This past summer I studied abroad in Italy for four weeks. It was such an amazing experience so I thought I would share my intake on Italy with you. I stayed in Rome for four weeks, but I also adventured to Florence, Venice, and Tuscany. I’m going to explain each city to you, because each city is so different.
Rome is where I spent most of my time. I took two classes in the city and became very familiar with it. When I was in Italy it was SO hot. We had to walk pretty much everywhere, because Italy’s transportation is pretty unreliable. Walking everywhere in 100 degree weather probably was one of the worst parts. We were constantly dripping with sweat. I lived probably two miles from the center of Rome, which doesn’t seem too far, but we walked back and fourth every single day. At the end of the night when we finally made our way back to our apartment to relax we were still dripping with sweat because most of Italy doesn’t have air conditioning. This was probably the worst part of my entire trip, because I constantly looked like crap. And probably smelled as well. If you plan on going to Italy I would recommend not going during the summer months because it was too hot.
When I first arrived in Rome I experienced a bit of a culture shock. This was my first trip to Europe, and actually my first trip out of the country (other than Canada). However most people spoke English, which made me feel a lot better about my trip. Italy is completely different than what I am used to in America. They don’t have big stores like Walmart or anything close to the stores we have in America, which took me awhile to get used to. Rome was beautiful regardless of all of that. Everywhere you walked was a flash back in history, and was incredible to be able to to see how the Italians live for four weeks. And yes every restaurant basically only sells pasta or pizza.
My favorite part of Rome was getting the chance to go inside the Colosseum. Being able to see inside the Colosseum was just incredible and I don’t think I have the words to even explain the feeling I felt walking inside the 1,945 year old theatre. It was a flashback in history, and I was amazed how it’s still standing there today in all it’s glory. I also loved walking the streets of Rome. Everything in Rome is old and just beautiful. Something you don’t see in America. Another breathtaking landmark in Rome is the Pantheon. I was in awe of how big the columns were.
My next adventure in Italy was Florence. We took a train to get there from Rome (that I almost missed). I was able to spend two days there. Florence was different from Rome in many ways. Firstly, there was actual water in Florence and there wasn’t rumble everywhere like there was in Rome. When I say ‘rumble’ I mean that in Rome there was literally rocks everywhere, which was cool to see but it was refreshing to have a new scenery for a couple days.
One thing I recommend when you travel to Italy is to wear clothes that cover your knees and your shoulders, or else you won’t be able to go inside churches. I was wearing a dress that was almost to my knees and I put a scarf around my shoulders, but they wouldn’t let me inside the church because they said my dress was shorts. The famous church in Florence is The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. The outside of the church was absolutely breathtaking, but I was not able to go inside so I can’t tell you what the inside looked like.
Another amazing thing I was able to see in Florence was the Statue of David. I personally think this is something you have to see in person, because pictures don’t do it justice. I guess that’s true for every landmark I saw but still it was so large. I don’t know how they were even able to build a statue that large that long ago. I did learn about it, because of course I went on a tour, but I sometimes tuned those tours out. They were honestly really boring. I of course took a selfie with David.
My third place I went in Italy was Venice. Out of all the places I went in Italy, Venice was my favorite. In Venice you are constantly walking over water and these cute little mini bridges. I loved it. The only thing I didn’t love that much was how humid it was. Rome and Florence were hot, but Venice was almost unbearable. You walked outside and instantly started to sweat, but I loved being surrounded my water. We took a train from Rome and once we arrived in Venice we had to take a boat to where we were staying. I was able to check riding a Gondola off my bucket list. Venice is famous for their ‘Spritz’ wine. It was delicious. I would recommend sitting outside drinking a spritz with a beautiful view of the water. No better way to spend your time in Venice.
On my last day in Italy I went to a vineyard in Tuscany and tasted wines. It was everything I thought it would be and more. The rolling hills of Tuscany were beyond beautiful. I think everyone should taste the wines of Tuscany once in their lives. It did however rain while we were in Tuscany. The only day it rains the entire trip is of course my last day in Italy and the day we go to vineyard, but regardless it was a trip of a lifetime and I am very blessed.
One thing that every city in Italy did an amazing job at was gelato. Gelato became my best friend in Italy, because it helped me cool off when I was dying of the heat and was overall delicious.