Best Places to go in Italy to speak Italian
My wife and I have been studying Italian and have made a few trips to Italy. Now we are planning another trip and I am wondering if any of you on this Duolingo Bulletin Board have suggestions for the best place(s) to go to speak Italian and also where there aren't too many tourists. Any thoughts?
Thanks in advance.
My wife and I go back to the rural villages in southern Italy where my family is from. Virtually no english is spoken there... we are forced to work hard at language skills. No tourists. My family on both sides are Italian, but as a child I was not permitted to speak Italian - "You're American. You speak English!!!". So, it's been tough learning as an older adult, but well worth the effort. Go to the rural areas!
I think your best bet would be avoiding the major/most famous cities, like Rome or Venice...
Try doing a country tour: Rent a car or a couple bicycles and go around the Italian countryside. You'll have a completely different experience & use your language skills much more.
Enjoy your trip!
Southern Italy: the regions of Calabria, Basilicata, Puglia. In the region of Basilicata, two of the four towns we were in (and maybe three of the four) seemed to have no tourists at all (besides us)!
totaljim, If you fly into Rome, you can take the Frecciarossa train to Naples, then a regional train to Pompei, where you can rent a car. This way, you won't have to drive in the big cities (Rome and Naples). Hertz has an office at the Pompei train station. Yes, you will need a car to visit The South. Matera is one of the towns not to be missed. Just south of Matera, the Cripta del Peccato Originale (Crypt of the Original Sin) is worth visiting. It is a cave that was painted beautifully by monks in the second half of the 8th Century and used as a place of worship (criptadelpeccatooriginale.it). The trulli (singular form: trullo) of Puglia are also worth seeing. In addition, the Ionian coast has ruins of ancient Greek temples, such as the Temple of Hera at Metaponto. The Greeks had colonized the southern coasts, and this area has come to be called Magna Graecia. (The history of the Greeks on "the boot" helps us to understand the history of the Etruscans in Tuscany.) . Buon viaggio!!
Also, totaljim, there are many small towns, some with few or even no businesses, and with few or no tourists. Since you have expressed interest, I will just mention a favorite of mine. Terranova di Pollino is in Pollino National Park, which is in the mountains of eastern Calabria and western Basilicata. The town is high up in the mountains and resembles a Swiss town. It has about 1000 residents, and no tourists except you (unless there are tourists who are using it as a base to hike or raft the national park). This one has some businesses. Here are three businesses I recommend: Bar Caffetteria da Pietro for morning coffee or a midday panino, Osteria del Baccala with no menu but lovely old Lila to cook you whatever you like, and Luna Rossa with world-class (really!) owner and chef Federico Valicenti. (You can stay at the Dolcedorme airbnb, hosted by Vito.) . We dined alone at the second and third, and with only locals playing cards at da Pietro. Have fun searching online for gems of isolated towns!
Where were you? We have twice visited Rotondella (in Basilicata) This is the village of my Dad's mother and we have located relatives there. We have also visited Bagnoli Irpino (Campania) where my mother's side is from, and Bellona (Campania) where my Dad's father is from. No English spoken. No tourists. Makes one work.
Nicholas, my nonni are from the small town of Cersosimo (which I have visited four times), but my closest cugini are now in somewhat larger Picerno (both in Basilicata). I have also been to Potenza and (as I mentioned elsewhere) Terranova di Pollino and Matera, Metaponto, and a few other places. In Puglia, we enjoyed Cisternino, Locorotondo, and the Adriatic coast (Marina di Ostuni). Only Alberobello was touristy, and we were glad our trullo stayover was elsewhere. By the way, Nicholas, your family's Rotondella is 15 miles from my family's Cersosimo. Ciao, vicino mio!
Ciao. Lucca in late September is lovely. So is Venice and Rome and.... Stop me now! (Happy to carry your bags, sir!) Not easy to find places senza turisti, but Lucca really is lovely. You can park up and use a bicycle for the rest of your stay. And perhaps go to a concert or two in good company. There are also quiet away-from-town places surrounding. Buon viaggio!
Turin: Few tourists from outside Italy but an amazing city, after all it is the city of the Italian kings and cars.
Florence and surrounding area: closest spoken Italian to written Italian but very touristy.
Bologna: Very international city and a lot calmer compared to Florence.
The perfect suggestion is not easy to make, maybe some more parameters like see or mountains, small or big town ...
I loved Bologna! It just has a very nice vibe to it, and it also seemed like a city where people actually live, rather than just being inhabited by tourists, if that makes sense. Plus it has awesome bookstores and porticoes to stay dry from the rain. : ) It's definitely underappreciated, in my mind. Also nearby Ferrara was nice and not super super touristy.
mmseiple's phrase "a city where people actually live, rather than just being inhabited by tourists" brings to my mind Volterra in Tuscany.
Agree with others to stay out of tourist spots like major cities. The big thing to have people speak Italian is usually whether there is a need to move things along. Remember, everyone speaks Italian, it's whether they have the time and patience to work through it with you. I was mainly in the countryside where some people spoke no English but a lot of people did. As long as we were in no rush, I explained I was not a native speaker and was still learning, but wanted to speak exclusively in Italian. I ended up with some good conversations, even if they were a bit choppy. "Vuole parlare in italiano o in inglese? Siamo in Italia, ci parliamo in italiano, ma non e' la mia madrelingua"