10 Italian must-have “pinch-me” moments

A visit to Italy is an overwhelming assault on the senses. The sights, sounds, smells and tastes all combine to guarantee you an exciting, intoxicating and altogether unforgettable holiday.

Here are ten of the most magical moments from my most recent Italian Escape.

It’s impossible to rate them in any kind of order, because each experience was perfecto in it’s own unique way.  They’re all worthy of a ten out of ten on the “pinch-me-moment” meter.

Making pasta

I spent a hilarious afternoon in Rome learning how to make pasta on a private rooftop terrace overlooking the Colosseum.  With views to die for and the 3 most important instructions … “more olive oil, more garlic, more wine” … it was heaven on a plate.

The Vatican

I looked up at the ceiling of The Sistine Chapel in The Vatican and marvelled at one of the greatest and most celebrated art treasures of all time. Thank you Michelangelo.

Cruising down Canals

I cruised down the Grand Canal in Venice in a super sexy wooden speedboat feeling like George Clooney’s Missus and being completely awe-struck by the unbelievable uniqueness of this supremely picturesque (sinking) city of love.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

I braved a wobbly climb to the very top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It’s a bizarre combination of feeling both slightly drunk and petrified that the tower could easily collapse at any moment.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s mural

I was literally brought to tears by the breathtaking beauty of Leonardo Da Vinci’s mural “The Last Supper” in Milan. An exquisite spine-tingling moment I will always remember.

Top tip: There is a free walking tour in Milan!

Venice walking tour

I enjoyed a another fascinating free walking tour in Venice, where I was expertly guided through the never-ending maze of alleyways and canals to discover many hidden gems including “the most beautiful bookshop in the world”, Libreria Acqua Alta.  And the tour is FREE.  The best money I’ve never spent.

Barone Ricasoli 

I felt like I was in a movie as I savoured every mouthful and every moment of a delicious five course lunch with beautiful matching wines at the oldest winery in Italy, Barone Ricasoli – which also happens to be a historic 14th century Castle overlooking the magnificent rolling hills of Tuscany.

Piazzale Michelangelo

I crowded into the famous Piazzale Michelangelo with hundreds of other excited tourists to enjoy a stunning sunset and see for myself why Florence is often described as the most beautiful city in Italy.


I ate buckets of the world’s best gelato in Florence. Buckets.

The Mall

I was also brought to tears by the crazy bargains at the mother of all outlet centres, THE MALL, just outside of Florence, where the Gucci and Prada outlet stores are bigger than some suburban shopping centres.  The massive Gucci outlet even has it’s own uber-glamorous rooftop cafe serving Gucci Pizza – which was surprisingly tasty and not ridiculously overpriced!

What Italy ‘pinch-me’ moments have you had? Share with us in the comments!

Sami was a guest of at the Stendahl Dependence Luxury Suites in Rome

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