Italy: The Best and Worst

Wow, I have been writing about Italy forever, haven’t I? There is just so much to say and I could probably go on and on (particularly about food), but I think I’ve reached the end of my Italian musings for the time being. Which means it’s time for Best and Worst!

Total Days: 15

Total Days it Didn’t Rain: 11 (Wow, that has to be some sort of record for me)

Places Visited: Rome, Bologna, Milan, plus day trips to Modena and Ostia Antica

Favorite Place: I still adore Rome, but Bologna really struck a strong chord with both Michael and me- strong enough to go on our shortlist of places to live!

Least Favorite Place: Milan didn’t do much for me, but it’s still part of Italy which makes it 1000 times better than most places.

Best Tourist Site: Even so, wandering around on the rooftop of the Duomo was the coolest way to explore a church ever.

Favorite Food: Oh my god, I can not choose. I am having a serious crisis just trying to answer this question. Okay fine: Roman artichokes, pizza we made ourselves, pasta bolognese (which I don’t even like much back home), real gelato, every single kind of cheese and cured meat.

Least Favorite Food: Even the Italians have an off night. Mike and I went out to celebrate a late Valentine’s day at a fancier place near our apartment in Rome and I ended up with an extremely disappointing lamb chop with barely any meat on it’s charred bones. It was also probably the most expensive meal I had in Italy to add insult to injury.

Most Memorable Moments: Eating real gelato outside our homey rental apartment in Rome, discovering Keat’s grave, wandering Bologna late at night with my friend Anna, seeing the Trevi Fountain with Mike for the first time and exploring hidden parts of the Colosseum.

Coolest Discovery: The startlingly different (and yummy) taste of real DOP Balsamic Vinegar, aged 25 years, in Modena. I’ll never go back to the thin stuff.

Biggest Obsession: Food obviously, but more specifically the local markets that can be found in every town and local neighborhood in Italy. The produce was so fresh and colorful it looked like jewels.

Biggest Annoyance: The air quality in Milan was surprisingly terrible! Also, this wasn’t so much an annoyance as a terrifying ordeal, but I’ll probably need sedation dentistry next time because of our horrifying Italian dental experience.

Coolest souvenir: I love love love my little Capuchin monk espresso shot glasses that I picked up at the Capuchin Crypt. Aren’t they the cutest things ever?

Biggest Regret: That dentist of course. Also being too unorganized to go see the Last Supper outside Milan.

Best Advice: When in Italy try every local meat, cheese and pasta specialty you can get your hands on! Learn about food traps and really make the most of being in (at least according to me) the culinary capital of the world.

I’m starting to think Italians have a thing for octopi

Would I Go Back? Oh yes, I suspect I will be seeing a LOT more of Italy in the next few years. At least I really hope so!



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26 Responses to Italy: The Best and Worst

  1. Andrea May 14, 2013 at 9:44 AM #

    It’s been so long since I’ve been to Italy – you’ve made me want to return!

  2. Thomas Dembie May 14, 2013 at 9:57 AM #

    Great post! I’m heading to Tuscany in a few weeks, and this post makes me want to go tomorrow! I agree about all of your food comments. After tasting aged Balsamic I can’t go back! How was the lineup to get to the rooftop of the Duomo? I remember from my last trip some of the lineups were extremely long…

    • Steph May 14, 2013 at 4:12 PM #

      We only had to wait maybe 10 minutes, but this was on a weekday in March, they probably are much longer in peak season.

  3. Jamie May 14, 2013 at 10:46 AM #

    I cannot wait to make it to italy! I can not imagine having the will power not to eat 24/7…

  4. Casey @ A Cruising Couple May 14, 2013 at 11:49 AM #

    Isn’t Italy amazing? It’s definitely one of those places that even with all the hype doesn’t disappoint-provided you can avoid the tourist traps. Love your suggestion to know all you can about the local food. One of my favorite parts was drinking all the local wine homemade by my home-stays. I never made it to Milan, but I suppose the Duomo does warrant a visit ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Megan May 16, 2013 at 1:55 AM #

      Italy was always a place that seemed so hyped up to me, and I never put a lot of thought into visiting. I knew I’d make it there someday, just didn’t really have a plan as to when. But comments like yours, Casey, and Steph’s food descriptions/pictures alone have changed my mind!

  5. Erica May 14, 2013 at 1:40 PM #

    I am obsessed with those Capuchin monk espresso shot glasses!!

