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5 Italian Small-Town Gems

Enjoy these lovely, hassle-free Italian destinations beyond the tourist hubs

People shopping at a famous Market Square in the old town in Bolzano, Italy

Britta und Ralph Hoppe

En español | Six years ago I came to Florence from my home in Boston for a short stay that turned permanent after I fell in love with my now-husband, a Florentine named Rami. I was in love with the country, too, and can say that after all this time, I still find it truly breathtaking.

Unfortunately the beauty isn't the only thing that makes me gasp here. Sometimes it's the physical effort needed to get around — while climbing up and down the steep streets in the hill towns of Tuscany, scaling palaces and towers without elevators, or navigating the throngs of tourists in ancient cities.

But if you explore beyond those crowded, difficult-to-navigate destinations, you'll find quiet villages with unique personalities. It feels like discovering the real Italy (especially in the off-season). These are five of my favorite easy getaways in central and northern Italy, places where just getting around doesn't wear me out.

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