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Episode #093: Sparking a lifetime of adventure

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This week we are heading to Italy through the eyes of someone young who is just beginning a lifetime of travel in Italy. We get some good tips on how to keep things interesting if you or your travel companions are young. We also learn the advantages of local connections to see and experience things you wouldn’t normally find as a tourist.  

Show notes

In this episode, we talk to Tyla Craven Griffiths, a young Aussie who has been able to visit Italy both as a tourist and to study and has found herself absolutely smitten with all things Italian. Tyla shares her favorite experiences in Italy including some of the fun things she discovered about visiting Italy in winter and a cute little hidden beach town in Tuscany you can reach in under 2 hours by train from Florence.

What you’ll learn in this episode

  1. If you’re young or traveling with someone young, a city like Rome can be a little overwhelming with all the ancient sites and museums, doing as Tyla and her mum did, alternating between a museum one day and then a different, perhaps outdoorsy and fun activity the next day balances things out
  2. Prioritize your lunches and dinners. Have an activity in the morning followed by a lovely long lunch, reflecting on the morning, and then  another activity in the afternoon leading up to a lovely long dinner
  3. In Rome, if you go just a couple of streets back from the main tourist sites, you get amazing food at a much more reasonable price
  4. Florence is a real contrast to Rome, partially in that it is much, much smaller and you can familiarise and explore a little easier and Venice, completing the main 3 cities of Italy, is then totally different again. You can just get an appreciation of the diversity within Italy itself by visiting even just those three cities
  5. Florence is a fantastic location to base yourself for a huge variety of day trips. To amazing hilltop towns like Lucca and Pienza, as well as to Pisa, the coast and to the Tuscan countryside – check out some of our favorites and how to do them by tour or DIY in our Day Trips from Florence Guide 
  6. Embrace the convenience of Italian beach culture! Everything is within arms reach – you’ve got a sunbed,  an umbrella, outdoor showers and you’ve got food in the nearby restaurants
  7. A passeggiata is a walk or stroll – in the evenings and especially on Sundays or public holidays – around the main piazza or perhaps along the lungomare (seafront)
  8. The univeristy Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, in Pisa is worth a visit. Just a couple of streets back from the Leaning Tower – it has a beautiful facade from the 1800s
  9. Being able to make connections with locals, be it your family, friends, people you’ve met online (or boyfriends as per Tyla), can give you the chance to have very different non touristic experiences and perspectives
  10. The very last Medici, Anna Maria Luisa was incredibly forward thinking,  bequeathing the family’s whole art collection to the city of Florence on the condition that they would never let it leave Tuscany
  11. Christmas time in Florence and Italy generally is a magical experience. All the towns and villages get dressed up for Christmas. And in Florence, they have lights in all the main streets and every Piazza. Every major Piazza has a giant Christmas tree, and they’re all decorated differently and the Ponte Vecchio does a gorgeous light show every night
  12. As well as the Christmas markets,  the skiing in Northern Italy is amazing. In the Dolomites and South Tyrol there are so many little towns there that do beautiful, authentic Christmas markets with some Germanic influences
  13. If you’re young and you want to go learn Italian in Italy, a lot of schools offer the option of staying with a host family or having your own private accommodation. Staying with a host family has a lot of advantages, the main being you get extra Italian practice including learning lots of colloquialisms and fun words. Another advantage (especially for anxious parents) is having people there to help you. It can be daunting being young and alone in a foreign country, especially where you don’t speak the language and it’s great to have people their to guide and support you

About our guest – Tyla Craven-Griffiths

Tyla, an Aussie who fell in love with Italy as a teenager, dreams of returning to the country that has captured her heart. Having briefly lived in Switzerland and Florence, she is keen to make Europe her home once again. She is currently taking a break from her university studies as she hopes to fulfill her dream of studying fashion & luxury business in Milan when travel resumes. She is an avid researcher and is taking this time to delve deeper into Italy’s history, language, and culture.

Tyla and her mum, Barbara, share a similar passion for Italy as they have experienced many magical moments together in this spectacular country. They both enjoy spending their free time dreaming about and planning their next adventures in il bel paese.

 

You can find Tyla and on these channels:

Places mentioned in the show

Food and Drink

  • cacio e pepe – simple but delicious pasta dish found in Rome consisting of black pepper, grated Pecorino Romano cheese, and spaghetti, or traditionally tonnarelli.
  • alla gricia – adding guanciale (cured pork jowl) to the pasta dish
  • Bistecca alla Fiorentina – steak dish from a very particular cow bred in Tuscany

Resources

  • La Bella Figura  – is a celebration of artisan craftsmanship and sustainability
  • Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa – highly prestigious university in Pisa
  • Michelangelo – was an Italian sculptor, painter and architect of Renaissance
  • Botticelli – an Italian painter of the Early Renaissance
  • Anna Maria Luisa Medici – the Duchess was the last Medici and bequeathed all the family art to Tuscany

Resources from Untold Italy

 

Untold Italy Insiders

Tyla is a member of our Untold Italy Insiders group where podcast guests and listeners meet and mingle online to learn about Italian food, wine, and (of course) travel. Recently, we’ve visited Venice twice for live crosses and learned how to make gnocchi two ways for family and friends.  We’ve discovered new cheeses and wines and solved travel queries like ‘Where should I go in Italy during the summer if I don’t like the heat and crowds?’  But most of all we’ve laughed, learned, and felt like we had gotten a little closer to Italy. It’s such a fun online community, a place for true Italophiles and we’d love to have you join us and you can do just that by signing up at untolditaly.com/insiders

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Transcript

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