The other day on a travel board I frequent, a question was posed asking people to respond with a city or country they didn’t particularly care for but others just love. My answer was easy: Rome and Florence.
I’ve talked before about how my one and only trip to Italy was less than memorable. I traveled there with a girl from my study abroad program. While we had hung out a lot in Sevilla and always gotten along, we weren’t meant for long-term, “exclusive” travel . So there was that and then, since we’d booked our trip to Italy rather last minute (in a typically college student sort of way), our accommodations were…horrific. We stayed at a hostel in the Termini neighborhood of Rome (if you’ve ever been to Rome you know that Termini is the type of neighborhood you want to get in and out of, not stay in). Those two circumstances, paired with what in hindsight was bad planning on my part (I was not prepared for Rome’s tourist crowds-i.e. spending ridiculous amounts of time waiting in line for attractions that I could have gotten tickets for in advance and buying a train ticket to Florence for a Monday since all tickets on Tuesday were sold out, not realizing that almost all of the museums there were closed on Mondays) resulted in a less than memorable trip. Sure, I have great photos that on the surface look cool, but deep down I know the bad memories that are lurking beneath them.
So in all fairness to Rome and Florence, I know it was not them but rather me. They can’t be blamed for my travel companion, they’re not at fault for the hostel I stayed at or the fact I was terrible with advance planning. Enough people travel to Italy each year and love it-the food, the people, the ambiance, the sights. So by all means, I want to give it “another shot.” One that involves lodging at a nice hotel in a nice area (i.e. one where I am not randomly propositioned by some creepy South Asian man); one that involves doing research in advance to know of which restaurants and trattorias to eat at (I had less than stellar meals the entire time I was in Italy); and most importantly, one that involves seeing AND experiencing the Rome and Florence that most people fall head over heels with (i.e. I’m looking at you Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn).
Now granted, if I go a second time to Rome and Florence, stay at nice hotels, eat great meals, and still am less than impressed, then I know that perhaps it was not me and always Italy all along (but I severely doubt this is the case).
What also inspired me to write this post, i.e. specifically “pick on” Italy with my writing, is this drool worthy post written by Jessica over at Curiosity Travels. She’s a prime example of why Italy truly looks (and tastes) amazing.
Are there any countries or cities you weren’t too enthralled with but others just love?