10 Things I Learned in Italy

I will never forget my amazing trip to Italy.   It was an 11 day , 10 night family trip through different cities in northern Italy in honor  of my parents and godparents wedding anniversaries. This trip also coincided with the time that Italy won the World Cup, so needless to say the atmosphere while we were there was very festive. Being my first time traveling outside of the U.S. , I definitely experienced a bit of culture shock and learned many important lessons. Here is a list of ten things I learned and experienced during my trip to Italy.

1. A little effort in picking a comfortable yet nice looking airplane outfit goes a long way.  

I’m not really sure what possessed me to wear velour pants and a beater tank top on the flight to Italy. I guess I thought that I’d sleep the whole 18 hour flight (which I pretty much did ), wake up in Italy , head straight to the hotel , and have time to shower and freshen up for a day of sightseeing? Umm no.  Between delayed flights , missed connecting flights , and lost luggage, not only did I not have time to freshen up, I had no clothes to change into.  Yup…all of our luggage was lost. They told us upon arrival that our luggage decided it would rather go visit Brussels. Mmmmmkay…

We had to roam around Rome in whatever we had on which for me was my oh-so-stylish airplane ensemble.  Dressing for comfort is one thing, but I think I threw caution to the wind on this one. Now when I travel,  I go for comfort with flair. You never know who you will meet. And I always pack extra underwear and a tooth brush in my purse !

The expression on my face says it all.
My Outfit of the Day in Italy. Not proud of it. Look the Colosseum!
Inside the colosseum.
Inside the Colosseum.

2.  Living in Color -Coded Houses is a thing in Burano.

At least that’s what a local told me. He said the wives demanded that their houses be color-coded so that it will help their husbands stumble into the correct house after a night of drinking. Hmmmmm….

I'd live in the pink one.
I’d live in the pink one.

3. That moment when you actually get the joke about the “Leaning Tower of Cheeeeeza !”

Have you ever seen The Goofy Movie? It’s a childhood classic for us 90s kids . There’s a character in the movie that makes a “leaning tower” using cheezwiz and exclaims to the main character Max, “Look it’s the leaning tower of Cheeeza!” It all made sense to me when I saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I finally made a connection. I know you’re probably shaking your head at me right now.

Me: "Oh !!! Hahahaha I get it!"
“Oh !!! Hahahaha I get it!”

4. There’s nothing quite like a well-made, delicious slice of gourmet pizza. 

You know, I’ve rarely met a pizza I didn’t like. Everyone knows that pizza and fries are my weakness. But to this day , I’ve never experienced pizza quite like I have in Florence. Everything about that pizza was on point. The taste, the smell , the consistency all hinted that fresh ingredients and a lot of love went into making the pizza that I was so lucky to enjoy.  I’ve never taken for granted a well made pizza since that day.

My only memory of that wonderful experience.
My only memory of that wonderful experience.
Walking around Florence thinking about getting more pizza.
Walking around Florence thinking about getting more pizza.

5. The Ancient Roman Fountain System is rad.

I was totally fascinated by the urban fountains sprinkled throughout Rome. I learned that these fountains were originally connected to springs or aqueducts, were powered by gravity , and were used to provide clean water for drinking  and bathing to citizens. I probably annoyed my poor family because the novelty of walking up to these ornate and functional fountains to have a refreshing drink was very appealing to me. I think I stopped at most of them.

Look everyone ! Free water from a pretty fountain!
Look everyone ! Free water from a pretty fountain!

6. Don’t listen to the cute little Italian kid with the accordion. Romeo and Juliet is fiction.

Gosh, I know what you must be thinking . Between this and the Leaning Tower of Pisa thing you’re thinking my name and the word “gullible” are synonyms. The kid was too cute though as he sang a pretty song on his accordion about Romeo and Juliet in front of Juliet’s House!  There is something so charming and rather convincing about this quaint little town. There is even the famous balcony where she uttered the words, “Oh, Romeo, Romeo wherefore art thou Romeo,”  and a beautiful bronze statue of Juliet overlooks the courtyard. You can receive good luck in your love life by touching her heart.  Even the bathrooms in the Capulet residence are pretty authentic . I took one look at the hole in the ground with a toilet paper roll next to it and decided I can hold it until the next city ,which by the way was an hour and a half away.

In fair Verona where we lay our scene...
In fair Verona where we lay our scene…
WTH Romeo ? What took you so long?
Letters to Juliet anyone?
Coping a feel of good luck.
Coping a feel of good luck.

7. The City of Venice is a real place.

I have never in my life been to a place quite as unique and charming as Venice. I really want to go back and spend an entire two weeks there, possibly during carnivale season so I can purchase and wear an authentic Venetian mask  ! I We visited during a rather quiet time so the streets were a bit empty and lonely, but that just made it even more fascinating to me. It was an unreal and magical experience wandering the streets and canals of the place where the infamous Casanova wooed one of his  many conquests, or Vivaldi was composing his next masterpiece.  Also, getting from one part of this city to the next by gondola was pretty cool! I mean how often do you get to do that?

Patty and I are excited for this!
Patty and I are excited for this!
Hey Family!
Hey Family!
Gondolas
Gondola Parking lot
Heeeeey ! I guess Venice has a leaning tower too?
Heeeeey ! I guess Venice has a leaning tower too?
Masks everywhere!
Masks everywhere!

8. The Vatican is everything I thought it would be.

Amazing, unique, fascinating. I didn’t get to see the Pope but it was still pretty crazy to take a tour of his place of residency. My mom’s side is all Catholic so the Pope, and being able to travel to Vatican City is a big deal.

Vatican

Italia2Italia3

Best picture I could get of the Sistine Chapel. This is soooo illegal...
Best picture I could get of the Sistine Chapel.Before the guards almost tackled me. This is soooo illegal…

9. There is nothing a good glass of wine can’t fix.

Especially a good glass of wine  in Italy! I wasn’t much of a wine drinker before this trip but  after an exhausting ordeal with the airline and luggage situation, the whole family sat down for a nice dinner and the elegant bottle of wine seemed to whisper my name.  When in Rome right?

Couple o' winos over here...
Couple o’ winos over here…

10. It’s not the place you travel to,  it’s the people you travel with. 

Although, I must say if you’re going to travel somewhere, Italy is not a bad place to be ! You can’t go wrong with the food, the sights, the history, and the people. My family and I had a great time and I hope it’s not too long before we can all get together and have this much fun again!

Dancing the night away in Tuscany.
Dancing the night away in Tuscany.
Dad and I throwing our coins into the Trevi Fountain
Dad and I throwing our coins into the Trevi Fountain
Sister Love!
Sister Love!

Florence Family

Arrivederci Bella Italia!

Venitian

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Jamie is a writer with a passion for adventure, history, and more. When she’s not out exploring the world, Jamie is at home in sunny San Diego, CA chasing sunsets and carne asada fries, preoccupied with research, or invested in a good book and a cup of tea.

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