Michaela Paval

Michaela’s family holiday to Italy was filled with history, culture and lots of delicious Italian food. Here she shares with us some of her experiences, and advises getting off the tourist track to experience the real Italy.

Piazza Navona, Italy


In 2007 I set off with my family on an amazing trip to Italy. After endless hours on the plane from Sydney we landed in Rome and our first morning was distinctly Italian, coffee and biscotti at a small cafe across the road from our hotel. Despite feeling exhausted we set off for the day exploring. We were staying in the middle of Rome, close to all the tourist attractions and the many cafes and boutiques.

Our week in Rome was busy – the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, art galleries, the Vatican and lots of shopping and eating in between. After Rome we went on to visit Venice and Florence, both amazing cities with great histories and so much culture. Again we saw amazing art, breath taking architecture and ate a lot of really wonderful food. We did all the regular tourist attractions including a gondola ride through the canals of Venice. Our gondola driver even sung the Italian classic ‘O Sole Mio’, which I’m sure he does for every tourist but it still made our ride feel special.

It’s hard to pick just one memorable experience from my trip but I must say a definite highlight was the day spent sightseeing with my relatives who live in Rome. It was there that I experienced the real Rome, not just the tourist track. We ate at the best local restaurants and visited the sights slightly off the regular tours.

While not everyone has the opportunity to be guided by their own local tour guide, I’d really suggest you stray a little from the main street and top attractions (although these are of course a must too!) to experience the more authentic side of Italy.

After four weeks in Italy it was time to return home. I’ll never forget this trip, and can’t wait to book my next holiday there and discover more of what this beautiful country has to offer.

Image courtesy of Flick user Zach Dischner.

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