Despite still being asked for ID when buying every day items such as lighters, my 30th birthday is coming closer and closer. In a little less than 10 months, I will hit the big 30 and for some reason I feel that it’s a birthday that I want to celebrate in style. Not with a lavish party or a week long marathon of cocktails and dinner dates, but maybe a road trip through Italy?
I love Italy for its deep historic roots, stunning landscapes and, of course, its hearty cucina. I was lucky enough to celebrate my 18th birthday on a trip through Italy and I would love to return and discover more of the country.
On my first trip to Italy, we visited Lake Garda, Montecatini Terme, Florence, Pisa, Rome and Verona and I loved each and everyone of them. Unfortunately, we didn’t have anywhere near enough time to explore each city in detail – two or three days per city just aren’t enough, but I would love to return to Florence and Rome to continue my discoveries. Both cities are so full of history that I could wander around them for weeks without getting bored and I really hope that one day I will get the chance to do so – I did throw a coin into the Fontana di Trevi, so luck and legend should be on my side.
This time however, I would like to start my journey through Italy with a road trip through the Italian Alps, in particular the Dolomites. My parents are absolutely obsessed with hiking and rock climbing in Italy’s North, but that’s not really my cup of tea. While I don’t mind long walks, I don’t fancy getting sweaty or blistering my feet. I would however love to follow the tracks of the Austrian Empress Elisabeth who visited Meran and Trauttmansdorf Castle and has been my favourite historic figure for almost two decades. I have read dozens of books about her, her family and the Hungarian Austrian Empire and I would just love to learn more about her Italian travels. Plus there’s so much more to see and do in the Italian Dolomites.
Stops in Verona, Bologna would be a must just as much as a stop in Rome and many of the little towns along the way – that’s what a road trip through Italy is all about after all, but another region that I would really like to visit is Calabria, which is basically the area that forms the bridge and heel of the famous Italian boot and therefore the most Southern part of the Italian mainland.
Calabria is meant to be the ‘real Italy’. The Italy that you see in movies and instantly have in mind when you think something typically Italian. Calabria is the epitome of all that: old women in dark dresses, noisy vespas racing through narrow lanes, passionate gestures and laughing children and, of course, little trattorias with checked tablecloths and a flickering candle in a paunchy wine bottle.
Why I want to stop just here you ask? Because Calabria seems like the perfect place to rest and reflect. The place to break away from every day life and enjoy the simple things – empty beaches, sunshine and great food.
This is a post written in collaboration with carhiremarket.com and with images from alh1, The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle and Galli Luca.