The endless possibilities of the day ahead. Travel is exciting invigorating and in the best possible way unpredictable. Here are 10 split second decisions that I would not hesitate to make to see and savor Italy on your next trip.
Should I stay or Should I Go Off the Tourist Flow
If your destination is one of Italy’s Big Three (Rome, Florence or Venice) and you have an opportunity to travel outside the tourist flow - go. As spectacular as these cities are, the personal charm of Italy lies just beyond. Here is where the real magic begins.
Visit an Italian Terme
Terme is the Italian word for thermal waters. Popes, pilgrims, princes and everyday Italians have traveled to these natural hot springs seeking the beneficial virtues of the waters to regenerate the body and mind since ancient times. Bagno Vignoni, a small medieval town south of Siena is a perfect place to “get your feet wet” when it comes to the terme experience. Just walk down to a trickling hot spring to sooth your tried feet. Popular termes in the same region include Montecatini and Saturnia. I prefer Antica Querciolaia near Siena in the town of Rapolano Terme which is very accessible and family oriented.
Shop Local Markets for Regional Food and Artisan Products
City markets offer a unique experience to live like a local and help support the culinary and cultural traditions of the region.
Do Some Outlet Shopping
There are many outlet malls within driving distance from most major Italian cities with high end designs at outlet prices. Why would you not go? Fidenza Village, a boutique outlet mall midway between Milan and Bologna, always seems to be on our list.
Forgo One Large Museum to Visit a Small Lesser Known One
When you think of Italy you think of world class museums with an archival wealth of art and history like the Vatican Museums, Florence's Uffizi or the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. But see the art of Italy like an Italian and visit lesser known gems like the Milan's Pinacoteca di Brera and Biblioteca Ambrosiana to get up close and personal with art collections that are equally impressive and you won’t have to queue to view exhibits.
There are small, lesser known museums in also every town in Italy. A good local museum will add to your understanding of the region and as you won’t have to queue to view exhibits, you can be in and out in less than an hour. One of our favorites is the Truffle Museum in San Giovanni d'Asso, a 25-mile drive southeast of Siena in the rolling hills of Tuscany's Crete Senesi and the breathtaking Val d' Orcia. Off the tourist flow is the Michelangelo Museum in Caprese Michelangelo the town where he was born. You can see plaster copies of Michelangelo’s works and his home where he was born.
Include a UNESCO Italian World Heritage Site in Your Travel Itinerary
These have been identified by UNESCO as cultural and national heritage sites of significant importance and value to humanity that deserve the protection of our world community. A cultural endangered species that should not be missed.
Order the Region’s Signature Dish
Pappardelle con Lepre or a Ragu’ of Wild Boar in Tuscany. Truffles in Tuscany or Piemonte. Sugo all’amatriciana in Rome. Spaghetti Bolgnese in Bologna. There is nothing more evocative than eating the food or drinking the wine in its place of origin.