Last year, I was lucky enough to visit Italy for around 10 days. I’d always wanted to visit, but assumed it would simply be a middle-of-the-road country for me since I’ve been lucky enough to see so many incredible places on my travels.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. From the moment we landed, I absolutely fell in love with Italy, and can’t wait to return so I can eat more pasta, linger over wine, treat myself to gelato, and of course, soak up more of the history and culture bursting from every part of this country.

We started in Rome, which I wasn’t expecting to love. For some reason, Rome has a reputation for being dirty and unappealing. This couldn’t have been more wrong as far as I was concerned. Maybe it was where I was staying, but I didn’t find it to be dirty at all- instead, I loved wandering the tiny streets, taking my time eating long lunches, and randomly stumbling across centuries-old attractions.

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I studied Classics at school and loved learning about the Colosseum. We visited first thing in the morning, when it was relatively cool, and took a tour so we could learn all about the different parts of this massive structure. Standing in the Colosseum was one of those ‘pinch me, am I really here?’ moments, and I absolutely loved learning about how it was used over the years.

Next, we went to Venice, which my friend hadn’t been too excited about, but I’d insisted, unsurprisingly, she was disappointed we couldn’t stay for longer. Venice was an incredible place to visit, and I plan to go back with a much emptier suitcase so I can buy more of the amazing glass. This was another place I’d always wanted to visit, and we stayed at a hostel which was once a monastery. My favorite part of Venice was definitely just getting lost amongst the winding streets, trying the delicious local food (there are some chocolate shops there that beat anything I’ve had anywhere else), and purchasing a gorgeous glass lily.

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Finally, we went to Florence. We found an incredible paper shop where they make paper by hand, using dye to create gorgeous patterns on the paper and journals. Unfortunately, this is where I came down with the flu, and while I was able to enjoy the view of Florence at sunset, I was otherwise too sick to do much here.

While we had taken a train between each of these destinations, we’ve already decided that when we return next year, we’ll be hiring a car so we can stop off and explore the Italian countryside wherever we like. I’m also excited to explore Tuscany and would love to see the coast- another reason to make it a road trip.

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