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Far from the tourist herds and their well trampled paths exists another Italy. It's altogether quieter, far more the Italy we all dream of.
Likely the loudest sound you'll hear all day is the sound of church-bells and animated discussions in the local piazze and trattorie.
These are towns where everything is meant to be lingered over
Lunches are long, drawn-out affairs filled with local dishes, laughter and lots of talking. After lunch you stroll around taking in the sights, chatting with locals and before you know it late afternoon has arrived... which means its time to take your seat in the piazza once again, watch the world go by and enjoy an aperitivo.
Because these places are not given much prominence by mainstream websites tourist numbers are mostly at that "Goldilocks" level where the locals are still very happy to welcome visitors yet they don't depend entirely on tourism.
These are towns where people still fish and make things - tourism provides a nice boost without changing their lifestyles. Talk to locals and they'll tell you they are really happy with their lives - unlike in Venice where many locals either want to leave or are forced to leave as costs rise.
The result is that you'll always receive a warm welcome and, if you stay for more than a few days, you'll feel like one of the locals with everyone from the local greengrocer to the barista offering you a hearty good morning.
Of course, we know of many more wonderful places that we haven't yet had a chance to write about. Your being a member of the Secret Italy club though means that all you need to do is ask and we'll happily share them. You can do that here...