OK we are well fed and have been exercising by walking, what do we do now? Your first visits to Italy should be to the big cities:
We also like Milan because it is such a fashion capital. If you have extra time on one of these trips head to nearby smaller towns. If you have already seen these major attractions, plan a trip to seaport and mountain town.
We visited Rome and had two extra days so we planned two trips outside of Rome. One to the north and one to the south:
- Orvieto – A town atop of bluff. It is magnificent and can easily be walked from one end to the other. As you approach the duomo, you are shocked! Here a magnificent huge cathedral exists in a piazza. Your first view is from the small streets leading to the piazza. From Rome you take a train north to Orvieto. As you exit the train you cross the street and take a funicular up the bluff to the city. The streets and people here are wonderful. The restaurants are magnificent. If you are driving, you must park at the bottom and walk up or take the funicular. Only some resident cars are permitted up into the city.
- Pompeii – Take a train or drive south just past Naples to Pompeii. It lies in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. Pompeii is an ancient Etruscan (then Roman) city destroyed when Vesuvius erupted violently. The city is amazing. Only the wooden roofs are gone. The stone buildings still stand. Huge wealthy homes with courtyards and inside baths. You wouldn’t mind living in these today. They had running water and sewers. The knowledge they had is mind-boggling.
We always look at where we plan to go and find small interesting towns nearby. Then we plan how far a drive it will be or if there is a good train service. Enjoy and explore Italy, it’s romantic!
George & Jo Anne
Categories: Europe, General Travel, Italy, Orvieto, Pompeii, Rome, Trains
Tags: Food, Italian, Italian people, Italy, No Tour Touring, Orvieto, Pompeii, Romance, Rome, Tourism, Trains, Travel, Travel and Tourism
Yesterday we spoke about White Truffles. What goes great with truffles? Wine of course. Italy has many wine regions. In fact the whole country is divided into wine regions. Everyone drinks and enjoys wine in Italy. Wine Folly lists these regions and the wines that come from each.
Everyone has heard of Chianti but Italy produces other great wines. The Brunello is one of the great wines from Italy. It can be expensive but is among the best wines in the world.
Here are some of the wines and regions (see map above) with wines you might have tried:
- Valpolicella from Veneto
- Super Tuscan, Chianti, Barolo, Brunello and Sangiovese from Tuscany
- Orvieto from Umbria
- Cabernet Sauvignon from Abruzzo
- Chardonnay from Puglia
Chianti is by far the most popular Italian wine. If you choose a Chianti, look for one with a Black Cock on the neck of the bottle. This is the sign of the best Chianti in Italy. Producers have to follow strict standards to be able to display the black cock.
Have a fun wine tasting party. Select 2 or 3 wines from a region. Cover each bottle and label it A, B, C etc. Have your guests taste each and vote on their favorite. This is a great way to taste related wines blindly and see what you enjoy.
George & Jo Anne
Categories: Europe, Italy, Regions of Italy, Truffles, Tuscany, White Truffles, Wine
Tags: Abruzzo, Barolo, Brunello, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chianti, Italian, Italian people, Italy, No Tour Touring, Orvieto, Puglia, Sangiovese, Super Tuscan, Tourism, Travel, Travel and Tourism, Tuscany, Umbria, Valpolicella, Veneto, Wine
We love large and small Italian cities. We love both mountain cities and beach cities. Italy has it all! Rome, Naples, Venice and Florence are must see cities. They have great museums, architecture and food but after you have seen the top touristic cities where do you go? Italy has a second level of great cities and after those there are thousands of small cities some have never seen tourists. Here are my top second run cities in Italy:
- San Gimignano – This is George’s favorite city anywhere. He fell in love with it long before it became a tourist destination. It originally started as an Etruscan village in 3 century BC. This should be on everyone’s bucket list.
- Trastevere Rome – This is not a city but a section of Rome often overlooked. It is a maze of small streets that are now home to many artists and great restaurants. There is good night life here as well. We allowed ourselves to wonder and get lost. When it was time to return to our hotel, we turned on a map app on our iPhones and in walk mode just walked out and back to our hotel.
- Orvieto – This is a small walkable city on top of a butte of volcanic tuff. It is in the province of Umbria north of Rome. In the center is a huge Duomo (Cathedral) of marble. There are great shops and restaurants here as well. From the train stain at the bottom of the butte, is a funicular to the city above. The views are amazing.
- Ravello – This is another city high up above the city of Amalfi on the Amalfi Coast. There is a winding road up but the views and food are worth the trip. You can take a bus (often very crowded) or a taxi.
- Largo (Lake) Maggiore – The second largest lake in Italy (the first is Largo Garda). It boarders Italy on the south and Switzerland and the Alps on the north. This is home of the rich and famous. Small Italian wooden boats cruise the lake in the warm summer while you can still see snow high up in the Alps.
- Abruzza – This is a region of Italy with many towns in it. It lies on Italy’s East coast (bordering the Adriatic Sea). The western border of Abuzzi is only 50 miles from Rome. On its Adriatic shores are many resorts and beaches.
- Genoa – Is part of the Italian Riviera. It is close to the French border and the French Riviera. It was founded by the Greeks but probably served as a small port for the Etruscans as well.
Go to Italy and relive history. Take your history out of the books and onto Ita;y’s beautiful landscapes. Enjoy and be romantic!
