Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 04:15 pm
Ok we're in Italy for two months and we've got 5 weeks of a hire car and no schedule. We plan so far is pick the the car up in Cinqueterra and head to Genoa - for the ferry to Corsica then work our way to Sardinia then Sicily (ferry booked) then onto the toe (and 20 days later get a plane from Trieste back to Rome).

We've got a few places we're keen to have a look at, and we also want a bit of serendipity, but is there somewhere that you think is particularly special in Italy? I'm particularly interested in the little known treasures. We aren't amusement park type people but we do love good great (score), scenery and places designed with tourists in mind.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 6 • Views: 6,747 • Replies: 67
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 04:17 pm
Pictures!!!!!

Will you spend time in Cinqueterra? It's supposed to be gorgeous. Hmmm, places with tourists in mind? Like what?
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hingehead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 04:22 pm
OH DAMN - I meant we don't want places designed with tourists in mind - BIG Mistake. Thanks for picking up my stupidity LittleK.

We're doing a week long walk in Cinqueterra - as for the pics I've got my 100 gb OTG disk packed (it transfers photos from the memory card to disk without needing external power or a computer - geek alert).
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 04:23 pm
Y'know me, I can't type from envy... except that I'm happy for you Hingies.

But I'll be baaaaaack.
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hingehead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 04:26 pm
Sorry about greenifying you osso.

Every time I read my first post I find another mistake. I meant to say we enjoy great food, but from what I've read there'll be an abundance of that.

Wish I could start again. Poop.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 04:28 pm
I'm glad to hear you're doing the hike and that you DO NOT want touristy. I can only really make suggestions from my own travels in Italy which is a limited selection of knowledge. While Assisi, Sienna and and Luca are well-versed in touristese, they are still good to visit. They are all in Tuscany and Luca is the least touristy. A small medieval town North-ish of Luca is Barga which is quite lovely to walk in. There are mountains on all sides.

Just driving the roads you will see so much! Leave time to turn off and follow side roads for a while.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 04:37 pm
OK, I'm back.


Tourists? oh, god... by the end of your time there you might figure every place has a tourist orientation now, and yearn for the ones with less.

When are you going?

Off the top of my noggin,

1) Lucca and environs. I know the environs only from the bus ride from Firenze, but I'd like to go back. I liked Lucca in mid to late April because it was less tourist infested than Firenze, and, on getting there, I just plain liked it. I stayed at the Hotel Piccolo Puccini, near San Michele. Not luxe, if that is what you like, but just fine. Lucky to have a reservation, as I spent time in the tiny lobby listening to the clerk directing others to places out of town, while we were both watching tennis on the tv behind the desk as I had my evening aperitivo... after walking the old city.

well, I'll wait to find out your travel times.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 04:45 pm
Resting before more, now that I know your take on tourists.

I've been to italy three times, once for a month, with some driving, once for two weeks, train + bus, and another for a month, many trains + occasional bus.. I know nothing at all. I subscribed to bell'italia magazine, in italian, when I was trying so hard to learn, and maybe in the magazine's heyday, and every single issue showed me how much I don't know.

Many places I'd still like to see, Barga included, and many I'd love to see again.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 05:06 pm
So, the first time my husband I went there, we could not have been more ignorant, but we did have somewhat your exploration mode, Hinge. The difference was that we left Los Angeles on Feb. 29th, and so landed in Italy at not prime tourist time. We did rent a car for quite a lot of it. We did only have reservations for the first hotel after landing in Rome, and one in Venice (re Rome, Villa San Pio in the Aventino, I have stayed there twice since and still recommend it, funky beautiful). We figured out where we might stay from an old Fodor's guide, and a few tiny old American Express guides. On that trip, we got the best room in several places we stayed at.

Second trip, in October, we took trains, and figured out where we might stay, past the first landing days, by going to the tourist office in whatever town we ended up landing in. We went 1 star, mostly. This can be problematic if the tourist information office is closed, but it mostly worked out.

Third trip, April, I was by myself, except a friend came along at the start, on a tight schedule, and I reserved by fax all but two places in thirteen cities, and was glad I did. In one of those two cities, Faenza, I went to the tourist office and got the last listed room in town, around eleven a.m., even liked the place. In the other, where I could find no info in guide books, I spent more than an hour walking looking for almost any albergo, never saw a tourist office. (Ivrea, hiss...).

Things are so different now with the internet (I last went in 1999.) I think the Tourist Information Centers are still probably hubs of usefulness, and I'll explain that, re Firenze. But can see at least some reserving ahead..
and reserving ahead changes the nature of the experience, obviously.
Got a laptop?
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 05:31 pm
One more post and I'll be quiet for a while. This re tourist offices..

