Let’s make 2020 the year of going to beautiful places in Italy…
*Without* trying to wake up extra early to “beat the rush” or squeeze into a looong line for an attraction.
Wanna know why?
At its core, Italians embrace a culture of moving at your own pace. Doing your own thing, because you want to. Heck, they even siesta.
But since the economy in Italy has been on the rise — along with rising middle classes across the world — the country’s traditional “hot spots” have adopted a vibe that goes against the crostini of being an Italian: Busy. Busy. Busy.
But of course, you HAVE to visit Rome, Florence, Venice, etc. when you come to Italy.
What you can *also* do if you’re planning to visit one of these major hot spots, though, is introduce a teeny-tiny sidestep (read: day trip!) to some under-the-radar towns. We’ve got a couple of ideas up our linen sleeves, and they’re easy-peasy to reach via the Italian train system, Trenitalia.
If you’re planning a trip to Italy and wanna know what’s hot right now (or *too* hot, and you don’t want it), keep reading on!
When In Rome — Day Trip To Orvieto
Orvieto is a teeny-tiny hilltop town in Umbria that’s a 90-minute stone’s throw from Rome. Its picture-perfect postcard vibes will have you dreaming of retiring here forever — totally adorable. Dating back to the Etruscan times, the town remains steeped in history (you can still stumble upon the remains of Etruscan temples).
Orvieto is a perfect day trip for:
- Trying any meal that features pigeons — their “signature” dish
- Sipping Orvieto Classico wine
- Meandering through medieval back streets
- Exploring one of the 1200 caves beneath the town
- Waltzing through the Orvieto Cathedral
Travel time from Rome to Orvieto:
- 1.5 hours by train
When In Florence — Day Trip To Lucca
Ultra-lovable Lucca is a picturesque, well preserved city that’s just west of Florence. It’s main draw? Gorgeously built city walls — seriously, it’s all walled in (and super safe) — that were architected by Leonardo da Vinci himself. We adore Lucca because it’s got all the incredible art and architecture you could want in an old Tuscan town… without the frenetic energy of a larger city.
Lucca is a perfect day trip for:
- Renting a bike and cruising around
- Pounding the cobblestones and getting your shop on
- Wandering the streets (as per usual for small towns)
- Drinking 10 cappuccinos in 10 different piazze
Travel time from Florence to Lucca:
- 60-100 minutes by train
P.S. Want to experience under-the-radar Florence? Check out our day Florence day tours.
When In Venice — Day Trip To Verona
Venice is romantic, but Verona is seductive. You know all about Romeo and Juliet hanging out here, but it’s *so* much more than that! Verona is a welcome escape from a bustling city like Venice — oozing culture and charisma from every star-crossed tower. The Renaissance architecture here is mightily intact, and it’s been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000 because of the richly Roman buildings still standing today. Beyond a day trip, it’s also the perfect base for exploring Northern Italy if you’re looking to extend your vacay.
Verona is a perfect day trip for:
- Catching an open-air, summer opera in an ancient amphitheatre
- Lazily strolling across the Ponte Pietra
- Whitewater rafting along the Adige River — a rare opportunity to raft through an ancient city (book this in advance!)
- Indulging in Verona’s signature dish, risotto
- Tip-toeing through tombs (including Juliet’s empty one)
Travel time from Venice to Verona:
- 60-90 minutes by train
When in Amalfi Coast — Day Trip To Cilento Coast
While Amalfi is glittery ‘n’ glam, Cilento is chill ‘n’ charming. It’s still got the sun-bleached loungers, ridiculously clear water to swim in, and endless waterfront restaurants for long, luxurious lunches that Amalfi has. But what makes Cilento different is its history and landscape: you’ll find hills of honey-colored buildings created by the Greeks and craggy mountains alongside beautiful beaches. Cilento is on the wilder side — perfect if you dig spots that feel totally untouched and like a secret worth keeping to yourself.
Cilento is a perfect day (or multi-day) trip for:
- Mouthfuls of the region’s mozzarella nella mortella, drier cow’s milk mozzarella wrapped in myrtle leaves for freshness
- Exploring stunning Greek temples, of course
- Swimming in secret coves (there are hundreds to choose from)
- Waterfront aperitivi in marinas
- Tasting local white figs (especially around Christmas, or in gelato anytime)
- Hiking through the mountains
Travel time from Amalfi to Cilento:
- You’ll need a car — and you can expect the drive to take about 90 minutes.
When in Cinque Terre — Day Trip To Levanto or Bonassola
If you’re traveling to the Cinque Terre, we hope it is for *at least* a week, so you can explore all five villages… and then some. Levanto and Bonassola are neighboring villages that are super close to the Cinque Terre and our secret getaways for when we want beaches ALL to ourselves. They’re both charming and have wide boulevards along the ocean (and a bike trail between the two). We take our clients to both places on our 7-night Cinque Terre tour.)
Levanto and Bonassola are perfect day trips for:
- Doing absolutely nothing, except beaches
- Biking around — it’s mostly flat and bikeable.
- Filling up on all the focaccia (with pesto, of course)
Travel time from Cinque Terre to Levanto and Bonassola:
- Both places are north of Monterosso. It’s less than a 10-minutes train ride from the village of Monterosso to Levanto. Add another 15 minutes to get to Bonassola.
Wanna day trip with us while you’re in Italy?
Check out the experiences we offer here:
Considering side-stepping a hot spot or planning your own day trip… and got questions? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll help!