Discover Italy: A Roman Tale and a Tuscan Dream
Italy, the origin of gelato, spaghetti, coffee and pizza; if there is anything more Italian than fresh, spiced, heavy food, we haven’t discovered it yet. So while you’re enjoying the aromatics and gastronomic thrills of Italia, don’t forget to take your eyes off the plate occasionally and absorb the vistas before you. The landscape of Europe is sensuous; touch, taste, scents, sounds and sight, every facet of your nervous and sensory systems will be stimulated in the most elegant and unforgettable ways. So where do you go when the whole country looks like it was produced and edited for a brochure?
The Usual Suspects
When in Rome, do as the Romans do and squeeze in the finest details into the shortest time spans, just so you can relive the moment you visited the historic and humbling Colosseum, where gladiators battled each other, exotic beasts and the oppressive politics of tempestuous rulers. After wasting a few memories cards capturing the sunsets and twinkling lights of the city, take one last look at the Trevi Fountain and the iconic Pantheon, before heading out of town. It’s tower time and there’s only one place to go for slanted, high reaching architecture; Pisa. The Tower of Pisa is a free-standing bell tower in the Cathedral Square, forever slightly tipsy, caused by a fragile foundation; lesson, don’t build heavy monuments on soft soil.
Venice was built on daring, the same tenacity that carries over today, as locals barely bat an eyelid stepping out onto the sidewalk, the banks of deep canals just beyond their door-step. What if it rained or the water rose? They still endure, and what’s more, Venetians know how to live. While a vestige of Milan glamour underpins weekend dress, the local people are sophisticated without being fashion fanatics. Instead, they carry a passion for the arts, for innovations, music and wine; there is no place more alive than Venice. The alleyways hide traders, artisans, hammer smiths, cobblers, hole-in-the-wall restaurants and more musicians than you count. Sip on Prosecco, dream by the canals and be invigorated by the culture radiating from the cobblestones.
Florentines do not thrive on oxygen, water and shelter; they spend their days strolling the boutiques of Gucci and Ferragamo, two home grown textile prodigies dominating the world stage with designs so innately and fittingly Florence, it’s difficult to ignore. A relic of the Renaissance, the town remains beautiful, bustling and intriguing; a capital of Tuscany, travellers are attracted to the intrinsic elegance, fine wines and high fashion of the slender avenues. For the Florentines are an enterprising people, and thus attract those with unequivocal curiosity.
The reality of Italy? There is too much to do, too much to see in one vacation or three; the various regions and attractions demand dedication and loyalty, to be revisited often and with an open heart. From the sharp, clear shores of the Amalfi Coast, to the colourful and charming facades of Cinque Terre, Italy cannot disappoint. It will only bewitch you and drag you back, whether you can afford it or not. Nothing this good is free.