Italia – Living Like a Local

Wake up

Espresso and Creme

Dress in most fashionable attire – they really do care




Take a walk around town



When living in Den Haag I had the pleasure of making a friend from Italy and going to visit his family in Tuscany. I stayed with them for 11 days, and I truly learned what it was like to visit a place where no one speaks English, and everyone knows everyone.

My time there was spent in Buoncovento, a small town 20 minutes out of Siena where a beautiful monastery and one of the oldest historical town centers in Italy is located. We also went to Siena, Florence, and Rome.

Siena is famous for its horse racing, much like Louisville, and twice every year the entire city is divided into teams who sponsor a horse to race through the town’s HUGE square. The entire city gets involved and the tradition itself is thousands of years old. You can get your best view of the square from the cupola in the cathedral overlooking it. A few fun facts, the top of this specific bell tower is wider, and heavier than the supporting pillar beneath it, so be sure to see it before it falls, it’s already several hundred years old. Also, the entire “square” is shaped like a seashell, and you need an aerial view to really see it! Siena is full of boutiques and amazing food, as well as a park that overlooks the city. Be sure to check out the backstreets, and you can find the famous horse stalls that house each teams race contender.

Florence, as everyone says, is one of the most artistic, beautiful cities in the world – built on a river, graced by bridges and blooming flowers on every wall. As we were there for one day, we went to the Uffizi, the Academia, walked over the Ponte Vecchio, a bridge built in 1345 housing some of the world’s most beautiful coral jewelry, summited to the top of the city to the Piazzale Michelangelo and went to an Italian bar – which really means a place to sit for hours enjoying a sandwich and wax philosophical about anything and everything – we witnessed to older men still sitting at the same table when we walked by 5 hours later. The Duomo of course is a must see, but my favorite part was the Piazza del Signoria which is one of the most politically famous squares in the city, and also has some of the most amazing statues.



There are no words to describe the city other than – see it, love it, walk everywhere, and do anything within your power to extend the trip. We began in the train station and walked northwest through almost every famous attraction to the Vatican. The people, the sites, the history, the fountains – there is nothing about the city I do not love. My favorites included the Villa di Medici gardens, the Arc of Constantine, and viewing the entire city from the cupola of St. Paul’s cathedral. My best recommendation is to visit with an Italian – you get a first rate tour if they went to secondary school in Italy – and better deals on entrance to everything – it turns out a set price is usually a lot cheaper if they realize you’re not American. 🙂


Final Notes

Visit Italy! The people, the scenery, the cities, the food! Bella!


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