Showing posts with label Wanderlust Women Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wanderlust Women Travel. Show all posts

Sunday, July 18, 2010

3 places in Italy you've never heard of !

Of course, casual tourists or frequent fliers will advise you to visit Florence in Tuscany, Ravello in Amalfi and of course, Rome. However, it’s unlikely any of them will have you whip out your passport for Sarteano, Nerano or Praiano and all of these gems are worthy of any travel through Italy.

1. Sarteano – is a small comune in the Tuscan Hills just outside Radicofani, situated in the province of Siena. There are numerous agritourismos in the area, affording the tourist a true Italian experience with Nonna’s cooking in the kitchen. The picturesque villages of Cortona, Montepulciano and Montalcino are all within a short car ride and the nearby train station in Chiusi provides alternate transportation for day trips to Siena and Florence.

The area is rich in Etrusan archaeology, much of which has now been relocated to The Archaeological Civic Museum of Sarteano. By the way, the Museo is housed in a 16th century palazzo. Yes, there is a lot of history in this one small village.

For those seeking a spa break, the mineral waters which flow through this area have been soothing the tired muscles of weary travelers for centuries and there are several spas nearby, including several in San Casciano dei Bagni, such as Fonte Verde, which offers outdoor thermal, mineral-enriched pools.

2. Nerano – is a tiny fishing village in Massa Lubrense, located between Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. It derives its name from the Emperor Tiberio Nerone, who would spend his summers on the nearby island of Capri.

It is accessible by climbing or driving through the hills of olive groves and a car does make your journey easier, although travelers may catch a local Sita bus from any of the major destinations such as Sorrento, Sant’Agnello or Meta. The beach in Marina del Cantone is lovely and picturesque but quite rocky. Don’t expect to find the white sand beaches of the eastern shores of the United States. Without a sunchair in Nerano, your day will be a lumpy one, for sure.

3. Praiano – is also a small fishing village along the Amalfi Coast. It is so small that cars drive on the sidewalks because people walk in the streets. It is situated between Positano and Amalfi.

Believe it or not, as small as Praiano is, there is a disco quite popular during the summer, L’Africana, along with the typical tourist sites of the Church of St. Gennaro on the sea and the Green Grotto, the poor step-child to the area’s more popular Blue Grotto on Capri.

There are numerous bed and breakfasts, as well as larger hotels, in the area and a handful of restaurants along the rocky beach, with one of the best being Trattoria Armandino.

Italy is a treasure trove of history, archaeology and seaside splendor for dreamy tourists who don’t mind wandering off the beaten path.

Lisa Fantino is an award-winning journalist and attorney and the creative force behind Wanderlust Women Travel™ and Wanderlust Weddings™. She also writes travel features for MNUI Travel Insurance and blogs as Lady Litigator™.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Travel to Sorrento, Italy -- Advice From A Travel Expert.

Sorrento is a magical place no matter what time of year you visit but it’s especially wonderful in the spring. It’s when this small city along the Amalfi Coast literally springs to life with vibrant bursts of color from wisteria vines to walls of fresh jasmine. There is color everywhere you turn and the scent of jasmine mixes with orange and lemon blossoms…….you know you’re in paradise.

Getting to Sorrento from the U.S. is a bit of a trek. Most travelers choose to fly to Rome and then either drive or take a train down to Sorrento. A company called
Meridiana or Eurofly
flies direct from New York to Naples between June and September but they have a limited schedule. The best bet is to fly into Rome and then rent a car for the drive down. Renting an automatic car can be expensive in Italy and hard to find but I have been using Auto Europe for years and they are reliable and affordable. Also, once you arrive in Sorrento, you can park the car and forget about it because everything is within walking distance or reachable by ferry or train.

The Sorrentine Peninsula offers so much to see and do that it would be impossible to list it all in such a brief space so I have highlighted some of the best I have come across in my frequent travels to this Eden on Earth:

    Best 4-star hotel
: Hotel Antiche Mura - just feet from the main square (Piazza Tasso) and staffed by the wonderful Savarese family who cannot do enough for their guests. While they do not offer lunch or dinner in their restaurant, the breakfast buffet is one of the best.

    Best spa
: Spa La Serra at the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria. Spa treatments or a vacation must-do for me and the therapists at La Serra are some of the most gifted anywhere.

    Best spot for people watching
: Fauno Bar sits smack dab in the middle of Piazza Tasso. You can sit here and watch the world go by with a morning cappuccino or an afternoon glass of wine.

Finally, for those who may be worried about getting around in this foreign city, fear not, almost everyone in Sorrento is fluent in English and those who aren’t fake it really well! Buon Viaggio!

Lisa Fantino
is an award-winning journalist and attorney and the creative force behind
Wanderlust Women Travel.

Photos/Copyright- Courtesy of Wanderlust Women Travel