Pizza, Pasta, Pronto: My Trip Through Italy

Post by : Lisa Gransow (Follow on Spotted Places @letsbeadventures)


6 a.m. – Airport Berlin SXF. It should be the beginning of something great, of something new. The beginning of an unforgettable journey with my best friend. It should be. We planned our trip for weeks, we were both looking forward to it but everything changed from one minute to another. I was left at the airport utterly alone. My friend canceled the trip and went back home. Really confused and tired I had to decide what to do. Should I go alone or should I also cancel my trip? It would be the first time traveling alone through a foreign country for a longer time.


Finally, I did it! And it was the best decision of my life. I want to show you the beauty of Europe – the beauty of Italy and also the passion for traveling alone which I discovered. You could visit Italy for months but I only had three and a half weeks. There are so many lively cities, university cities, mountains, the sea, islands and lots of other hot spots. My journey started in Milan, going on to Bergamo, Bologna, further on to Firenze, Perugia, of course, Rome and last but not least Naples. I will give you a little report about two cities which inspired me the most. Can you already guess which? Admitting that it was a really hard decision because at least every city had its own charm but finally I have chosen Bologna and Naples. Here we go!

airplane view of mountain



It was a short-term decision to go to Bologna instead of Venice and I am really happy about it. Bologna is a university city with the oldest university in continuous operation, founded in 1088. The city is also famous for its towers. Originally 180 towers, there are only 40 existing today. Bologna gives you a special feeling, Bologna is different, Bologna is not Spaghetti Bolognese.


I felt like being back in time – back in the 16th Century. Old buildings and high towers mixed with young and kind people – the best opportunity to meet someone. I had the pleasure to meet students from Austria, Italy and even Germany and it was not like here in Germany going to one bar and then to one club, no, we went from bar to bar, everywhere happy people. A lot of people (especially students of course) were all full of joy. So do not hesitate about writing in an Erasmus group on Facebook – I never had so many messages in 24 hours what to do and what to see in Bologna, about nightlife and invitations to home-parties.


The welcoming was kind and the goodbye was tough. I envied every lucky (Erasmus) student in Bologna – an old city for young people. Despite the lack of sleep, sightseeing was not to be missed. I have chosen the ‘soft’ version and took the ‘San Luca Express’ a little tram which brought me through the city and even to the Basilika that gave the tram its name – the Basilika of San Luca. Next to the big church there were four kilometers of arch transitions which were built by monks. A lot of people use it for sports; they climb the stairs more than two times up and down.  I used it for enjoying the view over Bologna because San Luca is over the city on the top of a mountain.


Take your time and your breath when walking those four kilometers in spiritually and sweaty atmosphere. Back in town you do not have to miss the Piazza Maggiore and you will not miss it because it is the main square in Bologna. From here you can reach every sight by feet. Another thing that I learned in Bologna is the ‘Aperitivo’. Aperitivo is sociable eating and drinking at a bar or little restaurant. It starts around 7 pm and if you buy one drink for 8€ to 12€ you will get a food buffet for free. If you already have tried every kind of Italian pizza and pasta you should try apperitivo! Wanderlust? Let’s go to Bologna! You will love it.

Piazza Maggiore Italy
Piazza Maggiore
Bologna Italy
Bologna Italy



I recognized that I had reached the south of Italy. Naples is the third biggest city in Italy but it is really different to the two other big cities Milan and Rome. Because of traveling by train the first impression of a city was always the same – the main train station. It became interesting when I had to find out how to get to the hostel. In Naples, I had chosen a taxi. My taxi driver looked like a Spanish Eminem who listened only to Spanish songs like Despacito. It was hot, dirty, loud and I felt the rhythm of Despacito (a song by Luis Fonsi).


Naples was my imagination of Cuba. It had this special kind of Latino character. Even Naples is a bit more dilapidated than other big Italian cities. Yet it is full of life. Furthermore, Naples is not that touristic as Rome or Milan. You can calm down from tourist shops, tourist groups and photoholics. Maybe you will see a German cruise group because Naples is by the sea. So why not going on your own little ship cruise? There are two big ports where you can take a ferry and escape from city bustle. My first recommendation when you are in Naples: visit an island. In Naples, you have no real beach in the city center so take a ferry to Capri, Procida or Ischia. Spontaneously I decided to go to Procida and what did I find? A little island with colorful houses, little ports and dark sand beaches because of volcanic rock. It was the first time that I felt relaxed. If you are in a hurry this is the perfect place for some feel-good hours.

Procida Italy
Procida Italy

Back in Naples you have to taste the best ice cream of the city: Casa Infante will give you a new ice cream experience. If you have chosen your flavors take your cup and go for a walk through the district of Vomero. (It can be reached by metro, stop ‘Vanvitelli’). Here you have a wonderful view over Naples and to the Vesuvius – one of the most dangerous volcanos in the world. And here is my next recommendation: climb the top of the Vesuvius – and do not take the tourist bus. Too expensive and too touristic. Take the public transportation. It will bring you almost to the crater of Vesuvius, but you have to climb the last kilometer by foot. This takes around 20 minutes and a lot of sweat but you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view.

Vesusvius Italy
left: view to the Vesuvius, right: view from Vesuvius

Last but not least every journey comes to an end and here is my happy end – my last recommendation. You HAVE to visit an old Italian theatre. Whether it is the Teatro alla Scala in Milan or the Teatro San Carlo in Naples – you will feel like Alice in Wonderland. This was the play I watched in the Teatro San Carlo. The most inspiring aspect is the beautiful building. From the outside you cannot guess what you will see inside. I will give you a little sneak peek but you have to try it by yourself. I do not promise too much.

jumping picture

Naples is like a dirty man after a long, hot party night, and it is worth a visit because of its diversity – seas, volcanos, islands, culture, big city life, underground catacombs and so many other things that you cannot discover in only three days. I will come back Naples! Furthermore, do not hesitate about the Italian Mafia. I felt safe and sound in every Italian city, also in Naples. Maybe some travel guides say that Naples is one of the most dangerous cities in Italy but I never had any fear, quite the reverse!


I perceived Italians as temperamentally, lively and warm people who make good food and ice cream. After short three and a half weeks I was not afraid of traveling alone any longer. I always had fun traveling and exploring new places but traveling alone gives you the opportunity to meet people and see places from another view and not from the typical touristic one. You start living differently, acting more kindly and open-mindedly. I started understanding what it means to be far away from home and I lost my heart in Italy.


Beautiful Italy with its variety and life full of joy is the perfect country even for a short term stay or a long-term stay – it is your decision. And do not forget – Italians speak with their hands.

Where to find Lisa :

SpottedPlaces : @letsbeadventures

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