19 Things Learned in Italy

So hey, I spent 10 days in Italy for Fall Break!

I haven’t blogged in a while because of that, and we’re now back on the air. Hello, testing, testing… ah, yes. We flew first to Roma, took a train to Firenze, then to Venezia. I’m sure you don’t want a day-by-day recap of what happened so I’m going to do what I do best and list it out for you, Buzzfeed-style.

1. Italian bus drivers are the worst.

We took buses in every city we went to, and they were all jerky as all get out. This was, of course, compounded by the fact that a lot of the cities are built on cobblestone.

2. The best gelato you’ll have is not going to be in the cities.

We had a religious experience with the gelato in a small town called Greve in Chianti and it was miraculous.

3. Tuscany is just as beautiful as you think it is.

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Gretchen demonstrates the beauty of Tuscany at a wonderful little vineyard we visited on our wine tour.

Panzello vineyard!

Panzello vineyard!

There’s just no getting around that.

4. Italy will ruin wine for you.

Wine tasting in Tuscany? Don't mind if I do.

Wine tasting in Tuscany? Don’t mind if I do.

Andrew and I model a cart of wine at Panzello Vineyard in Chianti.

Andrew and I model a cart of wine at Panzello Vineyard in Chianti.

We had wine and gelato every single day and I don’t regret a thing.

5. Say goodbye to vegetables.

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Pizza and pasta are great for a while, but when you don’t want to shell out another 4 quid for some green stuff, you’ll end up missing things that will help round out your meals.

6. Tap water at restaurants isn’t a thing.

This is, by far, the only real qualm I had with Italy. You shouldn’t need to pay another few euros just to have a glass of water. Perché, Italia, perché?

7. Don’t pet the dogs.

Lint ball in Venice (that, fortunately, we were allowed to touch).

Lint ball in Venice (that, fortunately, we were allowed to touch).

I don’t know why. But I got yelled at.

8. Everything costs money.

I think I got way too used to being in London, where a day can be well spent with free museums, free activities or just wandering through parks, which are free. There’s definitely a lot to see in Italy, but if you want to get in anywhere, you’re going to have to pay for it.

9. Cover up!

We are now properly dressed to enter a church, apparently.

We are now properly dressed to enter a church, apparently.

I’m not sure why this didn’t occur to me, but the very first day in Italy we were in Rome and attempted to visit a church. It hadn’t even crossed my mind – even as a born-and-raised Catholic – to not wear shorts. Yeah, no. Cover your knees and shoulders or Italian bodyguards will be upset with you.

10. Tourists are disrespectful.

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So many people at the David. SO MANY.

So many people at the David. SO MANY.

And it’s super annoying. We visited the Sistine Chapel, where you are asked to remain silent. But with so many people packed into such a tiny room, there are some chatterers. Which takes away from the whole experience, believe it or not. Michaelangelo’s work is breathtaking, of course, but the tourists were not. Bleh. The same deal with David in Florence – not unnecessarily noisy, just disrespectful and more focused on the *ahem* anatomy than anything else.

11. Look at so much art.

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Madison examines a sculpture at the Guggenheim Collection in Venice.

Madison examines a sculpture at the Guggenheim Collection in Venice.

12. Walk everywhere.

London is a lot of walking, but Italian cities are much smaller, meaning it’s totally feasible to walk from one end to the other in most cases (not so with London – I’d like to see you walk from South Kensington to Islington, HA). Wear comfy shoes and get ready to see a lot of the city (and maybe get lost a lot).

13. Be nice to your waiters.

Free limoncello shots!

Free limoncello shots!

Sometimes they bring you free shots.

14. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions.

I’m always terrified of looking like a tourist so I try and avoid asking people for things most of the time. But Italy can be confusing, and (most) Italians are really friendly and willing to help.

15. Ask the locals.

We found some of our favourite spots through just asking the front desk at our hostels or chatting with people we met at bars. Chat it up, you may discover some gems.

16. Vatican City is just as breathtaking as you think it will be.

Hey from Basilica di San Pietro.

Hey from Basilica di San Pietro.

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17. Eat biscotti for breakfast.

This is one of the best things about Italy – breakfast cookies!

18. Eat so much Nutella.

Italians have Nutella with everything. I don’t know why. But it’s amazing.

19. If you look like me, Italian men will fall in love with you.

"Let me tell you how to make Italian men love you"

“Let me tell you how to make Italian men love you”

Andrew is convinced this is because I look like the pinnacle of Italian beauty. Regardless, I got hit on almost every day by shopkeepers and other various locals. Who knows why. A guy I bought cannoli from tried to make me a drink. A mask-maker called me “bellissima.” Who knows. Come to Italy with me and I’ll find us husbands.

Overall, I can’t wait to return. Italy has been my dream country for a while now and going there absolutely solidified that. Venice for Carnevale is still something that is at the top of my bucket list and I want to see so much more of the countryside. But for now, I’m just chillin making ridiculous faces with my lunchbox in front of London Bridge.

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