Our Italy Top 10

Right now we’re en route to Switzerland from Venice and my sister and I are looking for ways to entertain ourselves so we figured we’d share the top 10 things we loved about Italy with you guys!

Heeeere we go!

1. Gelato, gelato, gelato. Specifically mousse-style gelato. This stuff tastes like heaven with a little bit of rainbows and joy sprinkled in. Amazing!

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2. Flowers in windows. My sister and I adored the bright and beautiful plants and flowers that seemed to overflow from nearly every windowsill and balcony.

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3. Portion size. My family and I were really surprised about the portion sizes in Italy. We expected gigantic portions of pizza and pasta when, in reality, the portion size of the entrees and meals seemed like the portion size we should be eating. In America we’re easily given two to four times the amount of food and I often leave meals at restaurants feeling stuffed to the brim and almost uncomfortable. It’s refreshing to be able to eat everything on my plate and feel satisfied and not like a two-ton whale.

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4. The cars. There appear to be no rules when it comes to driving and parking in Italy (specifically Rome). I’m sure this wouldn’t make our top ten list had we rented a car and had to drive ourselves because we likely would’ve peed our pants as cars and Vespas whizzed by with no regard to street lines or traffic signals.

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5. Romance is everywhere. I’m not sure if I noticed this even more because I was in Italy without Ryan, but it seemed like there were couples everywhere. It became somewhat of a game between me and my sister to see how many couples we could find making out all over the place. I’m not just talking about a little hand holding and some quick kisses here and there. People were full-on lip-locked for minutes in the middle of sidewalks and parks and in front of monuments. (Sorry, no pictures of people kissing. I didn’t want to be a total creeper.) It made me want to visit Italy with Ryan and experience the romantic side of the country.

6. Attention to detail. The extreme detail in the architecture around every corner was so neat to see. It was intricate, elegant and became so prevalent that we almost expected it after a while and we had to make sure to step back and appreciate what we were looking at more than a few times. The natural talent and skill level of the artists and architects was so impressive.

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7. Mannerisms. We loved listening to our tour guides and other Italians talk because their hands are used almost as an extension of their words. They all appeared so animated and passionate because their hands and facial expressions were so expressive. 

8. Sidewalk cafes. Adorable little restaurants and cafes line the streets of Rome, Florence and Venice. These restaurants were found along back alleys and hidden streets and popped up everywhere! I loved seeing people lingering over their food as they sipped wine and cups of coffee and simply enjoyed the company of those around them.

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9. Walkability. When people say you walk everywhere in Italy, they mean it! The ability to walk from one major attraction (such as the Pantheon) to another (like the Trevi Fountain) made Rome a wonderful place to visit since we didn’t have to worry about taking a taxi. Walking from place to place is honestly the best way to see and absorb everything. It allowed us to discover some hole-in-the-wall restaurants and hidden gelaterias while experiencing some of the slightly less-touristy parts of the three large cities we visited.

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10. The food and drinks. Of course.

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Question of the Day

What was something unexpected that stuck out to you about the last place you traveled to visit?


  1. says

    I’m pretty sure I would be eating my hand if I hadn’t saved part of my lunch for a snack this afternoon…because that pizza looks DIVINE. I never tried the mousse gelati when I was in Italy, I’m wishing I had seen it now! YUM!


  2. Danica says

    I like #3 about how much more appropriate portion sizes are there. I thought the same thing as you, that there they would give you ridiculous amounts of food, but I wish the U.S. served dishes more like that! That way you fully enjoy the amazing food but there’s no opportunity to overeat and end up with regrets about eating so much


  3. Eliza says

    Always the food! 🙂 🙂

    Question for Julie and all readers: do any of you experience any travel anxiety? We are planning a trip to Florence for this fall, and I’m pretty nervous about going so far away from home…any suggestions?


  4. says

    On our cruise last year, we made a stop on Isla Roatan (which is off of Honduras). It was so beautiful and the people were incredibly nice. My fiance and our taxi driver tried to communicate through limited English and high school Spanish. It was such a great time.


  5. Mel says

    Love the list! I also totally remember couples being everywhere in Italy. If I had the best gelato in the world at my disposal every day, I’d probably be in a love spell too!

    I was just in St. Louis and I liked how friendllllly everyone was and how everyone seemed to know each other yet had only met recently.


