If you were ever given the choice to only travel through one country in Europe, it would have to be Italy. I say that because the country has so much to offer, stretching from the mountains of the Alps and Dolomites in the North, to the fields and vineyards of Tuscany in the center, down to amazing cliff side towns along the Amalfi Coast in the south. Italy has everything. I have the most pictures and spent the most time in Italy (3 weeks) than anywhere else (except for Prague where I studied). As I said before, I will even be going back to Italy for 3 more weeks this summer because I missed out on Tuscany during my last visit. The variety of landscapes is amazing, not to mention all the iconic cities that you can tour. I am more of a fan of small towns and landscapes, but even I was amazed by the architecture in Rome, and will also be traveling to Florence this summer (as well as the Amalfi Coast and 3 day hike through Tuscany). Here are my favorites of the parts of Italy I have been to (so far), and there will be more to come soon!
Manarola, Cinque Terre – one of the 5 towns that make up the Cinque Terre Region (5 Terraces)
Small farm hut in the Alpe di Siusi in Northern Italy near Bolzano. The Alpe di Siusi is said to be the largest alpine meadow in the Alps, and I spent a day hiking through the meadow and up the sides of the mountains. It is off the beaten path, but definitely worth a day or two, or five to enjoy the vastness of the grass meadow situated atop the mountains.
Riomaggiore – my favorite part of Cinque Terre and the southernmost town of the 5 terraces. This is where I stayed for 2 days, and will be spending a week here in July. As you can see from the picture, the bay in front of the town is perfect for swimming, and is surrounded by large rocks (that I am standing on to take this picture), so it feels safer than swimming in the open ocean. You can also cliff jump for the rocks on the left side of the photo.
Panorama of the Alpe di Siusi meadow. Amazing that this large open field is located on the top of a mountain range. I recommend clicking on this photo to enlarge it.
How could you go hiking without a few of these?
Mountain peaks above the small town of Siusi. The town, and Bolzano as well, had signs in both Italian and German despite being part of Italy, a remnant of altered borders following WWII.
A storm approaching Santa Margherita, the larger city outside of the small seaside town of Portofino.
Beautiful colors on all of the houses.
Portofino with Santa Margherita in the background.
Above view of Portofino
I wasn’t a huge fan of Venice because I am convinced it is a huge maze designed to trap tourists on the island to spend all of their money (it took my friends and I 4 hours to find our way off the island, even with the help of maps and signs), but you can’t deny its beauty.
Gondola in venice. Be prepared to shell out some cash for them (40 Euro). I never did so I cannot tell you what it was like. A cheaper alternative is going to a corner shop, buying a nice 3 euro bottle of delicious Italian wine or Limoncello (Italian liqueur – very sweet but tastes amazing if you cut it with Tonic water) and finding a canal to sit by as I was doing when I took this photo. Best time spent in Venice.
More Alpe di Siusi, and some of the blooming flowers in mid-May
Small stream from snow-melt in the Alpe di Siusi
Another view of Portofino. A beautiful town but seems to only be supported by tourism, questioning its authenticity.
Another view from the canal we chose to spend our day on.
Authentic or not, Portofino is a must visit.
View from atop a hill of the Alpe di Siusi. Love the range of colors in this photo.