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Question Small Italian towns

Discussion in 'Europe' started by dmz, Sep 21, 2019.

  1. dmz

    dmz More cheeeese Gromit Ski Pass: Gold

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    We are travelling to Italy at the end of next year. We will be flying into Rome and heading north and although we could visit towns like Milan and Venice, I was after peoples experiences with any of the small towns in Italy that we should visit.
     
  2. LDJ

    LDJ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I haven’t been there for a while probably 15yrs but Sorano, civita di bagnoregio and Orvieto are all roughly on route and were lovely. They are more hill/mountain towns but that’s what we enjoyed. Some crazy streets around especially in a hire car.
     
  3. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Arsoli
     
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  4. chrisj

    chrisj One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I'm sure only nice people would come from a town with that name.
     
  5. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    We used Lucca as a base to explore Tuscany
     
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  6. rowdyflat

    rowdyflat One of Us

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    Pitigliano
     
  7. Apresski

    Apresski Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Was there 3 days ago. Wonderful walled city, easy to get around and easy access to Tuscany. Great choice.
     
    #7 Apresski, Sep 21, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
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  8. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    Are we talking mountain towns so you can go skiing?
    If so Aosta (heaps of medieval castles and Roman ruins) and Bolzano are tops. Between the two you can check out Lake Como.
    Not a small town but Verona is also superb. Better than Milan and Venice in my view. Also it's an easy one hour train trip to check out Venice for the day.
    Jealous.
     
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  9. MisterMxyzptlk

    MisterMxyzptlk Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sestri Levante- although it's much less the quaint coastal village these days
     
  10. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    My Dad said it was a nice place.
     
  11. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yep another tick for Verona, first time we went there was almost by accident, and we loved it. Went back a couple of years ago, it’s lovely.
     
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  12. WaitAwhile

    WaitAwhile One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    We have just come back from a 6 week trip to mostly northern Italy and southern France .
    Comprised of 7 days Rome, 7 days cruise ship Civitavecchia-LIvorno-Cannes-Palma Mallorca-Barcelona-Naples and back to Civitavecchia, we done tours every day when in port.

    After disembarkation, it was on to the Italian trains(Trenitalia) and up to Pisa (3 full days)and day trips to Cinque Terre/Sestri Levant, and another day to Lucce.
    For phone data and calls we used a TIM tourist sim card(one month) and was invaluable for checking train timetables and other handy stuff.
    On most occasions the final decision for which trains we caught was only made the night before with a few times written into a pocket sized notebook that became invaluable, nothing worse than turning up at a station, and one train has just left ,and the next one is 30 min +++ away.


    As a general rule for travel days we would aim to be at our next destination around 2-3 pm , get into our accommodation and out the door again and get back around 7-9pm.
    Then 3 full days in Florence, 2 in Bologna, 4 in Venice(mainland) with a day trip to Padua, then it was on to Milan (3 full days) but stopped enroute in Verona for 6 hours(left luggage at station) and eventually got to Milan at 7pm with accommodation very close to train station, from Milan we done a day trip to Lake Como (goes past Monza).
    After that it was on to Turin (one full day), then onto Chambery where we hired a car and visited a couple of ski resorts that I used to work in, over the Col Du Galibier and then slowly headed back to the French riviera and flew out of Nice.
    In Italy we used trains everywhere and booked all tickets at the platform using automated booths , you just need to select your language and pay cash or card. Only journey pre-booked was Turin- Chambery inter city(twice daily) through the Maurienne Valley.
    Most of our accommodation was always booked about a 5-10 minute walk radius from the central train stations, or another main station , more often or not buses and trams passed quite close by and being close to the main stations made day trips really easy.
    Highlights for me were the smaller less known cities like Pisa, Lucce, Padua and Verona that you can easily walk around, even Bologna was nice with its lovely style of architecture.
    Padua had few fantastic basilcas/churches within a few minutes from each other , that just blew your mind away , and maybe a few people might be inside.
    Beats fighting with tens of thousands of tourists at the Vatican.
    The graffiti is a bit of a problem in many areas but we loved the evening atmosphere and generally felt very safe.
    We travelled mostly in late May and June and missed most of the crowds and most of the hot weather.
     
  13. rowdyflat

    rowdyflat One of Us

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    Lovely country but some of the cities ,traffic and tourist haunts are a bit too busy for some of us rural Australians.
     
