Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Summer Vibes - My Favorite Vacation Spots in Italy

I am SO excited about summer vacation approaching! I'm really looking forward to visiting some new places this summer.  My mother will be here for the month of August and this year I wanted to go somewhere different from our usual vacation spots. I'm sure I've mentioned this before but if not my mother is from the Puglia Region specifically from the town of Brindisi which is basically located at the heel of the "boot"...I know, I'm so geographically technical LOL...

So our vacation spots are usually down south that way my Mom can get to visit all of her family and relatives in the short time she's here. This year we want to switch things up a bit. I would love to take a cruise over to the Greek Islands.  I still have yet to go to Greece and every year I say I'm going to but I never do so hopefully this year I'll get a chance to.

So in case any of you are interested in visiting Italy any time soon, I've picked out some of my favorite summer vacations spots you can consider that are not your usual touristy places like Rome, Naples or Milan but that are really worth a visit.

Porto Cesareo 

Porto Cesareo is located in the province of Lecce on the coast of the Ionian Sea and is famous for its long beaches and sandy bottoms that remain low for many meters.  Since it is located in the gulf area, it really has a Caribbean type vibe and is just a spectacular vacation spot...by far my favorite in Southern Italy. It's relatively close to Brindisi, where my family is from so it's where we usually go on the weekends when the weather is nice. The best time to visit is between May and July and in September. In August it is PACKED with people so be prepared to book early because waiting 'til the last minute is not that great of an idea if your planning on visiting Porto Cesareo in August.  
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There are many places to stay in Porto Cesareo but if I had to recommend a Resort I would definitely suggest Le Dune Suite Hotel . It is located right on the beach and it is a relatively new hotel with a beautiful Spa and private beaches for their guests. It also has 3 restaurants within the hotel.

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Santa Caterina al Bagno


There are so many beautiful places to visit if you are in that area. Just a few kilometres away is a small town called Santa Caterina al Bagno which is a lovely beach town with lots of shops to visit. While there really aren't that many sandy beaches here as it is more of a reefy area it is still a sight to see and great for snorkeling and fishing.

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Porto Selvaggio

There is also a very secluded "secret" beach... which is not so secret anymore... called Porto Selvaggio which is also in the same area as Porto Cesareo and Santa Caterina al Bagno.  It is a natural reserve and can only be reached by taking a long ass hike which kind of sucks because if you are going there to take a swim it's probably like 100° outside and you're most likely trucking along a beach umbrella, bag, toys, etc. etc. and you probably will be really uncomfortable. This is a picture of the hike from Santa Caterina al Bagno to Porto Selvaggio:

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But once you get there.....YOU'RE IN PARADISE...

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The places I've listed above are all pretty close to each other and it is by far my favorite place to be in the summer and I highly recommend it to anyone.  The entire Puglia region is breathtakingly beautiful but this spot here takes the cake in my opinion.

Moving up to central Italy my second favorite place to visit is ....yes...Tuscany. The colors, the wine, the people, the FOOD... to die for.  Obviously you are already aware of the more famous Tuscan cities which are Florence, Pisa and Livorno and I love visiting them all. The people in Tuscany are the sweetest, very generous and friendly and I have seriously considered moving there because it is one of the most beautiful regions in Italy. Mr. Amore and I frequently visit Tuscany on long weekends because it's not that far and we have found that one of our favorite places to stay is:

Montepulciano

Montepulciano is located in the Province of Sienna and it is a medieval town situated of a limestone cliff about 40 miles from Sienna. Montepulciano is known world wine for its wine and you can be certain that whenever we go there we stock up on our vino rosso!

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We buy our Red rigorously at the Cantina Contucci located in the heart of the town. It is a family owned winery and the owners are the nicest people. The Contucci family has been producing wine since the Renaissance period! We're talking 1700's so they know what they're doing! 

It's a tiny little hole in the wall when you see it from the street


But then you walk it and it's like...BAM...

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When we visit Montepulciano we always stay at Villa Poggiano.  It's a very cozy hotel with great service and offers lots of activities including a cooking class as well as hiking and backpacking tours. 

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The Alps - South Tyrol

Moving further up the peninsula...(I feel like a weather hostess)...another AMAZING place to visit in the summer are the Alps in Trentino Alto Aldige specifically the South Tyrol area.   We stay in a small town called Ahrntal which is very close to the Austrian border. It's funny the first time I went there I was surprised as the people living there speak a German dialect that is typical of the area and many don't even speak Italian. 
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We love visiting each year and I always leave feeling so refreshed and relaxed. We get lots of exercise when we go here as it is a place where you do lots of bike riding and hiking. So if you're into sports and wellness this is the place to visit.

It has a very "Sound of Music" vibe. It's gorgeous in the summer as well as winter.

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It's definitely not as hot in the summer as it is in the south and the air is so pure and clean from pollution and smog. We hit all the trails whenever we go and get a great workout. Here are the maps we use which are available at the location.  This particular mountain is called Speikboden





Whenever we go we stay at the Schwarzenstein Resort & Wellness Center.  This is an all inclusive resort with a premium Spa area that has 10 different saunas that are included in the price and that you can use whenever you want. This place is truly good for the soul. 

So those are the places that I have very much enjoyed and I wanted to share them with you because they are not your usual touristy cities.  This is more of an insiders perspective to some beautiful Italian places to visit that aren't that well known to tourists but that are definitely worth the visit if you get a chance. 

Hope you are having a great week! 

xoxo

Silvana

4 comments:

  1. Hi Silvana, Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful "insider" vacation spots. Your photos are beautiful. Our Middle Child really enjoyed all the time he spent in Italy. He's also visited Greece numerous times and from what he tells us, I think you and your mom would LOVE a visit to Greece, if there is time in her vacation schedule. Again, thanks for sharing all these wonderful and beautiful areas of Italy.
    Blessings,
    Mrs.B

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  2. Hi Silvana, I just saw a television program on Puglia last week and for the next two week we are hosting our friend from Torino while he does guitar concerts in Michigan USA so I am very interested in Italy lately! These photos are simply gorgeous. My next door neighbor is from Calabria, which I understand is also in the South. It looks like such a beautiful country. I know your mother is going to have a magnificent time!

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  3. Hi Silvana, what a great post and one I feel I must file away for reference later. Your descriptions are incredible. I do want to visit Italy one day. As I may have shared, my grandmother is from Naples and most of the family on her side are also from in and around that area. Your photos are beautiful and so inspiring. Thank you for sharing all this info. Have a great time when your mom visits. I know it will be an amazing time in August for you both. Have a great week ahead. xo

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