When you’re standing in Piazza di Trevi surrounded by hundreds of strangers vying to throw a coin into a fountain and having to warn a couple of distracted tourists that someone with dishonest intentions has an eye on their bag you may wonder why you came to Italy. Was it to be overwhelmed by art, history, gastronomy and all the adjectives synonymous with greatness and beauty or something else? No matter what your original reasons you will discover a thousand more that are likely to defy clichés and confound stereotypes.

That is unless you have already imagined eating tripe, climbing Renaissance towers, drinking cold prosecco, dissuading veteran pickpockets and following in the footsteps of emperors, saints and geniuses. You can do all those things and trot down ancient roads on horseback, kayak along intimate canals, blow sand into glass and pay homage to Keats, Pinocchio and Michelangelo. There are no limits to what can be done here and although a list of must see museums, bridges and fountains is a good place to start they are only abstractions until you are standing before them.

Appreciating the creativity of the past and the beauty of the present requires effort. Learning to greet locals and confidently order espresso, to seize the moment and live neither behind a screen nor in front of it however has many rewards. Senses will be stimulated by morning smells of warm bread and the silence each city makes after the masses have gone to bed and surrendered cobble stoned streets to the adventurous and those intent on resisting jet lag. That’s what travel is about and what makes this journey unique.

You won’t be alone and if Piazza di Trevi is any indication some crowds will be hard to avoid. Curiosity and patience however can help reveal those invisible, overlooked places where authentic sights, sounds and flavors remain and traditions haven’t faded. With a little determination and the willingness to walk you will soon be able to distinguish Florentine from Venetian accents, Romanesque churches from a Renaissance palazzi, good leather from bad and local from touristic. Getting acquainted with Rome, Florence and Venice is a continual pleasure and an eternal delight  like a 3-course meal that gets better with every bite.

Discover three remarkable cities
in one practical guide:

Moon: Rome, Florence & Venice
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