Italy; the home of fashion, cars, art and the most amazing food. I was lucky enough to visit this incredible country as the second stop of my European adventure. Although I didn’t end up meeting a gorgeous lip-syncing Italian boy who’d drive me around Rome on his Vespa and sweep me off my feet, I did leave Italy feeling very satisfied and probably about 2kgs heavier from all the food I ate.
Here’s some things I learnt from my experience in some of Italy’s most beautiful cities.
1. You should definitely take a cheesy photo at the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Although it’s super cliche, this small town is definitely worth stopping by and while you’re there, why not take the typical ‘I’m holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa all by myself’ photo. Or make it interesting, and find the most creative way to encapsulate the Leaning Tower of Pisa into your photo. If all else fails, it’s just as funny to watch everyone around you trying to do the same thing.
2. Traditional Italian meals are the bomb
Much to my delight, I learnt that most Italian meals are four (or sometimes more) courses of deliciousness. Starting off with appetisers, then onto antipasto, your main meal and then dessert. Don’t forget to have some Limoncello after dinner as well!
3. Don’t plan a trip to Italy when the Trevi Fountain is being renovated
I was pretty disappointed to realise I wasn’t going to have my ‘Lizzie McGuire‘ moment at the Trevi Fountain when I arrived and saw it was under construction and was in fact empty. Talk about a let down. Nevertheless, I still threw my coins in. I’ll be back soon Roma!
4. Vatican City is awe-inspiring
It might not be on the top of your to do list (it certainly didn’t rank highly on mine), but take the time to visit the Vatican. It’s worth it alone for the amazing view of Michelangelo’s ‘The Last Judgement‘ on the wall of the Sistine Chapel, and the ceiling of St Peter’s Basilica. Plus you’ll get brownie points with your overly religious grandma.
5. Get a guided tour of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum
Sure, everyone visits the Colosseum, but learning about the history of this place makes your visit extra special. I went on a lot of guided tours throughout my Contiki adventure, this was definitely the most interesting one.
6. The Venetian canals smell funky
Venice is a picturesque city, and a gondola ride through Venice is an amazing experience. That being said, the canals are quite dirty and they smell kinda nasty too. The reason for this is that a lot of sewage ends up going back into the canals. Pretty gross, huh? So I definitely recommend not going anywhere near the water unless you want to get sick, there’s a reason you don’t see any of the locals doing so.
7.You will have the best pizza/ pasta of your life in Italy
Whether it’s in a fancy restaurant or a small shop on the corner, Italians can do no wrong when it comes to the local cuisine. You will leave Italy with incredibly high expectations and your local Pizza Hut will never satisfy you again.
8. Italian summers are stinkin’ hot!
Seriously, and that’s coming from an Australian. Make sure to keep hydrated and wear a hat as much as possible. Or just do what I did and eat a whole heap of gelato to help you keep cool.
9. Beware of the gypsies!
Not the ‘Esmeralda-From-The-Hunchback-Of-Notre-Dame‘ kind of gypsy, rather the ‘break-into-your-cabin-and-steal-all-your-stuff’ kind. Be super mindful of your belongings, don’t carry your passport or any important documents unless absolutely necessary, and try to lock your luggage up before leaving your room.
Till next time.