Are you the kind of traveller who wants to avoid tourist traps and crowds? Do you want to experience a more authentic version of Italy?
Making the travel news headlines recently, the famous villages that make up the Cinque Terre on Italy’s Liguria coast will be ticketed from April to October 2016. The pretty pastel-coloured fishing villages dotted along this dramatic Italian coastline are suffering under the strain of daily visitors.Saturated by mass tourism, the national park authority, who look after the Cinque Terre, have decided to impose a quota system to maintain imaginable levels of tourism.
Our advice, avoid the crowds and get off the beaten track. It’s time to enjoy authentic Italy not surrounded by tourists.
At Flavours we strive to offer you a more authentic holiday in Italy. Together with our expert knowledge of Italy, our hand-picked our villas and local chefs we can offer a true slice of Italy.
For some travel inspiration, we have put together a list of charming Italian cities to visit, slightly off the beaten track and away from the crowds.
1. Treviso, VenetoOvershadowed by it’s neighbour Venice, Treviso should not be overlooked while visiting the Veneto region. It’s a charming historic town, with the heart of the city protected by defensive city walls, moats and gateways. Its architectural charm is complimented with Renaissance piazzas, richly fresco-ed churches intertwined with ancient waterways. Unlike Venice, the town doesn’t rely on tourism so you won’t find any tacky souvenir shops here.
Treviso is known for being the production area of Prosecco. You can explore the local countryside on a gentle 10 km Prosecco walking trail around local vineyards. Called the Anello del Prosecco (the Prosecco ring), you can walk through vineyards and villages sampling the region’s famous tipple.
2. Arezzo, TuscanyArezzo is a delightful medieval town located on a steep hill in Tuscany. It sees fewer visitors than other Tuscan cities such as Florence or Pisa, but despite being somewhat off the tourist map, there is much to do and see in this authentic Tuscan town.
The Piazza Grande set in the heart of the city (pictured above) historically was the main marketplace. Sadly, much of the medieval city was destroyed during WW2. Luckily the piazza survived as well as the Romanesque church of Santa Maria della Pieve which sits on the square. The piazza is the perfect place to take part in the Italian tradition of “La Passeggiata”, a gentle evening stroll through the streets. For those who are fans of Italian movies, this beautiful town was used as the setting for Roberto Benigni’s film: Life is Beautiful.
3. Lecce, PugliaTo experience authentic Puglia, you must visit the beautiful baroque city of Lecce. Called the “Florence of the South”, the centre is compact which makes it perfect for a day of sightseeing. Local restaurants will offer you a wide range of authentic Apulian food, making this historic city one of the highlights of the region.
Located at Sant’ Oronzo piazza, a Roman Amphitheater dominates the square. In its heyday, the amphitheater held 25,000 people, but today some of the ruins still remain uncovered.
Part of the historic centre of Lecce is the Basilica di Santa Croce. The church impresses visitors with its wonderful architecture and spectacular façade. As one of the largest Franciscan churches, the Basilica di Santa Croce is most certainly a must see on your visit to Lecce.
4. Modica, Sicily
A rich history and dramatic landscape are just a few reasons to visit Modica. This city in Sicily is an art and foodie lovers paradise. The town is divided into two parts – Upper and Lower Modica. Well known as the city of 100 bells and 100 churches, Modica has plenty of historic art and architecture to offer.
Originally named ‘Motyca’, this Sicilian stronghold was inhabited by a mixture of Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and various other conquering empires, including the French and Spanish. Like much of Sicily, an earthquake in 1693 devastated the area. However, the city reinvented itself using new Baroque designs and architecture during the 18th century.
Foodies can satisfy their sweet tooth during a visit to Modica by sampling the local chocolate. Modica chocolate is prepared using a traditional recipe unique to the area. You can taste a vast range of flavours, including a popular local favourite: chilli flavoured chocolate liquor.