Three years ago I was preparing to embark on my 3-month journey abroad in Europe. No matter how much time passes, the memories I built seem completely unreal. It is difficult for me to believe I was actually there. My home base was Florence, Italy. The longing I feel for this city along with the others I visited is indescribable. My sentimentality causes me to scroll through photographs more than what is probably considered healthy. Each picture yanks on my heart, giving me a sinking feeling in my stomach.
Although beautiful, Florence is not an overly colorful city. Tans of Tuscany and pale yellows line the Arno River. Comforting muted silver stone leads me to and from the 6-roommate apartment where I reside. My directionally challenged self is often physically off-track due to the similarity of the buildings, but I am never once disoriented emotionally.
Weekends in Europe are for venturing away from the familiarity of Florence to more brightly saturated destinations. A few vibrant locations in Italy I had the pleasure of traveling to are construed here. If you ever have the opportunity and need a radiant getaway, here are a few obligatory pit stops.
Cinque Terre, meaning “5 towns” is an enchanting part of the Italian coastline. My day wandering the streets with my study abroad program is quite sweltering, but nevertheless enjoyable to say the least. While you are there, be sure to grab a spritz to sip on. A spritz is an alcoholic, wine-based cocktail commonly served in Northern Italy. Orange seems to be the most popular flavor. Unfortunately, my citrus allergy halts me from savoring the coral-colored refreshment. I am not outdoorsy and not a hiker by any means. The only reasons I do so is to walk away from the terrifying experience with some legendary photos and hopefully an interesting story to tell. The views make up for my dehydration, starvation, and heat exhaustion. It is the ultimate hike I would do again in a heartbeat if I had the chance.
This impeccable little island is famous for its multicolored houses and storefronts. The city is transported from a fairytale, right? People actually live here? My friends and I casually stroll through the teeny-tiny town, in no rush at all. The cloudless blue skies create an ideal backdrop. Clean laundry drapes from clothes lines across from an adorable gelato shop. The store includes a flavor colored as purple as the building pictured below. Burano is loud in photos, but extremely peaceful in person.
Going for a gondola ride in Venice had always been near the top of my bucket list. After getting a taste of floating down The Venetian hotel canal in Vegas, I craved the real thing. Pizza, wine, and gelato are some highlights. However, in Italy when are they not? As our boat makes its way around, we pass a bottle of red wine while trying not to miss the perfect photo op. The Venice atmosphere is more upbeat in comparison to the island of Burano, but I sadly did not have the opportunity to experience their nightlife. Hundreds of flashy masks stock souvenir carts, keeping those in the spirit of Venice’s annual celebration of Carnival. It is a lively bash I would love to one day take part in.
Which of these unique Italian towns would you choose to visit?