Before I lived in Italy for a little while this past summer, I found it impossible to pick a favourite country. Now, it’s easy. I explored Italy more in depth than I have explored any other country – I learned the language, I lived with Italians, I went to places tourists normally wouldn’t. I laughed and cried all over this beautiful country and every day I want to go back. My parents visited for two weeks and fell equally in love; I’m still trying to convince them to buy a villa, Under the Tuscan Sun style, so I can visit like, all the time. I have a thousand posts I want to write about Italy, but for now, here’s some quick thoughts on everywhere I went:
After a month in Morocco, Milan was unbelievably modern. Also incredibly expensive. Both times in the city were basically for layovers – the first time, I slept at the airport and wanted to kill myself. The second time, I slept at an Airbnb hosted by a very creepy man and wanted to kill him. Good times.
My first time in Rome, I stayed in a gorgeous Trastavere apartment with my parents and we explored all the historic sites. My second time in Rome, I went on a pub crawl with my friend Brooke and we got 100% lost downtown at 4am. They were fairly different trips. Read more here!
I only spent four hours in Florence, and it was simultaneously enough for me to see what I wanted and absolutely not enough at all. I climbed the bell tower, gushed over the views, saw the famous bridge and wandered a bit, then headed back to the train station. I’d love to return and wander a bit more, but as it was this afternoon was great!
I lived with my host family in this small town outside Milan for two weeks. It was quite average – as average as a historic Italian town could be. Good to live in, but I’m not sure I’d visit!
Despite being the busiest place I encountered in Italy, Cinque Terre was a must-see. I was here with my parents, which meant we stayed in a gorgeous apartment with a view of Manarola, one of the five towns, and I enjoyed living in the lap of luxury. I was too sick to enjoy a lot of the hiking, but the views of this coastline are breathtaking from everywhere you stand.
I thought this would be an overhyped destination full of Americans, and it was certainly touristy, but I fell in love with the gorgeous scenery on leisurely boat rides down Lago di Como. I stayed in Menaggio but explored all of the main towns. Read more here!
This is the place where I learned that Italy has crappy beach towns with absolutely 0 Italian-ness. I felt like I was on the east coast of the US or something.
Ah, Trieste. I lived here for over a month and absolutely fell in love with this place I had never heard of, tucked over by the Slovenian and Croatian border. It’s a hidden gem with so much to offer. Read a little bit more here.
Unpopular opinion: I kind of hated Venice. I’m glad I went, but it felt like a place that had been constructed for tourists – even though I know how much incredible history it has behind it. I think I might enjoy visiting in the winter, with more of a plan for getting off the beaten path, but as it was I felt like I was walking through a particularly sweaty portion of Disneyland. Read more here!
In Verona, I had the privilege of attending an opera in an open-air restored Roman Arena and it was possibly the coolest thing I have ever done. I stayed in a historic villa and fell in love with this city that’s so famous for love.
I am obsessed with mountains, so naturally I had to visit the amazing, and often overlooked South Tyrol region of Italy. I stayed in an incredibly affordable and incredibly gorgeous private room with a view of the Dolomites. I used this as a jumping off point to visit Lago di Braies, which may be the prettiest place I have ever seen.
In Cortona I stayed in a nunnery, limped around on an injured knee, befriended expats, and finally understood why there was so much hype about Tuscany.
I went to Perugia on a whim, planning to stay three nights, and ended up living in paradise for a week at a farmhouse hostel that is still the best place I’ve ever been. I got robbed on my last night, but I still think of this place so fondly and cannot WAIT to write about the pool, the view, the people, the…everything. Read more here!
On my way to Paris to catch a last minute flight back to Canada, I fainted in the Pisa train station. Fainting is weird. I got nowhere near the leaning tower, but honestly I didn’t really care if I saw it.
I visited Naples on the way from Greece – I was supposed to be in the Amalfi Coast, but our flight was delayed so we had to stay in Naples. We had no plans and no expectations, but were a tiny bit apprehensive based on the scary things we had heard about Naples. We ended up falling in love with this gritty city, and particularly its pizza.