What better country to be in than Italy when I need to write about something beginning with I!
I’ve known for a while that my family would be having their summer holiday in Italy and I’d pondered over whether or not to go with them for a while. Alex, my boyfriend, decided a mini vacation wouldn’t be a bad idea either. So we awoke at 6am on Saturday 23rd July to start our drive to Italy. We were both really excited about it, and despite the drive being long, we made it (after a quick stop in La Spezia for lunch) and it was a beautiful drive right down the Western coast of Italy.
After settling in to our quaint hotel, we headed five minutes up the road to where my parents were staying, Montegufoni Castle. The castle was devastatingly beautiful and perfectly located with views over the Italian countryside but my parents and sister were a little miserable due to no air conditioning and no real pool. The restaurant was lovely in the hotel, which we had one of the two nights we were there as well and all the staff were lovely.
Long story short, my family needed a real, relaxing holiday and therefore booked another hotel an hours drive more North. Alex had planned to leave the Monday night, as he sadly needed to return to work and real life, and I decided to stay with my family and move to their new hotel.
Our new hotel is in a little town on the Western coast of Italy called Lido di Camaiore. We’re all extremely surprised at how nice and charming the town is, after booking it quite desperately to get away from the mosquito-infested countryside. The beach is a stone’s throw away from our hotel, and is clean and not overly busy. Our hotel is clean and actually really, really lovely. The pool is perfect and we actually have comfortable sun beds! There’s really no faults. Plus, the ‘strip’ has miles of restaurants and bars and becomes really lively as the night goes on, which is really nice.
It’s all well and good to have a relaxing holiday but I, and my family, have found that we’ve been itching to see different places, so we’ve visited a few places in the short week I’ve been with them. I remember I could spend 10 days sitting by the pool all day and reading but those days are well and truly gone for me. One day lying by the pool and I need to move around!
Florence was beautiful. Very beautiful. It was the first real city I’ve been to Italy and it was exactly what I expected. What struck me the most about Florence was the architecture of pretty much every building in the city, particularly the main sights. I have since learned that the architecture in the whole of Italy is incredible to look at but Florence was even more special for me because it was new to my shocked eyes.
My favourite part of the city was the views from the Piazzale Michelangelo of the whole city. The views were incredible and walking down to the very famous Ponte Vecchio was really great with the weather being so nice.
Siena was also beautiful, in a very different way from Florence. You expect Italy to be old because let’s be honest, it’s pretty old. Florence’s feel and architecture was more modern (for loss of a better word) than Siena. When you’re walking around Siena, you can truly see how
time-worn authentic everything is. The oldness of everything gives it real character and whilst we were eating lunch, I just pictured horses with men and their carriages ‘importing goods’ around the Piazza Del Campo. It’s beautiful to witness something that was built 800 years ago and know that it will most likely stay like that for another 800 years.
My favourite part of the city was climbing the Torre del Mangia which is a must-do if you ever visit Siena. The views over the whole city and countryside and towns surrounding Siena is pretty breathtaking, almost as breathtaking as the 400 steps to get up to the top.
We decided to go to Lucca in the evening time to miss the heat of the day which was a great idea, as it’s not too large and there are lots of nice restaurants to choose from. I would say that Lucca’s in the middle on the scale of oldness between Siena and Florence, since we’re doing this now. But it really was, you guessed it, beautiful. It was a shame for us though because the main square of the city was blocked off due to a music festival. The night we were there, Robbie Williams was playing, and fortunately enough for us, there were no tickets left.
My favourite part of the city was Piazza Anfiteatro, which is not hard to find because the city is so small!
I’ve really been enjoying being in Italy, especially spending some good times with my family. It’s also been great to finally have the chance to use some of my Italian. I’ve been studying Italian for three months now and I’m making good progress with it since I already know French, and they’re so similar. I still need the confidence to use full sentences but I’ve tried to use it as much as possible and it’s great that I can understand things on the radio and parts of conversations around me. It took me 5 years of school teaching to do that in French!
À bientôt !
This is part of a new series of mine. I will be talking about a subject from A-Z twice a week.
L: Leaving Aix