Sunday, December 5

Volcanoes, ice creams and canals: the great small cities of Italy chosen by the readers | Holidays in Italy

Winning tip: happy homeless man in Puglia

A little piece of my soul remained in Polignano a Mare, a beautiful piece of true Italian life in Puglia. Pretty houses perched on cliffs overlooking the emerald sea, a maze of streets leading to an impressive old town, delicious ice cream and a lively atmosphere as the locals stroll and music plays, all combine to create a true gem. The contemporary art museum is worth a look. Yet it is the wandering, getting lost in charming whitewashed streets, stumbling upon the poetry written on doors and stairs, finding a cliffside bar loved by the locals that is the key to enjoying this romantic city.
Vivienne Francis, Kent

Lovely lucca

Photograph: JM_Image_Factory / Getty Images

Lucca is the hidden gem in the Tuscan crown of Italy, and September is the best time to visit. Just 20 minutes from Pisa, its medieval walls, cobbled streets and shady squares create a peaceful and quiet atmosphere. The cars aren’t inside the walls, so it’s great to wander around at any time and it’s not uncommon to hear Puccini’s music from open windows or balconies – Lucca is the composer’s hometown. In mid-September, a candlelight procession followed by fireworks and open-air festivities mark the climax of the simply magical festival of the Holy Cross.
Yasmin, Cambridge

Venice without the hype

Great view of the water of Chioggia with old cabins and Chioggia bridge, Little Venice in Italy
Photograph: LianeM / Getty Images

Chioggia is like Venice without the crowds and high prices. At the southern end of the Venetian Lagoon, combine views of the snow-capped peaks of the Dolomites on a clear day and the Adriatic from its fine sandy beach. The pastel-colored houses create a colorful canvas on its waterways, as the fishing boats move slowly forward, distributing their catch to the local trattoria. A medieval clock tower watches over the city and the Adriatic Zoology Museum shows the maritime traditions of the area. Sit in a cafe sipping your cappuccino with views of tranquil canals and fishermen chatting.
Gonca, Birmingham

Baroque jewels in Vigevano

Italy, Lombardy, Vigevano, Ducale Square
Photograph: AGF Srl / Alamy

Just 35 km southwest of Milan and easily accessible by road and rail, the city of Vigevano is an architectural gem. Its center is dominated by the Sforzesco Castle, now a museum closely linked to that of Milan: it is connected to the outer fortifications of the city by an astonishing and unique medieval covered bridge and a 200-meter-long causeway that allowed horsemen to ride directly from the castle to defend the city. Adjacent to the castle is the impressive 15th-century porticoed Piazza Ducale, enclosed at one end by the Baroque cathedral: it is one of the most impressive open spaces in Italy.
Ian Statham, Cardiff


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Artisan Anghiari

Alley in the medieval village Anghiari, Arezzo, Tuscany
Photograph: Getty Images

The massive defensive walls of Anghiari from the 13th century still loom over the Valtiberian plain, the site of the decisive Florentine victory over the Milanese in 1440, and which is celebrated annually with a colorful and fierce Palio. Hidden inside, a flower-filled labyrinth of winding alleys reveals linen looms, artisan workshops and boutiques carved from bedrock. The Southbank Sinfonia performs in the square under the stars every July, and the city revels in seasonal celebrations of Tuscan gastronomy, culminating in the “Checkered Tablecloth,” serving local produce at communal tables. by candlelight, accompanied by folkloric performances. poetry and song and dance.
Benedict Leonard, London

Roman Christian mosaics in Ravenna

Mosaic of the baptism of Jesus, in the Arian Baptistery of Ravenna.
Mosaic of the baptism of Jesus, in the Arian Baptistery of Ravenna. Photograph: Michael Honegger / Alamy

Go to Ravenna: it’s perfect for a long weekend and it’s close to Bologna. The imperial capital in the last days of the Roman Empire, it is home to the most astonishing collection of early Christian mosaics you will ever see. The art dates mainly to the 5th and 6th centuries and adorns only a handful of old churches in the compact city center. The images are a real shock. There are no crucifixions or other signs of Christ’s suffering, and everywhere you will see sheep. Yes, they took the idea that we were all a herd very literally 1,500 years ago.
Chris Wilson, Fife

Sunsets in Sicily

Taormina with Mount Etna at sunset.
Taormina with Mount Etna at sunset. Photograph: Westend61 / Getty Images

The city of Taormina in Sicily has it all. Perched on the top of a hill, it boasts stunning views of an active volcano, Mount Etna, while also having beautiful sandy coves, which can be accessed by a steep hike or by cable car. The town square is one of the best places to watch the sunset in Sicily and a visit to the ancient Greco-Roman theater is not to be missed; you can even see a show here today.
Rachel W, Cumbria

Impressed in Sardinia

The Roman amphitheater of Cagliari
The Roman amphitheater of Cagliari. Photography: Luis Leamus / Alamy

Try a short break in Cagliari – a beautiful and bustling port city on the island of Sardinia -. Countless places to eat and drink, all proud of local produce. Bombas, a modern hamburger restaurant, is located inside a cave within the impressive medieval city walls. Sightseeing tours include La Torre dell’Elefante, an imposing 14th-century limestone tower, the extensive ruins of the Roman amphitheater, and a host of museums and galleries. We visited without waiting long, but were impressed by what Cagliari had to offer.
Sun S, Accrington

Railway kidnapping in Genoa

Genoa funicular
Photography: Roberto Lo Savio / Alamy

Genoa is steep, built on the cliffs of Liguria. But if you don’t feel like going up and down the stairs, there are a number of lovely funiculars. The Zecca-Righi funicular takes you from the city center to the high hills in minutes. But best of all is the cute and bizarre Ascensore Castello d’Albertis-Montegalletto, a charming little carriage that takes you 300 meters up the hillside, before boarding your own elevator to leave you high above the city, overlooking the port and the surroundings. the corner of the Museum of World Cultures. Trips cost € 0.90.
Thom, London

Friuli cheated on you?

Piazza Libertà in Udine.
Piazza Libertà in Udine. Photograph: MassanPH / Getty Images

Italy but not Italy … That is the feeling that assails you as you wander the streets of Udine, in the lesser-known region of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia. Situated in the shadow of the castle, Piazza Libertà is considered the most beautiful Venetian square on the mainland, but it is the people and the food that point to a more unusual mix of influences. The local language, Friulian, and the hearty dishes of frico, cjarsons and gubana hint at the city’s mountainous interior and its intoxicating Germanic and Slavic influences. Yet as your senses fill with new sights, tastes and sounds, a glass of bianco from Collio’s vineyards reminds you that, well, maybe this is Italy after all.
Steve Bassett, Exeter

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