My Love Affair with Italy
I can’t take it anymore!
Pasta, Pizza, Gelato, No more! Well, maybe in a few hours.
I had the 5 most glorious days in Italy. First Milan than Venice. Since moving to Paris, I knew Italy would be my first jaunt from the City of Lights. I have been to both cities before, and after a month in Paris, I craved Pasta over baguette. Train travel was the scenic mode of transportation, and I was excited about hitting the tracks as much as a bottle of Montepulciano with a Pizza Margherita overlooking the Duomo di Milano.
Similar, yet different
Yes, I am going compare you. I can’t help but compare and contrast other Cities or Countries. First let me state, nothing can ever beat my country of origin (USA) and my adopted home (France). I love them both equally and for different reasons. Traveling the world makes you appreciate what you have in your motherland.
With that said, Italy is up there, and always has been since my belly leads the way and never lets me down. (even though I cannot button my jeans since returning)
There is an aura that Italians have like no other. They are boisterous, intense, and have an air of confidence in how they hold themselves that I admire. Their language and persona seems compelling and rambunctious, when really it’s just fierce passion and excitement for the person or subject. For example, the topic of conversation could be as simple as which Spritz is better, Aperol or Campari. I can feel their burning passion on the topic, and their energetic, fervor and fire make me want to be part of the conversation. (And I would convince them it’s Aperol) I see this same passion in the French, but with less intensity, but more security. Once you start visiting Italy, you cannot stop the love affair that blossoms, and I promise, you will want to keep watering it.
EAT LESS IN MILAN?
I kept telling myself that on the train from Paris to Milan. “Eileen, portion control, you do not have to finish all the Pasta Alla Bolognese”. Well, I did, and added 2 Cannoli’s afterwards (something had to accompany my espresso!)
Since I love to walk and explore everywhere in a city like Milan, luckily that balances out the large carb overload. Who cares, I am there for the food more so then the sights. (My food passion needs its own article) Anyway, one of my favorite parts of Milan was how prevalent “Happy Hour” was. (Almost Tapas style like Spain) An Aperitivo is always a must, and my favorite is an Aperol Spritz which consists of Aperol, Prosecco and splash soda. (Thus my thoughts above) I plan my day on where Happy Hour will be explored. (ok, that’s how I plan everyday)
My favorite walk was from Eatly to the Duomo. (if you haven’t been to Eatly, there are many locations and you must visit). My feet each day took me down Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi, a major pedestrian area with numerous bars and restaurants (my type of street!) I could have spent a week trying all the different delicacies and phenomenal iconic Italian dishes. I highly recommend stepping out of your comfort zone and experimenting with something different besides lasagna or chicken parmesan, come on, it’s Italy!
Another time I will have to share my list of food and drink locations for indulging, as there are too many to roll out here. Strolling and looking for my next epicurean stop is how I vacation. My love affair with travel is frequently based around food and drink, any problem with that?
It’s only an Island?
Really, its 118 of them. Venice is composed of small islands that have canals separating them and then bridges to get across. If you’ve never been, make sure you take the time and muster the courage to go off “the grid” and explore the numerous passageways and alleys. Yes, I have gotten lost, ok, more than a few times. You will always find your way back to one of the main thoroughfares.
This trip I decided to stay away from the central square, Piazza San Marco and St. Mark’s Basilica. I opted for a hotel on the other side, as this was July, boatloads of people, literally. Boscolo Venezia is part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. When I arrived by boat, I truly felt like I was on an Island of my own away from the crowds.
The hotel displayed Venetian style, with elegance and class, and there was a casual luxury feel of romance and seclusion in the midst of such a bustling tourist mecca. The staff was helpful and courteous and the rooms had beautiful detail and old world charm. The attraction to this property is really the expansive garden which is meticulously maintained and a secluded oasis in the lagoon city. Within the gardens surrounded by hundred year old trees are Suites, which is where you should lay you head on your visit to the “City of Canals”.
Why I love you?
No, you cannot keep me away. If Italy had a rewards program, I would be a Platinum Member with lifetime status. I’ve been to all the major cities and each time I return, I expect to have a new affair with a different region.
No matter which area you visit, make sure to take a chance, venture out, forget the guidebooks, and see where and how the locals live. Indulge in the food and drink, explore the culture, and I promise, you will have a cherished love affair with Italy as I do.