Monday, 14 March 2016

This is What Dreams are Made of


As I will be returning straight home after this semester at Harlaxton ends, I have less than 6 weeks left in Europe! (I know! I can't believe it's so soon!) For a large chunk of you Harlaxtonians, you have about 7 weeks left because you are visiting the magical country of Italy for a week!! As I am unable to attend this trip, I visited Italy during the first long weekend and am here to offer you a list of tips and tricks that I picked up.

(Note: My group visited Venice for one day and Rome for two.)


By far, the gelato was my favorite part of the trip! It really is as amazing as everyone makes it sound! Over the course of 3 days, we ate gelato 5 times, and it was not nearly enough. Do some research for good gelato places in the area where you'll be staying and visit those. You can also find food blogs that will tell you how to identify a good gelato place from a bad one. The places we went to included Ciamphini, Fatamorgana, and Gelateria del Teatro (this last one was definitely my favorite!).

The most amazing gelato you will ever eat.

2.) Do your research to find good places to eat!

The food in Italy is AH-MAZING!! Because we had a foodie in our group (Megan O'Hearn) we ate at fantastic restaurants basically every day!! One night we had nothing but meat, cheese, and bread, and the taste was indescribable! How they packed so much flavor into the food is beyond me! Another night we ate at a local place that was unknown to many tourists and had the most amazing pasta I've ever tasted! If you take your time to look up and plan good places to eat at, Italy's food will easily by one of your favorite parts of the trip. And even if you don't have time to look up places to eat, take comfort in this: bad Italian pizza is basically the equivalent of good American pizza.

3.) Buy tickets ahead of time.

When we visited the Sistine Chapel, we bought tickets that day online before we left our Airbnb. I cannot say how grateful I am that we did this because when we arrived at the Chapel, the line was unbelievably long! I'm quite certain it would have taken us 3 hours to stand in the line. Instead, we skipped the line entirely and got immediate entrance. No fast pass or anything of the sort was required, just buying our tickets beforehand.

4.) Visit the Trevi Fountain early.

The Trevi is normally PACKED with tourists and this will be especially so when you visit because summer will be starting. To avoid the crowds, wake up early to visit the Trevi! We arrived at the fountain around 7:30/8ish and there were only 3-4 other people there! 

I am sad that I did not meet an attractive
Italian pop star after making my wish.

5.) Research the general customs.

Like most countries, Italy does things differently than others. One thing we noticed while in Italy is that when you arrive at the counter in restaurants, you're expected to know right then and there what you want, even if you haven't been able to see the menu or such. No Italians were rude about it, but it was a general expectation. The worst experience came when we went out for coffee. (Italy is well-known for their coffee and this specific café that we visited did not disappoint!) We didn't realize many glares and expressions of frustrations while we were there. Long story short, try to do research about the places you're going ahead of time.

6.) Don't worry about the language barrier!

Almost all signs are in Italian and English, and everyone we met spoke English, so we didn't have any trouble.

7.) Walking is possible!

Most touristy places in Rome are within walking distance. We did a lot of walking, but it was manageable. If you aren't comfortable with talking that much, Rome does have a subway and bus system. You can buy tickets for an hour or a day, etc. at ticket machines before boarding the bus/subway.

Walking helps burn off all that gelato!

And that about completes the list! Overall, just remember to have an amazing time! This is your last opportunity to travel with friends before you head home to America! And when are you going to get to visit Italy again? Relax and enjoy this time while you can!

Written by: Remington Grenier

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