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What are some less touristy areas you have visited in Italy?

What are some less touristy areas you have visited in Italy?

Old Sep 16th, 2005, 06:55 AM
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Hi Jones. I think you will enjoy Vernazza in the Cinque Terre and save some money. Its charm overcomes its slightly touristy feeling and it is very charming and laid back, especially if you go off hiking up through the Vinyards on the cliffs along the ocean. We arrived late one afternoon with no plans to stay but were so enchanted that we made an instant decison to try get a room. We asked around for ages and almost gave up (everywhere was packed) but we came upon Eva's Rooms. It was E50 a night for the room for two (not each) no breakfast, but it was spotless, nice shower, and perfect! I would alternate between staying someplace like that in the Cinque Terre and with the money you save, in Florence I would highly recommend The Tourist House Ghiberti http://www.touristhouseghiberti.com. I never got that ultra feel like a "tourist" in Italy, it really never had that atmosphere for me. Walking around in the evenings the larger cities are filled with Italians doing the exact same things as you, window shopping, eating ice-cream, drinking in the streets. Italy is all very festive. Have a brilliant time.
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Old Sep 16th, 2005, 07:12 AM
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My husband and I love Verona and the surrounding countryside, especially the towns around Lake Garda. The towns, the wine, and the food are all fantastic!
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Old Sep 16th, 2005, 08:42 AM
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Thank you very much for your comments and thank you even more for those of you that "redeemed" yourselves you guy have been a huge help... i will look into my trip and get some guidebooks and i really need to find some coffee table books... and i will come up with some more questions... once again thank you more you help it is much appreciated
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Old Sep 16th, 2005, 11:25 AM
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LAKE GARDA! That was the area we passed on our train from Venice to Milanl. It looked really beautiful. Go for a day trip or stay a few days. I would have loved to do that.
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Old Sep 16th, 2005, 11:31 AM
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We just got back from the Salento Peninsula region in Southern Puglia. A few Brits, lots of other vacationing Italians, some German and 98.5% local.
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Old Sep 16th, 2005, 11:33 AM
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AnnieP, you can't call anywhere in the Cinque Terre less touristed. This sounds exactly the kind of place jones10hhs is trying to avoid. Were you joking? Advertising?

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Old Sep 17th, 2005, 03:46 AM
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no Mimar - I am actually serious! Jones has never been to Italy and has not idea what to expect. He has no idea what is touristy or not. He mentioned the Cinque Terre in another post and I had that in my head when I answered this one. Instead of slamming him, I was encouraging him. It would be a pity to tell him to avoid some place worthwhile. Take Sedlio in Sardinia (which IS part of Italy) for example, I could advise him to take the ferry and go there. It is the most non-touristy and drab, hideous town I have ever been anywhere in my life!!
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Old Sep 17th, 2005, 04:15 AM
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I think everyone's definition of touristy is a little different. Do they mean total number of tourists, concentration of tourists? I think the Cinque Terre is a good example. I was there 3 years ago, and I really didn't think it was that touristy at all. People on this board are constantly saying it is but I really didn't get that sense (I visited 4 of the 5 towns, and stayed in Camogli which is a 45 minute train ride north, which has some European tourists, but very few Americans). There are no tour groups in the CT (well maybe Rick Steves groups go there, but I didn't see any).

I also think that while parts of a city might be touristy, you can walk a few blocks away from the major sites and get a very different feel. Florence is an example. Many people say they hate Florence and that it's too crowded/touristy. Well certainly the area around the Duomo is mobbed in the summer. But a ten minute walk and I was on streets with nobody around (in July).

My best answer to your question would be Sicily. We visited some towns there that were great and didn't see ANY tourists. But that would either require a car or plenty of time because the public transportation connections are not that great in central Sicily. Palermo is crowded, but not at all touristy. But the easiest places to get to, like Taormina are very touristy (but still worthwhile).

I think staying in the major cities, like Rome, Venice and Florence, for about a week and doing some day trips to nearby areas will give you what you are looking for. I've spent three of the last four July's in Italy and the list of places I want to see is just as long as it was when I started. Italy is wonderful.
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Old Sep 17th, 2005, 05:34 AM
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I have visited the beautiful island of Sardinia loads of times, especially in the off season, which on this island is basically any month except July and August.
I think as Sardinia is an island far from ther mainland it has retained a strong identity of its own and has been less influenced by modern Italian living, particularly in the smaller inland villages and towns and as such traditional culture, language and gastronomy remains strongs. I love the areas of Dorgali, Oliena and Orgosolo, where the nature is beautiful and sits between the mountains and the sea.
Old Sep 17th, 2005, 05:41 AM
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Taranto and Catania don't get a lot of tourists.
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Old Sep 17th, 2005, 07:11 AM
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I almost hesitate to broadcast it, but I like Bologna a lot and consider it a "less touristy" city. I've twice made it a base for exploring surrounding areas (including Florence, just an hour away by train). In neither trip did I encounter one American, and I was often the only (obvious) foreigner in the restaurants I went to or that I saw when walking around. The flip side though is that a lot of people there do not speak English or else speak only a little. I speak Italian well enough that it was not an issue for me, but I think it would definitely be an issue for some. That being said, the locals are very friendly and hospitable. I think it's a beautiful city with its miles of porticoes and red brick architecture. It has some interesting museums as well, especially the archaeological museum, which is in need of renovation (in part--the Egyptian galleries are newly renovated and first-rate) but has a good collection of artifacts from Etruscan sites in the area. If one didn't want to stay the night there, it'd make an easy daytrip from Florence. There's a good bus system that makes it easy to get around from the station.

I also like Ferrara and would consider it "less touristy"; I was only there for less than a day and was there for research, so I can't comment much on what there is to see. Except that the archaeological museum has some very fine Greek vases, found in Etruscan tombs at nearby Spina. The castle had what looked like a terrific temporary exhibition, but it was super crowded with locals and had timed tickets, too late in the day for me.

Ravenna is another town in Emilia-Romagna which is a pleasure to visit. It's very pedestrian friendly and it is easy to walk around and look at all the marvelous Byzantine buildings. Seemed like there were more tourists here than in Ferrara or Bologna, but they were in tour groups (a lot of Germans, no Americans that I saw) and were congregated around the Byz bldgs. Away from them it was all locals.

The food in Emilia-Romagna, by the way, is fantastic, especially if you're a meat and cheese fan!

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Old Sep 18th, 2005, 06:06 AM
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There is an older thread 'Small Towns' which I have brought to the top so that you can read it. Also, Rizzoli publishing has a coffee table book '101 beautiful small towns in Italy' (it includes a map with the 101 towns located). If you can list about eight city/towns that you want to overnight in then you will have a good travel planning framework.
Old Sep 18th, 2005, 06:28 AM
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When I was a student I paid a visit to Calabria, to the town my grandfather immigrated from. It is a pretty place on the sea, but nothing remarkable. I used to walk in the hills beyond the village and one day saw women washing clothes in a river, another time a girl leading a laden donkey to the market. I stayed in a small hotel and took my meals there, and on leaving was presented with a bill for $150 -- after five days.

That was more than thirty years ago and things, especially prices, have changed, but I think there are still a few places you might want to explore.

Also, as mentioned above, don't overlook the places hiding in plain sight, like parts of Rome and pretty much all of Naples (everyone who should be in Naples is over in Sorrento -- just kidding).

A month might not seem like much yet I remember the month I spent in Italy all those years ago with a clarity that still surprises me. You can have a month that will stay with you too, if you tailor your trip carefully to your interests.
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