What are the 3 most beautiful cities in Italy besides Rome, Florence and Venice?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by earllogjam, Sep 15, 2010.

  1. earllogjam

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    I'm thinking about going to Italy next year and was wondering if anyone has some suggestions on nice places/cities to visit that aren't overrun by tourists. I've been to Rome, Florence and Venice on previous trips but would like to find someplace "undiscovered" by mobs of tourists yet still beautiful and uniquely Italian.

    Not too touristy towns that I have enjoyed in Italy

    Bologna - great food and wonderful arcaded old section of town.
    Siena - outside the Palio this is a beautiful medival Italian town not overrun with tourists with a great campo.
    Lake Garda- Sirimione and Lazize - less popular than the snooty towns of Lake Como.
    Torino

    Places I've heard are nice but have not gone

    Arezzo
    Taormina in Sicily
    Sardinia
    Capri/Sorento - touristy?

    Any recommendations or experiences?
     
  2. sargon20

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  3. HazelGod

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    The entire drive along the Chianti road between Siena and Florence was magnificent, as were the towns themselves.
     
  4. D_Tim McGnaw

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    I hate Capri and Sorrento, in my opinion both a tourist traps and not beautiful enough to justify a visit. If you want an island in the bay of Naples go to Procida or Ischia.. But I love the Costiera Amalfitana, I've been to Positano several times and frankly the place is exquisite, in fact Amalfi itself is gorgeous too. Skip Capri and Sorrento and head just a touch further south and you'll be blown away. It's not untouristy but that part of Campania is worth it anyway. I was there this summer actually.

    Naples is wonderful, it's dirty, edgy and run down but the centro storico is utterly amazing, with its vivid mix of the remnants of every culture since the ancient Greeks who settled the place right through to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and a vibrant street life, not to mention the food, I think it's wonderful, very seductive, and I like that it's dirty and grimy and crumbling.


    If you're going to be in the north at all then-

    Anywhere in La Marche is pretty much untouched by too much tourism, and so are Umbria, Abruzzo and Molise.

    Urbino is a hidden gem.

    Genova is OK, but San Remo is wonderful as is Portofino.

    Bologna is one of my favourite Italian cities too.

    Padova and Verona are both great.


    I could go on and on actually :tongue:

    Edit: so I will LOL

    Mantova is totally off the beaten track really and it's wonderful, very northern Italian but so beautiful and so stylish.

    I also think Parma is gorgeous.

    Oh and so is Pavia.
     
    #4 D_Tim McGnaw, Sep 15, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2010
  5. nudeyorker

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    I would suggest Positano and Portofino for a few days and then head to Lake Como; three of my favorite places in the world.
     
  6. vince

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    Amalfi, Assisi, Portofino. The area around lake Bolsena is very nice and quiet.
     
  7. justmeincal

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    Cinque Terre
    Sienna
    Orvieto
    Portofino
     
  8. exwhyzee

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    I'm in tune with a lot of the others. I spent the holidays this year in Amalfi and it was awesome. I could spend a month there. A bit further down the coast is Paestum which has Greek ruins if you're into that. I'm with Hil on Naples. Its gritty and real and the food is great. I could spend another month there. Pompeii is close by, if you're into Roman ruins. I also agree that Siena is awesome with its stone architecture, block and white cathedral, wine, cheese, etc. I could bum around Tuscany for another month. Don't miss San Gimignano...the original city of skyscrapers.

    Enjoy planning, it half the fun!

    One way to look at this is by World Heritage Listing. Places of unique and authentic cultural heritage are recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, I often use the list to help plan my trip to a country to learn what the highlights are in terms of architecture and history.
     
  9. Winemaster

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    Amalfi Coast - Positano....
    Sicily - Toarmino
    North - Verona
    The Napolitano's say....see Naples and then die!
     
  10. D_Sufference Uccotash

    D_Sufference Uccotash Account Disabled

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    I loved the medieval village San Gimignano in the Tuscany region and Cinque Terre.
     
  11. earllogjam

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    Yikes, I'm just starting to Flickr some of your recommendations. I hulu-ed some of Rick Steve's Italy segments too. I'm wondering if I should just concentrate on a certain region in Italy like Amalfi, or Cinque Terra...etc. Instead of doing a whirl wind throughout Italy. Thanks for the World Heritage site tip XYZ.

    Also, I was wondering if it's best to just rent a car and go from city to city or take the train. The car rental seems ideal because you can cover more territory and stay in places that you like and pick up and leave cities that don't really appeal to you. Also you can reach quaint and small towns that might not have train service or regular train service.

    Has anyone traveled to Sicily? I wonder what it's like down there.
     
  12. t1ctac

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    Assisi, stand on the cliff edge and look down at the duomos down below.
     
  13. D_Tim McGnaw

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    My advice is pick a region and visit a number of cities or towns in it. Unless you have more than 2 weeks that is, because most regions have enough to do to keep you fascinated for a lifetime let alone a short holiday.

    You can do Campania including Naples and Amalfi and if you rent a car you could visit Pompei, Heculaneum and Paestum. The Costiera Amalfitana is best visited by boat but if you want to see a little more of the region a car will help you do so time effectively. The trains are OK, but not as convenient.


    I once did a holiday of three weeks in which I went from Rome, to Bologna, to Ravenna, to Mantova and then Milan, and while I had an amazing time I after wished I'd picked either Lazio or Emilia-Romagna and explored them properly (Which is what I do now when I visit Italy) rather than spending all that time travelling from Region to Region.


    I haven't been to Sicily yet, but I have lots of friends who have and I'm academically familiar with the place. If the south and north of Italy are different, and they are almost like different countries, then Sicily is even more different, it's extremely beautiful (so I'm lead to believe from photos etc) but visiting it is a small bit like visiting Corsica on a trip to France, and it deserves to be treated as a separate entity and visited separately rather than tacked on to a trip to Italy, which is why I haven't been, I haven't finished with mainland Italy yet.
     
    #13 D_Tim McGnaw, Sep 16, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2010
  14. earllogjam

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    Thanks Hil, I'm leaning towards doing just one region too, even maybe renting a house or apartment for a week or two and doing day trips from there. I'm thinking Umbria or Emilia Romagna at the moment just because I've visited before albeit briefly and liked those areas - but I've liked most places I've visited in Italy- something about the sunlight and patina of colors, food and the way people dress and are so interested in the style of things attract me there.

    I know a guy who circled Sicily and said it was beautiful but a lot of the little towns were empty as many of the young people left for the bigger cities so they weren't as lively as other towns in Italy.
     
  15. Nottswanker

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    Bergamo is amazingly beautiful and pretty much unspoiled by tourism. [​IMG]
     
  16. xxnineinchxx

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    #16 xxnineinchxx, Sep 16, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2010
  17. earllogjam

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    Sorry about your town. I'm sure it will be rebuilt again and hopefully restored to it's original grandeur.

    Where do the Italians like to vacation in Italy?
     
  18. Tintin1

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    Where do the Italians like to vacation in Italy?[/QUOTE]

    Pompeii??
     
  19. nudeyorker

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    ^ I took a day trip from Rome to Pompeii once it was actually very interesting.
     
  20. D_Tim McGnaw

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    Italians are very localist, they tend to vacation in their own region's beauty spots. Neapolitans visit the Costiera Amalfitana, Romans go to the coastal towns of Lazio, Genoese go to the Riviera Ponente or the Riviera Livante etc etc etc.
     
    #20 D_Tim McGnaw, Sep 17, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2010
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