I have been pretty lucky to have travelled and worked in some amazing countries in my career as an English teacher. There are so many good memories to choose from but why not start with the country whose beauty could capture anyone´´’s heart (not to mention the food…): la bella Italia!
My history with Italy goes back ten years from when I first travelled to Rome at the age of 18. Since then, I have been to a lot of different places in Italy and even spent a few weeks working there. I feel grateful to have so many places to choose from to make a top 5!
Who could make a list of their favourite places in Italy without mentioning the famous capital- la città eterna as it’s known. Rome truly is a breathtaking place as beautiful as all the photos you see in the guidebooks. Full of monuments wherever you turn, it’s impossible not to fall in love with the history of the city. They say all roads lead to Rome and I would follow any road to get there! Of course Rome is not without its faults- expensive gelato, streets that you wouldn’t necessarily want your grandmother to walk down alone and vespas heading at you from every direction. But all of this is soon forgotten when you first see the colesseum in all its might!
Perhaps a controversial choice for the list. Milan is not the typical Italian city full of obvious monuments and historical architecture that you might expect to see. Milan is a bustling, business centre of Italy and with it, comes an incredible modern and young vibe. Milan still has its Italian charms of course, climbing the tower of the famous Duomo is a must do and hanging out in the Piazza del Duomo will make you feel a part of the city in no time. Not to mention its proximity to Lake Como- a worthwhile detour!
3. Next on my list we’re not travelling too far away from the city of Milan, it’s Bergamo! This small city may sometimes have a lot of competition from its metropolitan neighbour but it puts up a great fight. Divided into the old and the new part of the city, Bergamo has something for everyone. Taking a bus (or if you’re feeling brave, a walk!) up to la Città alta should be number one on the list. There you will find breathtaking views of the city and the mountains nearby, as well as lots of winding alleyways that invite you to get lost – don’t worry if you get hungry you will find lots of bakeries willing to come to your rescue!
***Tip- Flights out of Milan and Milan Bergamo tend to be very cheap so it’s a great place to stop if you are travelling to another European country and looking for a detour!
4. Fourth on the list is getting away from the big cities and heading to the smaller city of Bassano del Grappa. I explored this city one day while I was working in the Veneto region and instantly felt like I was part of a water colour painting. The city may be small but the views will have you captivated for hours. Be sure to take a walk over the Ponte Vecchio (see below!) and of course it would be a shame not to visit the Grappa museum to truly appreciate one of Italy’s famous spirits. Bassano del Grappa is a great place to sit at a café and watch the world go by.
Bassano del Grappa 2018
5. San Marino
So not actually Italy I know but as you will need to take a trip to Italy in order to access one of the smallest countries in the world, I decided to include it on the list. San Marino may be small, but the impression it left on me was much bigger. An incredibly stunning country with views across the whole country, and more, from the towers. The people were so welcoming and there is so much history to be discovered. This country is not to be missed and is definitely worth including on the itinerary- my favourite kind of trips are when you can tick off more countries, so go for it!
So, there we go- my top 5 Italy not to miss. Of course there are many more cities that are worthy and some that would also make my list if I had been to them (I have yet to explore Cinque Terre, Sicily and further down south). What’s for sure is Italy will capture your heart. I loved it so much I even learned Italian- a great excuse to go back and practise!
Let me know your favourite places in Italy!