I fell in love with Italy's food scene last summer studying abroad in Rome and spent weeks tracking down hole in the wall cheap and incredible restaurants from Elizabeth Minchelli, Katie Parla, and all the wonderful recommenders on this board. I have the opportunity to spend two weeks in May traveling in Italy after finishing a job in Paris. The first week, I will spend May 9-11 in Bologna and 11-15 in Puglia, Bari, Lecce with a friend. I have never traveled alone before, but seeing as this may be my last time in Italy for the foreseeable future, I'd like to stay until May 22, when I will need to fly out of either Rome or Venice.
I've mapped out three potential itineraries for my week alone, which are VERY different experiences. I like all three equally and the issue is choosing, since I've never been to any of these places. I post this on Chowhound because my priority is the food, weather, and avoiding tourists (by touristy I mean Cinque Terre-type experience, which will be hard to avoid on the Amalfi Coast.) I think all three of these could give me great foodie experiences, but I wanted to know what you thought for a young female traveler would be the most fun and delicious to pick. Any help is very very appreciated. Two things I'd like to try are 1. Affordable agriturismo with a lengthy mindblowing family dinner (don't care about swimming pools etc.) that stays under 80-100 euro per night, preferably less. 2. Cooking lesson under 60 euro, so if anything jumps out at you when you read that, let me know.
Thank you in advance for your help and patience. Once I decide, I will do further research for restaurant recs.
Itinerary 1 “A Week in Sicily (Night in Venice)”
May 15- Night train, Lecce to Palermo
May 15-20 Explore Sicily (Palermo, Siricusa, Taormina, Modica, Catania)
May 20- Fly to Venice from Catania
May 20-22- Explore Venice
May 22- Fly Venice to U.S.
Itinerary 2 “Pizzas and Beaches (Naples, Sorrento, Rome)”
May 15- Night train, Lecce to Naples
May 16- Day in Naples, Overnight in Naples (Pizza! Markets!)
May 17- Day in Naples, Overnight in Naples OR Agriturismo near Naples
May 18-Morning Ferry to Sorrento, Day in Sorrento (potential cooking class with Sorrento Cooking School). Overnight in Sorrento
May 19-Morning Ferry to Procida, Overnight in Procida
May 20-Ferry to Naples, Train to Rome, Overnight in Rome
May 21-Spend a day trying to eat everything I miss in Rome
May 22-Fly Rome → U.S.
Itinerary 3 “Northern Gastronomic Explosion in Emilia Romagna”
May 15- Fly Bari to Bologna
May 15/16- Cooking Class in Bologna, Markets in Bologna!
May 17-Morning train to Reggio Emilia, Night train to Parma, Overnight in Parma (Agroturismo?)
May 18- Day either Parma or Cremona, potential overnight at Agroturismo
May 19- Morning train to Mantua or Padua, train to Venice, overnight Venice
May 20- Day in Venice (Treviso?)
May 21- Day in Venice
May 22- Fly Venice to U.S.