Italy is a country of great diversity, of decadent food, gorgeous sunshine, fascinating culture and ancient history. Travellers can bask in the sun on sumptuous beaches in the south or float down the canals in Venice in the north. In between, there are numerous Roman monuments, beautiful churches and exhibits of the best in Renaissance art. Italy truly has it all - a stimulating experience for even the most seasoned traveller.

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Cinque Terre

Winding our way up the mountain, the Fiat steering wheel chokes from the pressure of my grip as we swing through one switchback, then another. Louisa, our GPS lady and best friend in Europe, has guided us off the motorway onto a road best described as a goat path en route to Cinque Terre. The dashboard clock reads 21:18. Outside is pitch black but for the sweep of our headlights. Much later than planned, after an idyllic drive from the Cote D'Azur along the Italian Riviera, we arrive with no planned accommodation, buoyed only by our optimism that things always work out. A phone call, a rental agent, a room. After being led through a series of connecting alleyways, stairs and arches for 20 minutes staggering under the weight of our suitcases, we wonder if our optimism is misplaced. Up the final set of stairs, our room at the end of the sweeping terrace. Our terrace! Precariously perched on the cliff, overlooking the Riomaggiore harbour, we slide our toes through the railing and peek through them 115 feet straight down the sheer rock face to the crashing waves. This might be the best room in Italy. Things work out. They always do.

Submitted by:
Steve R., Stratford


Don’t miss the tangenziale, is the stern directive for reaching Napoli airport. The tangenziale road skirts the city’s notorious downtown traffic. Regrettably, faced with a split-second decision, I zig rather than zag, and become mired in a vehicular maelstrom. I scream in anguish and drive in circles. My sharp-eyed sister-in-law spots a pair of polizia. She dashes heroically from the car and stands, five-foot-nothing, waving her phrase book before the towering officers. Minutes tick by; our flight approaches. My heart sinks as Officer A points left, Officer B points right, my sister-in-law, dumbfounded, in the middle. Suddenly she nods, then returns and shouts: Follow them. Cruiser lights blazing, they lunge into traffic. I shut my eyes and follow. The cruiser bullies its way ahead, I, its reluctant tail, as close as I dare. In Canada traffic would scatter deferentially but in Napoli, motorists pursue their single-minded strategies. Vespas cut us off. The cruiser careens left, right, then left again. Up wide boulevards; squeezing through narrow lanes. I envision Mini Coopers thumping down flights of stairs in The Italian Job. Finally, our escorts stop, an officer bounds back to my window and points triumphantly to the sign: Aeroporto. Conquista! Arrivato!

Submitted by:
Gary M., Leamington

Amalfi Coast

My vacation adventures have always started with a cerebral version of a trip but often this mental version is nothing to be compared to the reality of the experience. Italy has always been that experience for me with a trip to the Amalfi Coast of southern Italy representing the epitome of the Italian vacation experience. The most spectacular visual and emotional experience of the trip was the view of a kaleidoscope of colour generated by the setting sun over the Amalfi Coast Sea. The design of the elongated bus, the narrow winding road without barricades and my position on the bus created an illusion that we were about to drop off the edge of the mountain as we turned every corner. Very nerve wracking but incredibly exhilarating at the same time. Arriving mid-evening at my destination, with what could best be described as bewilderment, I was greeted by complete strangers in the Piazza. With nothing but smiles, broken English and a genuine desire to help I found my pensione in my experience, classic Italian hospitality. The Amalfi Coast is a gem in the world of experiences.

Submitted by:
Shawn T., Yarker