  6. Holly @ The Runny Egg says

    The last trip I took was to Vegas and I was honestly surprised by how much fun I had — I was worried since I’m not a gambler at all — but there was so much to do that I want to go back again.


  7. says

    Looks like ya’ll are all having a BLAST!!

    I think the most unexpected amazing thing from vacation last year was the beaches of Bermuda. I really didn’t think they would be anything special, but when we got there, it was one of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen in my entire life!!! Definitely one of the best beaches i’ve seen so far! I’m still waiting on Hawaii though 😉

    Eat some gelato for me!!!


  8. says

    The last vacation I went on was to Maui for my honeymoon. My husband and I just loved how laid back everyone was. It was very obvious that nobody was in a hurry and life just seemed to move slower. It’s nice to see all the pictures Julie! Can’t wait to see Switzerland!


  9. says

    Oh. My. Goodness. Italy is SO beautiful! I really really want to go now! I’m sure if you brought back some of that meringue mousse gelato you could sell it for a fortune!! 🙂 The last place I visited was Punta Cana, and the scenery is what every girl from Canada wants in February: a beach, a lounger, and palm trees!


  10. says

    Love your top 10! One of my favs was definitely the sidewalk cafe, I could hang out all day and people watch!

    I just got back from Ireland and the thing that sticks out for me is that everyone is SOOOO Friendly! Just stop into a pub and say hi and you just made a new friend 🙂


  11. says

    oh I love these pictures! Italy is on my list of places to go – can’t wait!

    Hmm probably Arizona – the whole place just through me off with its trendy/hipster/chill vibe – I guess I thought it was more of a dessert but it was super nice and the people were cool!


  12. says

    In Europe, I noticed that people’s sense of personal space is MUCH smaller than Americans. Have you noticed how close the tables/seating is arranged at restaurants?! It’s so close!
    I also recognized the make-out-central at the Trevi fountain. Unlike you, I was a creeper and took a picture!


  13. says

    I agree with aLL of these! London is defs on the same page with walkability and portion sizes!! looks like so much fun!! im so glad the weather is nice too!!


  14. says

    Ahh looks like you are having a ton of fun! I love all of the pictures so far and seeing all of that gelato is really making me want to go back to Italy. Yum!
    The last big trip I went on was to Kenya. It was crazy to me that the Masai tribes had cell phones AND got service in the middle of the nowhere in the Serengeti plains! A lot of people in Kenya don’t even know what contact lenses are, yet cellphones exist!


  15. Julie (Food & Other Things) says

    It looks so beautiful there! And the gelato looks amazing! I love the pictures of the flowers in the windows!


  16. says

    A great list! Reading your blog makes me want to go visit Italy again…sure sounds like you are getting so much out of the trip 🙂 I can’t wait to see where you are going in Switzerland (one of my favorite countries to visit).
    Our last trip was to Paris last month. I was struck by how ‘lazy’ cell phones have made me and my husband 😛 And I was once again caught off-guard by how beautiful that city is when everything is blooming and freshly turning green 🙂


  17. Amy says

    Was picking your top 10 list hard or were these the things that just jumped out at you and said “pick me pick me” for the list?

    Not that you need an excuse I’m sure but eat some gelato for me 😉


    • says

      it was surprisingly easy! there were a few things i left off (like i LOVE how dog-friendly italy is!), but for the most part the top 10 list included the first things that came to my mind and my sister’s mind.


  18. says

    You have made me crave gelato SO bad. And I’m normally a fro yo girl. The gelato in your pics certainly looks better than the stuff they serve on the Jersey Shore (Miami Season) haha.

    The last place I traveled was Houston. And coming from NYC, I was just shocked at all of the friendly people!


  19. says

    I went to Texas to visit my husband and I was blown away by how nice every onewas down there. It seemed that they didn’t rush and just enjoyed the day. I’m from Boston and it’s all go-go here. Dallas was laid back and the people were sweet. 🙂


  20. says

    I traveled to Ireland a year ago. Everyone was so friendly and so easy going. In the states, I feel that everyone is going as fast as they can from one place to another. In Ireland, they seem to enjoy the journey instead of racing ahead


  21. says

    I studied in Rome one summer and lived about two blocks from Piazza Navona…it was amazing and we walked everywhere! Our evening activity was dinner followed by gelato and walking around the city. It was fabulous.


