How to make a list when your dream is to see it all?
In 2018 I made an Italy Travel Wish List based on momentary inspirations. We made it to the Isole Borromee with a wonderful late-summer day-trip and have a trip to Palermo planned for March! Though we didn’t get to Bologna we did travel in Emilia Romagna, with stops in Modena, Ravenna and Ferrara. Others on 2018’s list that we didn’t get to are Civita di Bagnoregio in Lazio and the Amalfi Coast, which are still more or less on this year’s list as well as Puglia, which has been put on the back burner.
I find that my list shifts and shuffles along with the ever-changing conditions in life – budgets, babies, bosses – travel decisions depend on it all.
Not only that, but my preferences change as well. I still want to see all those on last year’s list, but some destinations no longer catch my attention as much as they did last year. They’re not what most inspires me at the moment.
So where would I go if I had no restrictions? The answer is split between day-trips and the South of Italy, an enormous area with so much cultural heritage that I have yet to experience. And it’s time!
The Amalfi Coast
One of the most popular, and crowded destinations along the coast, I’ve never had much of a desire to join the throngs. Now, however, I’m too intrigued by the infamous coast to not want to see it for myself. To figure out what’s all the hype and see if I can find a way to enjoy it without the crowds (or maybe, in spite of them). I don’t have a specific town that I’m dying to stay in, but I would like to visit some of the tiny beaches in towns like Praiano and Conca dei Marini, eat some lemons in Sorrento and tour the paradisiacal terraces and gardens in Villa Cimbrone. If we could hike some along the Path of Gods then I’d truly be in heaven!
Rome (and surroundings)
I’ve been to Rome twice, but there’s still so so much more to see. On each of my visits I basically saw the same sights, only slightly better the second time. Now, I’m hoping to go back for a longer period of time to really start to understand the city. I want to explore it rione by rione, to see the secondary churches, the Jewish Ghetto and the museums I’ve never had time to visit before. If I were really dreaming big, I’d add some day trips through Lazio onto my trip: to Villa d’Este, Ostia Antica and Castel Gandalfo. Not to mention my 2018 wish list destination, nearby Civita di Bagnoregio.
Turin is so close to me that I’m ashamed I still haven’t seen it. Some don’t think much of it and other’s expound its atmosphere so much that I’d like to go to decide for myself. Once the capital of Italy, Torino still seems to have an air of importance with grandiose buildings and an underlying pride. Home of Gianduia chocolate, Nutella and coffee, it also has world-class museums and excellent temporary art exhibitions. There’s no better reason to visit!
I don’t love Venice. In fact, I barely like it. That said, there’s still so much more to be seen in the tiny floating city. Now that I know more Italian, know more about the culture and more about the location, I’m ready to give Venice a second chance. Because though I’ve been twice, I’ve never actually been inside of St. Mark’s Basilica. I’ve also never been to Burano, the colorful neighboring island, or into the Doge’s Palace. It’s time to play the tourist, only wiser, and see if the city’s infamous charm rubs off on me!
I know it’s vague, but I want to see them all. After having toured a bit the Tuscan Archipelago, I’ve been eyeing the Pontine Islands, off the coast of Lazio just south of Rome. Especially Ponza. Touring islands with a baby is a bit dicier, as some, like Favignana to the west of Sicily, are extremely rustic, almost wild, with difficult to access beaches and sometimes choppy water. The perfect solution is the massive island of Sardinia. I’ve always been put off by the distance and expense (Sardinia is pricy) but now I can’t help but daydream about the crystal clear waters of the Costa Smeralda and easy beach access for Adeline to enjoy.
Even more of Sicily
With a trip planned to Palermo, we’re getting started – just way slower than I’d like. I’d like to see all of Sicily, going all the way around the island with the occasional trip in-land when the town merits it. I want to relax in the tourist joints of Taormina and see a show in the theater, view the temples of Agrigento, the salt pans of Trapani and the beaches in Cefalù. I want to hike Mount Etna, take in the Baroque architecture of Noto and eat all the things! There’s so much to see in Sicily that a weekend in Palermo barely scratches the surface. Until I see more, this intriguing island is high on my list.
Marco and I have seen a lot of Tuscany, but with tentative plans to go back to Siena with family members (fourth time!) it seems the perfect time to see something new! We have yet to see most of southern Tuscany or Maremma and beyond that, this is our chance to go smaller than small. We’re interested in the tiny borghi we’ve never heard of, the fortressed towns with fewer residents than trees and the simple pleasures of Tuscan food and Tuscan sun.
Don’t be confused: there’s no way I will be seeing all these places this year. Simply, they’re the places I’d jump at the most. They’re at the top of my mind and the recent searches in my Internet history. Because once the idea is there, the trip comes so much faster! Here’s to hoping!