Despite my love for pizza, pasta, ice cream coffee and its delicious wines, Italy has never been one of my favourite countries. Please don’t hate me for that saying, tastes differ. The worst thing is that I can’t even explain why Italy is not in my top list of countries, it seems to be a feeling that goes with it. I have always enjoyed my time in Italy and the weather is often nice, but for some reason I have never felt the “vibe” that gets you in some places. However, this doesn’t mean that Italy is not a beautiful country or anything. On the contrary, I would gladly accept a trip to Italy anytime. Perhaps my lack of enthusiasm for the country is founded on the fact that I have only seen touristy areas such as Venice, Rome and Pisa. On my next trip to Italy (whenever that may be) I’ll try to get a local to show me around to all the truly beautiful places.
Please don’t let my slightly depressing message stop you from visiting Italy and please don’t get me wrong. Italians are very friendly helpful people and their food is delicious. Lovers of culture and history will absolutely feel at home in any of the old, Roman-orientated cities, finishing their day of sighseeing with a nice pasta and a delicious wine.
For more specific info and stories per area, try the Italy-subpages, or get some information from my Italy-bucketlist down below:
1. Angels and demons tour Rome
When I have the time I like to read books. For that reason, I haven’t read much in a while, but I used to when I was younger. One of the authors that I very much enjoyed reading was Dan Brown, the author of the famous “the Da Vinci Code”. His books are thrilling, exciting and mysterious, but they also make you think.
My visit to Rome was with my high school class. Meaning that I have seen most of the tourist attractions, but in a hurry in the way my teachers liked to explore the city. I would very much like to redo it all, but Dan Brown style, following Robert Landon in his footsteps.
2. Beaches and beauty in Sardinia
What people often forget is that Italy has got more Islands than just Sicily. That is a shame, because Sardinia is often rewarded with opinions from people who believe that the island has the most beautiful beaches in the entire Mediterranean Sea. Everything you need is there, from clear blue water, to a rocky coastline, mountains and even some rare species of cute animals such a dear and foxes.
If you are looking for something more active than beach-laying, wildlife-spotting or coastline-strolling, try kite-surfing! Sardinia is quite the sport for it, so you can learn from the best.
Furthermore, as an applied earth science student, I was astonished to hear about Sardia’s rich mining history. The mines are now closed and are even on the UNESCO world heritage list, but many are renovated and open for a visit. One has even been turned into a hotel!
This is the more famous of the two larger Italian islands. Its fame doesn’t make it any less interesting than Sardinia though. Unlike most parts of Italy that only know Roman ruins, some even older Greek ruins can still be found in Sicily. These treasured archeological sites tell the history of the largest Italian Island.
For anybody who enjoys nature more than old man-made crap, Sicily’s volcanoes happily enrich the scenery for you.
Now that we have been busy discussing islands, better to stick to them for now. Elba is a smaller, but culturally interesting Island near Livorno. Many groups of people have owned the Island over time and left their marks. Napoleon being the most famous person in the history of Elba.
Because of its size, Elba would be best to combine with part of mainland Italy, or perhaps the other, even smaller islands that surround Elba in the Tuscan Archipel.
5. Visit a friend/road trip
Not long ago, I sort of accidentally met a guy from Italy and showed him around a bit (shortly mentioned in “the Solo Experience”). At the moment this guy is doing his internship here in the Netherlands, but in time he’ll most likely move back to Italy. When he does, it would be lovely to visit him. Partly because it is cool to see old friends and keep up the relationship, even when they’re out of sight, partly because he is from the South of Bologna and I have never been that far South in Italy. New places excite me and it would be cool to do a road trip through Italy and drive all the way down. Lastly I just like to visit an be shown around by locals in their country. Foreign friends are the best tour guides, and even better, they stick around for the night to have a drink!
6. Lake Garda
According to many, Lake Garda is the most beautiful lake in Italy and located in a stunning environment. I myself am a little bit biased, scared that the area has readily been exploited by tourists and taken over by families with crying babies who are tryng to escape reality by getting annoyingly drunk on cases of wine each night.
However, I am not the worst person when it comes to giving something a chance, so I am quite curious to see this “beauty” for myself and judge. Perhaps I could even found a spot that hasn’t been too badly explored!