Seeing Venice, Florence and Rome in a week sounds exciting at first until you realize you will have spent most of your trip packing and traveling from city to city without ever exploring the secrets each city holds for you to discover.
As an Italian, born and raised, trust me when I tell you that each city and its surroundings deserve a full week or ten days to say you have truly vacationed in Italy, to “find yourself in Italy.”
The secret to taking a trip that feels like a vacation is simple. Pick a region, rent a car, a house or apartment, maybe a lovely B&B and establish a home base.
When I say a home base, I mean make it your Italian home. Go grocery shopping at the local market where the dirt is still attached to the roots of the fresh vegetables and the fruit smells like real fruit. Find out when your town has its open market where you can spend the better part of a day browsing the stalls and bargaining price on treasures you wouldn’t find anywhere else.
Italians don’t eat dinner until after eight p.m. so getting to a restaurant before that time truly accentuates the fact that you are a tourist and haven’t done your homework. Ask your hosts for local restaurant suggestions and what makes them special. Italian food does not consist of only spaghetti and pizza.
Be adventurous and let the waiter or owner order for you. Oh, what gastronomical wonders we have tasted by doing just that.
Don’t forget to ask where you can find the best gelato, there is nothing like ending an evening strolling the streets of an enchanting Italian town while eating a cup of stracciatella.
One must be spontaneous in order to vacation in Italy. Have a list of places to explore in your area but whatever you do, do not have a travel plan.
Wake up every morning and while having cappuccino and a brioche while watching the sunrise, choose a destination for that day. It immediately creates excitement about what you might see and takes the pressure off of being scheduled. You deal with schedules in everyday life why take them on vacation too?
One of my favorite vacation spots is in Tuscany where home base is always Montecatini. It is an amazing spa town nestled in the hills outside of Florence. I described its shopping as the Italian equivalent of Beverly Hills, and its spas have no comparison.
It is said that the Borghese family would summer there to drink the healing waters that pour through spigots that line the main Terme of the spa center.
Carrera marble is all
you see when you look at the floors and walls of the Terme. When visiting here,
it is best to get a cup of the healing waters, sit at a table, empty your mind
of all known reality and listen to classical music while staring up at the open
ceilings and the Tuscan blue skies.
Using Montecatini, which is located between Florence and Pisa, as home base allowed us CLICK HERE TO READ MORE