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DanielleG Jul 12th, 2004 04:12 PM

Wine, dine and relax: where to go?

Great posts! I'm hoping to get a few responses to my upcoming (early August) trip questions:

I know August is miserable for European travel, and very touristed, but it's the only time I can get away. So - I have 10 days total to play with. Want to go to Rome for 4 or 5 days, and then go someplace else for the rest. More of a "settle in, relax and explore" person than jumping from place to place. Plus, I'm a NY'er who hates driving. So, from my research on the site and books, I think I have it narrowed down to:

Capri (but maybe staying in Anacapri to avoid crowds)
Ravello (which sounds amazing, but is it worth 4 days? If not, is it easily accessible from Capri?

or maybe Ischia (Sp?) - which i hear is beautiful but not as crowded as capri.

Someone else mentioned Sienna on the site as a lovely now I'm just confused.

Looking for someplace where there's a lot of natural beauty, and can hike, hang, etc. but can also have a great dinner and drinks!

Am I on the right track? Also, has anyone stayed at Villa Eva in Capri, or Villa Amore in Ravello?

JJBhoy Jul 13th, 2004 02:37 PM


I'm topping this as no-one has responded yet. Wish I could help, but I'm afraid I haven't been lucky enough to visit Italy yet!

If you still don't get any replies it might be worth re-posting under a different title which it makes it clear that you're looking for advice on Italy.


elaine Jul 13th, 2004 02:53 PM

the whole country is so wonderful, you can't go wrong no matter where else you go. The crowds will be there but that doesn't mean you can't find a lovely place to hang.

I'm not a hiker so can't advise there, but I know there are some walking tours of areas in Tuscany, perhaps google that topic and see what comes up.

Siena is a great base for Tuscany, but It will be crowded during the day as daytrippers come in, much better in the evenings. Ditto most of the Tuscan towns.

SydneySteve Jul 13th, 2004 03:01 PM

Our Family would not recommend Eva's in Anacapri. There is an attitude problem and the location is relatively remote.

jody Jul 13th, 2004 03:23 PM

We've kind of decided on Bologna after a few days in Rome.

We never travel in the summer so I don't know what the situation would be then. But Bologna is supposed to have the best food in Italy .

kebanks Jul 13th, 2004 03:38 PM

Hey Danielle,

If you don't have your heart set on being on the water, I'd probably avoid the Italian coast - especially the Amalfi and Capri - during August. That's prime Italian vacation time, so the beaches and roads will be mobbed. All those places you mentioned are beautiful, but fighting traffic on the coast road or to get on a ferry might not be the most relaxing way to spend your time.

If you're definitely hooked on the sea, I'd pick one place and settle in, to minimize your exposure to the masses. I've only done Positano and Capri in that area, but both were lovely. (I've heard mixed reviews on Ravello). There's tons of data out here on all these places, if you just search by the name.

If it was me, as much as I love the seaside, I might be inclined to head inland at that time of year. The Siena area is actually a nice choice, particularly if you like the vino. Western Umbria and Southern Tuscany have lots of beautiful hotels - La Suvera, Terme di Saturnia, etc. - where you can soak up the Italian countryside, wander villages in the cool morning (cause it will be scorching everywhere in Italy during the day), hide in wine cellars or lounge by the pool in the afternoon, and eat amazing meals. (IMO, it's a really close call between Tuscan and the seafood on the Amalfi for best food in Italy, but the wine's better in Tuscany).

Not to confuse things further, but another option would be to pop up to Lake Country (Como, Maggiore, Lugano). There will still be crowds, but probably not as bad as on the coast, and it will be lots cooler. But that won't be as convenient to Rome, and it's not the beach.

Anyway, don't get too worried about the August thing. You gotta go when the going's good, and you'll have a great time wherever you end up. Enjoy!

Grasshopper Jul 13th, 2004 03:52 PM

Danielle, Are you going alone or with someone? That might make a difference.

LaBellaDona Jul 13th, 2004 04:01 PM

Hi Danielle -
On one of my trips I went to the area just north of Rome - in Southern Tuscany. It's less than 2 hours from Rome, it's on the coast - and, although I was there in off season, I'm assuming that it is not as crowded as some other areas because it is not as well known. [may be wrong about this because August is such a vacation time.] Anyway, it is the area around Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano. In addition to these small towns, there is a National Park along the sea and the area is called the Maremma. I liked it very much...
Another area that is also relatively obscure but I've heard great things about is Calabria. You could park yourself in a beach resort - but getting there might be a hassle particularly if you don't like driving. The area just south of Rome is also interesting - between Naples and Rome, e.g., Anzio.
Good luck -

DanielleG Jul 15th, 2004 06:43 PM

Thank you everybody for some great information. So many choices! My biggest thing is that as a New Yorker, driving is not my thing, nor my friend who is going with me. Was hoping to go and "settle" somewhere that's beautiful (countryside or beach), some nice walks, and the least hassle in terms of tourists,etc.

I love the idea of Sienna but everybody says I need a car in Tuscany. True?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

JudyC Jul 15th, 2004 07:52 PM

Siena is an ideal base for visiting countryside without a car, since its bus network is fairly good. For the details of transportation, please

Few years ago, I stayed at Siena for 4 nights, and took buses to some hilltowns: San Gimignano,Volterra and Montalcino for walking. My only concern is it could be too hot for pleasant walking in Augaust.

BlueSwimmer Jul 15th, 2004 08:02 PM

I second the vote for Bologna. A beautiful, small city with amazing food, great architecture and the panache of a university town.

SalB Jul 15th, 2004 08:32 PM

If you want to get out in the country for hiking, try the area around Lake Trasimeno in Umbria or Greve in Chianti. It's beautiful; it's rural and most places have good bus service if you need it. ((@))

DanielleG Jul 15th, 2004 08:52 PM

I'm sorry to double post in one night, but one last Amalfi question (while i think about Sienna, Chianti, and all the other suggestions:

Ravello still sounds so amazing. Is it possible to spend a night in Naples, then go to Ravello for a couple of days, and then go to Capri for a day? Is there a hydrafoil that does the Naples-Ravello(Amalfi, I guess)-Capri circuit, or is that a nightmare? how far is Capri from Ravello?

Gerardo Jul 21st, 2004 10:56 PM

Ravello is a hillside town above Amalfi and the journey by bus down to Amalfi takes 20 minutes where you take the ferry to Capri which takes about an hour.

caroline_edinburgh Jul 22nd, 2004 04:27 AM

I'd say Ravello isn't worth 4 days. There is one beautiful garden, one pretty average garden and that's about it. Not many restaurants or bars.

jabez Jul 22nd, 2004 04:57 AM

If you don't want to drive, you probably should not go to hill towns of Tuscany or Umbria.Driving in those areas, however, is easy and gives you many options for "exploring". It also opens you up to some great restaurants and vineyards.

You could choose a coastal area or the Lakes area.But,since this is August they will be more crowded than normal.

mikemo Jul 22nd, 2004 05:03 AM

My son just returned from his "honeymoon" in IT.
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