An Italian Home Sweet Home
Written by Carly October 4, 2012
Study abroad students, which are generally broke college kids, are notorious for traveling Europe by jumping from hostel to hostel. Before coming to Europe, I was given many pointers from past student travelers warning me about the many horrors of hostel-hopping. Staying in a hostel will forever be a skeptical experience because there’s always the possibility of being put in a gross, smelly room with paper-thin mattresses, or a room with strangers, who may or may not speak your language. It adds additional stress to your travel experiences, like what if this stranger steals my passport and money? How am I supposed to trust them when they don’t speak English? Or even worse, will I get bed bugs?
After staying in my fair share of hostels, some good and others not so good, three of my friends and I decided to opt for an Alloggio e Prima Colazione, or what we would call a Bed & Breakfast in America, for our weekend trip to Verona, Italy. For two nights, it ended up only costing 40 euros per person, equal to what we would pay for a subpar hostel in Paris.
The name of our Allogio e Prima Colazione was “Villa dei Pini”, and it ended up being one of my favorite travel experiences thus far in my trip. The owners were an older Italian couple who were the sweetest, most warm-hearted people I’ve come across in Italy. First off, when we arrived at the train station, the husband, Giuseppe, greeted us each with a hug and led us to his small Italian SUV where he drove us free of charge to the “Villa dei Pini“.
He slowly pulled into the driveway of the Bed & Breakfast, just a few minutes later and out walked the cutest, most petite Italian woman I have ever encountered, followed by an energetic chocolate lab prancing through the door preparing to topple us. Elisa, the wife, greeted us with the traditional Italian double cheek kisses, while Lola, the chocolate lab, sniffed away ready for a good ‘ole belly rub.
Stepping through the giant, vine-covered, wooden front doors, I have never felt more at home in someone else’s house. Let alone someone else’s home who we had a language barrier with and had only just met moments ago. It instantly felt like I was casa dulce casa, or home sweet home. Elisa led us to our shared room, which had wood-paneled ceilings, four individual twin beds tidily made, and a personal television set. Using broken English and hand gestures, she explained to us where everything was and told us what time colazione, or breakfast would be served the following morning.
After a luxurious, deep sleep, I awoke the next day to the smell of baked goods and a growling stomach. Breakfast is my all time favorite meal, so I was extremely anxious to get downstairs and taste all of Elisa’s delicious homemade Italian goodies. On the breakfast table the first thing I spotted was fresh-squeezed orange juice, which being a Floridian, is my favorite drink. There was a basket full of warm, almond cornettos, or croissants, a fresh out of the oven lemon flavored pound cake, nutella (the most delicious thing, in my opinion, Europe has invented), espresso, and fruit yogurts with fresh granola. Needless to say, all of our eyes were bigger than our stomachs and we left the breakfast table fully satisfied.
I definitely recommend staying a a Bed & Breakfast over a hostel if ever given the opportunity. Especially when it’s nearly the same price as a sketchy, off the beaten path hostel. Not only do you get a sense of home, but you will also have the opportunity to experience an intimate part of the Italian culture!
Ciao, for now!