With only three months to go until the glorious student summer begins, starting to plan travel arrangements is an entirely necessary form of procrastination. A popular idea is InterRailing around Europe, essentially buying a one off train fare that allows you to travel from city to city sampling each one’s nightlife, culture and cuisine. However, on a student budget these tickets aren’t the cheapest of things to buy, especially if you want to eat when you get there. For shorter train journeys, less money changing hassle and a slightly more affordable option, why not InterRail in just one country?
Italy, for example, is a food lover’s haven. The trick with travelling around the cities here is not to go looking for a party atmosphere; this country is more about eating well and drinking copious amounts of wine in idyllic locations. Here are a few must see cities if it takes your fancy.
Bologna is a good place to start as it is quite far North and cheap to fly to. Well… Ryanair fly there; students can’t be too picky! The vibrancy of this city is enticing, and it is the location of the oldest university in Europe, for history lovers. Being the gastro capital of Italy, Bologna has a wide variety of restaurants and café’s that serve mouth-wateringly good dishes: think parma ham, tortellini and parmesan… the list goes on!
For art lovers Florence is your place. It is a relatively small city, meaning that you will find your bearings quickly. Use the iconic Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore as your centre point and the cobbled, atmospheric streets that lead off from it will become familiar very quickly. The wealth of art galleries and churches are all worth a visit but the one place that visitors cannot miss is Gusta Pizza (Via Maggio, 46r, 50125 Firenze), a traditional pizza restaurant not too far from the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge. With sumptuous pizzas at only five euros each, this place is a student’s dream!
Rome is a backpacker’s paradise. It is the best city in Italy for clubbing but the worst for a student budget. Check out the beautiful Via Urbana for the cheapest boutiques and individual restaurants. Naturally everybody gravitates to the Coliseum, a historic monument that is worth seeing if you have the patience to queue and the money to spend on getting in. However it is widely thought to be more spectacular from the outside anyway so do not be disappointed if you don’t get to go inside for whatever reason.
With so much to do in Italy alone, save on the international rail ticket, and splurge on making the most of this vibrant country.
Photo: wikimedia commons