Encino, California Travel Agent
A Tourist in My Own Country
I remember the first time I visited the Colosseum in Rome. There were hundreds of people all around me, but as I walked in the gate and looked down onto where gladiators and wild beasts had fought, I forgot about the crowds around me and felt the vibrations of the past. It was an amazing moment and one I will never forget.
Venice is another place that I did not let the swarms of people distract me. Summer is the worst time to go because that is when most people want to come, and the heat can sometimes make the canals smell. I took a group there one summer, and while we would have enjoyed it more in a cooler, quieter season, we were still enamored with the beauty of the Grand Canal, St. Mark’s Square and the wonder of venturing out and crossing the many small bridges as we strolled around the city at night.
Everyone wants to see Venice, and you can do it in luxury, but you also can do as I did on my first trip and take a ferry from the train station on the mainland. I felt smart knowing I was traveling along the same Grand Canal that the expensive tours do. I got off the ferry to walked around St. Mark’s Square and then continued on to Murano, the small island known for creating quality hand-blown glass objects, and Burano, where there are still women who craft hand-made lace the way their mothers have done for centuries. Taking the public ferries lets you see everything the grand tours do and it is almost free.
Heading north, I like to visit Verona and Padua, two lovely cities with fantastic medieval buildings. Then, I head into the Tyrolean Alps, where the architecture, still beautiful, becomes less flowery and more functional, and I am once again awed by the towering rock faces and peaks of the Tyrolean Alps.
Sicily is one of my favorite spots. Ancient mingles with modern along the Corso Umberto, the main shopping street of the hilltop town of Taormina, and nearby is an ancient Greek Theater that still hosts operas, concerts, and other shows. One evening, I was enjoying cocktails with friends on the terrace of a clifftop restaurant in Taormina. We were looking out at the Ionian Sea and could see Mt. Etna erupting in the distance. That was something I will never forget.
Every region of Italy brings back memories of wonderful moments. Wherever you want to go in Italy, I can suggest the iconic experiences that will create treasured memories for a lifetime.