As I may have mentioned, I recently graduated from college (!!!). So, to celebrate, my parents took our family on a 12-day trip to Italy. It was the greatest gift, and I am so thankful that I got to spend time with them as we explored Venice, Florence, and Rome, with a quick trip to Lucca, Pisa, and Vinci in between.
I really, really love Italy. I’ve been to a few of these cities before during the summers of 2007 and 2008, and it was amazing to go back to some familiar spots and find new places that I missed the first time around! After spending years looking at all of the photos I had taken and longing to go back, I finally had the chance.
We packed so much into that week and a half: going on gondola rides and visiting glass factories in Venice, shopping at open-air leather markets and taking cooking classes in Florence, walks down quiet alleyways in Lucca, posing with leaning towers in Pisa (as well as a few other cities…this country loves their off-balance architecture!), checking out tiny museums in Vinci, learning the history and venturing out for 7:15am trips to the Vatican in Rome, and, OF COURSE, eating pizza and gelato everywhere we went. It’s difficult to pick a favorite part of this trip, and after seeing these photos, I’m sure you’ll be able to understand why. It was the perfect way to start off my post-grad adventure.
And here are a few tips for if you ever find yourself traveling to Italy…
- Download DuoLingo before you go and brush up on your Italian!
- If you have the chance to climb some steps to the top of this-or-that church or bell tower, do it.
- Be sure to eat as much as possible…vacation calories don’t count, especially when pizza and pasta are plentiful.
- Talk to people! You can learn a lot about a city’s history from your cab driver during a short ride across town.
- Stroll down side streets, take a peek around your hotel’s neighborhood, and just get to know your surroundings a little bit better. Knowing where you are can make you feel less like a tourist and more like a badass world traveler.