Travel

New Adventures, Blossoming Romance in the Cradle of Western Civilization

Hi Folks! I’m biding my time in the Philadelphia airport, anxiously awaiting my flight to the farthest from home I’ve been. This is my first trip to Europe, and I’m about to board a flight to one of the oldest cities, not only in Europe, but modern civilization-Rome.

After spending the last three months voraciously reading travel guides, listening to historical audiobooks and podcasts, and feverishly researching the style and etiquette of  the beautiful Italians, it is finally time for me to board.  After all the agonizing hours of wondering what color scarf to wear and how tall a heel on my boots will allow me to walk for hours on end, I’m ditching the packing anxiety and getting on the damn plane. (I will spare you the travel packing advice, unless requested!)

Italy is the land of passion, art and romance and, to be honest, these truly embody the reasons I’m traveling here. I met my Italian boyfriend working at a National Park (he was a travel guide) and it has slowly blossomed into a wonderfully romantic, surprising and often excruciating long-distance relationship. We are about to spend the next two months working our way up and down the wondrous boot of Italy, Sicily, Malta and exploring the North African country of Tunisia. I’ll even spend the holidays with a real Italian family. Mama Mia!

I will share my trials, tribulations, misadventures, and photos here. I hope my photos and stories will inspire you, as well, to seek “La Dolce Vita!”

If you happen to be traveling to Europe and are looking for some preliminary historical research, I found the following interesting, helpful and well-done:

  1. “Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance”

A gripping documentary chronicling the rise and fall of Italy’s most famous dynasties-The Medici. I was captivated by the reenactments of the artists and colorful characters of the Italian Renaissance.

      2.  Rick Steves Audio Europe

No trip to Italy would be complete without the friendly advice of travel guru Rick Steves. While his style and advice may appeal to an older, more prudent traveler, he frequently hosts guides from all over Italy to give their local advice on this pleasant podcast. You can also download free audio guides to museums in the Vatican, Florence and throughout the country. I plan on using them during  my visit.

    3. “The History of Rome” podcast by Mike Duncan

Another gripping historical podcast, Mike Duncan tediously outlines the dramatic history of the Roman Empire that forever shaped modern Western Civilization. Not only beneficial for those seeking a historical context for their travels, I think all people will find this podcast relevant and fascinating.

    4. “A History of Italy” podcast

Picking up where “History of Rome” leaves off, this podcast tells the story of Italy after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, through Byzantium and onward. I love this podcast for its cheeky sense of humor and engaging story telling.

   5. “Venice” A New History by Thomas Madden

This book will definitely appeal to the more academic traveler, as it chronicles in a fairly dry and matter-of-fact tone the entire history of Venice. However, you will learn so much beyond the Venetian story, as the history of Venice is inherently tied to the blossoming of modern civilization as we know it. It was, afterall, the birthplace of modern Capitalism and global trade.

   6. Coffee Break Italian Podcast

Okay, this is not a historical podcast, yet I found its candid banter with a student, professor and native Italian speaker easy to listen to and completely helpful in learning the basics of the Italian language. It also provides cultural lessons that are interesting and useful if you are planning a trip to Italy.

So, brush up on some fascinating history!

Ci Vediamo Presto,

Ali

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