Italy Top 10s

Approximately one month after we returned, I asked Barb and Mike to list the Top 10 things they enjoyed about Italy. I didn’t define “things”; they could be anything from days to sites to experiences to ideas. Anything goes.

Mike added a Bottom 10 to the assignment.

While we usually did our Words together and had a rule against repeats, these lists were generated independently, and I find the repetitions interesting but not really surprising.

Top 10 Things About Italy




Venice City views from above Grand scale of things: miles of terraces, giant duomos, and wall-to-wall-to-ceiling frescoes
Venice at night

All three of us name Venice in our Top 10. No other city is singled out on any of the lists.

Climbing Brunelleschi’s Dome Walking through walled hill towns Complex and colorful patterns
Cycle-of-life capital on the Doge’s Palace Hiking the Amalfi coast Rolling countryside punctuated with hilltowns
Jen and Mike on the Path of Gods hiking trail.

Mike specifically mentions hiking along the Amalfi Coast in his Top 10, while Barb and I mention the terraced cliffs.

Basilica of St. Francis, Assisi, and the monastery at Subiaco Cathedral at Assisi Venice
Art and architectural details everywhere Early-morning, pre-crowd walks Discovering old beneath the new and seeing how they fit together
Ancient ruins and pavements Driving the back roads of Tuscany and Umbria Colorful rocks
Early morning and nighttime sightseeing in Venice and Rome Parking at and the view from Piazzale Michelangelo The long history
Mediterranean views and terraced cliffs Art and architectural details Towers and the views they afford
The view of the campanile and Firenze from the top of Brunelleschi's Dome.

Both Barb and Mike mention climbing Brunelleschi’s Dome, and I list towers and the views they afford. Yep, Il Duomo was a highlight.

Driving adventures, including the cinghiale drive and the dirty road, the “hole” episode and Cinque Terre washouts, and the Gubbio mountain road. (Not so much our arrival in Vietri sul Mare.) Venice Plaster people at Pompeii
Walking the battlements of Castiglione del Lago Seeing and climbing Il Duomo Monk-bone art
A carved church pillar.

Art and architectural details, including complex and colorful patterns, made all three lists, too.

Bottom 10 Things About Italy

“No photos” Inconsiderate drivers A dearth of milk chocolate
Random closures Inconsistent photography restrictions in churches and cathedrals No large size or bulk foods at the grocery store
Italian posturing Pay toilets Eensy-weensy, poorly-functioning showers
Italian driving Pushy, annoying, intrusive hawkers City trash
Plastic bottle and Styrofoam caught in tumbling waves of the Tiber River.

Trash in the Tiber River in Rome. So much trash! High water over the winter has left river trash hung up on bordering trees. It’s sad and ugly. I think interested beggars, homeless people, and obnoxious hawkers should be paid to pick up trash.

Italians Crowds Odd hours, including too-late dinner and lunchtime closures
People Odd, inconsistent opening hours Crowds
Crowds High cost of gas and tolls Inconsiderate, dangerous, and generally awful drivers
A crowd of people at the Spanish Steps in Rome.

Crowds, like this one here at the Spanish Steps in Rome, made the Bottom 10 for all three of us.

School groups Repetitive religious motifs Pushy peddlers
Inefficiency, red tape, hoop-jumping Wacky religious excess (Viewed another way, this could be a Top 10.) Secondhand smoke
Entrance fees to churches and other public sites (and toilets) The trip was too short Religion

Categories: Italy, Travel