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What I Learned on an Epic 14 Day Road Trip Through Italy

How 14 days road tripping throughout Italy turned out to be much more than I hoped for.

By: Haytham Achkar + Save to a List

After quitting my job and stayingunemployed for over three months, I decided to cash up my savings and tourEurope for the next 43 days. I have always been an Instagram user, and afterscrolling through great captures of Italy, I decided to spend most of my triptouring the country - photographing the region's beauty and magnificence, frommountains and lakes to cities andruins. I touched down in Rome at night, and it was raining heavily. I wonderedif I should have postponed my trip to the summer, but eventually discoveredthat the weather was a great benefit to my tour around Italy. 

Day 1: Ponte Sant’Angelo (St Angelo'sBridge)

Since I landed in Rome at night, I did not have the time to see much. I walked around and came across the Ponte Sant'Angelo. You probably have seen thisbridge in movies such as Mission Impossible II, but the scene does not do it justice. See for yourself.

Day 2: Colosseum of Rome

There's a saying that goes as follows: "When the Colosseum stands, Rome shall stand; when the Colosseum falls, Rome shall fall." I have honestly never seen such grandeur. Once I stepped into the Colosseum, I felt so little. 

I then headed to the Roman Forum, a huge square that was originally a market in Ancient Rome. 

I could not fully grasp the magnificence of the Colosseum, so I went back at night to take some more shots of the Colosseum. 

Day 3: St Peter's Basilica 

I was lucky enough to have entered St Peter's Basilica through the Holy Door, an entrance door that is opened every 25 years. Upon going inside, you are mesmerized by all the magnificence and glory of the Basilica - from the marble statue to the painting on the roof. I ascended 512 steps to reach the dome on top; the stairs are designed around the circumference of the dome, so once you reach the top the wall curves with the dome, and the space becomes so small. (For claustrophobics, I don't recommend this.) You reach the highest point and are awarded a great view of the whole Vatican City. 

Day 4: The Pantheon and Ride to Naples

It was a quick stop to the Pantheon, as I was leaving to Naples. Getting to Naples at night, I did not see much of the area. 

Day 5: Pompeii + Vallone dei Mulini 

As a great Pink Floyd fan, I could not wait to discover the burned city where the band performed. I entered the city and learned how Mt Vesuvius burned the whole city down. You can still see the bodies: a mother comforting her child, a couple sleeping.. 

After discovering the city, I drove to Sorrento and found this little gem, an abandoned old mill. 

Day 6: Mount Vesuvius 

I never thought I would actually, in my lifetime, hike up an active volcano - not just an active one, but probably the most catastrophic: Mt Vesuvius. You could smell the sulfur and see the water vapor rising up from the crater. 

Day 7: Florence 

You would not miss the old Venetian bridges of Florence. The most famous one is Ponte Vecchio, which was actually a market during the old times. 

Day 8-9: Tuscany 

Probably the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen is that of Tuscany. Wherever you look, whenever you turn, however you walk, you are always mesmerized by the green views, high mountains, and little houses. 

I spent the night in a little cabin and continued to enjoy the dark views of Tuscany. 

Day 10-11-12: South Tyrol

This was the most anticipated for during my trip. I could not wait to get to Lago di Braies and capture the majestic views of the lake, the trees, and the Dolomites. I stood in the cold from sunrise until noon to get that perfect shot; waited for the wind to cool off so I could get a perfect reflection through the lake. 

Lago di Dobiacco was next: more lakes, more reflections, and more great views. 

The next day, I headed out to Villnoss Valley. There's a little church standing alone: a total contrast between its landscape and that of the Dolomites. 

I couldn't get enough of Lago di Braies and Lago di Dobiacco, so I went back again at night. 

Day 13-14: Milan 

Lake Como was the highlight of my Milan trip - hiking across the lake for over 4 hours. 

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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