"O yes!" Italy by leics

Italy Travel Guide: 72,336 reviews and 197,163 photos

Italy.................I'd wanted to visit Rome forever, or so it seemed, just like the Pyramids, and Pompeii.

But without budget flights it simply wasn't feasible for so many, many years.

Then my adult daughter decided we should go, and organised the whole thing; only my second 'foreign' country visit. And we went, and it was wonderful, and I fell in love with Rome and Italy.

To stand in the Forum, to touch the stones, to just be in the Pantheon, to wander the catacombs, to walk along an empty Appian Way and know that you are following the path and treading in the footsteps of so many famous people, and so many more unknown thousands.........

To be amazed by the vulgarity and glitz of St Peters, to (briefly) explore the Vatican, to visit the churches and see the art, everywhere........

To be amazed by the thronging crowds, and the traffic, and the tight-trousered posing carabinieri........

To eat chestnut gelato, and strawberry, and tiramisu and zuppe inglese and a myriad of other gelato flavours........

To spend a day at Ostia Antica, its atmosphere hugely evocative, its hidden corners allowing one to really imagine how things once were........

The advantage of living in the UK is that there are a number of budget carriers who go to Italian (and other European) destinations. So I had to go to Rome again the following year, of course, to see some of the bits I'd missed the first time round........

....and then I had to see Florence: an entirely different experience, but one which still warranted another visit the following year.

Being in Florence, how could one not explore Fiesole, and take a day trip to Siena?

Next was Sorrento, for I had long promised myself an exploration of Pompeii and this will be my chance. No quick visit for me; five nights there, Herculaneum and Oplontis as well. Out of season, for that is always my time of choice, and fewer crowds to plough through. I was hoping for some quiet moments alone somewhere, to really imagine how things once were.......and I got them, for I had Pompeii almost to myself one sunny February morning. A truly wonderful experience. I returned in 2011, re-visiting Herculaneum , exploring chaotic-and-fascinating Naples, experiencing my first active volcanic landscape at Pozzuoli and finally finding the Roman villas at Castellamare di Stabia.

And I sawAmalfi too, and Capri . A superb holiday, and one I repeated with my colleague (the one I took to Rome for her first Italian experience) a couple of years later, in February.

I'll be returning to Venice in 2012. Both times out of season, although Venice is full of visitors all through the year.

And then a return to Tuscany: now I've seen Lucca and Pisa.

I took myself off to La Spezia for the day too (train travel in Italy is so easy, and so reasonably-priced). So many American VT-ers have asked about the Cinque Terre and, as it hardly features in the UK consciousness, I thought I ought to see what all the fuss was about. I managed to see Vernazza, Corniglia and Riomaggiore before my time (and my energy) finally ran out.

I returned to Florence in 2011, with the same friend...we explored Pisa and Lucca and Fiesole too.

Since I first created this page I've visited even more places...Milan, and Como and Pavia and Torno one one trip this year (2011), Bergamo and Brescia and Varenna on another.

But there is still all the rest of Italy.....Sicily, more of the lakes, Bari, Perugia........too much to list. I wonder how much I'll actually get to see?

Whatever happens, Italy to me means archaeology and history... and gelato and excellent coffee and superb food, always....sunshine even in winter..... a slight undercurrent of anarchy amongst its vivacious people.... and a very, very strong feeling of being somewhere other than the UK. I simply love it.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Wonderful archaeology, history, art, food, wine, sunshine, public transport...
  • Cons:Are there any cons???
  • In a nutshell:Unmissable
  • Last visit to Italy: Jun 2011
  • Intro Updated Dec 31, 2011
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