By Donna L. Hull | For an authentic Italian adventure, My Itchy Travel Feet: The Boomer’s Guide to Travel recommends historic walking tours of small towns of Italy |
Is Italy calling your name? If you’ve visited the biggies like Rome, Venice, and Florence, it’s time to explore some of the equally enticing smaller towns and villages. Let’s journey now to the hillside town of Subiaco, the Sassi settlements in Matera, the lakeside charm of Orta San Giulio, and the walled city of Lucca.
Winding our way down the hillside town of Subiaco, the journey took us through narrow alleys where cats roamed and profusely blooming plants gave one last gasp of summer before being claimed by autumn’s first frost. Shopkeepers watched us from doorways while a resident or two peeked from behind a curtained window. We were definitely off the tourist path. Click here to continue our tour of Subiaco.
On a visit to Matera, Italy, history grabs us by the hand and says, “Come walk with me.” And it’s easy to do. Peering from the edge of the historic center in modern-day Matera, the caves and stone dwellings of Sassi settlements spread out before visitors, housed in two ravines on either side of Duomo. A walk down steep, uneven steps offers evidence of one of the first prehistoric human communities in what is now Italy. Click here to continue our tour of Matera.
Orta San Giulio
Cobblestone streets, a 1580’s town hall with a frescoed facade, outdoor cafes on a plaza bordering a mountain lake, a fairy tale-like island in the middle of the lake — atmosphere, atmosphere, atmosphere! That is exactly what you’ll find in Orta San Giulio, a small town on LakeOrta in Northern Italy. Click here to continue our tour of Orta San Giulio.
The old town of Lucca is totally surrounded by walls. Behind those medieval ramparts, Renaissance architecture in the form of churches, elegant shops, and picturesque piazzas beckon to be explored. Walk, jog, or bike the promenade atop the 16th-century wall. Click here to continue our tour of Lucca.
The next time you visit Italy, don’t forget the smaller towns and villages. Since all of Italy is steeped in ancient history, you’ll walk with the past while soaking in the charms of authentic Italian culture.
Donna L. Hull is checking off adventures one trip at a time at My Itchy Travel Feet: The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Travel. A widely published travel writer, she is also the boomer travel expert for My Well-Being (by Humana) and a travel correspondent for Forbes.