A few months in…
At first, Italy didn’t especially click for me, but with time, my fondness for it really grew and now in just over three weeks there, I’d rate it as one of my favourite places in the world. Being in Italy for the World Cup when they won was more than anyone could have asked for. I was in two minds about leaving Germany the day before the World Cup started, but I think I ended up getting more atmosphere and experience actually being in countries as they played. Italy was no exception and the people there are totally fanatical about the game which added to the excitement incredibly. As Italy progressed in the tournament, their fanaticism grew. I witnessed more than one fight over football discussions in the streets and even got to see a fist-fight turn to glass bottles. Now THAT’S what sport is REALLY about..!!
Coming to Italy, I had no idea that they might take home the cup. Nor did I care especially about they beat Australia in the last seconds of their match together. In my opinion, Australia played a much better game, except for the fact that they lost. But my grudge eventually subsided and I warmed to the fanatical locals and eventually became an avid supporter. When Italy made it to the finals, I ended up in a small hatchback car with a total of 11 people in, or on it. The Final was even more amazing to be part of, as the streets of Italy were set on fire (not literally, well actually in some places..) and the atmosphere was equal if not totally surpassing that of NYE 1999. Totally crazy, and I’m surprised I came away with no injuries.., Although I would LOVE to know the number of people injured and the total number of cars and property damaged (or totally destroyed).
There was a lot more than just World Cup Fever that made Italy a very special place. From what I saw, Italy would be a fantastic place to live. My Favourite city was Firenze (Florence) because of its incredible vibe, the great people and amazing architecture. But out of the cities, the countryside was absolutely beautiful and some of the coast, including the Cinque Terre, was to die for. I stumbled across some other fantastic coastal areas too where locals go on holiday and ended up jumping off some stupidly big cliffs., I still hurt. I had a great photo from the big cliff I jumped off, but somehow I lost about 200 photos along the way =( so unless you were there, you’re just going to have to take my word for it. The buildings in Italy were some of the biggest I’ve ever seen and you can tell there was once an incredible wealth present. Either that or they were really trying to impress someone.
In the three weeks, I managed to see a big part of Italy. Starting in Rome, I made my way south through Naples & Pompei, all the way down to Sicily, where our train actually went on a boat..! Very cool. One day I want to be in a car on a truck, that goes on a train, that goes on a plane, that goes on a boat, but for now, I’ll be happy with that. After Sicily, I made my way back up to Florence, Venice and then my last stop was the Cinque Terre.
Leaving Italy, I had an incredibly confusing time trying to buy my train ticket out due to a mix up in my brain between the cities of Venice and Vienna. – You try buying a ticket to Venice in Austria and see what kind of reaction you get..
I’d highly recommend a trip to Italy for anyone, and when you decide you’re going to stay, make sure you’ve checked out Florence before deciding where you’ll finally settle.