Like most North American travelers, you may be tempted to run helter-skelter from village to village, site to site, throughout many of the days of your stay. However one thing you will observe, and may even become frustrated by, is the incredible tranquility that descends between 1 and 4pm: the time of the sacred siesta.
This is a time when most businesses are closed, most shops have their grilles firmly locked, and every sensible Italian is at home or at a restaurant having a long, leisurely lunch. The streets are deserted, no services are available, so you may as well drop your bags, go into a restaurant, and enjoy a meal as the Italians do.
There is a flip side. Just as the streets were deserted at 2pm, they will suddenly be teeming with people at about 7pm. This is the time for the passeggiata, or stroll through town, that is as sacred a tradition as the siesta.
Throughout Italy, in villages, towns, and even in certain neighbourhoods of the major centers, Italians of all ages, all walks of life, stroll around the streets between 6.30-8pm, to see and be seen. A community social event without parallel in North America, this phenomenon gives rise to a vibrancy in the town centers which is truly infectious.
To be within this throng, this bubbling kettle of social interaction and bella figura, is an experience which, we think, will bring you back for more. So, as much as you would like to see just one more sight, one more museum, one more palazzo, we hope you will take the time to do the passeggiata; after all, you too must see and be seen.