  14. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Visiting a couple of the fortified hill towns in Tuscany is a must. Each has it's own different vibe. Montepulciano has stupidly steep streets once you're inside the walls and if not for people wearing modern clothes, you almost feel like you've been transported back to the 1400s. But the fortified hill town I liked most is accessed by a funicular from the train station in the valley below and has very scenic and atmospheric streets leading to an impressive and ridiculously huge church/cathedral. However it's name escapes me for the moment. :(

    While we're in Tuscany, Siena is profoundly gorgeous. In my humble opinion it runs rings around Florence as far as the tourist experience goes. After five days there I still didn't feel that I'd explored the entirety of the old city.

    Padova is one of the lovelier ancient northern Italian cities that is not infested by tourists, while still being tourist friendly. I spent a few wonderful days there 13 months ago and had a nice laid back, but entertaining time. It put me in the right frame of mind to approach the nearby hectic, overpriced, tourist infested, crowded, but utterly wonderful shithole that is Venice
     
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  15. chrisj

    chrisj One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Is he an Arsolian?
     
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  16. willsnow

    willsnow Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    Torino. Big city that doesn't feel like it's been invaded by tourists. Don't forget to eat the chocolates, esp gianduiotto.

    I can back Siena. Gorgeous little town where I had the best meals in Italy.

    I found Como a bit bland/boring. Maybe because I don't have a hire car to drive around the lake at that time and it wasn't summer, so basically most shops are closed.
     
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  17. rowdyflat

    rowdyflat One of Us

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    Sienna is nice , Pitigliano is almost the most unique, The Dolomites region is v scenic though more Deutsch than Italian.
     
  18. MisterMxyzptlk

    MisterMxyzptlk Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    and take in a Juve game
    Cristiano!Cristiano!Ole!Ole!Ole!
     
  19. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I am looking forward to time, even if just a few hours in some on day visits, in several small(ish) or relatively small Italian towns with my son YoungG over the next couple of weeks: Bolzano, Selva di Gardena, Verona, Fiesole, Colle d'Elsa, San Gimignano, Siena and Perugia.
     
  20. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hehehe.

    No he was in Italy for the World Gliding Champs in Rieti (i think) & Arsoli was a turn point & he did visit on recovery from an outlanding.
     
  21. WaitAwhile

    WaitAwhile One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    If you do intend on using the trains , try to pack light and travel with the smaller 20kg suitcases, rather than the bigger suitcases that easily hold 23kg+.
    Many of the trains have table configuration seats , the smaller suitcases will sit in the gap behind each seats between each table , and can fit overhead on many trains, other than that they have to be stored near the entry/exit doors on each carriage, which in many cases are completely out of sight from where your seat is.
    Most of our day trips were done very last minute, with the exception of cruise ship stops, and we allowed extra days in Rome,Pisa,Florence,Venice and Milan for that purpose.
    Both Lucca, Padova and Verona was only planned the night before, as we had seen everything that we had planned on seeing.
    Just google top 10 or top 15 to do in a specific area or town , or local literature in your accommodation.
    Most days we were walking over 20,000 steps+++, but compensated with extra pastries and gelato
     
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  22. coolair

    coolair One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Now If you decide to travel south, Pouzzli at the northern side of Napoli and Sorrento.
     
  23. cold wombat

    cold wombat Twitter Contributer Social Media Mod Ski Pass: Gold

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    You lot are making me travel itchy.
     
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  24. andrew7

    andrew7 Hard Yards

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    Another vote for Lucca, beautiful walled city (which has a lovely walking/riding track on top of it), we visited friends who had a few weeks there in May where they undertook an Italian language class in the morning and toured around/relaxed in the arvo. Big enough to have plenty of cafes, good food and culture but mellow and cruisy compared to the chaos of Florence/Rome/venice etc
     
  25. Rabid K9

    Rabid K9 One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Does Combantrin help with that as well?
     
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  26. Apresski

    Apresski Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    While booking your train on the day is easy, it is considerably more expensive, e.g. a ticket from Milan to Florence one way bought on the day cost 68 euros. 3 years ago I booked all my tickets through Captain Train and paid 19 euros. Unfortunately they sold out to train line, but if you book in advance are much cheaper.
     
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  27. Apresski

    Apresski Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Vicenza between Padua and Verona is another option.
     
