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Avoiding The Beaten Path In Italy

Tano Pecoraro
Positano, on the Amalfi coast, offers beaches and small village life you won't find in crowded Rome, Florence and Venice.

Italy is crowded these days, says KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley.

"From May through early October, it can be packed," he said. "Especially in those cities like Rome, Venice, and Florence."

Venice receives more than 20 million visitors a year, but only about 2 million actually sleep there. The rest come from cruise ships that dock for the day. Staying the night in Venice makes a lot of sense, Brumley says.

But Brumley says if you really want to get off the beaten path, head south of Rome, to the Amalfi coast.

"I would spend three nights in Positano, this sleepy little village," he said. "I'd drink some great limoncello, have some great frutti di mare, and some spaghetti alla vongole on the coast, which is clams and garlic and olive oil."

Pompeii and nearby Mt. Vesuvius are in the area. After seeing those, Brumley says he'd get on a boat and take the overnight trip to Palermo, Sicily.

Or you can keep heading south.

"The farther south you go in Italy, the more easygoing they get. They have a saying in southern Italy: 'We have a huge heart.' They say in the north, 'they don't have a big heart, but they have all the money.'"

Look for Maratea, a town of about 5,200 people. Brumley says this is his favorite seaside town.
"No one's ever there," he said. "It's spectacular."

Matthew Brumley is the founder of Earthbound Expeditions, which organizes group travel to destinations around the world for various clients, including KPLU. "Going Places" is our new travel segment exploring all aspects of getting from Point A to Point B. Have you been to Italy? Tell us your favorite places, in the comments section below.

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.