Photography: Italy by Rosie Herdman

Italy is the richest place I’ve been in so many ways - culturally, historically, gastronomically and visually. We spent three weeks feasting our eyes and mouths, starting off in Milan and working our way down to Sicily, where we flew out of Palermo.

It’s hard to pick a favourite place, although I’ve been asked a lot. I loved Milan with its wide streets, beautiful galleries, architecture, the best wine bar near the canal and one of the best lunches we’ve ever had. Down in Florence, the city is steeped in history; baking brick in the summer heat, surviving on gelato and multiple stops for an Aperol spritz or espresso. The huge Duomo, Botticelli’s Venus in the flesh, walking along the river and views from the rose garden at sunset.

Tuscany; where we stayed in the middle of a forest, lazing around in golden light and dry heat, driving through winding mountain roads to thermal hot pools and stopping off in tiny villages perched on the mountaintop. Down to crowded, noisy, cheerfully filthy Naples then across to Puglia for a few days by the sea. And lastly, Sicily. People say you should spend three weeks in Sicily alone, and I can see why - for a small island it’s so varied. Near Mt Etna is so lush - like the land that time forgot. Rich volcanic soil and fat lemons; it’s teeming with life. A small seaside town called Scopello where we found our favourite beach of the trip and drove an hour into the mountains for the best meal I’ve ever had.

Our last couple of days we spent in Palermo which sprawls, half crowded on top of itself with clothes hanging everywhere like Naples and half spaciously stretching streets with boutiques and restaurants. We couldn’t get enough of Italian rituals like aperitivo in the afternoon and espresso taken standing at the bar, pasta (always) and a double kiss with a ‘Ciao!’. It truly was the trip of a lifetime. Italy, I’d recommend you to anyone.

Scroll down to see Rosie’s Italian travel diary.

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