For the first time in, well, forever, tickets to Europe have dropped. Average prices have gone down 3 percent this summer, about $50 less than a year ago. This, coupled with the euro’s steep decline in value, makes now the perfect time to visit. Inspired by this turn of events, Houstonia’s spring interns got together to share their must-see European destinations. Click here and here and check back at Wanderlust for more of their recommendations.
Home to the best carbohydrates known to man, Italy, packed with wonderful food and incredible sights, is worth a trip any time of the year. Milan, Verona, Venice, Rome...we recommend them all.
Milan: Look up at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II, light a candle at the Milan Cathedral, and take a rental bike around the piazza. Important note, if you rent a car, beware of piazza parking. Park somewhere you shouldn’t, and you’ll have an Italian ticket waiting for you in the mail when you get home—true story. Then again, you’re going to want to walk as much as you can in this beautiful country—both for sights and to burn off delicious Italian calories.
Verona: The hometown of the Capulets and the Montagues, as well as shopping and the best gelato you’ll ever try, Verona is an enchanting piece of Italy. Grab a slice of homemade pizza from Acqua e grano – L’arte nella pizza, and visit the lovesick at the Casa di Giulietta (Juliet’s balcony). The walls of Juliet’s home are embedded with the illegible names of lovers from around the world, with a bronze statue of her standing in the corner, usually with a line of people waiting to give her breast a rub—for good luck, of course. Another important note, amidst the walking and the sightseeing, don’t forget to have an early lunch, as Italians take siestas very seriously. Most cafes and restaurants will be closed from around 1 to 4 p.m., so get that pasta in early. And if you’re a female, expect to hear “ciao, bella” a lot—sometimes with free chocolate and foam hearts in your cappuccino, so enjoy.
Venice: Gondolas, vintage shops, sunsets over the water and more breathtaking architecture—this is Venice. It’s impossible to recommend any one restaurant here, but order a plate of seafood pasta (frutti di mare) and prepare to be unsatisfied with any pasta you’ll ever have in your life after that. While you’re there, buy a beautiful Venetian masquerade mask to take home or gift to a loved one, as there are plenty in Venice to choose from. Another note: when riding a gondola, hold your camera firmly. If you drop it in the water, there’s nothing you or the striped gondolier can do about it. Catch the sunset over the water in the evening and head to St. Mark’s Square for the night, sit at a café or walk around and take in the beauty of the Basilica.
Rome: When in Rome, I say devote a day to the Vatican, you won’t be sorry you did. Outside you’ll find many English-speaking group tours, fun and helpful, and all versed with rich history and funny anecdotes about Michelangelo’s career. Needless to say, a visit to the Sistine Chapel will change your life. In the evening, the Spanish Steps are a perfect place to lounge, rest your feet, and people-watch.
Visit Italy and have yourself a Roman holiday you’ll never want to end.