There are many steps you can take prior to leaving that will make your trip more enjoyable and successful. Some things can be as simple as watching a few Italian theme movies or reading up on the areas you will be visiting. Over the next few days I will be talking about my must do’s prior to departure.
You will be walking a lot in Italy, up and down hilly villages and over cobble stone roads. Walking is the primary mode of transportation and you will see people of all ages out and about. With everything so central and easy it really makes sense. I tell everyone to start a walking program at least one or two months prior to leaving. Believe me, you don’t want to be that tourist getting passed by an 80 year old woman carrying her bags home from the market! Taking 30-45 minutes several times a week to walk at a brisk pace will help prepare your legs for Italy, a steep area is even better. I walk daily after dinner and still feel it in my legs after arrival. Streets are uneven, there are hills everywhere and stairs are in abundance. Elevators are rare and those that exist can be scary. If you do one thing to prepare, this is the one. I have never met anyone who came back saying that they were in too good of shape for their trip. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE HOW MUCH YOU WILL BE WALKING AND HOW HARD THAT WILL BE.
This goes hand in hand with walking. The most important thing to do months before you go is find a good pair of walking shoes and break them in. You should be wearing these shoes for at least a month if you consistently work out in them or more if you are only wearing them casually. The last thing you want to do is limp around with blisters or aching arches. I look for shoes that have good arch support, a sturdy sole and are comfortable. Stay away from flip flops, tevas and crocs. While these are easy and initially comfortable, your feet will be aching after a day’s walk across cobblestones. I do bring a pair of flip flops but never wear them all day long. I made that mistake long ago in Venice and ended up struggling with the pain for over a year. Don’t feel like you have to wear Nike’s either; there are plenty of great shoes that won’t make you look like a tourist. But expect to pay a little bit. If you have a Walking Company near you, this is a great place to start. I swear by Josef Seibel. Again, even the best shoe is going to cause you pain if not properly broken in. So put on those shoes and get walking!
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copyright 2012 Andi Brown, Once in a Lifetime Travel
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