Being a student over the summer holidays is a tricky situation – you’re desperate to travel but the final dregs of your student loan are telling you otherwise. A lot of the time, we think that travelling the world means going to far-fetched countries because they’re more impressive. Wrong. After spending a week discovering the area surrounding Lake Garda with my friend Jess this summer, I discovered that Europe has so much to offer, in particular Italy. Being half Italian (Casini doesn’t exactly sound English does it), Italy has always been one of my favourite countries, so I am going to try to convince you why you shouldn’t disregard it as a holiday destination…
Both historically and culturally, Italy is rich with things to explore. From famous artwork in Florence to incredible ancient Roman architecture in Rome, it’s hard not to be impressed by the amount that it has to offer. Often, if you give yourself the day just to stroll around its cities, you will stumble upon beautiful old churches and hidden gems that come at no cost. Jess and I did this in Verona and ended up at the ‘Juliet Club’ responding to letters of love and heartbreak written from all over the world to Shakespeare’s Juliet!
If you’re a sucker for incredible views and natural beauty, you will not struggle to find them in Italy. It will fill your phone with plenty of Instagram-worthy scenic pics. We stayed around the eastern side of Lake Garda, and by travelling up and down the lake we got to see quaint villages and towns on the lake shore, breath-taking views from the surrounding mountains and picture-perfect sunsets every evening. Although we stayed in the North, the South of Italy is equally as beautiful, with the Amalfi Coast and Sicily sporting some staggering beaches and coastlines. AND IT’S HOT. Eat your heart out A-Level photographers.
All of these amazing things must surely come with a pretty hefty price tag right? Wrong again. I was able to really explore and appreciate everything that Italy had to offer without breaking the bank by any stretch of the imagination. Travelling was a bargain; return flights with Easy Jet for fifty quid, and the public transport once we got there made the UK seem extortionate. Okay so some of the trains aren’t the most luxurious, but when you’re only paying 10 euros or less for a journey you can’t complain. And now with AirBnB, it’s so easy to find a lovely place to stay for very good value. We were lucky enough to find one with an amazing host called Giovanni, who was an asset to our trip!
Unless you’re Giorgio Armani or Silvio Berlusconi, Italians lead a very simple but fulfilling life, meaning that you can get in to their culture and embrace all that they have to offer without having to spend a lot of money in order to so. At most restaurants, a Margarita pizza will cost you 5 euros (and it’s a GOOD pizza) and a generous serving of their amazing gelato ice-cream 2-3 euros. When we were in Milan, and this is something that I could not recommend enough if you’re in the cities, we would go for aperitivo in the evening. You pay roughly 10 euros for a drink (Italians like their Aperol Spritzes), and with it comes a buffet where you can eat as much focaccia, cheese, pasta and polenta cake as your heart desires. England needs to get on this pronto.
I hope that this has convinced you to consider Italy for your next Summer holiday, because the Italian lifestyle, to me, is second to none!
But until then, it’s back to the lecture halls…