regions of Italy that meet my criteria. Do such animals exist, or am I expecting too much? Thanks for your help.
NoleNomad is offline  
Feb 5th, 2008, 09:33 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,139
Many cities and towns in Italy from Umbria north will fit what you're looking for, but you should start narrowing down (further) what interests you. (For example, how big of a "smaller town?") We try to stay in locales like you're looking for - we'd rather walk around before and after dinner, rather than drive, and it's a pain when one person can't drink (or only have 1 glass of wine).

I'm somewhat picky about restaurants (I don't need megabucks places, but do want good local food), but sounds like you'll need a town big enough to have possibly 6 good restaurants for dinner (assuming you'll be visiting other places during the day). Many smaller towns, except for the more-touristed ones, won't necessarily have that kind of restaurant selection (or they will, but not easily found or located by tourists).

An idea for a larger town - a city - is Bologna. Great for walking around, great food and restaurants, and great passegiata. Ferrara is nice, but I'm not sure if there's enough for a 4-6 night stay there. San Gimignano, which is possibly southwest of what you're looking for, would work (an example of a smaller town that has a number of very good restos). Also Siena. I'm less familiar with Verona, but maybe it's another possibility. Further west, Lucca is a great little city (as opposed to town) that would fit what you're looking for.

In Umbria, Spello, Bevagna and Montefalco might be a little small for a 4-6 night stay to eat every night in that same town. But each of them is a beautiful place to visit, very good for walking, and if you're willing to make some after-dinner drives (which is what we did the last time we stayed in Spello), any of those towns are a possibility; they're each about 10-15 minutes' drive apart.
Lexma90 is offline  
Feb 5th, 2008, 10:40 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,525
Big order !
Here is where I would spend that type of quality time:
Montepulciano[ Tuscany]
Bevagna[ Umbria]
Lucca[ Tuscany NW]
Urbino[ Le Marche]
Bassano del Grappa[ Veneto]
Asti[ Piemonte]
Ortisei[ Dolomites Val Gardena]

Good luck !
bobthenavigator is offline  
Feb 5th, 2008, 10:55 AM
  #4  
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Great info. Thanks Lexma and Bob!

Lexma, how is Bologna as a base for day trips?
NoleNomad is offline  
Feb 5th, 2008, 11:09 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 6
Hi Nole,
Sounds like a great trip...
As Lexma said, Bologna would be a great choice for a home base for several reasons. Namely, it is THE train hub of Northern Italy--the routes fan out in every direction from Bologna to cities like Florence, Milan, Padua, Venice, Rimini, etc. But like Lexma also mentioned, Bologna is a small city, not a quaint little town. It is lovely, but there is lots of traffic, etc. Not many tourists, though, which is a little surprising considering that many regard it as the food capital of Italy.
Anyway, hope that helps a little...
Rickz37 is offline  
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