  28. dmz

    dmz More cheeeese Gromit Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thanks heaps! We plan to finish our trip with a week skiing in the Dolomites.
     
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  29. iagreewithhim

    iagreewithhim One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Riomaggiore. My young fella spent a few days there recently and said it was his favourite place in Italy.
     
  30. Richard

    Richard Maintenance Dept Administrator

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    Travelling to Florence on train from Sorrento right now. Have six days touring Tuscany in rental vehicle - will report in as I go.
     
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  31. Edgecrusher

    Edgecrusher Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    It’s not bad.
    Cittadella is worth a visit. Asolo is a lovely little place.
    Having spent quite a bit of time in Bassano del Grappa I’m inclined to mention it, likewise Marostica. Asiago is also a lovely little town that’s not visited much by tourists. It’s quite a drive up the mountain though (in a little hire car it’d be fun buzzing around the altopiano).
     
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  32. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    There is no way this can be anything but spectacular.
     
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  33. Richard

    Richard Maintenance Dept Administrator

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    Florence has art. Lots. Can confirm.

    Those Medici cats seemed to have had a good nose for a commission or two.

     

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  34. Apresski

    Apresski Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Leaving Venice for Como today.
    Venice is beautiful, but oh so crowded.
     
  35. WaitAwhile

    WaitAwhile One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    For some places I feel that the weather plays a bigger part in how much you enjoy the visit.
    As a previous poster mentioned that they were not overly impressed with Como, but it was in the off season.
    I would agree that in winter it may not be a lively as the summer season , with many restaurants closed, and limited ferry services and other attractions closed.
    We loved it there , but the sun was out,lots of people around ,there was no wind and the lake was like a mirror, as the ferry we were on criss-crossed the lake to where we had lunch and then caught the hydrofoil back to Como.Then a good walk around , up the funicular and a nice walk back to the train station and back to Milan .
    In winter , especially on a cold,wet and windy day ,my view would be slightly different.
    It was also the weather that played a part in our view for many other Italian towns, we could get out and walk around for hours as we investigated places like Lucca , Pisa, Padova , the hilltop towns and Verona etc.
    I certainly would not be walking around the old walls of Lucca and Pisa for hours on a cold winters day and then miss out on the other discoveries along the way that made it so enjoyable.
     
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  36. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    We stayed at a little lake west of Como called Orta for a few days to get over jetlag before we went up to Aosta to go skiing.

    It was pretty nice:

     
  37. Edgecrusher

    Edgecrusher Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Shame about the views ;)
     
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  38. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yep. We stated in the building with the 3 arched windows in the last pic, looked straight out on to the lake.
     
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  39. 'H' Jones

    'H' Jones One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I am in Italy and around the Lakes a fair bit. I love Orta , often overlooked.
    Also other fave spots are Cortona , Priano in Amalfi (much nicer than Positano) Pienza is gorgeous in Tuscany too.
     
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  40. 'H' Jones

    'H' Jones One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I had lunch at the resto below your place, really nice.
     
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  41. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sadly wasn’t open when we were there. Late Feb is a few weeks before the tourist season but there was still plenty around for us to eat/drink and see etc.
     
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  42. Billy_Buttons

    Billy_Buttons A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    This thread is driving me insane with envy. :p
     
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  43. 'H' Jones

    'H' Jones One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    yes, I am sure. I am there for a week in March too, before and after some skiing. It is very different to July haha
     
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  44. Richard

    Richard Maintenance Dept Administrator

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  45. Apresski

    Apresski Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Arrived in our apartment in Como, fabulous views, but you have to be a mountain goat to get up here.
    The people are a lot more polite and elegant than Venice. Beautiful spot.
     
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  46. 'H' Jones

    'H' Jones One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    very jealous. I am not a fan of Venice, u need see it....but only once.
     
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  47. Richard

    Richard Maintenance Dept Administrator

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    We collect our rental today. San Ginignano is our eventual destination where we have two nights at a BnB.
     
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  48. Richard

    Richard Maintenance Dept Administrator

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    My hot tip today is cross the whole of Italy off your travel list if avoiding wheat based meals.
     
  49. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    I'm liking it more already.
     
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  50. cold wombat

    cold wombat Twitter Contributer Social Media Mod Ski Pass: Gold

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    Pasta la vista.
     
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