Outside of Florence, Rome, and Venice are the Italian Marvels: Lucca, Montepulciano, Alberobello, Ravenna, and many more!
Italy is famous not only for its many beauties but also its abundance of tourists treading through three major cities. Venture beyond steps others have taken and discover something outside a postcard frame. With simple, practical and economical suggestions, Italy’s hidden spots are reachable and waiting for your arrival.
Still not sure where to go? Here’s a list of what is near and what is far for you to plan a weekend around. Good luck!
Near Florence: Catch an ATAF bus or take a simple hike on out to Maiano, heading for the Parco di Montececceri where caves, mountain biking, and picnicking are Springtime favorites. Take a break afterwards at the Osteria di Maiano where pecorino and wine can satiate. Nearby is Fiesole, with a beautiful vista of the Florence skyline and vintage markets every weekend. Seek out another hidden gem – can you find famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s house among the hills?
In Tuscany: All the wonders just a train ride away! Check out Livorno in the summer time for a dip in the ocean and their famous fish market. Just south of Florence is Siena, whose Museo della Tortura will reveal why the Inquisition was so successful. The marbled cathedral will never leave your sight. Or, have a spa day at the terme calde in Saturnia, just south of Grosseto, or at Bagni San Filippo, by way of Siena. Thermal hot springs are a true Tuscan treat.
In Italy: Within the border of Italy lie all wonders of the world—exotic gardens, wild forests, ancient monuments, secret villas, and all manner of manmade and natural beauty to astound your senses. Check out some of my favorites, especially as the weather welcomes spring!
- Genoa: The famous seaport in the north explores all senses — from the nutty pesto all Genovese to the Dialogo nel Buio, a blinded journey across body and sea to connect you to your surroundings.
- Cinque Terre: Near Genoa are the five spice towns all within walking distance. Go for a hike one weekend and visit the towns on the coastline, pausing as you like to dive off cliffs, tan on pebbled beaches, and munch at panifici. The frisceu liguri, little fried dough balls of fish, or focaccia di recco provide the perfect crunch to pair with the wine of Vernazza. Finish your day at La Grotta in Riomaggiore for the perfect Ligurian
- Ravenna: in the town of Giotto and Cimabue, the forefathers of the Renaissance and all Christian art, see the beautiful mosaics that have inspired icons the world over. See the Basilica di San Vitale and have dinner at the Osteria Piattoforte, a revelation in cuisine you won’t want to miss.
- Lago di Como: ‘most beautiful lake in the world’ per Conde Naste, this lake is situated on the foothills of the Alps and surrounded by beautiful woodland. The towns on Lake Como are treasures of 19th century bourgeoisie taste and are home to many aristocrats and celebrities, like George Clooney, Madonna, and Donatella Versace. A favorite since Ancient Roman times, don’t miss this ideal spot—just a quick ride away from Milano.
Get Going for the Weekend – Adventures are waiting!