Have you ever come across a picture of a laptop with the sea in the background saying “office for the next few weeks” and felt a twinge of jealousy?
Well, why not make it a reality for yourself? The trend of working and playing isn’t a new one, but as the desire to experience a different reality grows stronger, many of us are considering taking this path.
If you have flexibility at work and are looking for a truly unique travel experience, look no further than Italy. Here, slow travel and rich culture combine to create an unforgettable journey where you can feel like a local for real.
As a travel designer, I’ve had so much fun creating tailor-made itineraries for digital nomads seeking a more immersive and meaningful travel experience. And when it comes to slow travel, there’s no better place than Italy, where you can fully immerse yourself in the local culture and create deeper connections with the local community.
In fact, if you are aiming for a slow travel experience, approaching it as a digital nomad might be the right way to take the time needed to gain a deeper appreciation for Italy’s beauty and heritage.
Choose a bar where to have breakfast every day: they’ll get used to your order and treat you like a friend. Go to the local market: ask for suggestions on what’s the freshest produce and cook it at your Airbnb. Take the time to taste all the regional wines to discover what’s your favourite one… And just like that, you’ll start feeling a sense of belonging day by day.
So why not start planning your slow travel journey to Italy today?
Wheatear you see yourself doing this in a remote destination, immersed in nature or in a vibrant city, here are my three picks to have such an experience:
THE “COME AS YOU ARE” ISLAND: PANTELLERIA
From the west side of the island, on a clear day, you can see the African coastline kissing the Mediterranean Sea. It’s hard to believe, but Pantelleria is actually closer to Africa than it is to Italy.
Wild, uncombed and raw, the island welcomes you with lush Mediterranean vegetation, a rugged shoreline, and a palette of colours ranging from black lava to deep ocean and vibrant green.
With rustic rural homes (or dammusi) scattered throughout the landscape, as well as a multitude of up-and-coming winemakers and local eateries, Pantelleria is the perfect destination if you’re seeking a remote and peaceful place with a plunge-into-the-sea opportunity always around the corner and plenty of activities and cuisine to explore.
WHEN TO GO: late spring or late summer
SOMETHING UNMISSABLE: driving in the Piana della Ghirlanda
BMJ FAVE RESTAURANT: U’ Truscio street food
THE “BREATH-IN NATURE” MOUNTAIN VILLAGE: ORTISEI
Ortisei is a village that looks like it was made out of marzipan surrounded by a pristine valley where deer roam free, streams invite you to dip your toes, and the green hills are dotted with quaint wooden houses. It might sound too good to be true, but trust me, it’s real!
Neat, colourful, and authentic, this mountain village in Val Gardena feels like it’s straight out of a fairytale.
Ortisei is the perfect option if you’re looking to be in the mountains so that you can go on hikes before work or explore every day one of the villages of the valley when you clock out. Check out my 7-day journey idea in Trentino to get a taste of what you can experience here.
WHEN TO GO: spring-summer (unless you plan on skiing)
SOMETHING UNMISSABLE: a walk in the Vallunga
BMJ FAVE RESTAURANT: Tubladel
THE “TRENDY AND BUSTLING” CITY: MILANO
A city with a touch of innovation and – yet – an old-fashioned aftertaste.
Trendy, hectic, and vibrant, Milano feels like a nostalgic younger sister. A place where there’s always something going on, whether it’s fashion or design weeks or new restaurant openings. The presence of several universities keeps the atmosphere young and sparkling while the city’s traditional soul honours its Italianità.
Choose Milano if you want to experience Italian life in a bustling city that’s only a couple of hours away from the sea, the lake, and the mountains.
WHEN TO GO: spring or autumn (avoid the summer)
SOMETHING UNMISSABLE: Fuori Salone week (mid-April)
BMJ FAVE RESTAURANT: check out my “Milan like a Local” guide!
PS: If you are looking for an Airbnb in Milan, I love this one (that’s so close to where I used to live :)!