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Which regions to focus on for 7 weeks in Italy?

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Apr 2nd, 2018, 06:16 AM
  #1
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Which regions to focus on for 7 weeks in Italy?

Hi all!

My parents and I will be road tripping around Italy this summer, between June and August for about 7 weeks in total. We will first venture out from Rome and drive southwards before circling back northwards. We would not be flying directly into a southern city as we are intending to lease a car, and Rome is one of the two pick-up locations offered.

While I have previously visited Campania and its attractions, my parents have not so I'm intending to take out one week to bring them around this region. Otherwise, we have all been to the usual tourist attractions such as Venice, Florence and Rome. Hence for this trip, we would like to travel around the less frequented southern regions (excluding Sicily) and the countryside in the central regions.

I know 7 weeks is not much, so I'm seeking suggestions for which regions to focus on. We are generally inclined towards landscape and coastal scenery, medieval architecture and soaking up the general laid-back atmosphere of Italy. Conversely, we are not really keen on beaches and visiting museums unless they come highly recommended.

As this would be our first time driving in Italy and that none of us speaks Italian, we would greatly prefer regions with better tourist and road infrastructure. We are currently looking at these regions: Lazio, Tuscany, Umbria, Le Marche, Abruzzo, Molise, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria. Obviously, visiting all of these regions in depth is impossible within a span of 7 weeks and so I would love to hear recommendations from all of you here.

For now, only Campania and Puglia are definitely included in our itinerary. Additionally, I would like to ask if there is any place/region we should avoid due to earthquake damages.

Thank you in advance, and I hope to hear from all of you!
yixiulim24 is offline  
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Apr 2nd, 2018, 06:49 AM
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In the fall of 2016, we spent a little over a week in Puglia. Summers will be busier especially in beach areas. Here is a link to our trip report: 7 days/6 nights in Puglia

After Puglia, we spent time in Matera, one of our favorite places in all of Italy. An absolute must see!

Last Fall, we spent 8 days in Sperlonga and Castellabate. Sperlonga was perfect in the fall, but it is a beach destination for Romans so it may be crowded in summer. Castellabate was an excellent base for Greek ruins in Paestum and the coast road through Acciaroli (blue zone town with lots of centenarians), Pioppi (with a museum dedicated to the Mediterranean diet), Pisciotta, Maratea (with its Christ statue similar to the one in Rio), etc.

Of course, you could spent weeks in Tuscany and Umbria. A lot to see, but you have plenty of time to do it. We highly recommend airbnb as an affordable way to have accommodations that might work for two couples.
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Apr 2nd, 2018, 08:46 AM
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I second the Castellabate area for the ruins at Paestum, and South to Acciaroli, Pisciotta and Palinuro, on to Maratea and Matera.
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Apr 2nd, 2018, 11:39 AM
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I would highly recommend northern Umbria/southern Tuscany, especially the areas up in the "mountains" where all the old Roman spa towns are, as well as anywhere around Lago Trasimeno. I haven't spent a lot of time yet in really southern Italy (I did love Sperlonga and Gaeta and Terrazina and Ninfa and all the old inland towns, but haven't been down toward the coast for many years), but I also don't tend to go to places where English is spoken, as I speak Italian, so I'm not sure my recommendations would suit you. My husband, though, who speaks not a word of Italian, has managed without me on several recent trips to Italy. That wouldn't be a real concern of mine.
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Apr 3rd, 2018, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by whitehall View Post
In the fall of 2016, we spent a little over a week in Puglia. Summers will be busier especially in beach areas. Here is a link to our trip report:

After Puglia, we spent time in Matera, one of our favorite places in all of Italy. An absolute must see!

Last Fall, we spent 8 days in Sperlonga and Castellabate. Sperlonga was perfect in the fall, but it is a beach destination for Romans so it may be crowded in summer. Castellabate was an excellent base for Greek ruins in Paestum and the coast road through Acciaroli (blue zone town with lots of centenarians), Pioppi (with a museum dedicated to the Mediterranean diet), Pisciotta, Maratea (with its Christ statue similar to the one in Rio), etc.

Of course, you could spent weeks in Tuscany and Umbria. A lot to see, but you have plenty of time to do it. We highly recommend airbnb as an affordable way to have accommodations that might work for two couples.
Originally Posted by Lamorna View Post
I second the Castellabate area for the ruins at Paestum, and South to Acciaroli, Pisciotta and Palinuro, on to Maratea and Matera.
Thank you for all of your inputs! Regarding the Castellabate area, may I know what is your take on the differences between the Amalfi Coast and the Cilento Coast? Which coast has a more dramatic scenery?
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Apr 3rd, 2018, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by StCirq View Post
I would highly recommend northern Umbria/southern Tuscany, especially the areas up in the "mountains" where all the old Roman spa towns are, as well as anywhere around Lago Trasimeno. I haven't spent a lot of time yet in really southern Italy (I did love Sperlonga and Gaeta and Terrazina and Ninfa and all the old inland towns, but haven't been down toward the coast for many years), but I also don't tend to go to places where English is spoken, as I speak Italian, so I'm not sure my recommendations would suit you. My husband, though, who speaks not a word of Italian, has managed without me on several recent trips to Italy. That wouldn't be a real concern of mine.
Thank you for your suggestion! May I know where do you think is a good base for both Tuscany and Umbria? Would Siena be a good choice? And do you think if Le Marche follows a similar landscape after these two regions?
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Apr 3rd, 2018, 07:45 PM
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Both are spectacular. The Amalfi coast will be more crowded; definitely more touristy. We love both. For us, Cilento had a better vibe, less polished, authentic. The drive south to Maratea was in part dramatic, a bit heart stopping as any cliffside drive anywhere and had a feel of being undiscovered. We were there in October, and surely it is busier during summer. Maratea is a “town” with nine small villages and boasts 44 churches. It is spread about and is a less developed area than we expected, so it can be a little confusing. We drove to the top of Mount St. Bagio, where there is the third tallest statue of Christ in Europe (similar to the one in Rio). The one oddity was that they didn’t put in the usual funicular to get to the top and instead constructed a strange freeway to the top of this fairly remote spot. We also visited the historical center (Borgo) on the side of the mountain where there are a number of nice shops and restaurants. And, we opted for lunch and gelato down by the seafront in an area called Marina. A beautiful spot.
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Apr 3rd, 2018, 07:49 PM
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You will get many opinions on Tuscany and Umbria, but we have successfully based ourselves in Spoleto, Montepulciano and Volterra in the past.
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Apr 4th, 2018, 12:33 AM
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<<Would Siena be a good choice?>>

It's a lovely place. I've been there many times. But it's Tourist Central. I prefer to get out into the wilds. I'm not terribly familiar with Le Marche, so can't offer much advice on that.
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