5 Small Villas You Should See in Italy

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Where to go when you have had enough of the crowds and tourists of Italy.

Saturnia

This quiet little village is located almost exactly between Rome and Florence. Just a couple kilometers outside of the village is Cascate del Mulino, an all natural hot spring. Take in the believed healing powers of the spring while surrounded by Tuscan countryside and end the day with a traditional Tuscan meal in Saturnia. This spring is open year round and is free to the public.

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Murano

This forgotten piece of Venice is world famous for its magnificent glass work. It has all the beauty of Venice, but without quite as many tourists. This small island is only accessible by boat. This is easy enough for those already on the main island of Venice. It is a quick trip away on the vaporetto (water bus). And pet lovers… dogs ride free.

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Moneglia

A small sea level village wedged between high mountains. The city is protected from its large bay by a sea wall. There are numerous tunnels throughout the wall for easy access to the beach. The shocking contrast of mountains and beach not only makes the blue sea reflect a forest green, but one can hike in the mountains in the morning and lounge on the beach in the evening. An ideal location for those who wish to disappear for a while along the top of the Italian boot.

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Loreto

A magnificent glowing dome protected by high walls perched atop an olive grove hill. This pilgrimage sight is the believed home of the Virgin Mary. Regardless of your religion preferences, Loreto will entrance you with its beautiful town center, unusual niche of Virgin Mary trinkets, and unique basilica.

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Aosta

This small alpine town has made its mark on the map with its surprisingly large daily market. Nestled in northern Italy, it is located close to the French/Swiss border making it a popular destination for Italy’s neighboring countries. Come here for cheap Italian fashion, Roman ruins, and fresh alpine air.

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Explore Venice with Your Dog

 Take your dog with you to Venice? No Problem

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The cheapest way to visit Venice is to book your accommodations outside of Venice. Zala and I chose to couchsurf in Mestre. It made for a fun Halloween and provided an excuse to buy one of those fabulous Venetian masks. Also, if you are able to ‘borrow’ a Venetian’s card; you will save money.

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Advice from someone who made the mistake. Do not drive to Venice. There is no reason for you to do it other than to spend extra money. You can not drive within Venice. Once you reach Venice, you must immediately find overpriced parking.

Taking the bus from Mestre to Venice is no problem with a dog. Slip on his/her muzzle and hop aboard. But be warned, the bus to Venice is usually packed tight with people. Make sure your dog is comfortable in this kind of situation. The train is also easily available for you and your dog for a higher price.

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As for water transportation, gondolas are for tourist with money to spend. Everyone else takes the water bus ‘Vaporetto’. Dogs ride free. Muzzles are required but are more of a courtesy. Zala loves riding the Vaporetto. There is more to Venice than the main island. Be sure to visit the other islets such as Murano and their amazing glasswork.

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Don’t bother using a map in Venice. It is a mess of tight alleys and never ending corners. The joy of Venice is getting wonderfully lost and finding amazing places. Trust me, you will find your way back no problem.

Take little doggy bags. Venice is rock and water. Patches of green are rarely seen.

Feel free to leave comments and questions. I will be happy to answer.