30 October 2012

12 Tips on traveling Italy

When most people plan their European holidays, much like us, Italy is without a doubt, right on up there with one of the 'must get to countries'. Morgan & I hadn't realised until we were filling in our travel insurance forms & answering 'country which spending the most time in' - something we had to go away & work out! - was in fact Italy. We ended up spending a little over 3 weeks there and although not even a year would be enough to see all that this beautiful country has to offer, we feel, from one backpacker to another, we learnt a lot in our short time that might help you when planning your own Italian adventure. 

So here are the 12 tips in all their glory - the good, the bad, and the ugly that may - or may not - help you when it's your turn traveling Italy.

12 TIPS FOR YOU FROM US IF YOU TRAVEL ITALY 


No.1. If backpacking 3 weeks is long enough. I wouldn't do any longer, but I wouldn't have done any less. After 3 weeks of really only having pizza & pasta as the option and getting itchy travel feet you will generally feel ready to move on.








No.2. Be prepared to put on weight - no amount of stair climbing or planking will disguise the fact that living on pasta, gelare, pizza, free bread at EVERY meal, wine and croissants is going to pack on a few kg's around the ole' waistline. In the same breathe, don't let that stop you ordering and enjoying Italian food - it was the best we've ever eaten.



No.3. Get to the Amalfi Coast - even if it means you have to save a little more, it's worth it. We only did 4 nights & that wasn't enough. The best towns to stay in are Ravello & Positano. Both Morgs & I didn't rate the town Amalfi as that amazing but adored Positano. If you are going, have it as your rest week and stay 6 nights ..


No.4. Put Bologna on your 'to visit' list! We had two nights in Florence and did the whole town (we felt) in a day so decided to day trip out to Bologna which ended up being one of our most fun, most delicious days in Italy! It has amazing shopping, fantastic food & is the home town of Spaghetti Bolognese, do I need to say anymore?


No.5. If you are going to Naples there are only 2 things you need to know. 1) Don't have ANY expectations of the place. You will either like it or not. We didn't, but it might turn in to your favourite town. I was just shocked at how much litter and graffiti was everywhere. 2) You HAVE to eat Pizza in the birth place of Pizza and if you do, eat it here...best & most popular place in Naples we found by mistake which was the best mistake we could have ever made...& lastly...3) Use it as a base to visit the isle of Capri..  Getting to Capri was a must for us and we're so glad we did it. The island boasts some of the most magnificant scenery & views we've seen the whole trip & the day trip across was well, well, well worth it if even for the Blue Grotto experience.

No.6. Give yourself 4 nights in Venice. We had 3 and I would have given anything for one more. This place really truly is magical and rain, hail or beautiful sunshine is a joy to explore and get lost in. It has SO much to offer either if you do tourist things or just wander and get lost in. 3 nights was just one night short for me and I think you will find that too!


No.7. Don't do any less than 4 nights in Rome. That's what we did and we found it the perfect amount of time (as backpackers with a timeframe). We could have easily spent weeks there, or even a few more days but certainly managed to cram everything your average tourist does in this beautiful city plus a little bit more. Any less than 4 nights I believe you'll rush through it and not really get to experience all of Rome's magic.














No.8. Walk the Cinque Terre - I had planned my WHOLE trip and it wasn't until lunch with a friend that she mentioned this strange sounding 'Cinque Terre' town. After some quick googling I immediatley fell in love, but obviously nothing can prepare you for the real thing. I'm SURE many if not most have heard of it, but I hadn't so if you were like me then slap this on your travel to do (& stay in either Monterosso or Vernazza).



No.9. If you are actually there for an extended period of time like us (3 weeks), then BUY A EURAIL pass. Morgs & I had researched this extensively before we left in general. I.e to get one for Europe and worked out it wasn't worth it. For Italy specifically though? Its VERY worth it. Trains are not cheap in Italy and it will save you hundreds (I mean that) of euro's if you do it eurail not as you go. To give you an example, traveling the same distance in France, costs us between $4 - $6 euro....that in Italy was costing us $25 - $50 euro. Ca-ra-zy. Eurail is worth it people. Write that down.


