I fell in love with Italy when I visited Venice on a school art trip about 10 years ago. My love for this beautiful country was reignited on a family holiday about 5 years ago to Lake Como, where we visited the surrounding area, including Verona. Which is why when we planned our Europe trip, Italy was definitely somewhere I wanted to explore more of.
So here we are, we have now been in Italy for around three weeks. We’ve just finished city-hopping in the North and are currently at our first Workaway (similar to Wwoofing) near Pistoia.
We visited Turin, Milan, Parma and Bologna. Ok, I don’t know if it’s the grey clouds which seemed to be following us from city to city, or maybe we just picked the wrong places to visit, but I wasn’t impressed. Don’t get me wrong, they are all interesting cities and we had a nice time in them, but they all just kind of looked the same to me. Even now, trying to distinguish one from the other, they all seem to have merged into one.
Turin– has really cute, old fashioned trams. We visited a really good Cinema Museum, where you should definitely pay to go up the glass elevator that travels right through the roof! We also went to the Egyptian Museum, which was interesting for the first hour and the second hour was slightly repetitive.
Milan– definitely try and fit in a visit to the Palazzo Lombardia if you can, only open on Sundays, but free admission! The cathedral is pretty impressive too. I do not recommend going to the Leonardo3 – The World of Leonardo Exhibition at all. Very small exhibition and €12 each, definitely not worth it. However, we did find the best sushi ever, Temakinho, an amazing Japanese and Brazilian infusion restaurant.
Bologna– a cool city to wander around. Luckily we happened to stumble upon a food festival that had loads of free samples of delicious local food. A trip up the Asinelli Tower is worth a visit to get good views of the city. As you can see below, we got a lovely clear sight of the surrounding area.
Everything changed when I returned to Verona. Wandering through the cute little streets, I finally remembered why I fell in love with it all. Even though Verona is a lot smaller than the other places, it has a certain charm and magic surrounding it. Granted, this could be the tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet that still infiltrates the streets, even with all the touristy crap that comes with this, it’s a great place to visit.
After the four larger cities, I have come to the conclusion that Italy (so far) is the shabby chic version of France. I think these cities opened my eyes to another side of Italy that I had never seen before. Unlike France, you find amazing street art, old fashioned trams but a slightly run down feeling. As I’ve said, this could just be the grey cloud that hung over our heads for the past three weeks or the fact that these are just generic, northern Italian cities. I think the thing for me, Verona had none of this, it felt more like a quaint French city in a way, which I fell in love with the past three months.