The idea of exploring the architectures of Rome, devouring some of the freshest meals in Italy, and witnessing some of the world’s renown monuments like the Colosseum and Leaning Tower of Pisa was mind blowing, but for me only 16 hours and a few flights away. I was able to experience the home of the renaissance which definitely showed its age through its beautiful stones and endless culture. The best part about being there was deciding to road trip a tour throughout Italy, which showed my friend and I more about what the country had to offer.
If you are interested in knowing what to expect before your travel to Italy, continue reading for the details on our Italy tour experience.
Gelato is insanely popular throughout Italy making it easy to come across, along with a pizza shop on every corner offering an assortment of combos and flavors. Surprisingly everyone was pretty physically in shape. I assumed they were able to achieve such bodies from the amounts of walking they endure day to day. I also figured we would tackle a great deal of that physical activity as well so I made sure to bring comfortable shoes as a must. If you opted out of walking you either owned a luxury car, Fiat or a scooter/motorcycle for transportation. Our limited knowledge of european traffic laws gave some disadvantage, but we quickly got use to the roundabouts and flow of traffic since it was similar to being in the states. The price of gas also wasn’t horrible considering our drive time. Overall, Italy was absolutely amazing and I would have been ecstatic if I somehow managed to be trapped there for another week or so.
First stop was ROME. Probably one of the hottest cities we visited but filled with the friendliest and most welcoming people ever. Although Italian is the spoken language there, we found that the local people enjoyed practicing their English tongues on us or intensely hold conversations in amusement to hear our accents. The people definitely made it worthwhile. Of course the main attraction, the Colosseum, was the appetizer of the day and the only place we had to actually stand in line for. It was filled with people blocks away outside then wrapped around inside to a gorgeous site with emphasis on the gore, considering the history.
We soon after visited the Vatican City where the Michelangelo painting resides but was only able to view the plaza due to my woman-like tardiness. It was still very impressive as well as the Spanish steps which was accompanied by strips of designer stores and street artists. Overall we spent about three hours walking around the city and there was more to come during the next few days.
Next we took a four hour drive to PISA where we witnessed hustling at its finest. This was a tourist hot spot where people were welcomed to local markets and freelance sellers. Pisa wasn’t the largest city, so of course the majority crowded around the Leaning Tower and Cathedral. I think the most infamous pose was “pushing” the leaning tower, although it’s super awkward to do in public but of course I had to capture that moment which only inspired others to follow suit soon after.
If you are a wild flower child like myself then it was only right to check out the Botanic Garden. It carried some of the most exotic plants I’ve ever seen and the perfect place to be one with nature. I also had the best meal here which was simply grilled chicken and lemon potatoes but the freshness and quality of the meal made it everything more.
After picking up a few souvenirs and making some light shopping rounds we found ourselves back on the road towards VENICE. Probably my second favorite destination. This city was created underwater which is impressive in itself. The canal water depth was about 3 feet, making boat travel conveniently easy. It gets quite deep the further out into the open water to about 12 feet or so.
Upon arrival, the night had pretty much settled in but was greeted with complimentary drinks and a candle lit dinner along the canal. Over the top romantic if I must add. If you’re looking for a serious night scene, it’s pretty much nonexistent. After about midnight, everything shuts down and the people are in bed ready for the next work day. If you decided to stay up for a couple drinks.. then there was a plaza where a group of people congregated around a bonfire with a typical guitar player and two dive bars to converse.
My friend and I actually decided to dig deeper and check out this suggested lounge close by that was filled with a hand full of locals and techno music to dance to. Their variety of music was actually pretty up to date as they continuously played Migos, Cardi B and Justin Bieber. Again, the Italian people were extremely friendly so it took no time to be invited to their tables for great laughs and a good time.
That morning we spent another great deal of time venturing through the city where we saw more street talent, designer stores, massive arts, and rode the gondola. Of course that was the highlight, but not just due to the romantic act but because our driver gave us an awesome tour of Mozart’s headquarters, some major theaters and decided to run a detour to help out some fellow friends across the canal. This was also the moment I realized how invaluable the dollar bill was in Europe after exchanging 20 dollars to recieve 13.50 euro back.
To finish the trip, we took another three hour drive to RIMINI BEACH, where we resided along the beach for an ocean view. By far the best hotel we stayed in. We arrived there in time to have dinner on the beach, enjoy some fun in the sand, and hangout with the locals. Here I tried fried octopus and squid, on accident, which wasn’t as bad as you would initially think. The following morning we were quickly reminded about the normalized nude beach situation after finding ourselves back in the sand to enjoy the blue water and indulge in more shopping.
We eventually made our way into the city to view the architectural arts and uniquely made buildings. All over Italy there are hundreds of Roman Catholic churches. In Rimini we were met with a dress code to enter the holy sanctuary where neither one of us would have received approval since I wore a sleeveless top that happened to show my torso. One thing I found interesting was the fountains of continuously running water which surprisingly had some of the cleanest water. People either filled up their water jugs, took a sip or two or washed off their hands there. All considering.. still very clean water.
On the way back to Rome, we took the mountain route where we were able to catch the countryside of Italy. They have some of the greenest lands which really made me appreciate green life and acknowledge the need for convenience over nature in America. It’s crazy how we westernize everything. This was a perfect Kodak moment to remember the experience. We also spotted a few wild goats and foxes but there weren’t too many free roaming animals like I anticipated.
To end it all, I enjoyed every aspect of Italy and would suggest everyone to travel there at least once. It’s a very inexpensive trip and the total drive time was around 12 hours or so between cities, but the view allowed time to pass swiftly. The food was absolutely amazing along with the great hospitality and service. The amounts of knowledge, history, and art is endless. Italy is definitely a cultural location to experience and hopefully when you plan your trip you can utilize this information to generate some ideas throughout your own travels.