I've been wanting to go to Italy and Greece. Is there any place you recommend there that are not too touristy? Some sort of hidden gems?
Indonesians tend to skip most of the Southern part of Italy, preferring the more affluent North. Shame. There's the Pompeii ruins near the Bay of Naples. There's also Sardinia with its melting pot architecture (the Phoenicians, Vandals, Byzantines and Catalans all left their mark on the place) and regional cuisine that reflects this mixed heritage. The island’s north coast alone is scalloped with 80 coves.
Another off the beaten path gem in the South is the city of Matera, a city of caves, a showcase of sprawling labyrinth, subterranean architecture. Matera boasts one of the world’s longest histories of habitation, dating back several millennia, and up to four hundred years ago, everyone in Matera lived in caves. Francis Ford Coppola recently opened a hotel in a nearby village. For cinematic landscape, drive a car along the coast and you would feel like you're in a Fellini movie (just ignore the aggressive drivers, of course).
If you love nature, head to the traditional villages collectively known as Zagorohoria in the rugged mountains of the Pindus range, Greece, home to wolves and brown bears. Or stay in any of the villages in the island of Zakynthos for plenty of good food, and enjoy the slow pace of life. If you're straight, Mykonos during the summer months becomes a popular gay destination, which makes you a rare bird there and makes quite a unique experience.
Happy island hopping!
*Photo by Martin de Lusenet
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