Friday, October 4, 2013

56 Things That I Learned While Traveling Through Italy

All photos © 2013 Russ Cox

This posting is about the things I saw, observed, and learned during my two weeks vacationing in Italy. There is really no order to this list. I am sure that I missed some items. If you have something to add, please add it to the comments section.

1-Italy is everything you see and hear about. Absolutely beautiful!
2-The Colosseum is MASSIVE!
3-It is fun to get lost in the small side streets and alleyways. You find the true gems in the those areas.

4-Vatican City is worth the trip.
5-Get your tickets in advance for the Vatican Museums! We are so glad we did to avoid the massive lines.
6-The Sistine Chapel will bring a tear to any artist or art lovers eyes. It is worth the trip alone.
7-The smaller galleries and museum house some of the best works of art you will ever see.

8-The Italian people do not smile a lot but are when you ask them for help, they light up and are extremely friendly.
9-Wear good walking or hiking shoes if you plan on seeing the sites by foot. The cobblestone roads and sidewalks can be brutal.
10-Small cars, scooters, and bikes are the preferred vehicles for travel in Italy. You do not see many large cars, trucks, or SUVs. 

11-Skateboards are a rarity.
12-Many Italians have tattoos but we did not see any tattoo parlors.
13-Chuck Taylors are the sneaker of choice and are very expensive.

14-Public transportation is a good way to get around. We never had any problems navigating our way from place to place.
15-Graffiti is a major problem throughout the country.

16-Many people do not talk in public due to being on their mp3 players or cell phones.
17-We had our best and worst meal in Bologna.
18-Watching a bike race from a cafe is quite enjoyable.
19-Water spigots are all over the cities and towns. The water is quite tasty.

20-You want to photograph everything you see but many times you must let the history and beauty soak in.
21-Staying in people's homes is a wonderful way to find out about the best places to eat and those hidden spots that are off the beaten path. We used Homestay and Airbnb to book our rooms.

22-The people we stayed with were all first class, fun, and treated us very well. Better than a hotel!
23-Peroni is now one of my favorite beers.
24-The wine is to die for and CHEAP!!!

25-Bologna is the food capital of Italy. The markets are packed with fresh cured meats, cheeses, fish, and produce. The smell is heavenly.
26-Traveling from destination to destination by train was perfect for us. We got to see more of the country that way.
27-The Italians use the honor system quite a bit for their public transportation and no one checks you for tickets.

28-Italian design, especially interior design, is just as amazing as you have read about or seen in books.
29-When in Florence, visit the leather school Scuola del Cuoio. It is almost impossible to the leave the gift shop without something handmade. I added a wallet and sketchbook to my stack of personal gifts.
30-The outdoor markets are worth a stroll through.
31-Venice is lovely but a headache to navigate. Although it is nice to get lost amongst the canals.

32-American music is big there. We heard very little Italian music except for the street performers.
33-September is warm but not too hot. We were told that July and August can be brutal as far as the heat.
34-I want a Smartcar! And a Vespa!
35-We saw many dogs but very few cats.
36-Packing light was a bonus. We traveled with backpacks.

37-The toilets in Italy have a squarish shape to them.
38-Just about every bathroom has a bidet. Now my wife wants one in our bathroom.
39-Every McDonalds was packed. I guess you can eat only so much fine food before craving some grease.

40-Pointing at items on a menu because you cannot speak Italian, with your pinky up, still makes you classy.
41-Sparkling or still water is served with every meal.

42-Except for Rome, the cities are very clean. And Rome was not that bad.
43-The people drive like madmen and would give New Yorkers a run for their money. I enjoyed it!
44-Italian are stunningly beautiful, especially the older women.
45-Italian men have a classy dress style that I wish I could pull off. Maybe I could if I wore clothing that did not have a band name on the front or Levi's on the tag.
46-Lots of bands play Bologna. Radiohead and the Damned just played there.

47-After walking so much during the day, Odoreaters only last for short amount of time. 
48-I was the palest person in the whole country.
49-You do not see billboards.
50-Phone and electrical lines are buried.

51-Cinque Terra is beautiful. The grouping of the 5 towns on the side of a mountain, overlooking the ocean, is striking.
52-Walking up the hill to San Luca in Bologna is quite a hike. We saw people jogging it and thought they were nuts.
53-Coming down the hill was a breeze!

54-We did not get to the Uffizi Gallery or to see David due them being sold out. Buy tickets ahead of time!
55- I am glad my wife kept a journal, because I would forget a lot of the trip.
56-Celebrating 25 years of marriage in Italy with the amazing and wonderful Lynn was the best part of the whole trip.


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