I love Italy and I always am looking for opportunities to return. But I also know that everyday life in Italy is molto difficile. If you go, plan on walking a lot, and not just on a flat surface. Most of Italy’s roads and walkways are far from even or flat. Cobblestoned streets and inclined walk ways are the norm to getting around. “But Italy has great public transportation,” you say. Absolutely it does with trains, buses, ferries, and subways. But once you arrive at your destination, plan on walking the rest of the way. Many of the most charming places in Italy, especially the historic centers, or centri storici, are pedestrianized streets. The good news is that all that exercise compensates for some of the gelato and pasta! Ancient walkways in the Friuli region are made of stones, not asphalt or cement. This is one of my favorite photos. I wish I had been able to talk with this woman in Bergamo Alta, the upper part of Bergamo, where the historic center is. I wondered how old she was and how many times a day she walked that hill. This is a way of life for these hearty Italians, one I’m afraid to say is one that I could not compete with on a daily basis, or on any basis for that matter. Many of the accommodations in Italy are small B&B’s and have no elevator, so you can expect one or more staircases like this one. Luckily for me, our kind manager carried our luggage up these steps. Even if you are a fitness fanatic, which obviously I am not, you’d be feeling the burn for sure. This old staircase in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Matera is a perfect example of uneven surfaces. Matera is full of these but so well worth it. Just make sure you are in halfway decent physical shape to walk and bring good walking shoes. Flip-flops don’t cut it here. The Cinque Terre is a beautiful place in Italy but don’t underestimate the challenge its trails present. I had to buy a new pair of shoes while there. Have you experienced walking for miles in Italy? Or trudging up and down 300 steps to get back and forth to your hotel? Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear about it!