I have always wanted to visit Italy. It has long been a bucket list destination for me. The daft thing is that I have been all around the world, from Iceland to India, Hawaii to Australia but I have never been to Italy and it’s not really that far away! I am looking into a road trip around Italy, taking in Venice, Rome and then Naples before heading to Bari and the coastal town of Gallipoli. I have found this amazing Masseria Puglia where we plan to spend a few days relaxing by the pool and recharging the batteries after our long sightseeing trip. A masseria is a fortified farmhouse or country house on a country estate usually found in the Italian region of Puglia. A masseria is similar to a hacienda in Spain or a Mani tower house in the Peloponnese. The masseria was like a rather large farm complex, where the land barons stored their food and possessions from the 16th to 18th centuries in Italy.
I long to visit the pale beauty of Venice with its romantic bridges and handsome (but expensive) gondolas. The Piazza San Marco with its gilded Byzantine mosaics illustrating the story of Venice. I have heard that Venice is very child friendly and can’t wait to take the kids. Carnevale or Mardi Gras, is Venice’s biggest masquerade party, and artists create carnival masks ranging from simple to wildly elaborate to downright creepy. Time Out say “Kids can paint their own at Ca’ Macana, one of the city’s remaining handful of traditional mask-making workshops. Carnival masks are as ubiquitous in Venice as glass trinkets and toy gondolas, but painting their own lets kids appreciate the mask-makers’ craft and create a souvenir they’ll treasure long after they’ve left Venice.”
I am also a cheese fanatic and love parmesan and pecorino. One of my favourite memories is of a small Italian takeaway where I grew up. It was somewhere we visited every week as a teenager, and later as a young adult. We would get the bus there on the way home from town and take home huge cheesy garlic breads and prosciutto pizza (pepperoni seemed uncommon then). The memory makes me feel happy which I think good food does. I recently visited Lucia, an Italian restaurant in York, and sampled their mixed meats starter. The dish consisted of parma ham, salami Milano and bresaola, and was accompanied by gruyere cheese and buffalo mozzarella
I have been taken with the idea of visiting Pompeii since I took Latin at school. The angry Mount Vesuvius raining down its fiery lava onto the unsuspecting town below fills me with a horrified fascination. I’ve always been interested in archaeology and really want to visit the preserved city. Today the city of Pompeii is a tourist site, but is also protected and preserved as a UNESCO Heritage Site. A lot of what we know about Roman life comes from the discovery of Pompeii. Mount Vesuvius is still an active volcano today and Naples is a thriving port city, but were Vesuvius to erupt again all of the people would need to be evacuated very quickly.
I feel that it would be remiss of me to visit Italy without seeing Rome and all it’s history and architecture. There are so many ‘must see’ places in Rome, like the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel and the Colosseum. I am never one to worry about people thinking me ‘touristy’ so I am planning to taking the open top bust tour. You can see so much in just one day and then return afterwards to all the sites you want to explore in more depth. Plus I love the interesting stories you are told while on the bus and the fact that this can be done via a headset and in English is a massive bonus for us! Another must is to throw three coins into the Trevi fountain. The legend says it will bring you good fortune and you will one day return to the Eternal City. What more can I say – who would not want to return to Rome and beautiful Italy?