Three years ago, I was enjoying the Mediterranean sun. I was starting my Italian dream holiday. I had landed in Rome, Italy a day before starting my two-week tour. This was part of my first ever solo trip in 2017.
I was ready to walk the cobbled stoned streets, eat pasta and gelato. Enjoy what Italy has to offer and I didn’t know it yet but appreciate the wine. I wasn’t a wine drinker before Italy and truthfully, not one after. But when I arrived I wholeheartedly embraced the saying “when in Rome, do what the Romans do”. I drank wine and will do on my return. Oh and let’s not forget the limoncello, I’m drooling thinking about it.
All through my school, I studied Italian, one-two times a week we had classes. So my dream to go to Italy grew lots over the year, and it when I finally got to go, it was more than I ever imagined.
Italy to this day is still one of my favourite places I have travelled. It holds a special
place in my heart. I spent two weeks travelling around with a Contiki tour. Seeing some of the most beautiful places on this planet with amazing people from all over the world.
This was my first overseas experience, where I would meet people who I share incredible memories and stories. I have moments of remembering that are trigger by a song, the smell of food, drink and/or a single image.
For me, Italy is symbolic of many things, my whole first solo adventure was pivotal, but Italy Imparticular. It wasn’t until my trip away last year that I thought back on how on important and monumental this time and place was.
Everything about Italy is exceptional, and anyone who has been can understand that. Italy is a place filled with so much history and every turn you take you can see it. You can see it in the generational run family businesses, the weathered architecture, the uneven roads and footpaths.
You hear the history from the guides and the people you meet in the shops, restaurants, markets and on the streets.
Everywhere you go, you’re surrounded by animated people who are full of life no matter what age. They have a story, a recipe, and a drink to share. The energy of Italians is infectious.
Every place we visited in this boot-shaped country was a new piece of history to be uncovered and something exquisite to see. There was/is always another delicious meal to eat and beverage to drink.
I could never have thought up such beautiful places even if I tried; no photos will ever do it justice. Each new destination holds a memory for me; each location something happened that I will never forget with people who were stranger’s only days earlier.
A gondolier ride in Venice on a rainy day. A “cosy” hotel room in Florence and running through the rain in Verona. Boating around the island of Capri and swimming in cold water the colour of blue jelly. In Sorrento, we went from a tiny shop to another tiny shop “sampling” shots of limoncello before a sunset dinner on the edge of a cliff.
I was the most touristy I have ever been in Pisa. We did a long, hot but magical hike between towns in Cinque Terra. We saw the Colosseum in Rome and the Trevi Fountain at night, and there is not a moment I forget about the cramped and incredible Vatican City.
I could keep going and going about every place. I wish I could write a play by play of every day and could explain so many of the memories, but then I would begin writing a book.
Italy is truly what dreams are made of, that’s right, I made a Lizzie Maguire movie reference, just like we did every day on tour.
I want nothing more than to one day return to Italy. I wish to see new places and to revisit others; to see every corner of this country.
I long to wander around aimlessly down the small streets in little towns where I feel like I have transported into something out of a storybook. To eat at restaurants and sit at relaxed overlooking vineyards.
I want to have a La dolce vita di nuovo in Italia. The sweet life again in Italy.
If you want to know more about the tour I did, follow the link; https://www.contiki.com/au/en/destinations/europe/tours/simply-italy-until-from-april2020-3978