Tag Archives: Cinqueterre

Summer in Italy
by Mario Fusco

Whether you’re a first-time traveler to Italy or a seasoned veteran you won’t want to miss the Tuscany, Cinqueterre and Rome Tour being organized by The Sacramento Italian Cultural Society. Scheduled to depart on June 20, this 12-day tour hits some of the must-see sites in Italy.

TUSCANY – home to illustrious personages from Dante to Leonardo to Galileo, it was the incubator of the Italian Renaissance, which in turn spawned the European Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the Scientific Revolution. The Medici family, lords of Florence, were inarguably the most active and effective patrons of the arts ever. Today Tuscany is famous for its wines (Chianti), the loveliness of its hill towns, its artistic patrimony, and events such as the Palio di Siena.

Little Known Italy

The Italian Flag

Bandiera Italiana

The canonical destinations for tourists traveling to Italy are well known: Florence, Venice, Rome, the Cinqueterre, Umbria. The slightly more experienced may have found the Amalfitan Coast, Sicily, the Lago di Como, the Italian Riviera. But there is much, much more to Italy than these well-known destinations. I would argue, in fact, that the true Italy, unspoiled by the tourist presence, is more readily found in little-known middle-sized cities and out-of-the-way places that have maintained their cultural and historic identity aloof from the tourist tide.

Examples abound. The Byzantine treasures of Ravenna, the Renaissance gems of Ferrara and Mantova, the liveliness of Padova, the casual gayety of Rimini, the transcendent serenity of Montecassino, the majesty of the Monastery of Padula, the timeless ruins of Paestum, the eclectic beauty of Monreale… the list is truly endless. Charming resort towns like Nettuno, Maratea, Gallipoli in the South, alpine beauties such as Cortina in the eastern Alps. And more and more. And everywhere you find art and history and the Italian lifestyle!

In the next few posts we will explore some of these little-known treasures. Perhaps on future trips, once Florence and Venice have begun to pall, you will want to venture further afield and get a taste of a more pristine Italy.

Some DO’s and DON’Ts of Italian travel

Map of Italy

Italy

1. DO fly a European carrier if possible.  You will have many more choices of final destinations if the second leg of your trip originates in Europe.

2. DO get some euro’s at the airport, as soon as you arrive.  Their exchange rates are competitive.

3. DON’T deal with banks if you can avoid it.  Generally you have to have an account at a bank to have them do anything for you at all.

4. DON’T take much cash with you, and DO use the ATM’s.  They are plentiful and the fees you incur are well worth the peace of mind.

5. In restaurants, forget the 15-to-20% tipping rule.  Ten percent is plenty, and then only if you think you have received good service.

6. DO tip your porter after he has taken your bags to your hotel room.  Figure one euro per bag.

7. DON’T, if you are over eight years old, order a glass of milk or a cappuccino with dinner.