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Which hilltown or village in Italy to use as homebase for a month

Which hilltown or village in Italy to use as homebase for a month

Oct 21st, 2012, 06:58 AM
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Which hilltown or village in Italy to use as homebase for a month

We are planning a trip next fall to Italy... We have been to Italy several times before and have stayed in big cities and small villages, normally staying several days to a week in each place and then moving on to a different part of the country.

This trip we are planning to stay in one location only, after attending a wedding in San Sebastian Spain... We would like to be in a hilltown or village where we could walk to restaurants, bars, markets, etc - where the people are friendly, but is not a huge tourist destination. We will have cars to take day trips.

We love Italy for the food, wine and abounding beauty. My husband enjoys art and I collect Italian ceramics.

I'm researching for the best spot and am wondering if anyone has recommendations? Areas that we have not traveled to yet and are interested in are Abruzzo or Puglia. We spent a week in Spello last year and that is the kind of base we are looking for. We would consider returning but I'm wondering if there is another place similar that we should try.

Any suggestions from personal experience would be greatly appreciated!

PSGMARTINO is offline  
Oct 21st, 2012, 08:18 AM
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Good for you---I love the concept.
Here are some places that have intrigued me in my travels that I would consider for a longer stay:

Lecce, Puglia
Alba, Piemonte
Bassano del Grappa, Veneto
Lucca, Toscana

Good luck in your quest.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Oct 21st, 2012, 08:36 AM
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Last November we spent two days in Sulmona (Abruzzo) and found it very charming. We would love to go back to the hills of Abruzzo!

We have loved Orvieto, and have found it well located for day trips in Umbria.

And i agree with Bob the N that Lucca is certainly worth a visit.

Have a wonderful trip!

Byrd is offline  
Oct 21st, 2012, 08:52 AM
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Bergamo - The hilltop town is small but there's the larger city down below. Less than an hour from Milan, close to the lakes. When I was there last summer I thought to myself that would be a place I could easily spend a month. http://www.pbase.com/annforcier/image/145707323
isabel is offline  
Oct 21st, 2012, 09:43 AM
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Thanks Bob... I will look into Lecce. Pictures look beautiful and Im hearing more and more about Puglia these days. Does that area have the same Italy vibe? We have spent time in Lucca which I love also but we probably won't go back this time.

Byrd thank you. I will look into Sulmona... I have also thought Orvieto might be a good base. What areas did you visit from there? Good restaurants?

Isabel I had not considered Bergamo but will also check it out. Being near Milan is convenient to fly in/out of and I love the lakes. How is driving around there?
PSGMARTINO is offline  
Oct 21st, 2012, 11:08 AM
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Puglia, and certainly Lecce, are unique in Italy. The food and dialect are unique---I get more of a vibe for Greece or Sicily rather than Italy.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Oct 21st, 2012, 11:48 AM
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Hilltowns in Puglia are really hard to come by. In addition, it has no outstanding tradition in ceramics, and there is no tremendous of density in its artistic patrimony.

Abruzzo certainly has more hilltowns -- mountain towns, actually -- and it has some rather unusual ceramic traditions around Sulmona. Artistic heritage is spotty.

I would think that for fall, a lovely town somewhere in the chunk of Italy between Gubbio/Umbertide and Faenza, somewhere a bit east of Arezzo, would give you everything. Gubbio has its own ceramics traditon. Faenza is legendary. Arezzo has its fabulous antiques markets -- a collector's dream come true.

Zoom in on a Google map and look at what towns are there, then google up the towns themselves to if any appeal to you.
pizzocchieri is offline  
Oct 21st, 2012, 05:33 PM
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Ascoli Piceno in Le Marche has a wonderful ceramics museum, and the museum will give you a very nice illustrated pamphlet showing where all the ceramic artists' shops/studios are in the city. My friend and I had a lot of fun checking out the various ceramic shops and talking with the artists. Ascoli is a beautiful city and I found the people to be very friendly. We didn't run into any other tourists, but we were there in March, so I don't know what it's like in high season.

From Ascoli, you could do a day trip to the town of Castelli in northern Abruzzo, which is famous for its ceramics.

At about 50,000 people, Ascoli Piceno is much larger than Spello. If you prefer a smaller town, the lovely Abruzzo hill town of Atri is about the same size as Spello, and its close enough for day trips to both Ascoli and Castelli, to see the ceramics.
susoir is offline  
Oct 21st, 2012, 05:45 PM
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Thanks pizzocchieri and susoir - I will look into your suggestions... I appreciate your input!
PSGMARTINO is offline  
Oct 21st, 2012, 06:21 PM
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i vouch for Ascoli Piceno, as well. It's a beautiful, friendly, and untouristy city. The food is also very good, and you will find that costs in that area are still very reasonable.

It's also very close to the Gran Sasso National Park, one of the most beautiful drives we have done in Italy, from Visso to Castelluccio, and onward to Ascoli, or the reverse.

We definitely plan to go back.

I don't see your dates listed, but as much as I loved Lecce, it was very hot and extremely humid. I personally would not choose to go there any time in the summer, but that's just my preference.
sundriedpachino is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2012, 12:08 PM
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I can vouch for Lisciano Nicone, a small Umbrian town 7 miles from Lake Trasimeno. It is convenient to explore many great places from there: Deruta, Gubbio, Cortona, Pienza, etc. It is a very small nontouristy town. We stayed at a B&B owned by a friend(http://www.tuscanyvacation.com/tv4.html); there are probably house rentals for a month available in this town too.

Enjoyed reading others' suggestions- great post!

bgus is offline  
Oct 28th, 2012, 03:46 PM
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Thanks bgus - It looks beautiful, however, we are hoping to be walking distance to a town, and this doesn't look like it is.

I'm compiling my lists... thanks to all of you for your suggestions.
PSGMARTINO is offline  

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