Italy has kicked my butt more than once. More accurately, Italy has torn me down, stomped on me, left me stranded and frustrated, and then called “ha!” over her shoulder as she’s walked away, uncaring. Then, beckoning me to follow, she leads me through breathtaking scenery and introduces me to the most amazing food and wine, the most beautiful art, the most friendly, relaxed, and welcoming people, and even to another side of myself. Invariably, I forget about the earlier minor infractions, and I’m having the time of my life.
One lesson from this? (apart from the fact that Italy can charm anyone.) You need to have your wits about you on your trip. That means being somewhat organized, relatively rested — or at least not exhausted — and therefore open to spur-of-the-moment opportunities, able to enjoy and appreciate new experiences, and problem-solve where necessary.
The secret? The secret is not about what you see in Italy, it’s about how you see it. More specifically, the secret to a fabulous Italy trip is an itinerary that is balanced – on several levels. Since I’ve been there and done that (and since I make a living from it) here are some tips:
Putting together the pieces, making sure you know how to get from A to B and back again, and making sure all travelers are happy can be a daunting task if you’re the one planning your trip. But trust me, during the planning process, spend the time to focus on the balance of the trip in the three areas above so that, once in Italy, you won’t be too harried or too exhausted to handle the unexpected when it happens. Because in Italy, it will. But you? You’ll have your wits about you.
Top photo: awesome Vatican guide talking about the Laocoon sculpture; bottom photo: a Rome cafe. Photos by Madeline Jhawar and may not be used without permission
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