A Few of my Favourite Things in Italy

by Allison Spiegel, PFI New York Office

When people ask me what my favourite thing about Italy is…. the song from The Sound of Music begins to play in my head. It is a nearly impossible question to answer because it is not just one thing or one place or one moment. It is the experience in its entirety that I love and that all-encompassing awakening of the senses that you feel the moment your plane lands on Italian soil.

Italy for me is experiential because my love for the country is made up of all the places I have been, the people I have met, the food I have eaten and the feelings I have when I am living in those moments. While it is hard to put into words, I will try to list my top ten:

1. Sinking my teeth into a fresh fig while eating breakfast in the hills of Tuscany and watching the goats being herded into the fields for their morning graze.

2. Visiting my favourite sandal maker on the Amalfi Coast who always greets me with a smile.

3. The look in my children’s eyes the first time they took a gondola ride or how it felt watching them run through vineyards in Tuscany or hold hands with their tour guide in Pompeii as they listened to his stories.

4. The feeling I get when I touch a surface or a building that has been there for a thousand years, and the reminder of how small I am, in the face of history and time, and all those who have come before me.

5. The sheer pleasure of a beautiful sunrise welcoming the day over the Bay of Naples, with the mighty Mount Vesuvius looming large in the distance.

6. The laughter that envelopes the air when my friend Enzo, the barista, makes me one of his special drinks at my favorite hotel on Ischia.

7. My sense of curiosity when I step into a new village wanting to learn all about its history, its place in the world and the people who live there.

8. The awe – and maybe a bit of jealousy – I feel when I watch cliff divers in Puglia take a plunge that I would never dream of taking.

9. The taste of olive oil on freshly baked bread, of church bells ringing in an early light, the smell of Jasmine in the air.

10. The people. I love the people of Italy who are always willing to share with me “their Italy.” From the owners of my beloved beach club on the Amalfi Coast who welcome us with open arms each year; to all of the tour guides who love to tell us everything they know about what we are seeing, and then some; to the leather craftsman in a tiny Tuscan hilltop village who crafted a custom leather belt for my husband right before my eyes… These are the people who give Italy a place in my heart.

And that is just the first ten things that come to mind…. There are most likely a hundred more but as the song goes, …. “These are a few of my favourite things.”

What are your favourite things to do in Italy? CONTACT US to let us know or to plan your Italian experience today.