10 am in the morning, it’s pouring rain outside and here I am, thinking of summer days in Italy. Feels good to be back.

I’ve arrived 3 days ago and as I’m freeing myself from a kind Jetlag by drinking Campari, eating pasta and indulging in my vice for pesto; I decided it is about time to share some insights and cool photos that will help you plan your next trip to Italy.

 

My obsession with Italy

As this is my 5th time in Italy and because today I became an Italian citizenship –yayyyy!–, I want to start by setting the mood for this post by listening to some Tarantella…music Ragazzi!!!!

As you may know, many Argentinians actually have Italian roots.  Our ancestors moved to Argentina at the beginning of the 20th century, and that applies to me too. It’s been my dream for the last 15 years to become an Italian citizen. Honestly, for a decade it seemed like an impossible dream but here I am; Italian, pasta-fed, and in love with this country.

So, if you are planning a trip to Italy, I beg you, get a bib because I guarantee you will drool as you scroll down this article JA!!!

 

Summer times and the living’s easy…

I am a huge –but like…HUGE– fan of Sicily.  Cefalú it’s a very touristic small village that I adore and can’t get enough of! Full of life, colours and people enjoying the good life. Sunsets that leave you speechless, clear waters to swim in and stunning views.

 

Beach. Old villa. Umbrellas and people at the beach
Lovely old villa in Sicily. A summer sunny day in Cefalú

 

Panoramic view from la Rocca di Cefalú –the Rock of Cefalu– it was well worth the sweat, dehydration and heat to get to the top in the middle of summer.

 

Red tiles, medieval village. Panoramic view. Blue sea.
Cefalú is one of the most beautiful medieval villages in Sicily

 

Sun setting by the sea. Violet, pink, orange colours. Stones by the shore.
Stunning sunset in Cefalú

 

Sunset in Lake Maggiore and it’s abandoned Pier

Northern Italy has world-wide famous stunning lakes. I took this photo of my friend Erica last year at Lake Maggiore. It’s one of my favourites from Italy as we were there just by chance and right on time for sunset –we were actually going to the toilet lol–. If I had planned it, I’m sure it wouldn’t have worked! So thumbs up for physiological needs!

 

Sunset. A woman sitting by an abbandoned pier. Lake. Water.
Sunset in Lake Maggiore with my friend Erica

 

Among friends, family, food and medieval villages: life in Castiglione Olona

This little village from the 13th century actually deserves all my love and devotion. This is my favourite place in Italy. Where my friend Erica and her family live, where they welcomed us with open arms and all the generosity humans are capable of.

This town is definitely outside the beaten track. According to my friend, they were included in the Lonely Planet’s guide “at some point”. If you happen to be here during your next trip to Italy, you can’t miss the Medieval summer festival at the end of June. And, I’m telling you, you have to come and share an “aperitivo” at the  Kiosco del Castello, while enjoying the panoramic views from the hill.

Life is good.

 

Medieval village. Panoramic view. Red tiles and old houses.
Castiglione Olona is my favourite Italian village

 

Just 15 minutes by car from Castiglione Olona is the Lake Varese. This is the perfect spot for an amazing sunset like the one that you can see in the photo! Actually, a photo a took from this same sunset has been featured in Nomadic Matt’s social media.

 

Sunset. Very colourful. Sun reflecting on the water. Lenticular shaped clouds.
My favourite photo from my trip to Italy. A very special sunset at Lake Varese

Aosta Valley aka Castle Haven

If you head north-west you will get to the Aosta Valley. This region is in a convenient spot, located between Italy, Switzerland and Germany. All this area is unbelievably beautiful, especially if you come in autumn or winter as it is close to Monte Bianco –the highest peak in the Alps–. I would give it at least 4 days of exploring.  Mission: Enjoy Valdostan delicious food, castles, fortresses and thermal baths… ahhhhh… –I need a new bib lol–.

 

Fort in mountain valley. Bridge. Medieval architecture.
The North of Italy has amazing castles and fortresses. This is in Aosta Valley, a must for your next trip to Italy

Mt Etna National Park, 2 days at the biggest active volcano in Europe

Back to Sicily! Let me tell you this: all the time spent here it’s worth it. This National Park is typically a few hours day trip. But I would recommend spending at least 1 full day or even 2 exploring this area. There are many small villages on the slopes of the Volcano, and they have a very traditional, authentic vibe. You don’t need to book a tour, just head to the main entrance and find the main counter –where they sell the funicular tickets–. There you will find out the conditions to go up. As this is an active volcano sometimes the conditions change fast! Visiting this area was one of the best experiences during our trip!

 

 

Crater. Black soil. Volcanic lanscape, panoramic view.
Isolated landscape, Mt Etna National Park in Sicily. A must on your next trip to Italy

 

My piece of paradise: San Vito lo Capo

Before coming here I read many things about this village and its beach. That it’s too touristy, that the beach is not that good, etc. Ok, so, only if I was born in the Maldives Islands I would say this beach is not a piece of paradise.

To be honest, I quite enjoyed sharing the beach with a thousand Italian families!

Beach. Clear water reflections, hills in the background.
San Vito lo Capo Paradisiac beach in Sicily

Ragusa, Sicily gone baroque

There’s nothing I can say about this place. This photo speaks for itself…

Ready for your next trip to Italy? Don't miss out on this baroque gem: Ragusa
Panoramic view from Ragusa, baroque village in Sicily.

There are other places in Sicily where you can enjoy some good Baroque Sicilian style. Catania would be my favourite.

Ravello, you gotta love the Amalfi Coast

I won’t leave the Amalfi Coast out of this. That would be just cruel. One of the most classic postcards of Italy, the Amalfi Coast is a synonym of jet-set and fame but it can actually be quite an affordable destination. I took this pic a few years ago in Villa Rufolo.

Panoramic view, a tree, hills and blue sea
The Amalfi coast is a classic trip to Italy. This photo is from Ravello

 

Naples, beating at the rhythm of the death

If you’re a traveller that hasn’t done any research, you will be blown away by all the altars that you will find in every corner and wall in Naples.  This is a place where tradition, life, death and culture joined forces to give birth to a city with a very peculiar identity.

Altar in the street. Naples.
Naples’ altars are one of the most classic images of the city

 

Are you ready to buy the tickets for your next trip to Italy??? I can assure you that you will feel that you are in a Federico Fellini’s movie if you dare going beyond Rome, Venice and Florence. I’m so glad that I’m here already, blending beyond eating pasta and moving my hands dramatically as an Orchestra Director.

Ciao Ragazzi!

 

 

 

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