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

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

Old Feb 5th, 2008, 09:03 AM
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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  
Old Feb 5th, 2008, 09:33 AM
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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  
Old Feb 5th, 2008, 10:40 AM
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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  
Old Feb 5th, 2008, 10:55 AM
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Great info. Thanks Lexma and Bob!

Lexma, how is Bologna as a base for day trips?
NoleNomad is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2008, 11:09 AM
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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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