”Possssitano!” yells the bus driver as he navigates down the winding road that snakes through the mountainside and only has room for one car. A little girl throws up in the seats across from us. It’s worth the car sickness. It’s worth the crowds. Positano is so beautiful, with stunning architecture on the mountainside and giant lemons that grow seemingly everywhere. We eat fresh sandwiches from a delicatessen and sit on the black-stone beach—my favourite spot on the Amalfi Coast.
We were based out of Sorrento for five days, visiting the different coastal towns of Amalfi, Capri, and Pompeii. Afterwards we went up north to Venice, where there were rivers of tourists on every street. “Disneyland for adults,” as my mom put it. The best option is to skip the tourist traps and instead get lost in the beautifully ancient floating city. I found myself in little open squares with restaurants and fountains, joining the locals in the late afternoon when the sun started to go down and the air cooled slightly.
I actually witnessed a beautiful older woman standing with her bicycle, when two little birds landed on her basket.
The next stop was Levanto. I almost don’t want to give away the secrets of this hidden gem. Yes, tourists go here, but it is mostly frequented by Italians visiting their summer homes from Milan for the weekend. It was like a fairy tale. I actually witnessed a beautiful older woman standing with her bicycle, when two little birds landed on her basket. She then rubbed one of the bird’s bellies. In Levanto I found the best pizza in the world, and a beautiful beach, and little town square with kids playing soccer and eating gelato. I met all the local dogs and felt like I could stay there forever.
Sometimes it is hard to fully fathom how old all the art, culture, and architecture really is in Italy. In Bologna they still have towers form the medieval times; to be able to see frescoes on the walls of Pompeii is inconceivable; everywhere you look in Florence there is art and beauty. It can be overwhelming with the amount of people who visit, but you have to be able to step back and focus on everything else in front of you. This is how I discovered an amazing thrift shops across the Arno River and the best gelato I ever tasted, at Gelateria La Carraia.
Rome, our last stop, was jaw-dropping; there are huge monuments and statues all around this giant city. There are gladiators posing for cheesy photos with tourists, and nuns chatting away on their cellphones while shopping for shoes.
One of the best parts of visiting a foreign country is observing and viewing the locals and their culture. Italians dress well and drink their espresso so fast that I don’t know how they don’t burn their throats. I tried to drink at their pace but failed.