Highlights of Italy, where do you start? There are so many fabulous things, all of which are must-sees and must-dos, but for Intrepid’s Catherine Douglas there was still a special stand-out experience…
“Eating homemade pasta and kiwi fruit gelato in tiny restaurants and wandering the mazes of side streets of Venice while trying to barter with the owners of the Gondolas for the best price on a backpacking budget. Taking silly photos and buying cute tacky knickknacks outside the leaning tower of Pisa. Discovering the historical architecture of the Colosseum in Rome and making a wish to meet a delicious Italian man by throwing a coin into Trevi Fountain. Sending a postcard from Vatican City – the smallest country in the world, and climbing up hundreds of steps to see the best views over Rome. Viewing amazing artworks in Florence and giggling at naked statues. All such fantastic experiences but nothing could beat Cinque Terre for me.
Away from the tourist crowds I found that each village from Monterosso to Riomaggiore to be full of friendly people and pretty coloured buildings surrounded by the bluest and most beautiful water I’ve ever seen. It was such an adventure walking between each village and discovering all the quaint shops and the endless possibilities for amazing food. Although I did take the train for one leg, as I was a bit weary after so much good food and wine, and enjoyed a siesta in the afternoon – a great invention that I think the rest of the world need to take on! On our last night in the region, our tour group bought some local wine and headed down to sit on the rocks on the coastline and we chatted until the early hours of the morning. There is simply something very special and quintessentially Italian about the Cinque Terre.”
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* photo by Jamie Hughes.