I am returning to Europe again next month and am flying my mother in for my last performance in Prague as she has never been to Europe before. Then I am planning to show her around Prague and Paris before bringing her to Italy. She is 60 years old but loves to travel. We both love good food (obviously being a frequent CH'er, you know that food is very important to me!) and also love absorbing the culture of our surroundings and seeing beautiful things.
We will be going in the first or second week of December for about 5 or 6 days and am thinking we can go to 2 places. I am torn about renting a car vs. training it. Neither of us has driven in Europe before and I don't want us to get stressed. I also don't know if she might prefer to have a city vibe where she can see things in close proximity or if she would like going from small town to small town. Should I stay in a nice hotel in a big city and make day trips? Or should I stay in a nice B&B outside and go from there? We will just be two ladies on our own.
I've already been (myself) to Rome (I somehow did not care for Rome so much), Florence, Cinque Terre, Montalcino, Siena, and Spoleto, but do not mind going back to a place to show it to my mother. I really want to go all out on this trip and book wonderful places to stay and treat my mother to the best food and the best experience. Some places I was considering are Torino/Piedmont, Bologna, Florence, Sardinia, Sicily (Siracusa), Venice, Tuscany/Umbria (Lucca, San Gimignano, Siena, Assisi, Montalcino, etc), Naples/Amalfi Coast.
What do you all recommend and what and where do you recommend eating where? I am interested in probably one fine dining meal and many rustic, homey, soulful, nonna type places, great Italian pastries (anything involving ricotta!!), and perhaps one great pizzeria. Please help me create an amazing experience for my mother! Thank you so much!!