Whilst frolicking through the hills and gelaterias of Italy, make time for a day trip to Faenza. Faenza is known worldwide for its tradition of ceramic making or faience, dating back to the twelfth century. Besides that, the town is postage-stamp sized and a hidden gem in the Emilia-Romagna Province. You, dear reader, are equipped with the hidden secrets of escaping the hordes of tourists that can only list three cities in Italy. Here’s what one of our research-writer’s day in Faenza looked like. Before you check out the town, head on over to the tourist information center for a free map and more recommendations.
10:30am – la Piazza Street Market. On Saturdays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, there’s a bustling open market in the main plaza. Selling everything from fruits and vegetables to watches and fishing rods, the vendors are friendly and offer low prices. Take home a handsome fishing rod for that special someone; airport security will be thrilled! Open Tu, Th, & Sa 8:30am-1pm.
11:15am – la Catedral. Built in the late fifteenth century, this cathedral is situated right in the middle of the bustle of la Piazza. When we visited, a children’s choir was having rehearsal, and we thought we were hearing angels. Free and open to the public.
Noon – lunch at La Granadilla. Pause for lunch at this vegan and vegetarian sandwich shop. Boasting string lights, house-made juices and biodegradable packaging, the shop’s crunchy aesthetic is matched by some pretty dang good sandwiches.
12:30pm – Window shopping and gelato. Corso Giuseppe Mazzini is a main street that runs down the center of Faenza. Lined with shops featuring Italian fashions and locally created ceramic art, window shopping is the perfect activity if you want to rest and digest. The street also hosts a smattering of gelato shops, which will definitely placate you when you realize you can’t afford anything in the Italian boutiques.
1:30pm – Palazzo Milzetti. After about 1pm, many restaurants and stores shut down and folks rest in the hottest part of the day. This is the perfect time to check out some of the museums Faenza has to offer. We first checked out Palazzo Milzetti, a palace built for eighteenth-century Count Nicola Milzetti. With an English audio guide, you can walk through impressive-sounding rooms named and painted after Greek myths. Why yes, I would love to some wine in Apollo’s Temple, thanks for asking. Admission €2, free audio guide available.
2:15pm – International Museum of Ceramics. This museum is arguably Faenza’s most prized possession, so be prepared to spend a couple of hours roaming its galleries. They feature some of the best works from around the world and across time, with art from China to Mesoamerica. Our favorite part was the upper floor with modern ceramics. With many of the modern pieces created by local ceramic artists of the region, the museum subtly reminded us that ceramics is not a dying art, and should not be treated as such.
4pm – FRANKIE. It’s been a long, hot day, we know. Luckily, across the street from the Ceramics museum is FRANKIE, a bar cafe that offers good coffee, free Wi-Fi, and (#blessed) air conditioning. At night, the tables are moved outside and turns into a laid back cocktail lounge.
5pm – Leave, happy and content. Congratulations! You just discovered Faenza all on your own, leaving with a kilo of fruit and picturesque memories. Now the next time someone asks you about your trip to Italy, you’ll be able to talk about more than just Rome’s Colosseum.