Northern Italy in August: Surprisingly NOT a Mad Crush of Tourists


Michael and I were very reluctant to come to Northern Italy in August. We assumed we'd be buried under a crush of tourists (like our trip to Florence last year, which, frankly, was absolutely, off-the-charts horrible thanks to the mobs of people; I still feel like I have PTSD from that trip. Why would anyone ever want to travel like that?).

But we'd just left our month in the Swiss Alps, and so we thought, "Well, we're in the area, we've never been here before, so why not check it out?"

We've been pleasantly surprised to discover that outside of the Insane Tourist Crush Zone of Rome, Florence, and Venice (and maybe parts of Tuscany), Italy is...pretty peaceful, even in August.

We're in Bologna (and nearby Modena), and honestly, restaurants are wide open, there are no lines at any of the attractions, and our hotel is offering us discounts to stay longer. This, and traveling off-season, is the ONLY ONLY ONLY way I will ever see Italy again.

By the way, regarding Bolognese sauce? It's not supposed to be on spaghetti, you thoughtless philistines! It must be served on a wider noodle, like fettuccine, to hold the sauce and showcase the flavor. (Now that I'm temporarily a Bolognese native, I can snootily insult the rest of the world with impunity.)

Incidentally, we're near Parma, and real Parma Parmesan cheese is amazing: both sharp and smooth at the same time. Maybe it just tastes better with an ancient piazza around it, but I don't think so.

OTOH, the Bolognese really can't be too snooty about food, because, well, french fries on pizza? Really? And the gelato, of which Michael and I are huge enthusiasts, has been a tad disappointing too -- at least compared to Rome and Southern Italy.