George & Jo Anne
Categories: Beaches, Eating Italian, Europe, General Travel, GPS, Italy, Mountain Towns, Naples, Orvieto, Rome, San Gimignano, Small Towns, Umbria
Tags: Abruzzi, Amalfi, amalficoast, Food, Genoa, Italian, Italian cuisine, Italian people, Italy, Lake Maggiore, Naples, No Tour Touring, Orvieto, Ravello, Romance, Rome, San Gimignano, Tourism, Trastervere
English: View on Perugia, Italy and the Church of San Spirito (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Kace has a BLOG and wonderful pictures of Perugia, Italy and its wonderful chocolate. This is a place not to be missed. It is in Umbria and is an easy drive and very scenic from Orvieto, Florence, Siena or Rome. If you hate chocolate this is not a city for you but for everyone else go and enjoy.
George & Jo Anne
- More Chocolate … (travelblogitaly.wordpress.com)
- A Chocolate Feast not to miss: Eurochocolate (travelblogitaly.wordpress.com)
- Perugia Chocolate Festival (jlmullady.wordpress.com)
- Perugia Chocolate Festival (411abroad.wordpress.com)
- Day trip to Perugia and Assisi (goyourownways.wordpress.com)
- Perugia (kacegoesabroad.wordpress.com)
- Orientation: From Rome to Umbria (loyolaromestart.wordpress.com)
- Perugia Chocolate Festival (cynthiaapone.wordpress.com)
Categories: Chocolate, Cooking, Eating Italian, Europe, Italy, Perugia, Umbria
Tags: Chocolate, Florence, Food, Italian, Italian cuisine, Italian people, Italy, No Tour Touring, Orvieto, Perugia, Rome, Siena, Umbria
Castel Sant’ Angelo, Roma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In my humble opinion … NO! Rome is more than a city, more than a tourist destination, more than the sum of its parts. Rome is about the sights, the buildings, the ruins, the architecture, the people, the food and the wine. It is life. When you visit Rome take time to know it. Forget visiting 10 Italian cities in two weeks. Visit Rome for a week. You can take two side trips: 1) Orvieto and 2) Pompeii. Walk the city, watch the people, eat the food (not at tourist places) and drink the wine. Watch as families break for a long lunch and walk together afterwards. Savor the smells of the food, the tastes. This is Rome. The Rome I love.
The monuments are important but they are not what makes Rome a wonderful city. It’s the people, the architecture, the small streets and the hustle bustle of a big city. Try not to go in July or August. It is too hot. August is European vacation time and everything is expensive and crowded. May or September are better summer months to enjoy Rome. We also went Christmas week and saw a new side of Rome. The lights, the festivities and the decorations.
Travel light, Don’t take tours and enjoy yourself. Become a Roman even if it’s for only a week.
George & Jo Ann
- Orvieto Italy (travelblogitaly.wordpress.com)
- 10 Interesting Facts about the Colosseum in Rome (localnomad.com)
- When in Rome… (rimahassan.wordpress.com)
- Let’s all go to Rome (wellthereigo.wordpress.com)
- Italy Part 3: Rome (meredithjanelle.wordpress.com)
- Pompeii… (ejstorm.wordpress.com)
- Rome (photostoryfavourites.wordpress.com)
Categories: Cooking, Eating Italian, General Travel, Italy, Orvieto, Pompeii, Rome
Tags: Colosseum, Cooking, Family, Food, Italian, Italian cuisine, Italian people, Italy, No Tour Touring, Orvieto, Pompeii, Romance, Rome, Tourism, Tourist destination, Trevi Fountain, Wine
English: Facade of Orvieto Cathedral. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Italy is famous for its hill-top towns. They were built high up to protect from invaders and pirates. Some cities have two parts, one at the sea as a port and the other high up on a hill-top. As invaders were coming, the town people went to the hill-top part to protect themselves. Orvieto is a hill-top town between Florence and Rome in the province of Umbria. It is easy to get to by car or train. The train and car parking is at the base of the mountain. There is a funicular that travels up the hill to the town above. The views are spectacular from any wall around the town. The town is made of small cobblestone streets with great shopping and dinning. If you can only do a day travel to Orvieto on an early train and stay until after dinner. The Duomo (Cathedral) is amazing and incredibly large. It sits on a small piazza against one of the town walls. There is a small hotel and restaurant on the piazza as well. One has to marvel at how they built such a structure high up on a hill.
The town only allows local residents cars to drive up the windy road to the top. You can see residence walking up and down this road during the day. We took the train from Rome to Orvieto and returned to Rome in same day. The trip through the mountains was enjoyable. This is a city worth seeing and exploring. You do NOT need a guide! Just enjoy the city. Look at the wonderful leather goods and ceramics. Eat lunch and dinner at a restaurant, Trattoria or cafe. In the morning stop at a bar for coffee and a pastry. Don’t forget the wonderful local white wine from Orvieto.
Enjoy your trip!
Categories: Florence, General Travel, Italy, Orvieto, Rome, Umbria
Tags: Cathedral, Duomo, Florence, Food, Italian, Italian people, Italy, No Tour Touring, Orvieto, Romance, Rome, Tourism, Trattoria, Travel, Travel and Tourism, Travel Guides, Umbria, Wine