Italy is arguably one of the most visited countries in Europe. Every year, millions of tourists swamp the countries most popular cities to take in the amazing history and beauty of each place. Unfortunately, this usually means that the streets are crowded, lines are long, and there is just a general sense of claustrophobia. If you’re looking to visit Italy, but want to avoid this overwhelming situation, visit some of these places instead.
Siena Instead of Florence
Florence has a lot to offer, but it can also be disorienting with so many options at your fingertips. Try Siena instead. This beautiful medieval town is lined with cobblestone streets, towering historical buildings, and has just as much beauty as Florence, for half the price and stress. The city is more compact and easy to navigate. This makes it easy to explore each of the city’s neighborhoods and see what unique wares they have to offer.
Milan Instead of Rome
Without a doubt, Rome is worth a visit, but you are almost always guaranteed crowds of other visitors, no matter where you go. On the other hand, Milan has just as much history to offer on top of some of the best shopping in the country. The Brea neighborhood is the area for shopping, while the Naziglai sector is the place to find the best food. The easiest way to see the city is to rent a bike and spend the day exploring.
Castellina in Chianti Instead of San Gimignano
San Gimignano is often clogged with eager wine lovers who are only in town for a day and are trying to jam in as much as they possibly can. However, just outside of Florence, you will find Castellina in Chianti. There are dozens of small shops, local cafes, and specialty restaurants to fill up your day. And of course, since the town is Chianti, you’ll have access to some of the best wine in the area.
Lucca Instead of Pisa
Like the Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a symbol of Italy. However, trying to fight your way through to snap the best picture of you and the tower is hardly worth it. Save Pisa for another day and book a trip to Lucca instead. You will encounter far fewer crowds, and this ancient town is incredibly bike-friendly. While you ride, snap some pictures of the beautiful architecture complete with pastel-colored stucco and terra-cotta tiles. Also, don’t forget to sample some of the street food; you won’t regret it!