As I’ve stated before, I like to do a ton of research on new destinations. I especially like to read articles regarding what other people learned on their trips; therefore, here is what I wish I would have known before our adventure to Italy.
First and foremost, I learned that it is possible to eat too much Italian food. Italian is one of my favorites, and I didn’t think I could ever be tired of it! We enjoyed the local cuisine, but we really needed a change of pace near the end of our stay. While exploring the area around the Vatican, we stumbled upon a great burger place. It was our favorite meal in Italy! Unfortunately, we ate there on a Friday during Lent… oops. On the other hand, I will say that there can never be too much gelato! The frozen treat totally surpassed my expectations, and I ate a lot of it.
I also wish I would have known how busy the Vatican Museum gets. Luckily, we booked early entry tickets. When we first arrived, the museum was pretty empty and enjoyable. After our first time through, I really wanted to see the Sistine Chapel again. So, we started to head in that direction. At this point, it was maybe a half an hour after the official opening time, and the museum was flooded with people. We could barely move! As Catholics, we were really looking forward to visiting; however, I think the craziness took away from our experience there.
In addition, I wish I had heard about the sales people lingering around the popular attractions. While it is common to see this practice in Europe, I felt that some were pretty assertive in Rome. We tried to politely decline their tours, selfie sticks, bracelets, etc, but a few of them made us feel a little uncomfortable.
We also learned on our trip that tourists have to pay city taxes each day. While the fees aren’t incredibly expensive, they are per traveler and can really add up. One night we had overlapping hotel reservations, and we had to pay for both cities.
We also discovered on our trip that Venice is incredibly walkable. As we were planning out our stay in the City of Canals, we purchased a pass that provided us transportation to and from the airport as well as unlimited water taxi rides. It was difficult to decipher walking paths from maps online; so, we weren’t sure what to expect. We only really needed the bus portion of our tickets, though.
Finally, I’d like to talk about our rental car. After we booked our trip, I was really having second thoughts about Justin driving in Italy. Most articles I read strongly discouraged tourists from renting cars. While the different language/culture required us to more observant, Justin didn’t think that driving was all that terrible. To be honest, we thought that the conditions were worse in Iceland. While we utilized the freeways to get to the majority of our destinations, we also tackled the dreaded Amalfi Coast drive. There were definitely some tight corners, but the roads were similar to those here in the mountains of AZ. I think it’s important to note that we decided not to drive in Rome. We kept our rental car at the hotel and used the MyTaxi App to get into the city center.
I guess we never really know what to expect of a new destination until we arrive! 🙂