If you’ve visited Italy a century ago, you would have been expected to carous in the streets of the major cities making important discoveries about yourself and our past. Today, it’s hard to carouse in the streets simply because the crowds tend to push you along from one tourist hot spot to the next. Today, once you’ve seen the greatest sights offered in the big cities, do what other seasoned Italian travelers do and get off the beaten path. Head out to the hill towns.
The Hill Towns of Italy
The big cities of Italy have expanded at a hugely rapid rate. They bustle with business and tourists and while the museums and sights are still very impressive, there’s a glossy air of commercialism about the whole thing. Leave that behind and rent a small car and you’ll be able to see Italy as more than a top tourist spot – you’ll be able to truly see the character of the town again.
The hill towns of Italy are virtually unknown to most tourists, but they have a huge charm of their own. Those close to major cities see their share of tourists, but even so, you’ll still have time to sit and visit with locals while taking your coffee or choosing a dessert. It’s more peaceful on the streets, so you’ll be able to sit back and watch the world go by.
The Desirability of the Hill Towns
The best thing about hill towns is that they aren’t getting any bigger. The location of the town up on a hill makes it virtually impossible for the town to grow any larger than it is currently. This means real estate is tightly controlled and families often live and work in the same locations they have for centuries.
When you visit a hill town, the homes are old, the customs are old, but in many cases the people are hugely young at heart. They have a blessed existence in some of the most beautiful land in the world and they aren’t especially afraid to tell you all about it if you are able to engage the locals in conversation. Why not journey out of your hotel or rental home for la passeggiata, a chance to stroll around town with the rest of the residents. Talk, gossip, but most importantly, feel as though you have a true connection to the town or enjoy the connections of others in these charming areas of Italy.