ItalianNotebook – Italy Travel Blog

Italy from a Local’s Viewpoint

When visiting new places, your first action is to go to the tourist spots, right? It’s a very natural reaction of people in a foreign land. Sometimes though, you need to see the city from a local point of view. It will give you a sense of how the local live their everyday lives.

Here’s a peak of some Italian culture that everyone wants to experience.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, Italy was one of the countries that really took a big hit. It was the epicenter of the dreaded virus for a time. Now that their country is on its second lockdown, people have mixed emotions. Some are sad and feeling depressed, a lot are mad and starting riots. Despite that, many are still hopeful. This photo is an Italian flag hanging on a balcony in Turin, Italy. For them, it represents hope. A symbol of brotherhood amidst the massive challenge that the pandemic has brought upon us all.

Italians are known to be very romantic people. A very powerful symbol of love and romance are flowers. Here you can see a photo of a flower boutique—Il Florista or The Florist. Where you could visit daily for the freshest floral arrangements for your lover, family, friends or even just to make your house homier.

A crowd favorite in Italy is this very lovely bouquet of Peonia also known as “rose without thorns”. These flowers are native to Asia, Europe and North America. What makes them special is that they only have a short blooming season of 7-10 days. Peonies, are the symbol of discretion, but also a traditional flower to be given to your love. They are considered a delicate and romantic flower and because of this, they are often chosen for wedding decorations.

In the 1990s, Carlo Confidati—the Viterbo-born businessman and garden lover, first took interest in the fascinating world of peonies. His passion for gardening led him to establish the largest garden of Peonies in Italy. It is called Moutan Botanical Centre located in Vitorchiano, Viterbo. The next time you’re in Viterbo, make sure to drop by the garden and enjoy the collection of more than 250,000 peonies of many different species, varieties and dimensions.

But since we’re already here, talking about Italy, why don’t I take you to the touristy spots as well as a little something about them?

The Fontana di Trevi or The Trevi Fountan located in Rome, Italy is one of the most famous Baroque fountains in the world. Its name was coined from “tre vie” which when translated to English is “three roads”. This is because the fountain is at the junction of three roads. The scenic wonder was established in 1732 but its design aesthetics were altered over the years by different sculptors and architects.

According to legends, when you visit the fountain you should throw three coins into it. The first coin guarantees your return to Rome, the second will ensure a new romance, and the third will ensure marriage. I’d say many are believers as an estimated 3,000 Euros are thrown into the fountain each day. It was recorded in 2016 that an estimated USD 1.5 Million was thrown into the fountain. The money has been used to subsidize a supermarket for Rome’s financially challenged residents.

Have you heard the saying there is no harm in trying? What’s a few Euro coins to maybe help you out with your luck, right?

Take a look inside the Sistine Chapel or The Cappella Sistina located in the official residence of the Pope in The Vatican City. Originally known as The Cappella Magna or The Great Chapel, it is where the new pope is selected. What’s more astonishing is that the chapel was painted by the one and only Michelangelo. The altar pictured is one of his most famous works, “The Last Judgement”.

Religious or not, it will be a shame to not go and see the interior of the Sistine Chapel. Filled with art from one of the best painters who ever lived.

Last but not the least, the town with the famous beach, Polignano A Mare in Puglia. This beach is a little crowded (pre-Covid era, of course) because of its accessibility. It is located right in the town center. Imagine living or working in the town center and you can drop by the beach anytime and enjoy a quick dip or sunbathe. What draws the people more are the aquamarine waters of Puglia.  Since it is located near the town center, there are also lots of restaurants and cafes around. No need to worry about food, drinks and booze.

During your last visit to Italy, what did you do that not many tourists have done that made you see Italy from a local’s viewpoint? Tell me about it in the comments below. Remember, La vita è un sogno

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