It’s hard to believe now that my first experience in Italy was five years ago, a Mediterranean adventure that started in Venice. I remember arriving into Venice Marco Polo Airport unsure of what to expect of the city and how my shabby Italian skills would hold up. Spoiler alert: I fell in love with Venice and they did not hold up well.
I recently found myself back in Florence, perhaps my favorite city in Italy, one year after my previous visit. This time I stayed close to Firenze Santa Maria Novella, the city’s main train station, in a bustling neighborhood of hotels and eateries. While I did more running around a year prior (check out my previous article on the city for more in-depth coverage of Florence’s top attractions and on visiting popular Tuscan towns), I was able to catch many things I had missed, namely several churches and David, while revisiting my favorite locales in the city.
Located in the northwestern section of Italy, Turin is, like Milan, more European than the traditional idea of the country. Unlike Milan, it’s smaller and arguably more charming. Turin features many of the aspects that make other Italian cities lovely, like a beautiful river, energy-filled piazze, world-class museums and the ever-revered aperitivo.
Here are the panoramic photos I took during my recent 2015 Europe trip to England, Italy, Switzerland and Germany, thus far unposted. To learn more about the places below, as well as the other cities I visited during this trip, check out the following recap:
Seven years ago in a lifetime far away, before I had ever been to Europe, when I still thought bruschetta was pronounced with a sh, the first native Italian came into my life. I decided to pick up the language, now having someone to practice with; I ditched French and embarked on a voyage into la bella lingua. She was from a small town near Milan, and, since then, I held a fascination for the bustling Italian metropolis. Seven years later, I finally saw the city for myself.
Bologna is a vibrant town, powered by a population of university students. Self-expression is everywhere, from the abundance of street art to the hairstyles I haven’t seen since the late 80s. Portici and graffiti, late nights spent on piazza pavements, the sound of music that never dies; within my first night in Bologna, I knew straightaway it would be unlike my quiet (yet profound) experience in Camaiore, Lucca and Cinque Terre.
If there’s anything writers are good at, it’s expressing themselves with words.
It is, after all, our one sole job. Still, I find it hard to describe my experience in Tuscany’s small town of Camaiore. After having visited Florence and Rome (with a brief stint in quiet Pisa), I had thought my visit to Camaiore would be a relaxing one. It was anything but; my time spent in this unassuming city turned out to be both physically and emotionally charged.
Whenever I would tell an Italian friend that I was heading over to Pisa, the response I most often got was incredulity with the question, “Ma perché Pisa?” Certainly, after having visited the cultural richness of Florence, little Pisa, known primarily to the world for a building malfunction, seemed an odd place to spend several days. My friend living there assured me that there was more to Pisa than its iconic tower; she was right.