Dolce Vita Bloggers have asked us to share our fun tales about travels in Italy. Really every day living here is filled with journeys and experiences, too many to share in one post.
Italy has taught me the art of being a traveller rather than a simple tourist. Because of the immense amount of monuments, museums, churches and art galleries to see it is literally impossible to see everything, so you are forced to choose what speaks most loudly to you.
You need to give yourself space to notice the little things, a detail in design, a quirky cherub in a church, the colours of different mosaic tiles, an exotic door knocker, clothes hanging on a clothesline from a balcony or a beautiful little old lady walking around the markets doing her shopping.
The beauty of Italia is always in the little details, allow yourself the time to observe the bliss of the moment, the sounds of the streets, a vibrant conversation in Italian, a motorino zipping past, the colours of the fruit and vegetables, the feel of the stone on an ancient palazzo, a detail in the architecture. Italy is a feast for the senses, so see, taste, feel, smell and listen to every single moment.
Italia is the home of the unexpected, often you are forced to improvise and be flexible. You will find places closed for lunch, or will be made late by traffic, or find yourself waiting in never-ending lines. But if you embrace the mishaps you will be taken into place you would never have imagined.
For travelling in Italy, you need to pack a good sense of humour, a certain amount of patience and a whole lot of time because anything can and will happen. Trains and planes will be late, locals infuriatingly will not be in a hurry, tourists will be, and you can expect the unexpected.
Sitting down to write this post my mind is ticking over the many strange and funny occurrences on my travels around Italy. Everything from getting off the wrong train station in Tuscany and discovering a totally new town.
To inadvertently catching the last bus to my father’s families original hometown in the Abruzzo region and getting a lift into town with a kind bus driver who turned out to be a distant cousin.
Disastrously following a GPS off the beaten track and into a dry riverbank in the middle of nowhere, thanks to Sicily’s criminal lack of road signs.
Getting hopelessly lost in Venice, finding many cute little stores and accidentally stumbling back on my hotel after an entire afternoon of aimlessly wondering.
Being caught up in a police blitz in Florence and seeing the African street vendors hot tail out from in front of the Uffizi before the Carabinieri arrived.
Or the time I was on a romantic dinner in Lucca and a water pipe burst in the apartment above the restaurant. While being accompanied outside I witnessed an absent-minded elderly man swearing at the janitor of the building because his house had been flooded. The man had just run out of his house accidentally forgetting to put on his pants.
The most amazing moment was when I went to see an exhibition at Florence in the Palazzo Medici Riccardi which was dedicated to the inventions of Leonardo da Vinci. After seeing all of the fruits of da Vinci’s imagination and extra detailed models of Filippo Brunelleschi’s project for the Duomo of Santa Maria del Fiore, at Florence.
After I finished I decided to take a look around the grand Renaissance palace which seemed to be open to the public.
I was about to leave when I noticed a small door to I room I had inadvertently missed, so I went through it.
On the other side, I discovered a small chapel whose walls were covered in the most vibrant and spectacular fresco’s I have ever seen.
The famous cycle of frescoes was painted by the Renaissance master Benozzo Gozzoli in 1459 for the Medici family and they left me with a tremendous sense of awe.
The Journey of the Magi is a painting dedicated to a sacred subject but rich in traces of pomp and secular elegance. One wall is dedicated to hosts of angels who sing while the magnificent procession of the Three Kings approaches Bethlehem on a separate wall. The kings are accompanied by their respective entourages as they enjoy the scene of a noble hunting party with falcons and felines along the way.
The sumptuous dress of the regal party makes this series of frescos one of the most fascinating testimonies of art and costume of all time. The procession of characters features prominent Florentine nobles from Renaissance, merchants and artists which are painted with such vibrancy that they seem alive. The colours and style of Gozzoli are amazing the fresco looks so contemporary as to seem to be painted yesterday.
Reading up about the work Gozzoli, really had wonderful fun depicting local characters of Medici Florence, even inserting himself and featuring a particularly acrobatic horse who is miraculously able to balance on two legs.
This was a work of art, I discovered entirely by accident, just by following my own nose.
A trip to Italy is indeed an adventure, so I’d advise you to keep these three things in mind:
1) You will be late for one reason or another, so give yourself plenty of extra time.