  6. Amanda May 14, 2013 at 2:40 PM #

    I’m FINALLY going to be exploring more of Italy this year. And am SO excited. Especially for all the food! Yum!

    Also, I love your Capuchin monk espresso shot glasses!

  7. Mallory May 14, 2013 at 4:58 PM #

    Love this post (and all your other Italy posts)! I went to Italy about 5 years ago and I loved it! The food was AMAZING. The sights were amazing. I want to go back, just to do a food tour and visit other cities in Italy. I hope I will be able to have the chance in the near future.

    • Steph May 15, 2013 at 9:07 AM #

      I dunno about that- I ate incredibly well! Did you check out my article on food traps? Maybe you’re just picking the wrong places…

  8. Casi @HeyNoobz May 15, 2013 at 7:45 AM #

    Wow! That meat and cheese plate looks absolutely amazing! I can’t wait to get to Italy!

  9. Erin May 15, 2013 at 1:02 PM #

    Woo Hoo…if move to Bologna, I’ll be over as often as possible. HAHA

    • Steph May 15, 2013 at 1:17 PM #

      Maybe we can house swap ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Barbara May 20, 2013 at 12:00 PM #

    Awesome review of the best and worst of Italy. We loved our time in Italy and I have to agree with you on so many of your choices, thank goodness we didn’t need to visit a dentist while we were there!! And yes, the Capuchin monk espresso shot glasses are very cute!

  11. Ellen Keith - La Viajera May 21, 2013 at 2:12 AM #

    I love the way you organize your posts on different places; the best of/worst of makes a nice summary, and is really entertaining! Italy is a wonderful place, but I’ve never been to Milan, so I can’t compare my experience at all. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Gayla May 23, 2013 at 5:32 AM #

    Italy really is a wonderful country. You’re right about Milan. It lacks something, but it’s still in Italy ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I agree about the markets; the vegetables are amazing! We recently visited Tuscany, again, and were so lucky to have experienced terrific meals. We usually have at least one that leaves a bad taste (pardon the pun), but this time each and every one was terrific! Can’t wait to go back…so many more places to discover.

  13. emma lee May 27, 2013 at 8:04 PM #

    Italy is easily my favorite country to explore in Europe, but I completely agree that Milan is just..lacking. We drove right past Bologna but unfortunately did not stop!! Now I regret it, and it’ll definitely be on my list to visit when I go back again.

  14. Tiana Kai June 1, 2013 at 9:20 AM #

    Ah, I love the food in Rome!! The meat and pasta in Florence is also to die for. I spent a night in Bologna years ago, but definitely need to go back and I agree about Milano, didn’t do much for me either.

  15. Nicola June 2, 2013 at 4:42 PM #

    Amazing! I’m so excited to go to Italy in 2 weeks, I will now be reading every tagged Italy blog post you have ever written ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Here’s my proposed itinerary for Rome and Amalfi coast. Any suggestions welcome!!

    Nicola x

  16. What about Cinque Terre? June 8, 2013 at 1:45 PM #

    Well, Milan is known to be not the best of the italian cities, unless you are looking for shopping. Next time you should definitely add to your list Cinque Terre. You won’t be disappointed!

    • Steph June 8, 2013 at 1:55 PM #

      We were originally going to go there on our last trip to Genoa but missed it. Definitely on the list for next time!

  17. Israel July 18, 2013 at 6:32 AM #

    This reminds me of my stay in Venice few years ago… But Iยดve never been to Milan so Iยดll keep your advices in mind. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. Raffaella August 9, 2013 at 9:27 PM #

    Great quick summary – sorry to hear about that awful dentist visit YIKES!
    Looking forward to Bologna – everyone raves about it lately and I’m thinking of dedicating more than 5 nights when I’m there in the spring.

  19. C.C. October 27, 2013 at 6:28 PM #

    Oh my goodness! This makes me so much more excited about going to Italy! We will be visiting your favourite and least favourite place (cause as you said it is part of italy!)

    I am so excited for all the food! If there was only 1 thing that you should eat in Italy…what should it be?

    Also how different is italian pizza vs other pizza?

    C.C. from

  20. Serhat Engul October 14, 2016 at 4:28 PM #

    Italy, amazing place to visit. I am longing for going back one day. Your great post remind me of nice days in Italy. I had stayed just like you 15 days. No rain any day. In the middle of August. I think it’s dry season then.

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