Italia- Lessons Learned

This post has two parts: 1. My final thoughts on Italy.  2. A summary, so all the planning information is in one place.

Let’s get started.

  1. My Final Thoughts

In this week of blogging, of remembering rushed city walks by ancient cathedrals and happy surprises, like sunsets and good food and chats with strangers, I realized that:

  1. It’s easy to ‘visit Italy’ without fully interacting with it as a culture.  Part of this is because it is well touristed.  It’s a country accustomed to tourists and built for it.  The other part is that there is so much to see, you are easily propelled from thing to thing.
  2. But maybe, just maybe, not every place can be visited the same way.
  3. Sometimes I need to be more intentional about traveling.  I need to allow for more spontaneity, more opportunities to take experiences as they come.  I need to pay for the tours, to actually learn the history of the place and not just look at it.  I need to slow down in order to separate myself from the crowds.

I knew this before, but I forgot.  Writing out all the stories of Italy last week reminded me.

It always pays to stop and enjoy the view, especially in Florence.

2. A summary: The Handy Guide to our week in Italy.

Lake Como

We only stopped for a brief look around.  It’s definitely worth the look if you are in the area!

Our windy stop to see Lake Como.


We stayed here on the mainland, drove to the island of Venice, parked in a parking garage, and walked about.  The most essential thing to do there is walk and eat.  The streets are picturesque and inviting, so plan plenty of time to roam.  We did a very skip-able glass blowing tour as well, if you were wondering.  I didn’t actually pay for a gondola ride but my sister and brother-in-law did and they really liked it.

Woman waits for the public ferry in Venice.

Portovenere/ Cinque Terre

We stayed here, which was easily accessible via train to the Cinque Terre region.  We went to Portovenere for the sunset views, per our host’s recommendations.  Totally worth it.  Cinque Terre is worth it for the coastal town views.  I’d recommend skipping the hike between cities, unless you actually like hiking.  I definitely recommend eating gelato and walking around, but don’t limit yourself to the well-tread path.  There are some beautiful side streets that are easy to miss.

Off the beaten path the Castello di Riomaggiore offers great panoramas of the water.


We stayed here, near Vatican City.  We visited the Colosseum and walked by the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Castel Sant’Angelo, and Vatican City.  Of all the cities we plowed through, this is the one I wished I had more time for.  But be kind to yourself and schedule a slower paced day while there.  If not, you may end up canceling part of your itinerary just to sleep in, like we did.



We stayed here, which was a long walk from the main attractions, but doable.  We visited Piazzale Michelangelo, Pontevecchio, Duomo di Firenze, Mercato Centrale, and Piazza della Repubblica.  We also did a Renaissance walking tour, which I’d recommend doing in order to better understand the significance of Florence in history.


Thank you for joining me on this literary podcast series!  Come back next week for when I circle back around to the beginning of this Euro Trip and start where it all started, in Prague.

This was country 5 of our 6 country Euro Trip.  To read a summary of the trip, click here.

Country 2: Austria, read here and here.

Country 4: Switzerland, click here and here.

What I learned when traveling

5 thoughts on “Italia- Lessons Learned

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