No.10. In Venice, if you're going to drink coffee, drink it standing! As soon as you sit in a cafe, they tack on a less than desirable service charge...plus standing for coffee is such a fun experience & makes you feel like a local.


No.11. If you're in Italy for more than a week, buy a sim card. We did this & it was the best thing we ever could have done (we just went to the local phone shop - "Tim" over there - & it cost us $15 euro for the sim plus wayyy too much data which was plenty). It helps you navigate your way around every city without paper maps, and you have much quicker access to places you might want to see or where to eat.

But most importantly? (Because I always have a most important)...









No.12. Ignore all of these tips & find your own groove, path, vibe, whatever you call it...find it. I think one thing Morgs and I have learnt best is that everybody can experience cities differently. Places people told us we'd LOVE & were their favourite, we didn't like at all, and places people said they hated and we should miss all together were our favourite. The same will happen for you no doubt, so take any advice always with a grain of salt...we found the above worked for us perfectly & hoped it would just give you a general guidance....but hey -

treading your own path & finding your own adventure is what it's all about.

Love & Light,

Anna xx

13 comments:

  1. Reading your post made me feel like I was with you too :) I like everything in here and I wish someday I could go travel the world too. Money always gets in the way :(
    I'm looking forward more of your entries and more happiness to you and your man :D

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    1. Kayle that is SO sweet thank you so much x Now with money always getting in the way...best advice I can give you is..don't let it!! Never in a million years could I have thought I could have travelled europe for as long as I have as nice as I have if I let pesky money get in the way ;) ... Set the goal, open a savings account and out of every pay...pay yourself first. You'll get there I promise you x

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  2. Great tips and what an amazing trip!!

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    1. We are certainly having a LOT of fun :) x

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  3. I love your travel posts. They are some great tips. Your right everyone puts on weight on holidays but actually your still looking pretty slinky malinky :-)

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    1. Ahhh Michelle you are toooo kind. I was lucky as I started off on a good foot - we've 4 weeks to go now and the weight just keeps piling on but with every kg I put on, it just reminds me of how much fun Im having and how much Ive let go..the exercise & healthy eating can resume once im home ;) xx

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  4. Very detailed and useful information, thanks Anna! My dream trips to Italy are the Amalfi and Naples area, Rome, Tuscany and Sicily. Sicily I might very soon visit since it is sooo close to home, Im embarassed to say Ive never been! That is what I am always hearing about Naples, you either love it or hate it.
    Looking forward to your next destination dear, keep up the excellent blogging x

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    1. Naww Martha don't be embarrassed - just all the more inspired to actually get there!!! You have such a gorgeous light & positivity about you, as soon as you decide to get there I just know that you will. I am so glad you have heard that about Naples haha Morgs & I wondered if we were the only ones ;) Hope you are still enjoying the posts lovely xx

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  5. Love this post.....esp the first photo of Morgs! hahahaha so cute!

    You have me wanting to go back to Italy!! oh man :(

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    1. hahaha how I snapped him was exactly how he was feeling :P I belive the words just before was "alrightttt ready to get out of Italy" (it was our final night out to dinner) haha We want to return to Europe soon so hopefully we can all organise a joint trip x

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  7. This is amazing, thank you for such an inspiring read! Can I ask how much you think two of us would need to spend to do a similar 3 week trip? We are planning on doing this next year. Thank you :)

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    1. Hi Katie - just through Italy? Its hard to say as I need to know a few things! Morgs & I had booked and paid for all of our accommodation through Italy so we only had to pay for internal trains and food / sight seeing when we were there. I found the trains in Italy most expensive (cheapest in France strangely enough) so its really key to book internal train travel as early as possible as it is cheaper that way. If you are doing a lot of train trips in Italy though (i.e. Rome to Venice) budget approx $50-$70 EURO each for your train tickets. Then for food / sight seeing Morgs & I spent about $70-$90 euro a day each...we ate at nice restaurants though and didn't say no to any experience so if you had to do it on more of a budget you could get away with that between you. Hope that helps! x x

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