Small Towns in Italy

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Astha Dave
May 19, 2024

“There is nothing to do here but see Duomo!” I love it when people say that. They are not wrong about it but I think that is why I like living here rather than visiting Milan. It is not a destination where you would make a travel itinerary, but it has been more of an experience and observation than that. As they say, I like the “Milanese way of life” and that’s why I am living it. But even for people who are studying or visiting Milan, if you are confused on what’s there to do, here are some fun small towns and a few famous places to check out! 


The memorable places I have been to includes Lake Como, Turin, Bergamo, Bologna, Cinque Terre, Crema, and Genoa.



Lake Como- It’s a must-see! Tourists from all over places come to Milan to visit Como and you should go more than once if you can! You can take a train that’s about 50 minutes long or a bus to Como. It’s a very easy day trip that will cost you about €10-€15 euros. A cute little lake town to walk around, hike, and drink Aperol Spritz! I had lunch at this beautiful restaurant which is further away from the center, but it has a gorgeous view of the lake and the outdoor seating is on grass. I felt really connected to nature while eating. It is called Giuletta al Lago- Como. If you’re down for a little adventure, visit the lighthouse. It is a trek to the top of the lighthouse, but you take this really popular tram (it is the best way I can describe it) that takes you to the middle of the mountain by a church and then you hike for 1.5-2 miles. I didn’t know we were going to hike on our Lake Comp trip and I ended up wearing my favorite boots, so definitely don’t do that. For me, Lake Como was special because that’s when I met three of my friends that I planned my future trips with. There are also two towns called Bellagio and  Varenna near Lake Como that you can check out. 


Lake Como


Turin- I went there on a lazy Sunday as I wanted to do something during the weekend. It was a planned trip but my friend got added on that morning and paid €20 for a round trip which was the same amount I paid. It’s a location worth a visit. Everywhere you go, you should make sure to book your museum ticket or tickets to a popular tourist attraction way in advance when you book your travel and stay or at least 10 days to a week in advance. I wanted to check out an Egyptian museum in Turin but it was sold out! I walked around the Piazza and did a bunch of shopping in Turin. It came as a surprise to me but Turin has amazing thrift shops where I bought a bag and two tops. They also have some high-end thrift stores if you’re into that! The pasta in Turin disappointed me a little, but it’s a very rich city. It was crazy to see a lot of cool cars, that I forgot a count of how many Bugattis I saw. You can spend a couple of hours and that should be enough to get the essence of the city. Also, visit the cinema museum if you have a chance.




Bergamo- It was my solo day trip where I went around 2 p.m. in the afternoon and stayed there for about four hours. Bergamo is on a hill, and there are two or three famous Piazza. Again like any other Italian city, you will find a local artist playing an instrument and singing, a bunch of open restaurants, gelateria, and a few cute shops. Definitely fun walking around the narrow streets of Bergamo, and the view from the top is mesmerizing. I loved seeing grass fields and houses on uneven ground. I took a similar tram like Como that takes you higher on the hill for a view which I would recommend! I walked down the hill but the tram was also an option. Since it is a smaller town, there are very few tourists so you will save yourself some time by not having to stand in long lines!


Panaroma Bergamo


Cinque Terre- You have to go to Cinque Terre! I regret not staying longer but if you have a weekend free, please stay a night or two. It consists of five villages, on the edge of a hill that faces the ocean. The weather was perfect for a hike, so we hiked from Riomaggiore to Manarola. It took us about an hour or two to get to Manarola, and the view was amazing. It can be a challenging hike for some people because the space between two steps is pretty high but I would say go for it! We saw fresh yellow lemons ripping from lemon trees on our way, cute dogs hiking on their tiny legs, and wine yards. I wish I hiked all five villages so if that is something that interests you, plan your time there accordingly. Monterosso is another famous village there which is right by the beach, it was chilly to get into the water but we saw some people swimming. Starting from early May might be the right time to visit if you want to be in the water. There were a lot of tourists so make sure to buy your train tickets on time, as there would be a long line to get onto the train between villages. 


Cinque Terre

Part 2 in the next blog! 

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Astha Dave

Hi there! I'm Astha Dave, from Denison University majoring in Psychology and Journalism. If you ever need a dance partner, don't hesitate to reach out to me, I love hip-hop, salsa, and bollywood dance :)

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