Italy: it would be impossible to not fall in love with this country. I mean, how could you when you are surrounded by the most beautiful countryside and incredible food known to mankind? I have been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit this side of the world a couple of times in my life—Rome, Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre and more.
The food, the music, the people and the culture are what build this country’s reputation. Plus, the vineyards in Tuscany, the ancient streets in Rome, the breathtaking coastal views, the history of Florence, the colorful buildings in Cinque Terre, add to the irresistability of this country.
It’s no wonder that nearly 63.2 million people decide to visit this country every year (of course, before the spread of COVID-19)!
The appeal of almost anything Italian is its effortlessness and simplicity. This can be said for its food: pizza, gelato, creme brulee… My mouth can’t stop watering thinking about these amazing dishes. I promise you, there are no bad meals.
Some of my favorite memories from these trips include when we drove along the Amalfi Coast or caught a glimpse of the iconic Colosseum in Rome or hiked through the hills of the Italian countryside. Ask any traveler, and I guarantee that Italy makes their list of top ten places to visit in the world (it has definitely made it on mine).
You might be wondering, after exploring nearly every city and town there is to offer, do I have any great travel stories? recommended places to visit? or great places to travel to? Yes, of course, I do!
Let me begin with my experience traveling to the Amalfi Coast. The first memory I have was the brutal drive in,. I won’t lie, it was probably the scariest car ride of my life. That says a lot especially as an individual who has grown up in Vancouver, Canada, with the world’s second most dangerous highway in the world. But, in comparison, the drive along the Italian coastline was probably a 100x scarier.
The only way the driver could see any oncoming cars was by looking at a strategically placed convex mirror that was duct taped to a rock wall. If we weren’t careful, not only would an oncoming car crash into us, but we would most likely plunge 50ft off a cliff and into the water. Luckily, no such nightmare happened.
Despite the danger of driving along the coast, the view was breathtaking! I was completely awestruck by the way the building were seemingly etched into the side of the hill. They were even painted in beautiful bright colors, completely opposite to what I saw in Spain (check out my blog post here if you would like to read more about that trip).
Where is the Amalfi Coast located?
If you are like me, a bit direction challenged, here is a brief picture as to where the Amalfi Coast is located in the world:
The Amalfi Coast is a 50-kilometer stretch of coastline along the southern edge of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula, in the Campania region… The coastal road between the port city of Salerno and clifftop Sorrento winds past grand villas, terraced vineyards and cliffside lemon groves.World Atlas, 2016
Would I recommend visiting the coastal region of Italy?
Sunshine, beaches and amazing gelato… must I say more? My experience visiting the Amalfi coast was one that I will never forget. It has also definitely made it onto my coveted list of favorite places to visit in Italy.
I struggle to think of a ‘true’ downside to this breathtaking coastline. I think that the only thing we truly struggled with, besides the terrifying driving, was having to climb an extremely steep flight of stairs every morning to reach the beach from our accommodation. I think my brother counted somewhere in the ballpark of 10,000 steps? Again, remember, we’re talking about some steep terrain here. It was definitely not a walk in the park.
My second favorite place to visit was Tuscany. This was one of my favorite stops, on par with Cinque Terre, because of its tranquility and stillness. We stayed in a beautiful villa next to a small Italian town that had the best pizza I’ve ever eaten in my entire life!
The Airbnb that we stayed in was equipped with an old stone pizza oven and a beautiful backyard. We could eat breakfast in the garden while staring out at the best views of the neighboring mountains.
I also distinctly remember eating at the same local restaurant every night (I think it was the only one in town?). It had some of the most incredible, mouth-watering dishes. The margarita pizza and crème brûlée quickly became my favorite go-tos and my usual order.
Not to forget, not only does Tuscany have the best food in the world, but it also has some of the best hiking trails! Since our accommodation was kind of remote, we had to do a lot of walking through the forest. It was so much fun especially because the wildlife and scenery were breathtaking!
So… where is Tuscany?
Italy is divided into twenty different sections, so to speak, and Tuscany is one of them:
Tuscany is limited on the west coast by the Tyrrhenian sea (with its beautiful Archipelago). Its land borders, starting from the north and clockwise are: Liguria (Cinque Terre is not in Tuscany), Emilia Romagna, Marche, Umbria and Lazio.visituscany.com
I would highly recommend visiting Italy if you ever get the chance! I promise, the country has a lot to offer—the amazing people and hospitality as well as its beautiful scenery and breathtaking views.
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Looking for more incredible articles? Check out my last blog post 5 Non-Touristy Things to do in Barcelona.