My recent trip to Lithuania was my first time outside Poland since February 2020. It felt odd spending so long in one country, when my lifestyle in days gone by was backpacking all over the place, I visited 188 countries down the years before COVID-19 even existed. I still haven’t been on an aeroplane for around 19 months though. However, I often reminisce on days gone by. Today, I share my top 5 memories from my 7 trips to Italy so far. Some of these memories will appear in my upcoming book, “I Went To Gdansk With Somebody“, others may already have been in my “Backpacking Centurion” book series, already released in three volumes.
1.Pushing the Leaning Tower of Pisa
In 2009, I headed on a football trip with some friends. We started the trip in Pisa and took buses and trains around a few parts of Italy on that trip. A highlight was pretending to push the Leaning Tower of Pisa over, realising that it really does lean to one side, climbing to the top and even eating pizza in Pisa. As a younger lad back then, it was one of the first times I had booked a trip online, and I must say my first experience of ebooking was a positive one.
Pisa was actually a cool city aside from the tower. We stayed in the Villa Leaning Tower, we visited the football stadium as well as a night on the rip down by the river.
2.All the lovers in Venice
Venice is a sure fire charmer. I headed here with my one time love, the charming Hungarian dancer, Noemi Linzenbold. My days with Noemi have been shared in the past on manys a book and in my “Backpacking Centurion” book series, but the highlight, the zenith of our relationship was our week in Venice. It was simply sensational to tour such a beautiful city.
Venice sits on the water and is basically Italy’s answer to Bydgoszcz. I’d still rather backpack Bydgoszcz though.
3.Mussolini and Art in Milan
“Mussolini hangs from a Butcher’s hook” – Manic Street Preachers.
Next it was off to sample the delights of Milano – I went here with my Dad, Joe, and my brother, Marko.
History lessons at Ards Tech a brace of decades ago had me learning about Fascism, a term coined by the Italians during Mussolini’s reign. Milan was full of crazy memories. Firstly I visited the sad spot where Mussolini was hanged. Nothing remains there now. Not even a monument or a square.
As well as that, I loved the art galleries, the castle and of course the San Siro, which is where both AC Milan and Inter Milan play. As a family we also had a few nights on the town.
Rome is Italy’s capital and of course has to be seen. I was here on the final city before I cracked my 100th country, Tunisia in 2015. In fact I flew from Rome to Tunis direct on that trip. The world famous collosseum on route of course.
5.Three Countries Inside Italy!
As well as backpacking through Italy – I am seven visits in to the country now and have even managed to visit three of the many countries housed inside Italy. So far, I managed to visit San Marino, the Vatican City and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. All three are UN Observers or Members. They are all surrounded by bordering Italy, therefore landlocked. Although the Sovereign Military Order of Malta does actually have land in Malta too.
I’m still missing Seborga though – I hope to visit it one day. It’s another country landlocked within Italy. Safe travels!