Top Ten | Cheap Thrills in Italy

Who says you need to spend a fortune to enjoy yourself when traveling.

Here are my favorite cheaps thrills in Italy

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10.  Crossing the street.  If anyone disagrees with me here, they have obviously never tried to do so in Rome.

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9.  Driving on the Autostrada.  The thrill goes both ways.  I can’t wait to get behind the wheel and out in the open.  It seems though, no matter how well I’m doing or how fast I’m going, some Italian is on my butt.

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8.  Ordering an espresso (or two) in the afternoon.  I just can’t get enough of coffee in Italy and I find myself sneaking in and out of bars through the day indulging in my addiction.

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7.  If coffee isn’t your thing, then I dare you to double down on gelato.  Ignore those raised eyebrows and go back for seconds or order a triple to begin with.  My mouth watering combo?  Pistachio, hazelnut and something chocolate!

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6.   For you ladies wanting to live on the edge and believe in fashion at all costs, try an evening on the town in heels.  There is nothing more amazing or sexy than watching the Italian women strut along the cobblestones.  I have tried this myself and….well, not so sexy but I didn’t break anything.

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5.  Passeggiata.  Probably my favorite time of the day, when the day trippers have gone home and the locals come out to catch up on the day’s news.  There is no better time to people watch and be watched!  Even in the smallest of villages, people can be found out and about during the evening right before dinner.  Couples holding hands, old women arm in arm.  Magic.

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4.  Sagre.  These food centered festivals are everywhere, in every town or village.  Love garlic, cheese or olives?  You are in luck because there are a handful of places across Italy ready to celebrate.

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3. Festivals.  Each and every town has some festival rooted in tradition that you can be a part of with the right timing.  The activities vary widely, from pushing wine barrels up the steep city center to decorating the ground with elaborate works of art made from flower petals.

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2.  Flirting.  It’s free and it’s everywhere.  The men in Italy love women and not just the Victoria Secret model women.  Feeling bad about the extra weight you can’t seem to get rid of?  Having trouble hiding the grey?  No worries!  Italian men are professionals when it comes to making a woman feel beautiful, any woman.  Flirting taken with the right frame of mind can be a great ego boost.  Of course, if they go too far I’m not afraid to let them know they’ve crossed a line.

1.  Battling the old women during the morning market.  You have to mentally prepare for this scenario.  They are plump and sweet on the bench in the piazza, but they are shrewd and as stealthy as any ninja at the vegetable stall. Steer clear of their coin purse.

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About the author: Andi Brown

I am passionate about helping people create vacations that are perfect for them through personalized travel planning, itinerary review and small experience focused tours. My services put an emphasis on the experience of Italy, getting my clients away from the tourist crowds and into the heart and soul of the people. I believe in working with family run businesses at great locations with attention to the details. If you can dream it I can make it happen.

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  1. megtraveling - 2012-10-07 at 2:44 pm Reply

    Great list, and for me gelato is always at or near the top!

  2. lahgitana - 2012-10-08 at 7:09 am Reply

    I smiled all the way through! Thank you! Esp. about the ninja old ladies.

    Well, and the flirting men. Here in my US Pacific NW town, we have a lovely little bistro run by an Italian chef. I don’t know where he’s from (i’ll ask since I’m going there on Saturday). His flirting was fabulous–he sang out a Ciao Bella as I left and I swear I grew an inch as I stood taller!

  3. Kris Robinson - 2012-10-08 at 10:05 am Reply

    We just returned from 10 days in Roma and Forenze and your post made me smile with glee and my heart strings tugged to return. The coffee in Italy was to die for. My husband, who doesn’t drink coffee in the States, even enjoyed afternoon espressos.

    Gelato several times a day for sure. We especially liked one of the rhum flavored concoctions we found at a couple of spots around Florence.

    I admired the ladies in their stilettos, but couldn’t even imagine trying it myself. It is an impressive skill to have, for sure (although I did see some very humorous stumbles here and there).

    We were lucky enough to hit Florence during the Winetown event. Two nights of wandering the streets with our glasses ready for the next pour to be discovered. Heavenly.

    Crossing the streets was an adventure. Although I’m a rule follower and have a hard time crossing against the light, I quickly learned to get over this convention and paid more attention to the traffic instead of the lights. Luckily, I have walked the streets of Mumbai which is like Rome on steroids with 10x as many people.

    The old women were so fun to watch and listen to. I never had to battle them in a morning market situation, but learned enough to know that if I ever do, I better bring my A game.

    GREAT list! I already miss the passion with which the Italians to everything. I can’t get back there fast enough. Your blog was one that we used to prepare us for our first trip to Europe (we went to Paris also)….so THANK YOU!

    • onceinalifetimetravel - 2012-10-08 at 7:47 pm Reply

      What an absolutely amazing compliment!!! I loved reading this, thank you so much for sharing.

  4. Our Kitchen Inventions - 2012-10-08 at 2:12 pm Reply

    I love the “crossing the street” craziness in Italy. So far, as long as you move and keep moving, they won’t hit you. It seems when you back off from your chosen path, it totally confuses the drivers! LOL! I tell people – “just keep going, as the driver is anticipating where you will be and will miss you!”. So far, so good. Not been hit yet! Thanks for sharing your list. It’s always fun to see travel from someone else’s point of view. And that darn gelato….

  5. jann - 2012-10-23 at 7:13 am Reply

    Hi Andi,
    I just read your post on Vernazza on Susan’s blog. Great! And I love this list. Wearing heels in Italy is murder–my feet have just been destroyed since moving here (I live in Sicily). You’re right about the flirting, and the fact that Italian men even seem to love the aged/mature woman–never too old!!! ciao ciao jann

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