When you stay in smaller towns the cost of traveling within Italy isn't such a shock compared to cities like Rome, Venice or Florence.
Some of the smaller towns were my absolute favourites and provided a multitude of quality experiences. One of my favourites was Vicenza, a small town with great shopping, dinning, sights such as villas within rural areas just surrounding the city (45 minute walk well worth your trek from the centre of town).
As an option for accommodations I highly recommend the Albergo Due Mori where you not only have larger rooms than your typical Roman hotel (and that includes larger bathrooms) but there is also a rooftop terrace with a view of the city and a table for 6 ideal for dinning alfresco. Be sure to grab a few locally made salads, sandwiches, meats, cheeses and wine at Il Ceppo - a heaven for gastronomy enthusiasts - just around the corner from the hotel.