When I hated Ivrea, from a series of rude people, a lot of graffiti, and not being able to find a place to stay for a while, unusual in my then-experience, and finding the piazzas I went to see as so much 'eh?', I left early for Firenze, two days early. I'd a place, ahh, terrific one, have to remember the name, but there was no room before the registered date. So, when I got there by train, I wandered into the Tourist Info Office at the station. Turned out there was a tiny room available at a large discount at a place I could not ordinarily even begin thinking of staying in, Loggiato dei Serviti, on a piazza I'd stayed in before and love, and know a lot of the history of the architecture of. I recognized the hotel from my guide book reading. I grabbed it. The room was max 7 feet by 10 feet, plus hall and bathroom, but, damn, thick green velvet drapes...
Alas, I stubbed my toe on the marble to the bathroom..
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 05:35 pm
Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, swoon..........

Where are you thinking of going, between Sicily and Trieste?
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hingehead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 05:50 pm
Still reading your earlier posts Osso. Thanks heaps.

We've also a got week's walk in Tuscany (you back pack to the next hotel and your luggage magically arrives ahead of you) before the islands. And a week in a convertible hooting around Tuscany and Umbria (with a couple of nights in Florence).

From Sicily we'll probably go to Pompeii and we have a friend whose ancestral village is around there somewhere that we'll visit. We'll avoid Napoli and the the resorts and developments on the arch but I think we'll get to the heel, then up the east coast moving inland as we see fit. We'll probably drop into San Marino (like we had to do Gibraltar during our Spain trip) just out of curiosity. We're also up for a couple of nights in Venice before Trieste. We know we're going to miss a lot of Northern Italy but we can't do everything justice in two months (probably can't do anything justice in two months).

Mrs Hinge has found a couple of villages she is very interested in but we do love an aimless wander and a picnic blanket.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 06:11 pm
I'd enjoy hearing re those villages, but even hearing them may make them more popular on the internet.

I've a favorite village, Strove, near Siena, home of Casalta. I did seventeen paintings from there and the surroundings back after our trip, that trip in 1988, most sold. Paintings from love, not to be obnoxious. Strove may not be the same now, I've no idea. My cousins stopped there and liked it, but that is also now in time past. I'll just say I hope you have similar experience in many places.

Given you not orchestrate yourselves into travel madness, I hope you may just land in places you like some good percent of the time. Reactions may vary, and the reactions may or may not reflect the place. But, you know that. For example, Ivrea may be a wonderful place, and I just had a shitty day. Huh, Mathos has had travel experiences extensively past mine.
I mine mine... in my mind.

I guess, given your present level of planning, I'd let some air for play re programming. Things I'd say not to miss would be specific to me, and not likely reproducible. I guess I wouldn't miss Siena, because I'm very interested in the history of the Nine. But that is particular to me and might not intrigue you.
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Izzie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 06:16 pm
Hey

I've heard that Sorrento is one of the most beautiful places in the world - the Amalfi Drive and up into the mountains. Hope you have a fantastic time - fabulous country to visit.
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mismi
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 06:18 pm
I am jealous...what a wonderful thing to be able to do!
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 06:33 pm
I'm about to kill you via internet, you're going to Apulia?


Italy is thick. Well, many places are, but italy is among the thickest re dense history.

Seen Christ Stopped at Eboli (Francesco Rosi)? not set in Apulia, but a flavor...

Apulia has changed relatively recently, and I've no idea if for the better or not, re the growth manifested. Probably mafia and immigrant ill treatment involved in at least some of it, from snippets I've read. You may be going to see trulli? I'd go see Lecce and Bari... though I'd well enough like to see trulli too.

Quiet now, as I'm guessing some here know more than the ever vocal Osso.
These are opinions spoken easily, without real defense.

With luck, others who know more will speak up.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 07:10 pm
Aack, I am guessing this is imminent. Forget anything I said, have a great time.
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margo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 09:41 pm
Venice. It may be bloody touristy - but it's just lovely.

We spent a week there this time last year last year (arrived today, in fact!) (in an apartment) and could have stayed for weeks! Just ambling around is an adventure.

Cinque Terre - beautiful - but not too exciting, I thought. Saw it on previous trip.

Lake Como is just magic. You don't have to go to the big towns - anywhere is beautiful.

Tuscany - went to Volterra, just on spec - and that was interesting. Lots of great places to be found just wandering around.

We looked at this website before we went:
http://www.borghitalia.it/index_en.php
and checked out some of them - just pretty little places with few tourists.

Happy to answer questions!
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margo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 09:48 pm
After Lil K's mention, we went to Lucca - and that was lovely! Not many tourists - if you disregard that awful, awful. loud, American High School marching band, and their parents!

Apart from them - just magic!
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hingehead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2008 10:26 pm
Guys guys guys - this stuff is great. I'm starting to feel it doesn't matter where we go it'll be magic - as long as we avoid the Inter vs AC Milan derby match?

Sardinia is the bit I'm most anticipating - although Mrs Hinge says she won't eat the cheese that they use maggots to make. (curse you Lonely Planet books!).

Miss me. I'll try and get some pics on Picasa while we're on the road, sorry on the via.
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