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Ciao Italy, it is very nice to meet you!

Italy is a beautiful country, but if it’s your first encounter with the so called birthplace of the Western civilization, traveling in March might not be a perfect idea. Our first steps into the city of Rome were accompanied by drizzle which persisted during our entire trip, and by the end aggravated into decent rain. You can expect above average precipitations and unexpected showers all throughout the month, or so we’ve been told by the locals during our stay. Either way, it also comes down to luck if you’re traveling for such a short period of time.

Traveling for work doesn’t allow much time for sightseeing, but evening hours and the short spans of time in between meetings can create a certain picture inside your head of the city, the people that live there and the Italian culture in general. Your first impression is defined by these moments when you act and live like a local, but from a perspective of a foreigner.

 

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Rome is a beautiful city indeed, very big and very diverse. You can meet people of all sorts, but a real Italian you will sense from a long distance – by the way they talk, by the way they act and enjoy life. They are never in a hurry, and always set aside time to enjoy that early morning espresso or caffe latte with rolls or fette biscottate topped with butter and jam. It’s sort of a ritual ingrained in their daily habits. And it is wonderful!

As the ancient capital of the Roman Empire, Rome is brimming with beautiful sights and architectural gems. From the Colosseum, a Flavian amphitheatre located in the heart of the city, which stands still and intact even now, the Roman Forum which used to serve as the main public area (plaza), a social hub that was filled with basilicas and temples, to the most beautiful fountains spread throughout the entire city – there’s a lot to see and explore.

My impressions – Rome is a romantic city, it has this vibe to it that no bad weather can spoil, so I hope to come back soon.

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Our second week of work had us fly over to the south. Destination – Catania!

It is so interesting how diverse a country can be. Sicily is very different from Rome, even the culture, the people. The island enjoys more days of sun, and is the perfect destination for a summer gateway. Since we didn’t stay in the capital Palermo, but rather in the province of Catania (not even the city), it’s hard to judge. Our whole experience was defined by the place we were confined to leave in for an entire week.

At first, you might feel totally isolated from the outer world. There’s no hustle like you would normally be exposed to in the big cities. There’s very little public transport available (very few combinations, we’ve been told by the locals, yet during our stay we had seen no buses at all, none!). Very poor mobile network coverage and constant troubles with wifi connection. And yet, there was something special about this place.

It’s the fresh air, the crystal clear skies, the silence that surrounds you, the nature that you willingly or unwillingly succumb to. Beautiful Mount Etna right in front of you in all its glory! I was getting shivers down my spine each morning I was hoping out of bed to get my dose of freshness and strength inside my lungs to strong-mindedly face each new day for the workload that was to come.

My impressions – by the end of the week we got really nostalgic about leaving this place. I would like to come back, maybe even to the same town, but make some time to enjoy the entire island, and definitely not on a business trip!

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Heading north to Venice!

Going to Italy for work and not indulging in a mini vacation afterwards would be an act of ridiculousness.

And yet again, I convinced myself that March is not a perfect month for traveling to Italy. When we arrived in Venice the locals and the authorities had already been dealing with the so called “acqua alta” or high water, “when a combination of astronomical tide, strong south wind (scirocco) and seiche can cause a larger inflow of water into the Venetian Lagoon”. The view was beautiful however, worth standing in the cold and being poured down with rain.

With its quiet and romantic alleys, it’s incredibly easy to lose yourself in this maze whilst wandering around the narrow streets that are filled with tens of gift and artisanal shops, local cafes and restaurants.

The surrounding provinces with their little towns are a delight to those who want to hide away from the city hustle. Incredible panoramic views of the Austrian alps, a view that is not easy to forget.

My impressions – you need more days to enjoy the plethora of beautiful places and views in Venice and the surrounding provinces. But even a few days vacay will leave you completely mesmerized!

 

 

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