Sure, we all have checklists when we go to Italy. There are things we definitely want to see. But I suggest adding "time to amble" to any Italian checklist.
Walk slowly and notice the rooftops, walls of buildings, the pattern of the cobblestones or the line of the steps, the doors, door knockers, knobs and ironwork, the detail at the base of the fountain, and everything that is probably not on any Top 10 checklist in a guidebook.
This is also great when traveling with kids, because it easily becomes a game, and can be built into a story by asking questions.
For example: why would there be an iron ring attached to a stone wall along the road? Well, it was used to tie horses up many years ago. Why are there rows of them? Maybe it was a market "parking lot".
When you're visiting a country with such a vast, long, and rich history, sometimes it helps to just bite off a small piece and chew slowly. Take some time to admire the details that most tourists just whizz by en route to the next major attraction, and you'll have a significantly more Beyond the Obvious trip, I promise!
Door ornament and iron ring photos taken in Siena. Steps taken in Bologna.
All photos by Sanjay
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