If you are one of our regular readers, you will already know that we are big fans of Italy. Last year, Dad spent some time there. His “Dad Diaries” series proved very popular, which has inspired us to write more about this fantastic country. It is a travel destination that seems to have something to offer every type of traveler. Read on to learn about some of the slightly more unusual activities and experiences that you can enjoy while you are visiting the country.
A Night of Opera
Buying Opera Tickets Italy is far easier than it is in many other countries. The first operas were written and performed by Italians, so this should not really be a surprise. For more than 400 years, Italians have been enjoying operatic performances. Florence, Venice, and Rome are great places to start to find the most perfect performances.
In Italy, this wonderful art form is definitely not reserved for the few. You will find opera houses in virtually every corner of Italy. Plus, many of the towns and cities that do not have them still ensure that their residents can still enjoy a night of opera. Smaller performances and productions are regularly held in local churches, historical buildings, and town squares. If you have kids, this is the perfect way to introduce them to opera. The atmosphere is usually far less formal and relaxed at these types of events.
Experience Two Different Cultures at the Same Time
If you are lucky enough to stay on one of Italy’s borders you may be able to experience two different cultures for the price of one. In some places, like parts of the South Tyrol, they are very proud of the fact that at one time they were not part of Italy at all.
Up until 1918, they were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. At that point, they were annexed by Italy. Over time, this change was accepted, but the people of these areas have very much hung on to many of the customs and traditions of their forbearers. As a result, they offer something a little different from many other parts of Italy. Interestingly, the Austro-Hungarian traditions they hang on to are very old. In both Austria and Hungary many of them have faded away, so visiting these border areas is a great way to experience things you can no longer find elsewhere.
Sicily is another example of somewhere that is Italian, but not quite. These are amongst the most interesting places to visit.
Experience a Festival – Italian Style
You have not really seen Italy until you have experienced at least one of its many festivals. The Italians love a party and they really do not need much of an excuse. Take for example the now famous Battle of the Oranges, which is held in the Northern city of Ivrea.
It is exactly as it sounds – a huge food fight where everyone hurls oranges at each other. The weird thing is that nobody knows, for sure, how it got started. But, over time, this tradition has become all-consuming. Today, it is the biggest food fight festival in Italy.
If you think that sounds a little violent, or messy, do not worry. Italy offers you the chance to experience many other different types of festivals, as well. As you would expect for a country that loves its food so much, many of them are food-themed. Which is very good news, because at these, you actually get to eat rather than throw the food.
Have you been to Italy? What did you experience beyond the norm there? If not, what’s your dream Italy trip?