Italy

One of the most desired destinations of any traveler Italy is paradise for foodies, adventurous travelers, people looking for relaxation, and anyone in between. Italy has dozens of big cities to visit and hundreds of smaller cities and towns. 

The capital city of Rome is one of the most important places in history. Seeing all the ruins and monuments is truly breathtaking. While it’s very touristy, the Colosseum and Roman Forum are breathtaking. The Pantheon is considered by many to be the most architecturally perfect building ever made.

 

The food is Rome (and all of Italy) is to die for and you can do it with one hundred dollars a day or you can do it with twenty dollars a day. The cheapest thing in Italy will almost always be pizza. You can get a whole marinara or Margherita pizza for as low as five euros. If you are willing to spend a bit more, the pasta, meat, and seafood dishes will blow your mind. Cannolis, tiramisu, and gelato are just a few of the amazing desserts you can find all over Italian cities. 

While Rome is beautiful, it is extremely touristy and thus, attracts many scammers. Keep an eye out around tourist attractions for people trying to give you a bracelet or anything of that nature. Anyone calling out to you and asking where your from is likely a scammer. The best way to deal with them is to keep walking. They will yell at you for a few seconds and then move on to the next person. To avoid scammers and the bigger tourist traps, I recommend going to another city. My favorite city in Italy was Florence. 

While still a metropolitan area, Florence is much smaller and feels much more authentic. Like all of Italy, the food is amazing and there is a welcoming atmosphere to the city. The nightlife is great with tons of bars, restaurants, and clubs. I was lucky to be in Florence during the Euro 2020 football (soccer) tournament the night of the Italy vs Austria game. With a win for Italy the city was alive until the sun came out as everyone celebrated. The other most popular destination in Italy is Venice. I was there during June and it was actually very nice. While it was more expensive than other cities, there was lots to do, see, eat, and drink. While I had a good experience there, I would not recommend Venice. If there was a single city to show the negative effects of over-tourism, it would be Venice. I came to Venice just as COVID restrictions were eased and thus not many people had started coming back to Italy. Venice is usually full to the brim with tourists and it is hard to get an authentic experience. As shown from the pandemic, the city desperately needs to be left alone in order to clear the canals and allow the few locals that do live there a chance to become independent from a touristic economy.

 

Italy is an amazing country but I believe you need to either go to smaller cities or go during off season of tourism (fall, winter, spring). Rome, Venice, Pisa, Naples, and Milan can be great but you should be prepared for it to be different than you expected. During my travels I met many people traveling throughout Italy and gave me the following recommendations for places to visit.

 

  • Genoa

  • Verona

  •  Palermo 

  • Modena (Home to the world’s best restaurant)

  • Parma

  • Trieste

  • Bologna

Roman Colosseum
Roman Colosseum

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Tortellini en Brodo
Tortellini en Brodo

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Roman Forum
Roman Forum

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Roman Colosseum
Roman Colosseum

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Image by Michele Bitetto