The sad reality is I won’t see nearly all the cool places or do enough interesting things in Italy. So, why not let former Italy resident and damn fine blogger Annie Bettis tell you her top five musts?
It is almost a guarantee that no matter who you happen to ask, their answer is going to include Italy as one of their top must-see destinations. When it was time for me to hop on my flight across the Atlantic, I have to admit that I’d considered Italy very little as a destination in my brand new desire to see the world. My reasons for going there were completely different than most; delicious pasta and wine had, shockingly, spent very little time lingering in my thoughts that year. Nevertheless, there I was in the middle of Florence where I thankfully ended up stuck for the next year. It was the perfect amount of time to see just what my fantasies were missing.
Living in the Renaissance City meant that every single day I was bombarded with the names of famous artists and must-see museums. I’m not really one for art, a trait that I blame on my bland American education, but if art and history are what you fancy then a trip to each of the Florence museums should be on your list. If you’re a bit more like me, with food, wine and sunshine taking a higher priority, here’s what should be on your list.
Above all else, if it’s the only thing you do in Italy, eat pizza. Your best bet will be to head straight to the birthplace of the slice itself and step into some of the most famous pizzerias in the old port town of Naples. There are plenty of famous and worthy pizzerias in Naples but if you want to experience your pizza in Hollywood style, then it’s Pizzeria Da Michelle that you want. Given world-wide fame thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert’s reference to it in her book Eat, Pray, Love, the deliciousness is as real as the lines. The waits will be worth it when you take your first bite of melting, ooey-gooey, cheesy, sweet tomato-y love. Shall I go on?
2. Taking a Wine Tour of Tuscany
Many people are confused about what exactly Tuscany is. All too often while I was in Florence I heard visitors referring to heading to Tuscany for the weekend. Well, technically that could mean that they were heading to the greater region and doing their best to keep the name-calling general but something tells me they didn’t know any better.
Tuscany is actually the region (think State, Province, etc.) that houses Florence, so referring to it as if you are leaving Florence for Tuscany doesn’t really flow well. That aside, be sure to give all of Tuscany a chance! Perhaps one of the most famous wines in the world, Chianti is made specially with grapes that are only grown in that region of the world. There are a number of adorable little medieval towns to enjoy these wines in while learning what it takes to be a wine-maker straight from the Italians mouth. Usually these tastings include fresh bread and freshly made olive oil along with other treats!
Although it may be some of the most famous wine in the world, Tuscany is not the only place to get something fabulous. Veneto, Sicily, Sardinia and Abruzzo all have some of super tasty and unique to their region flavors as well. Try them all!