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A look inside Italy

Italy is a country rich in culture, history, and fashion. From the breathtaking Amalfi Coast to the historic city of Florence, Italy is a country whose scene changes from city to city.

The south of Italy is one trip in itself. One can spend weeks there and still not see enough. However, a six day trip is a sufficient amount of time to experience this beautiful region of Italy.

The first city to see in the southern region of Italy is Rome. From tossing a coin in the Trevi Fountain to visiting the Colosseum while sampling some gelato, Rome has more than enough to offer tourists who are looking for an adventure-packed time. This city is one of the world’s most exhilarating travel destinations. It inspires the mind, appeals to the senses, and captures the heart.

One of the most important things to do in Rome is to visit the most recognizable of Rome’s classical buildings, The Colosseum. It is one of the oldest amphitheaters, located in the center of Rome

The Colosseum once held about 50,000-80,000 people, and is the largest amphitheater ever built. The Colosseum is an ancient beauty, and it is a wonder how it is still standing today. Standing in front of this huge amphitheater makes you feel so tiny and scared, like it might crash down on you any second.

Outside the Colosseum, vendors try to sell goods such as sunglasses, water for the terribly hot weather, and small trinkets and souvenirs. Bargaining with vendors can be a great experience. My bargaining skills allowed me to buy sunglasses for 15 euros when they retailed at 25 euros.

Another one of Rome’s famous sculptures is the Trevi Fountain, a true wonder nestled in the historic center of the city. A famous traditional tale of the Trevi Fountain claims that if one throws a coin over his or her shoulder into the water, it is sure that he or she will return to Rome again. As I threw my coin into the fountain, I hoped that this tale was true.

An estimated 3,000 euros in coins are thrown into the fountain every day. In summer, this fountain also makes for a great place to cool off as it provides shade and water.

Since the Trevi Fountain is a major tourist attraction, many gelato business are located near the fountain. The most popular gelato place is Venchi, which has a massive chocolate wall in the store. There are always people lined up in front of Venchi, no matter the time or day, as their gelato is one of the best.

Overall, Rome is a city you cannot miss on a trip to Italy. It is definitely worth the travel time and money as it is the type of city you fall in love with in an instant.

Freshman Kimi Yadlapalli said, “Rome is absolutely one of my favorite cities in the world. It is always lively with street vendors selling different objects while people crowd the busy streets. My favorite part was the food. I ate pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I ate so much pizza that I was sick of it!”

Alongside the plentiful historical sites, Italy’s coastline is just as famous. Traveling south from Rome, one will encounter the coastline of Italy, the Amalfi Coast. The coast is made up of hill towns such as Sorrento, Praiano, and Positano.

Freshman Ishani Anklesaria said, “The Amalfi Coast looks so artsy based on all the pictures. I love taking pictures, and I would love to visit. I think it would be so cool to see a place like the Amalfi coast in real life, that you usually see in other people’s pictures. I want to see all the culture and the colorful buildings that make up the coast of Italy.”

A famous site of the Amalfi Coast is the sea cave known as the Blue Grotto, located on the isle of Capri. When sunlight passes through this underwater cavity, it shines through the sea water, causing a blue reflection and illuminates the cavern, making it seem lit up. At the right times, the Blue Grotto seems as if it is glowing in the dark.

Venice is another destination, much like the Amalfi Coast, that is a city on water and only accessible by a water bus. Walking out of the water bus, you feel as if you have been taken to the set of a James Bond film. This city is so incredibly picturesque, it seems too good to be real.

Neighboring Venice are the hidden islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello. All three islands can only be explored by walking or boat. By water taxis and buses, one can watch glass being blown at the Murano Glass Factory, see historical cathedrals in Torcello, and experience the making of exquisite lace in Burano. Each house in Burano is painted with bright pink, orange, and blue hues, making it a great picture spot.

While southern Italy is very historical and culture oriented, the more northern part of Italy is a totally different scene. In a matter of a few hours, one is transported to a whole other region of Italy. Cities in northern Italy, such as Milan and Florence, are extremely rich in history and very fashion forward.

Milan is the fashion capital of Italy. Its streets are lined with store after store, attracting the biggest of shoppers. The temptation to buy everything from every store is hard to resist, as the quality of clothes in Italy is something you just cannot get in America.

Freshman Mehek Ashar says, “I have always wanted to go to Milan. I feel like I could spend days shopping there and still not buy enough. I really admire Italian fashion and would love to own some Italian brand clothing someday.”

Milan is home to the world’s oldest shopping mall, The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, also containing the first seven star hotel. However, The Galleria is not like any other mall. This mall only includes the highest of high fashion and designer brands such as Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and more. It is more a sightseeing destination than a shopping mall, unless you have the money.

One of the many things to do at The Galleria is sit at the Prada cafe and enjoy a luxurious cup of Italian cappuccino and an array of pastries. The cafe is located above the men’s shop of Prada, opposite the women’s shop. The experience of sitting in this luxe cafe, filled with such high fashion people carrying handfuls of shopping bags, makes someone like me feel out of place.

Milan is also home to one of the most famous murals painted by Leonardo da Vinci – The Last Supper. Seeing this painting in person is as jaw-dropping as one would think as it is hard to imagine that this mural was painted in the 15th century and still holds its integrity.

Only a three-and-a-half hour drive from Milan is the city of Florence. The drive up is as beautiful as one would imagine, and as you get to the center of this historic city, a car can only take you so far.

Florence resembles a maze, with narrow streets and alleys that are sometimes hard to navigate through. The city is a maze of history and fashion. Every street you walk on, every corner you turn, there is a new line of shops and views of historical buildings.

Florence is the place for people with an extreme interest in history and art. One can spend weeks there and still not see everything. From the Uffizi Gallery to the Duomo, there is simply too much history and art for one to see in a short time.

Freshman Sydney Graenert says, “I can’t imagine what it would be like to see all these historical places and art works in real life. Florence is definitely on my bucket list just because it is so full of history.”

Even after seeing the Duomo two times, it was still hard to get over the magnitude of it the third time around. However, the true highlight of my third trip to Florence was seeing the Statue of David. Michelangelo has created something so life-like that you almost start to tear up just staring at him. It is truly one of those out-of-body experiences that can only happen in Florence.

Overall, Italy is truly a country that should be explored in depth at least once in a person’s lifetime. The hours spent traveling and money spent shopping and eating is definitely worth it. Our experiences visiting Italy are ones that we both will never forget.

What parts of Italy would you like to visit and why?

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