Italy has been always been on my list of countries to visit. I have family ties to Italy that have always made my imagination soar. Sadly, we have no records of these ancestors since my great-grandmother passed away when my grandfather was only 9 years old. Records are not as accessible as they are nowadays so there is very little information available. My Italian heritage is not as readily available as my German heritage for we have a lot of information and still keep contact with that side of the family.
I had these preconceived notions of Italy from countless hours of research. Heard about all of the glorious experiences others had acquired. The praises and popularity of Italy grew as I ventured to material about Southern Italy. They all depicted the local residents and jovial, caring and welcoming people that they all came across during their travels. The stories were all heartwarming and enticing to think they may have such similarities with my Puerto Rico.
Let me tell you I was sorely disappointed. It goes beyond to have to tell you this is just my experience. If your experience is different than mine, then I am beyond thrilled you were able to enjoy yourself. Take this disclaimer for what it is. I strive to be transparent with y’all and not sugar coat things. This is based on my experience. As simple as that. This does not mean that the places I visited were not gorgeous or amazing. Italy is full of such a rich history and iconic monuments that they are beyond breathtaking. My experience there left much to be desired. Don’t get me wrong. Italy is a big country, full of many sights to see. Many are on my bucket list in spite of my poor experience I am not inclined to run back to Italy anytime soon. Definitely, want to travel to other countries before heading back to Italy.
Traveling abroad is an expensive feat that takes careful planning. After countless hours of research and prioritizing I decided not to activate an international plan because of the to it would take on my budget. We were able to download several Google Maps to navigate around the city without having to rely on an analog map. Just to be on the safe side, we still had a back up maps our phones went haywire.
Living in the US we get so accustomed to having WIFI readily accessible. You might as well check in with the other side of the world as you wait for your food. No questions asked but it is a basic commodity of any restaurant. This could not be farther from the truth in Southern Italy. All of the spots we ventured in lured us in with the empty promise of WIFI. They failed to mention you would have to pay extra to use if they even provided the password to it. We also ran into tough spots where they were experiencing trouble with their connection. Only to find out they never even had WIFI capabilities in the first place. You would think that WIFI is a precious resource that is scarce in Italy. A resource that is only available to a limited few. Traveling sans wifi in Southern Italy was like living in 1995 where you had no idea what WIFI was.
Every single spot we ventured to grab a bite to eat, enjoy a coffee or even purchase anything turned into a negative experience. Each and every local was rude and less than helpful. We ventured into a coffee shop in Naples to grab a quick espresso only to be left waiting for an extensive period of time. They failed to actually serve us. Needless to say, we left without ever trying the coffee.
Honestly, I can’t say if we just happened to run into everyone that was having a rough day or if they were just fed up with the tourists in general. Not going to make excuses or believe everything is going to be about me. It is not. I just did not enjoy the people of Southern Italy and would not consider returning to Sicily, Taormina, and Naples.
I can understand that we all go through circumstances that prevent us from radiating our best foot forward but a place that thrives on tourism should treat people with decency. Where a question about what you’re selling should not be a burden to answer. Shopping for memorabilia is tough enough but when you have to endure a horrible attitude it grows even more difficult.
I had this idyllic image of Italy in my mind of such an amazing country that possessed an extensive history with impressive architecture. I believed the residents would take pride in all it has to offer because it is a mecca for so many who come to experience first hand. Sad to say it was filthy. There was trash everywhere. Garbage filled the streets, sidewalks and common areas which just took so much away from the beautiful architecture.
I pretended to not see any of it while I took in the scenery. This may have been one of the most disheartening things about Italy. To see such a beautiful place that was in such a sad and pathetic state. Little did I know that Italy had been dealing with a garbage crisis for years. All those hours of research did not even fathom looking into something like this. This alarming landscape is a direct result of landfills that have been filled to the brim leaving no more room for garbage and of years where the mafia has been making ludicrous money on the waste management industry. Corruption has tainted the beauty of Italy for as far as the eye can see and what can’t be ignored. The corruption is evident and has only hurt the country itself. I was naive to not comprehend how far back this problem went if I had not been able to see it for myself.
It is so easy to get wrapped up in all of the details of a destination that you may hype it up way too much. Destinations have evolved with the times and will not be stuck in the historic moment you may expect them to be. When you go in expecting so much it is easy to get disappointed. This experience taught me to never, ever travel anywhere with high expectations. I learned to visit new destinations with a level head. To just enjoy the experience for what it is and not expect anything. I will leave all of my preconceived notions at home in an attempt to never be so disappointed ever again.
Where have you traveled to that was disappointing and why was it so difficult? I would love to hear all about it.
Join me on my journey!