When your childhood is filled with colorful memories of visiting foreign countries, you tend to get the travel bug often. Unfortunately, the travel bug can’t be satisfied by a trip to Oregon, or Vegas. The travel bug can only be satisfied with good ol’ culture shock. It has been three years since I last visited my Nonno and Nonna in Sicily, Italy. I was over the moon to hear that my dad wanted to go back to visit my grandparents in Catania.
Visiting Sicily, Italy
Sicily is not known for being the lavish, rich and flashy city that other Italian vacation spots are known for. Sicily is a great spot to visit for a taste of Italian culture that is not the typical Milan, Naples, Rome, Florence or Venice. Rarely do you find someone in Catania that speaks English all that well. You won’t find hoards of tourists crowding up churches and historic buildings. You will, however, find delicious and cheap Italian food.
Places to visit in Catania, Sicily:
- Taormina (grab a coffee at Bar Turrisi, it’s something special)
- The Pescheria
- Catania Duomo
- Savia (the arancinis are delicious and super fresh. Pick up a box of their Torroncini to bring home)
Here are a few shots from my trip!
I was unprepared for rain. Whilst packing for my trip to Italy, it did not cross my mind to bring a jacket with a hood. I brought my Jessica London boots that the sole had been worn down and the boots completely soaked through. My only other option for footwear were my Disney Crocs and Converse. I decided to wear the Crocs since it was 70% plastic Styrofoam stuff. Luckily for my dad and I, there are street vendors selling umbrellas and ponchos EVERYWHERE. Don’t bother bringing an umbrella if you plan to go to Rome or Sicily in the off season.
I knew I wanted to get some shopping done so I packed light. I was able to make 2 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of leggings, 8 tops, 1 flannel, 1 denim chambray, a pea coat, 1 printed scarf, and 3 pairs of shoes work a whole week for me.
Traveling to Rome during the off-season
Be prepared for obstructed photos of some of the World’s most beautifully historical structures. My theory is that Italy uses the non tourist season to reface ALL of their landmarks, so almost all of my photos have construction machines in them.
My dad’s first stop on his Rome to-do list was to see the Trevi Fountain. We walked in the pouring rain, mixed with thunder and lightning, for almost two hours (on and off stopping for food and coffee etc.). When we finally reached the fountain his jaw dropped. The entire Trevi Fountain was drained, and covered in plexi glass walls and piping.
I spent two minutes laughing my butt off. I was not laughing at my dad’s misfortune, but at the situation. My pants were soaked, my feet were wet, and all we had to show for it was a picture of what appeared to be a construction site.
Visit the main tourist spots in Rome:
We did all of the cool tourist things in Rome. You know, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain etc. If you are planning to stay longer than two days, here is a list of not-so-touristy things you can do in Rome.
The rest of the trip was a ton of fun. It was a great father-daughter bonding trip filled with good food, interesting sites, and funny stories. I even got a chance to practice some of my very rusty Italian for beginners. Eating dinner with my dad’s friends even gave me the chance to teach some people a little English. I think the best part was getting to eat all the Italian food without guilt. Guilt-free eating is a benefit of traveling.
Food to eat on a trip to Italy:
If you visit Italy and expect to only see pizza, pasta, and gelato on the menu, you’re in for a surprise. Italy is the heart and soul of mediterranean food. I recommend indulging in the fresh seafood, pastries, and meat plates often listed under starters. Pizza and pasta are great, it doesn’t embody all that Italian food has to offer.
Pictured from top-left to bottom-right: Seafood risotto, pasta carbonara, ragu pasta (homemade by my Nonna), smoked salmon, chocolate chip gelato, prosciutto.
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