Tale of Two Italys

Given everyone is dreaming of days where we are no longer stuck in our houses, I figured why not write about one of my favorite countries, Italy.  Unfortunately, Italy has been hit hard with everything going on and I've heard of numerous people having to cancel plans to this beloved country.  That said, with everyone having extreme wanderlust right now and probably planning future vacations, Italy is one of the best options for so many reasons and has such diversity when thinking about which part of the country to go too. 

The shoreline of Siracusa in Sicily 

I was lucky enough to have traveled to two of these different regions back in the summer of 2018 that just showed me once again how diverse Italy truly is.  At the beginning of the summer, we headed to Sicily for my Dad's 60th so when my in-laws decided on Italy as well, we opted for an area that couldn't be more opposite,  Lake Como.  Yet both of these regions are ones I would anticipate going back to and would highly recommend if planning a trip to Italy. 

Vineyards in Sicily 

Sicily, an island off the southwestern coast of Italy sits in the Mediterranean close to the eastern coast of Africa.  Given its location, it has a very rich and diverse history.  Over the course of past 3,000 years, it has had a number of different rulers from the Greeks, to the Arabs, to Germanic and of course, the Italians.  You can feel and see these effects throughout the island pending which location you are in.  Everything from the food to the architecture has influences from it's diverse history. 

The island of Sicily is filled with vibrant flowers

In addition to that, Sicily felt like different parts of Italy that I've been to before that were now all packed into this one island.  We did wine tasting outside of Noto that reminded me of the Tuscan countryside, explored the steep hillside town of Taromina that had me flashing back to the Amalfi Coast and wandered the narrow streets of Siracusa making me think that we could be in any ancient Italian city.  I think that's what makes Sicily Sicily, it has so much to offer that it's hard to think that this isn't a country in and of itself.  And on top of that, you have the Mediterranean sea in every direction making you feel like you are on some far off Greek island. 

The hillside town of Modica in Sicily 

The food is different than anywhere else in Italy as well.  You won't have the heavy carb diet of pizza and pastas (you of course can still find it) for every meal as it will be way more focused on fresh seafood.   Instead of gelato, you will be eating granita and my favorite, the cannoli, is a staple in Sicily. 

Views from Taromina

Sicily certainly has it's own culture and you can spend a few weeks here so forget trying to do a few days as part of an Italian vacation. You're surrounded by the Mediterranean with beautiful beaches, can explore ancient ruins from centuries ago and eat a cuisine unlike anywhere else in Italy.   If you've been to Italy many times and are looking to change it up, Sicily will provide you with a unique Italian experience that you haven't had before.  

A harbor in Sicily 

About 1,000 miles north east of Sicily is the lake region of Italy with the most famous of those lakes being Lake Como.  Just shy of the Swiss Border, this lake region in Lombardy is known for its immaculate beauty and stunning lakeside towns as it sits at the foot hills of the alps.  Having spent a week in Sicily, Lake Como couldn't have felt more different when we went two months later.  

One of the lakeside towns in Lake Como

Lake Como, may not be quite as diverse as Sicily but it's probably one of the most pristine and beautiful places I have ever been.  Small lakeside towns and exquisite villas dot the 100 miles of the shoreline with the alps rising up behind them.  I can't think of anywhere I have ever been that makes me think of Lake Como, it's truly one of a kind.  Mostly everything you'll do will revolve around some sort of activity on or by the lake with the most popular activity just being exploring some of the more well known towns like Bellagio or Como.  

Town of Bellagio

The food in Lake Como will more resemble the Italy you know but it certainly has a few distinctions.  While seafood isn't as plentiful as other areas of Italy, especially Sicily, there are fresh fish from the lake unlike your traditional Italian seabass.  And while you'll be able to find delicious pastas, risotto is dish of choice in the region. 

Villas line up along the lake 

Lake Como is simply a serene place where once you arrive, it's hard to feel stressed out about anything.  It has been one of the most relaxing vacations that I have ever taken and it's no wonder George Clooney vacations here.  For me, if I ever need to get away from it all, Lake Como is probably the place I would go. 

Sunset over the lake 

Both Lake Como and Sicily could not differ more from each other.  One is known for its' deeply rooted culture with diverse Mediterranean history and golden beaches while the other has you surrounded with stunning views of nature and quaint Italian villages.  Yet what it showed me was that the contrast and beauty between these two locations is one of the reasons that Italy remains to be one of my favorite countries.   

Quaint village in Lake Como


  1. It is a wonderful corner on the planet we need to visit! The tale is pretty interesting and well-composed. Share more tales with us!

  2. Thank you for allowing my comment in the comment section. I hope you are doing well.

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