Posted by: Debra Kolkka | January 30, 2020

Where to go in 2020?

In a few weeks I will be returning to Italy for 4 months. We will be staying at our apartment in Bagni di Lucca and Casa Debbio, our house in the mountains nearby.

Between working in the garden and enjoying village life we will travel around Italy. We like to return to favourite places as well as explore new areas. Where to go this year?

Of course there will be several day trips to Florence(Click the highlighted word to see a post on the subject)

Perhaps even an overnight stay. It is wonderful to be up early and walk across the Ponte Vecchio, have it almost to yourself and admire the view of the Arno River.

Pietrasanta is a lovely town on the Versilia coast I love to return to often. It is known for art and there is usually a spectacular installation in the piazza in the centre of town, as well as some great shops, galleries and restaurants.

Portovenere and Portofino are also on the list of day trips. This year maybe I will venture to nearby Tellaro and Lerici for the first time.

It is time to revisit Arezzo, one of my favourite towns in Umbria. The antique market held there each month is always fun.

We always drive through the gorgeous hills of Chianti and Val d’Orcia, visiting Siena, Montalcino and Pienza.

Last year we explored San Quirico d’Orcia for the first time and found it fascinating.

In autumn last year I visited Bergamo Alta and the winemaking areas of Franciacorta, and Langhe. It would be fun to go back in spring to see these gorgeous places in a different season.

Returning to Sicily is also on the cards. We went a few years ago but left before we could visit the western towns of Erice and Trapani when a fierce wind blew us home early.


A trip to Sicily would not be complete without a visit to Ortigia, the town I enjoyed the most on our last visit.

The Amalfi Coast is my favourite place in Italy and I go as often as possible. I have never been to Ponza, but it looks intriguing, so maybe it will call me.

Caffe Florian in St Mark’s square in Venice is celebrating its 300th birthday this year. It is the oldest caffe in Italy and a good reason to visit for a very expensive coffee.

Ravenna is not far from Venice and has the most amazing mosaics…time to go back, it has been at least 10 years since we were there.

Padova, Verona and Ferrara are also nearby and great towns to explore.

There are some spectacular festivals in Italy. We have been to Gubbio for the Corsa dei Ceri, the Race of the Candles. Click the link to Gubbio to see this incredible festival.

I love the donkey Palio in Torrita di Siena

Camogli holds a Sagra del Pesce in May. It is the world’s largest fish fry. A 28 ton frying pan cooks 25,000 serves of fish to the hoards of people who attend. We went to the fireworks the night before, but have not made it to the actual festival.

Spello holds an amazing festival in June where the streets are filled with art created from flower petals only to have them trampled the next day.

We could revisit a couple of these, but I think the Palio delle Rana in Urbino is a must this year in April. Who would want to miss the sight of young men in medieval costume push a wheelbarrow at speed, with a frog on top, down the street while trying to keep the frog in place? (Photos…official site)

There are many decisions to be made over the next few months.


  1. Hi Debra,
    We were also thinking about a visit to Urbino this year. I was trying to no avail to find out the date of the April donkey Palio. Do you know it? Thanks!

    • It can be very difficult to find the dates for these festivals. I just googled it and came up with 22nd March.

      • Yes I have noticed that too. I will keep an eye out for the date…we will be leaving in mid April and in past years it seems it has been both the first weekend and the middle weekend. Given that the middle weekend in April this year is Easter I am thinking it will not be that one. See you soon in Lucca!


      • I just updated my comment with the date of the festival.

      • Looks like the wheelbarrow Palio with the frogs is on April 19 according to this website. Darn, we will miss that one.

        Thanks for the follow up on the donkey Palio race!

  2. Deborah, I’m flying out from Brisbane mid March to my beloved Lucca for 6 weeks!
    I love Lerici – highly recommended and the old town of Salzana is beautiful too.
    I discovered San Quirico last year. I think I could happily live there, it’s such a gem.
    Maybe our paths will cross on that side of the world

    • There are a few towns along the coast I would like to visit. We always have big plans and never seem to see everything we want to. At least we get to go back every year. We need to meet in Lucca.

      • Absolutely! I’m there from 15 March to 20 April x

  3. OMG, Deb if you visit a fraction of these towns you will never have time for Casa Debbio or Bagni di Lucca…except for Sicily and a few other mainland towns all are favorites of mine. See you at the end of Febbraio in Lucca.

    • The frog festival is definitely on the cards. See you soon.

  4. Oh Deb what a fabulous choice and such a wonderful country – good luck 😉

    • We won’t be bored.

  5. Not a poor choice on your list!

  6. Have you had a meal at Da Laura on beach at monastery Fruttuoso a boat ride or walk from Portofino or Camogli?

    • No! I think I walked there some time ago, time to go in. Thank you for the suggestion.

  7. Great plan, Debra! What’s the named of the place (the third pic next to the Bergamo picture) it looks amazing!! hope you make it to Tellaro- I wrote about it on my blog last year:)

    • That is La Morra. If you touch the photos the name should come up.
      It is gorgeous, probably our favourite town in the area.
      I will check out your post on Tellaro, thank you.

      • ♥️ Thank you!

  8. So many beautiful places to choose from, so that you will have to do a lot of thinking!

    • We never do all the things we plan to, but it is fun thinking about it.

  9. We are looking forward to reading your posts on the visits to these fabulous places Deb. Enjoy your stay in Ponte. xx

    • Thank you. I am keen to be back there.

  10. Enjoy!

  11. You got a full schedule!! The menu is never boring!

    • There is plenty to keep us busy in Italy.

  12. What an EXCELLENT post! Not only your travels, potential travels but such an overview of all those wonderful towns, festivals etc. This one put Rick Steeves to shame!! Grazie tanto for the whirlwind holiday – I’m limp at the

    • We love our time in Italy. There are so many beautiful places to visit.

  13. Fabulous! Have a great time.

    • Thank you! I am busy doing some research.

  14. Yes, please – i’ll have the lot – with a side of sfoliagtelle 🤓

  15. Your Italian adventures are so inspiring Debra! And I hope you’ll take us all along with you.

  16. Sooooo many choices!!! I’m sure you will come up with a grand plan and have a super time. Travel well and safely old chum!!! Enjoy your garden and the magical, cool Spring weather…. I look forward to your stories and a good coffee at Marchetti when you return.

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