It's More than a Couple of Breadsticks
Pizza, Pasta, & Bread-sticks!!
It is almost Friday! Friday's we challenge readers to seek out and actually go to new places and experience new sights, smells, tastes and sounds. Don't put off enjoying the world for another moment. Seize the opportunity you have now to visit a new city, country, park, or participate in a new activity or sport. This weeks feature is the AMAZING COUNTRY OF ITALY!!
Read on to learn some of our favorite things about this amazing destination.
Italy is a masterpiece of culinary delights that will having you grinning from ear to ear and leave your stomach satisfied morning, noon, and night. From pizza, to gelato of every flavor, you simply cannot go wrong when you sit down and order up a dish.
There are some things to be aware of though when dinning out in Italy. For starters in many more traveled locations it is very common to be hustled in to a restaurant when simply looking at their menu as well as being assigned a seat regardless of how busy it is at the time. If you are just two, be prepared to be seated at a table with another couple. If you are coming from the US where this type of seating arrangement would rarely if ever occur it will take a bit of adjustment before being comfortable. However, your mind will change the first time you allow yourself to experience the great conversations that you can have with complete strangers. Being seated next to others is a perfect opportunity to meet people, learn about their lives, their travels and expand your circle. Be open and start a conversation as soon as possible, you'll be glad you did.
Italy is a country with unending physical diversity from the jagged peaks of the Italian Alps to the ancient ruins of Rome and from the fashion streets of Milan to the amazing lakes of Como and Garda.
Exploring Italy can be easy and quick via their extensive train system as long as the train services are not on strike but this is definitely not a sure thing. To avoid the difficulties with the often canceled train services renting a small car for the trip is a great option. I'm sure we've all had this idea of driving in Italy as a terrifying experience especially when you factor in the countless motorbikes zipping around town and narrow streets. Push aside those fears because after a few minutes on the roads you will get a handle of the Italian style and be able to relax and enjoy the ride. If you are looking for an extra special experience take a drive up to one of the numerous high alpine ski resorts and breath the fresh air as you ascend to more than 2000 meters in some locations just to get to the village base. These areas are typically active even in the summer with hiking opportunities through the high mountain passes. Be extra careful if you are staying overnight at one of these high elevation resorts because 2000+ meters is quite an elevation to remain at for a long period of time if your body is not use to it. Make sure to drink plenty of water and keep an eye out for any symptoms that might be related to the altitude.
Pro Tip: Italy's Aosta Valley (pictured above is Breuil-Cervina at 2050m) is just a short drive outside of Turin and Milan and makes for an easy day trip. During the shoulder seasons make sure to be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions at altitude.
When most people imagine Italy pictures of famous sights of Rome and Pisa instantly come to mind and to be honest it is totally justified given their historical significance. Ancient Rome is one of the most culturally enriching experiences you can have in a city but if there is one thing you can do wrong it is to not know your history before visiting. Having some knowledge about what you are going to see before hand will only enrich the experience you have in a place like Rome. This thinking is exactly opposite of how our brains normally work, where mystery and surprise leads to us having a more fulfilling experience. With historical sites it isn't just words on a plaque or what you see with your eyes that counts. Instead, by knowing as much as you can about a building, monument, or ruins allows you to see so much more of what makes these places special.
One great example is the Pantheon which is one of the most famous buildings in all of Rome. The Pantheon was build in 126 AD roughly the same time as the Baths of Caracalla which were built around 215 AD.
The Pantheon is in remarkable condition and in a lot of respects could pass for a new building where as the Baths of Caracalla are crumbled and offers very limited access. It is astounding that these two structures were built around the same time and knowing so makes the experience of being able to walk inside the Pantheon so much more of an experience. There is no need to spend hours reading through text books by any means but a little extra effort beforehand will pay off when you are standing in front of these sites in awe.
There is so much more to do and see in Italy that it would be foolish to think it could be wrapped up in one short blog post so look for additional posts on Italy soon!