How to prepare culturally, emotionally, & logically when travelling to Italy
Written by marywoodliff May 17, 2022
The one-week countdown to Italy is on.
I am dreaming of the pepperoni pizza I will eat, walks I will take on the cobble stone streets, and the lovely people I will meet.
Ok… enough with dreaming and rhyming… it’s time to pack and prepare.
I am excited to share some of the prep-work I have done in advance to better equip myself culturally, emotionally, and logically. I have listened to podcasts, watched movies, followed travel accounts on Instagram, and more!
Podcasts are first on the list: “Untold Italy” is an Italian travel podcast that is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher. The podcast is hosted by travel expert Katy Clarke who is passionate about helping people plan fabulous trips to Italy. In episode 26, she shares “10 things we wish we knew before our first trip to Italy”, and trust me, you want to know all ten. For example, number five is to plan for some down time. Italian culture prioritizes “dolce far niente”, the art of doing nothing. Enjoying a walk down the streets of Venice or prolonging your time at a restaurant are moments that will allow you to experience the culture on a more intimate level. Podcasts are great way to familiarize yourself with a new country, and I highly recommend listening to one or several of Untold Italy’s.
Next on the list is a language app I downloaded on my phone called Duolingo. Duolingo is a free app that gives you easy access to learning a new language. I have had zero exposure to the Italian language and was very intimidated by beginning to learn; however, Duolingo made it approachable and doable! I have not become fluent by any means, but with the help of the app, I am much more confident in my ability to communicate, understand, and read the Italian language.
Another fun way that I have prepared is watching movies that take place in Italy. The first movie I watched was Under the Tuscan Sun. This is an inspiring movie about a woman who rediscovers herself in the community of Cortona Tuscany. I would re-watch the movie for the scenery alone! The second movie I watched was Disney’s Luca. Luca is an animated movie set in the beautiful Ligurian Sea and region of Cinque Terre. There is no age limit to enjoy this heartfelt story about a young boy who falls in love with the culture and people of Italy. I loved watching these movies because I was able to watch them with my friends and family. Although they will not all be going with me, watching these movies allowed them to better envision some of the places I will visit!
Social media and travel go hand in hand. I have discovered several social media accounts that have provided great information on how to travel to Italy well. One of those accounts can be found in the search bar by typing: @theitalyinsider. The Italy Insider is a “digital magazine dedicated to Mindful Travel in Italy”. They post the most beautiful pictures and landscapes of Italy in addition to sharing local secrets, great views, and amazing food. Another travel account that I followed on Instagram is @lumadeline. Madeline Lu has 1.2 million followers on Instagram, and you need to add to her following! She posts the most exquisite videos of the Italian countryside, crowded city streets, and the breathtaking boat rides on the water. My desire to go to Italy has only increased after following both of these accounts.
The next preparation tip comes with complete transparency: I had hoped to read several books that were recommended to me, but time has simply slipped away from me. I will, however, forward the list of books on to you all. They include the Pasta Pan Vino, The Mark of Lion series, One Italian Summer, A Farewell to Arms (which I have previously read), and My Brilliant Friend. I must give another disclaimer that I have not read all of these books in full, but I have heard only good things! If you are anything like me, and struggle to find time to read, I had you in mind when I chose to include more time efficient preparation tools!
A final and special way that I was able to prepare for Italy was looking through my grandmother’s scrapbook from when she visited Italy in 1995. My grandmother thoughtfully captured all of her travels through photography, souvenirs, and writing down memories. I am inspired to do the same in hopes that one day I can show my granddaughter my Italian scrapbook from the summer of 2022.
Now that we are all better prepared, I am excited to take you all along on this journey with me!