In the Fall we will return to Italy spending time in the regions of Marche, Umbria, Puglia, Compania and Lazio. We had brief time in the Marche with some of our trips to Umbria, but it was back in 2005 that we spend dedicated time in the region. Puglia was very enjoyable last year and we want to return before the Region becomes too popular! Is that even possible anymore? Umbria is beautiful and it is easy to visit both Umbria and Tuscany from where we are staying just outside of Montefalco.
On our 2023 trip we were confronted with the issue of tourist crowds in some locations, usually in the larger cities. But tour groups also took toll in small towns. For example, while walking on the narrow streets of Bari vecchio, a tour group of 25+ persons literally took over the narrow street making their way to the next sight. Local people were yelling out that they would be calling the police. It was unsettling but understandable. Small narrow streets just can not handle a larger tour group.
On our trips we are tourists also, and we all have to be aware of the impact we have on the each town or city we visit. I support the move Venice is making to limit the size of tour groups to under 25 persons during busy seasons.
Another learning from 2023 is to avoid back to back time in large cities. This year we will see Naples at the beginning of our time in Italy, and Rome at the end, even though on the map it appears to logical to go from one city to the next.
On our Spring trip to Spain we will not be travelling to Barcelona. We have been there a couple of times. We will tour other areas of the country, and hopefully they should be less impacted by high levels of tourists. Time-Out lists Barcelona as one of the locations in Spain suffering from high tourist levels.
For our fall trip, we have to be in Rome to visit friends and for our flights. We have found we can enjoy the city by purposefully avoiding some of the "must see sights". Luckily, we have been to Rome many times and we have already seen all the big star locations!
But despite any issues we are booked for 2024 and ready to go!