About Wandering Italy

Advice for the Well-Heeled Traveler to Italy

Wandering Italy was conceived to get deeper into Italy's little places, the odd nooks and crannies that are largely unprofitable to write about but interesting to travelers who've "done" the big three and are searching for "the real Italy" which is really all around them.

James Martin, a Professional Vagabond, lives part time in one of those seldom visited spots in Italy called la Lunigiana, a place in far northern Tuscany along the Via Francigena that sports over 160 castles and some pretty unique cuisine. He's made a web app that documents the best places to go in this historic territory in Tuscany. It's called Hidden Tuscany: The Lunigiana and is available for a song. Want to eat well, stay in a castle, or visit ancient caves? The app has got them and lots more. I've left some of the info be free, so you can give 'er a test drive.

He also likes talking about his odder experiences, which you'll find in the Wandering Italy Blog. Before becoming a travel writer, James went through several "career" phases: as archaeologist, electrical engineer, and race car driver. He's obviously unstable as hell, as the worn-heeled traveler should be.

You can at least hear his voice and see how much stability he has as a human tripod: James Martin Travel Videos.

You can email him: through our contact page or follow him on Twitter: @wanderingitaly

And this is a good time to remind you the I've written this whole website and we don't accept guest posts from folks we don't know and can't therefore trust. Sending me 235 emails begging to deposit something on my site doesn't help either. I'm writing. leave me alone.

Sorry, cover your eyes. It's not purty, but you might want to see the curmudgeon you're talking to and gosh, there he is in his enivronment:

james martin wandering italy

What We Cover in Italy

The small places. Surprising places.

We don't sell destinations. We go to places that call to us, discover things, and write about them. You can choose if they're right for you.

I am not an influencer, just a raspy voice from an untapped forest of travel ideas, a place where a culture a bit strange to us trumps (oops! sorry) mere eye candy.


The Via Francigena is an ancient pilgrimage route that has shaped Italy's landscape since the 900s. It's getting more press these days as folks look for something more spiritual than the average coach tour might offer. We're interested in the route for its interesting architecture and the carvings on Romanesque churches at the height of the pilgrimage craze in the 11th and 12th centuries, when folks thought that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get to heaven. The rich dropped some pretty good money trying to garner favor with God, and the results--hospices, inns, and even brothels--are interesting indeed.

We also like little-known valleys like the Valcamonica, with its incredible concentrations of rock carvings hacked out through the ages, regions like the Marche, Puglia, Calabria and Sardinia, and those special foods like truffles to explore. Thanks for joining us for the journey through Italy's smaller and less touristed places. They're no less interesting than Rome, only smaller and with fewer tourist resources. We encourage you to explore them with an open mind, a little knowledge of the Italian language (or some unabashed hand signals) and no small amount of joy for discovery.

Wandering Italy means taking your time, noticing the details, and planning just enough to get you to interesting places. Life is a hoot when you let yourself go.


We're currently working on creating a resource for folks who travel right. Those would be folks who love discovering a culture that isn't theirs. The easiest way to do this is to rent a vacation house and stay a while, participating in the local food festivals called sagre and shopping in local markets. If you don't speak much Italian, you might be unaware of the differences in shopping in an Italian market. So, keep an eye on our Italian Food page for the evolution of this project. If you're looking for lodging in the Lunigiana, you might try the new and improved Lunigiana Rentals.

And we hope to make the growing site Italian Menu Master into a mobile app so you can look up an Italian menu item any time your phone is charged and your wife lets you use it in a restaurant.

Work with us

Wandering Italy has moved up the ranks of travel websites as we've recently returned to working full time to update and add more content. If you are interested in showing us great things in Italy or advertising on the site, see our Media Kit.

Hosting and Website Stats

Wandering Italy has recently changed hosts. After research, I found a host that was very, very fast and had a brilliant support staff. So we are now proudly hosted on A2 Hosting. As we grew, we couldn't live with the stats program that comes free with website hosting, so we find out what's hot at any given moment with the awesomely detailed and inexpensive Clicky.

Wandering Italy - The Blog

Keep up with our spring and fall wanderings across Italy from our hub in the Lunigiana of Northern Tuscany, and our philosophic, cultural and sometimes foody scribblings when we're home in the US.

More Italy Travel Planning Resources