Few European cities are as incredible an experience for study abroad students as Rome—there’s no denying that. As great as Rome is, however, there’s nothing quite like hopping on a train across the country or even across the continent of Europe itself to truly explore a whole new part of the world while you’re studying at John Cabot University. There are many iconic destinations to visit, as well as a few that are a little more off the beaten path. The best part? Some of those destinations are close enough to visit during a quick weekend getaway.
If you’re feeling like you need to get out of town for the weekend, you might want to give some of these lesser-heralded parts of the country a spin. Here are three offbeat destinations you could visit during your weekends while abroad in Italy.
Rimini: For Students Who Love the Beach and Have a Sense of Adventure
As far as beach towns in Italy go, this is definitely worth having on your list. Across its multiple beaches and many lawn chairs are some gorgeous views, beautiful architecture, and a fantastic street food culture. Located just under four hours from Rome, Rimini is a town with plenty of nightlife as well, including its famed La Notte Rosa—a beach party happening during the first week of July, where the streets are painted pink and fireworks, light displays, and live performances are part of the festivities. There’s also the country of San Marino, the world’s fifth-smallest nation, within a 40-minute drive. A visit here is worth it largely for the views from its location on top of a mountain.
Sorrento: For Students Interested in Lesser-Known Historical Wonders
Located just over three hours from Rome in driving distance, Sorrento is a town that already has a reputation for being a tourist hotspot on the Amalfi Coast. However, it’s particularly worth visiting for one of its hidden gems: the fascinating Valle dei Mulini. Translating to “valley of the mills”, it has been in existence for around 700 years and abandoned for about the last 80. Not only does it look lush and a bit spooky, but it’s also carved by two rivers and has some breathtaking views. The jungle-like valley also has an intriguing backstory, as it used to be an industrial area for flour mills until pasta milling made them obsolete, leading to plants and greenery overtaking the abandoned buildings.
Ascoli: Where Students Can Brush Up on Their Italian
If you’re looking for a smaller town not known for having a touristy reputation, Ascoli Piceno might just be what you’ve been searching for. Since it’s only a two and a half-hour drive from Rome, it’s an easy town to hop on a bus toward—and not an expensive one either. However, due to its relative lack of tourism, you might not have as much luck speaking English around town, so this presents a great opportunity to practice your Italian. Visiting Ascoli is also worth it for students not simply for the language practice, but also for its marble-based architecture, various nearby hiking trails, and the Carnevale festival—an event where participants wear inventive costumes underneath chandeliers in the town’s multiple piazzas.
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