Everyday Life in Italy

Stairs in Positano Photo by Margie Miklas
Stairs in Positano
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.

Walking in Perugiia - Photo by Margie Miklas
“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!

Porticato del Lippomano in Udine - Photo by Margie Miklas
Porticato del Lippomano in Udine
Ancient walkways in the Friuli region are made of stones, not asphalt or cement.

Italian woman walking uphill in Bergamo Photo by Margie Miklas
Italian woman walking uphill in Bergamo
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.

Woman walking uphill in Dolceacqua, in Liguria - photo by Margie Miklas
Woman walking uphill in Dolceacqua, in Liguria
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.

Stairway up to a B&B in Polignano a Mare - Photo by Margie Miklas
Stairway up to a B&B in Polignano a Mare
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.

Staircase in Matera - Photo by Margie Miklas
Staircase in Matera
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.

Hiking the Cinque Terre Trail Photo by Margie MIklas
Hiking the Cinque Terre Trail
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!


15 Responses

  1. anneharrison

    Fantastic photos. Walking is such a great way to get to know a place – plus I always loose weight when I go to Italy, no matter how much I eat! ANother gelato?

  2. Ishita

    Margie, lovely essence of the town along with the picture. I have never walked 300 steps to get to a hotel?! but I have taken those to see fabulous views in Cinque Terre 🙂

  3. TravelsWithRae

    I love the photo of the man and his dog, or perhaps a stray? but I’d like to think it is his dog.
    I love the photos of the women, not even bent over, climbing, seemingly so effortlessly, up the steep inclines. They truly are very hardy. Brava!!
    Ok, so I love all the photos. I agree with Avinash, they each tell a story.
    I know I will be feeling the burn, and then some – but it will be so worth it!!!!!

  4. Greg Speck

    It is not easy for anyone with a disability to handle some of the areas in Italy. My mother went to Italy with us in the early 80’s and when we planned another trip in the mid 90s she was not as mobile as she was before and had to settle to our bringing back photos. On the first trip we were at the pier in Capri when I found we had to walk about 1/2 mile to the other side to catch the hydrofoil back to Napoli. This was not going to work from my mom, but I found a baggage cart on the dock and put her and her walker on it and pushed to the other side. Got a lot of smiles from the bystanders. Caio.

  5. Jerry Garrett

    Our B&B in Positano was 330 stair steps up from the road. One trip to town for groceries & supplies was all we could manage. The proprietor had a luggage hoist, fortunately, that took our bags up. It would hold 105 pounds, he said, which is exactly what my wife weighs. So she got to use the “elevator”! The view up there was magnificent. All the way to Capri. Italy does reward you for all those steps!

  6. Debra Kolkka

    Walking is the very best way to see Italy. You need good, flat, comfortable shoes with non slip rubber soles. I don’t know how women do it in high heels…and you see it often.

    • Diana

      Hi Debra…I am one of the suckers in heels…but only 2-3 inches with a little platform….and the heels are super thick, making it easy to walk. I am a shorty, what I can say? 🙂

      Lovely post Margie!

  7. Sharon, Ticket to Travel

    So true and that is part of the charm of Italy and Europe. However, many cities are putting in escalators –even outside. You mentioned Perugia…it is just one of the cities offering modern new escalators to reach the center of town from parking lots down below. Even Napoli has lovely escaltors in the Vomero district that help link to the funiculars. I’ve seen it more and more.

    • margieinitaly

      Thanks for stopping by Sharon. Yes I have actually ridden on the funicular in Napoli as well as the Mini Metro in Perugia, both time-savers.I still walked miles in both cities though!!

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