  22. says

    It’s so true about the romance thing- it’s weird, because Europeans always seem way more open about relationships and sex, but when they do it’s way more tasteful. And the portion size thing is so right too. It’s better to eat a little bit of something totally mouth wateringly amazing, than a whole plate of something that’s just everyday good!


  23. Whitley says

    In Paris, I was struck by how laid back people are AND how rich the history is! It’s amazing and I would absolutely DIE to get the chance to live there.

    Not to condemn Italy buuuuuut…Paris is my favorite (:


  24. Annie-Rose says

    Ahhhh I soooo wish I was in Italy right now! It looks like you’re having an amazing time and your list brings me back to all the things I loved about it when I visited.

    I was just on the Georgia coast (I live in Seattle, WA) and I was shocked by how friendly everyone was! In Seattle, we’re very nice, but we really do keep to ourselves a lot more. In Georgia, people start talking to you out of nowhere, say “hello, how are you” as you pass them on the sidewalk, and one woman even interrupted her phone conversation to say “God bless you” to my mom when she sneezed. All this friendliness was unexpected, but really nice!


  25. Tori (Fresh Fruition) says

    Beautiful! All the food you’ve posted has made my mouth water. What’s been your favorite meal so far?


      • Tori (Fresh Fruition) says

        Of course! You can never go wrong with gelato. 🙂

        I just had traditional Italian pizza for the first time this past weekend. Its so amazingly delicious. If Italian pizza is that good in the US, it must be TO DIE FOR in Italy!


  26. Sarah says

    I went to Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day and was shocked by how often we heard American music. From the parades to the radio stations it seemed all we heard was 80s and 90s music rather than the Irish tunes we wanted.


  27. says

    Now that I’ve lived in the Dominican Republic for a few years, I’m always in awe of the vast variety available in the US of A. Whole aisles of cereal. Like ten kinds of wheat thins. I’ve been searching unsuccessfully for wheat thins for a few weeks now .They pop up unexpectedly occasionally.

    People who visit the DR are always surprised by the transporation (super crowded ghetto cars where you sit in strangers’ laps), the lack of consistency in utilities, and how FRIENDLY the people are.

    I’m really enjoying reading about your trip! Your guest posts are awesome too!!


  28. says

    My last trip was to Singapore and I couldn’t believe how friendly and helpful the locals were! Like Italy, food was defo one of the highlights- so many delicious eats! I was also surprised by the amount of options it had to offer: from beach clubs, to sightseeing, shopping, and eating- there was something for everyone!


  29. Sonia says

    I LOVE kinder chocolate! It’s here in Denmark and is so creamy. When in Switzerland see if you can find Milka chocolate….seriously yummy.


  30. says

    Wow you make Europe look so gorgeous! which of course, it is! 😛
    Real genuine Italian Gelato is awesome, isn’t it? 😛
    I love sidewalk cafe’s as well! We have them a lot here in Holland as well! My favorite place to hang out..
    Are you by any chance coming by the Netherlands? 😛
    Have a great trip! Switzerland is beautiful!


  31. Ryan R says

    My last trip was also Italy, so your list really took me back! I agree with everything and want to add to #3. I couldn’t believe how long dinners were and how most of the time you ate so late. We often got reservations at 8:30, 9 or even later. Then after several courses and wine, we left so much more satisfied but not overly stuffed. Tip about Paris (and London for that matter)… It is still very walkable, but much bigger than Rome. Be sure to take the Metro at least once. It’s how all the Parisians get around and the stations are beautiful! Ciao, ciao!


  32. says

    Beautiful pictures! I have always wanted to travel to Rome and now I want to see it even more! I am dying to try gelato! It really looks amazing! 🙂


  33. Megan@Dirty Dishes Daily says

    The last place I went to was Turkey and I loved the food! Cheese, olives, bread and fruit for breakfast?? Heaven.


  34. Jessica says

    I was in Moscow last May and I would have to say I loved the borscht and schi soups. I love cabbage and beets and the richness of their soups was unbelievable! Also the flaky pastries in England, the sausage in Germany, the barakas in Israel…the world is so gastronomically amazing! 🙂


  35. Anne Marie says

    I visited Paris for a week in May of this year and something that surprised me was how there was pavement eveywhere in comparison to where I’m from (Nova Scotia, Canada) There were hardly any parks or just grass that wasn’t planted! It was funny one day my family and I visited the Vimy Ridge monument outside of Paris and our cab driver pointed out a forest, but you could see right through it so to me it didn’t really qualify as a forest haha 🙂



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