How long can I stay in Italy?
I rate cities and countries based on how many days I can visit as a tourist. So with regards to Italy, I can stay there for months! But instead, I return home time and time again. However, each trip I get deeper and deeper into the country’s unique and uncommon areas to learn more of the Renaissance culture.
When I first explored Italy 15 years ago, I did not know Bernini, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Donatello, Botticelli or Borromini one from another. I only Renaissance men I recognized were Michelangelo and di Vinci. Little by little, I kept learning. Most of their art and sculpture is captured in the cities. The beauty of their art inspires me but it is the peace of the countryside that renews me.
Wandering around in Italy is a favorite pastime of mine. I always have sleeping arrangements planned but between hotels are wonderful places to saunter. What renews me the most in Italy are the small cities and towns. The places other than the big three: Venice, Florence, and Rome. But don’t get me wrong, I will still visit these cities with each trip as they have so much to offer! It is the countryside, smaller cities and towns that give me the most renewal. The pace of life even in the “big three” is so much slower than anything we experience here in the United States.
I have a long list of wonderful places throughout Italy but here are two small cities for you to ponder for that special experience:
South of Venice along the Adriatic coast, Ravenna is known for its mosaics. This city will not be easy to find but well worth the effort. Ravenna is not exactly unknown but rarely visited. So travel back to Venice for a few days and then drive down the coast.
Ravenna was the strong hold of the Byzantine rule in Italy (circ 500’s); the architecture and decor of Ravenna’s churches are thus of the Eastern (Constantinople/Istanbul) style. The most important church is San Vitale, different from anything else in Italy. The billons of small pieces of glass make magical colors.
On my list of places to visit! This is a town in which food is taken very seriously.
It is most commonly known for the origin of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. If planned well in advance one can take a walking tour of producers. Other than the name of foods with Parma, the tortelli is also excellent.
Parma is easy to reach by train and the historic center is walkable. The artistic heritage
is evident with many churches and a beautiful palazzo. Do not miss the Camera di San
Paolo in an old monastery with Correggio frescos (circ 1520.) Also the main Duomo has
some breathtaking frescoes.
I’ll also add that October is opera season, a truly moving and unforgettable experience. If you are curious as too other locations in Italy that are off the beaten path, feel free to contact me and I’ll give you even more ideas for renewal in Italy!