Welcome to a new blog series I am introducing. A departure from my usual topics, I am hopeful this can become one of my mainstays. While many people who read one of my articles may only be interested in some of what I write, this is something we can all be bonded by: a love for travel and learning about the world.
Having visited five countries in my travels outside of the United States, I’ve gotten a taste of what the rest of the world has to offer through Canada, England, France, Mexico, and Spain. That still leaves roughly 190 countries I have not visited. In this series, I’ll focus on at least one of them a month in the hopes of crossing them off my list some day.
While that day may feel eons away due to the pandemic’s travel restrictions, it won’t stop me from dreaming of travel. Time for me to pack my virtual bags and get my passport ready, because the first stamp will be colored red, white, and green.
Disclaimer: This is not meant to be a comprehensive travel guide, just me expressing my thoughts on a country I wish to travel someday in an entertaining and succinct way in which you too could visualize yourself being on that land.
Welcome to Italy
Italy is located in Southern Europe, bordered by the countries France, Austria, Switzerland, and Slovenia (along with surrounding micronations San Marino and Vatican City). Surrounded by three sides by the Meditteranean Sea, the Meditteranean influences the nation from its climate to its food and everything in between. Romance is associated with this nation through its connections to Romeo and Juliet as well as the Italian language being part of the Romance Language group, the same group as Spanish and French. While it may seem like the cliche choice for a vacation, sometimes cliches are front of mind for a reason. Without further ado, in no particular order here are three cities I would like to visit in this beautiful nation.
Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, a day alone wouldn’t even scratch the surface of what the capital of Italy has to offer. Just one look out the window of your hotel and you’d view a beautiful building that has stood the test of time for millennia. St. Peter’s Basilica and Sistine Chapel are just a few examples, along with the nearby Vatican. If you want an authentic Italian and European experience, you’ll get it in Rome. Finally, I would check out the Stadio Olimpico, home to Serie A sides Roma and Lazio.
If you asked virtually any person in my life to pick words to describe me, few of them (certainly not my girlfriend) would describe me as fashionable. Yet somehow I can’t help but feel drawn to the fashion capital of the world. Maybe it’s because whatever the craft may be, if I find myself at the location where people perform said craft to the highest level, I can’t help but be impressed. It’s not just the clothes that look great in Milan. The cathedrals and the castles are stuff that legends and tales are made of. Continuing my stadium tour, San Siro hosts AC Milan and Internazionale, another pair of cross town rivals that share a stadium.
What excites me most about visiting Venice is the obvious feature that draws most of its tourists: the canals. It makes it so unique compared to the rest of the world. This is the closest I feel the balance between land and sea is reached. In most places along the continents, the scale is tipped toward land. The islands favor the sea. You get the best of both worlds. Venice doesn’t have as much soccer action going on as the other two cities I mentioned, but it does have Venezia which plays in Italy’s second division. Whether it’s on the grass, the pavement, or on the water, Venice is a unique city waiting to be explored.
Italy embodies a lot of the common reasons why people love to travel to Europe in the first place. It checks every box from history to artwork to weather to just the experience of being in a new place. There is no doubt Italian culture has influenced the United States considering I eat a “healthy” amount of pizza (but not as much garlic bread, slacking in that department) but Italy offers so much more than that. Whenever I get a chance to visit Europe again, Italy will be at or near the top of the list.
Where to Next?
If I am to stay in Europe, I’m looking for a 180. Otherwise, I’m ready to explore a different part of the world. My ideas are Costa Rica, Iceland, New Zealand, and South Africa. Let me know which of those countries you’d like me to write about next month! If a fifth option gets enough traction, that could be the country I end up selecting too. Until then, I’ll be imagining myself chilling in my gondola. Paddle by to my Twitter @IvanOrnelas2 or Instagram @ivanthewriter95.