2) Let yourself get lost, that’s when you discover the most unexpected things.
3) Allow yourself to wonder and interact with the locals, go to local events and do plenty of people watching.
Italy is so colourful you really need to give yourself the time to absorb its unique energy, colours, flavours, art and history.
Think of a vacation to Italy as an adventure, go down the side streets, through tiny little doors on the side of churches, try a trattoria or bar where you see the locals spilling out onto the streets. Move out of your comfort zone, try something you usually don’t do.
I guarantee it will be the best experience ever.
And the most memorable vacation of your life.
Sicily Inside and Out is about sharing my own travel experiences in Sicily here are some of my favourites:
The one time I went to Etnaland
Thanks so much to Kelly from italianatheart.com, Jasmine from questadolcevita.com and Kristie of mammaprada.com for suggesting such a wonderful subject.
If you are a blogger or creator of an Italian themed channel please feel free to join us every 7th of the month for our Dolce Vita Bloggers topics, we’d love to hear from you.
This is part of the #DolceVitaBloggers Linkup – #11 October 2018 – Hilarious Travel Mishaps
Past #DolceVitaBlogger Link-Ups:
#DolceVitaBloggers Linkup – #10 September 2018 – Favourite Italian Recipe
#DolceVitaBloggers Linkup – #9 August 2018 – Culture Shock
#DolceVitaBloggers Linkup – #8 July 2018 – La Dolce Vita
#DolceVitaBloggers Linkup – #7 June 2018 – Hidden Gems in Italy
#DolceVitaBloggers Linkup – #6 May 2018 – Five Italian Words
#DolceVitaBloggers Linkup – #5 April 2018 – The Perfect Day in Italy
#DolceVitaBloggers Linkup – #4 March 2018 – International Women’s Day
#DolceVitaBloggers Linkup – #3 February 2018 – A Love Letter to Italy
#DolceVitaBloggers Linkup – #2 January 2018 – Favourite Italian City
#DolceVitaBloggers Linkup – #1 December 2017 – ‘The Italian Connection
9 thoughts on “Unexpected travels in Italy”
Great post Rochelle. That fresco is amazing, what a discovery. Great advice too 🙂
Thanks! I know, it was an amazing find and it really introduced me into accepting the unexpected adventures in travel. 🙂
I enjoyed reading about your travel adventures, Rochelle! The one about the man coming down without his pants had me laughing!!! 😂 And I can totally picture the GPS leading you to no man’s land…that has happened a few times to me too in the mountains near Asiago! (Thankfully I wasn’t driving!) I absolutely love discovering secret art unexpectedly…so magical!
😂 Yes, Kelly it was so funny. And GPS use in Italy is not recommended (my husband who was driving and swearing nearly threw it out of the window!) I adore the unexpected surprises every place reserves for visitors.
Brava, Rochelle! Isn’t it amazing that you found “The Gift of the Magi” by going through a small door? What a great parallelism when the Wise Men found the Chosen One in the Christ child.
Yes, it was a great parellel, I was gifted the gift of the Magi! 😉
Hey Rochelle, your writing was scrumptious in this post! I loved all the details you used and particularly this line “you are forced to choose what speaks most loudly to you”…I think it’s easy to actually get beauty burn-out from being in Italy, you just can’t take it all on one occasion (probably why I keep going back to certain cities or regions again and again).
Thanks Jasmin, that means a lot coming from another writer 🙂 It is literally impossible to take everything in so I think you need to be able to pick and choose. Yes it’s always a good excuse to keep going back to the same places. I think there is a name for that overwhelming feeling you get, a certain illness, a phrase coined in Florence where it happens very often.
Just found it on Wikipedia: Stendhal syndrome, Stendhal’s syndrome, hyperkulturemia, or Florence syndrome is a psychosomatic disorder that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to an experience of great personal significance, particularly viewing art.
I feel very fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time in Italy, 6 months every year. It is because of the things you have written about that I wanted to buy here and have a permanent base from which to explore. The best part of being in Italy is to enjoy the small, every day things. I love to sit at my local bar early in the morning and watch the drama unfold.
I think Italy has more beautiful things per square metre than anywhere. I love it, despite the sometimes very annoying problems that pop up when you have to cope with when you try to get things done.
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