You Get What You Pay For in Italy

I had many interesting adventures while wandering through Italy during the last three weeks. EVERYONE thought I was Italian. This caused a lot of disappointment and confusion, from both sides. People would ask me a question, which always took about two minutes, I would let them finish and then I would say “Non parlo l’italiano.” After that, various hand, arm and body language gestures bombarded me as the people stormed off. I wish I had video of these encounters, every time a person would run away my shoulders sunk to the ground because I was sorry to not be able to communicate. Then I would start laughing as I wandered into the next question. This happened over thirty times before I stopped counting. So, now I know – the next time I come to Italy I should either a) know Italian or b) change my wardrobe to sandals with white socks, khaki shorts, a sombrero, binoculars around my neck, oh, and an American flag tank top.


For me, Venice should have been a day trip from Florence. I did really enjoy walking off the main roads through the narrow laneways and discovering the beautiful and sometimes eerie canals. But, I was there for three days and it really isn’t that big and it is sort of stinky. I stayed outside of the historic city in Mestre. The train ride into Venice (the “floating city” part) was inexpensive and fast. But, if I stayed again, I would stay for one night in the popular area. Yes, I saved money but you get what you pay for in Italy. One star hotels in Mestre are rated properly. I did get some good snaps!


I took the fast train from Venice to Florence, which only took about two hours. Florence was my favorite city in Italy, by far! I stayed there for seven days. First, I rented a place from Airbnb and the hosts were so generous. They had snacks and wine waiting for me when I arrived and gave me a lot of good advice. I walked all over the city, Florence is a great walking city, especially at night. It felt very safe to me and the entire city is just beautiful. Museums, markets, gardens and art everywhere!

The highlights of my time in Florence came from hanging out with my new friends Georgette, Nico and Ginger (the humping female dog). Georgette is the cousin of one of my best friends and she is the “Girl in Florence.” Yes, she is a celebrity, her website is unbelievable. We were all walking around one night and someone stopped her, ”OMG, are you the Girl in Florence?!” When you go to Florence, or really anywhere in Italy, study her blog and take all of the advice from her website! I did and everything she recommended was perfect. I was lucky enough to spend some time with them and it was very inspiring. She has lived in Florence for over nine years and has created a sustainable business with her writing and social media expertise. I didn’t even know you could get a Visa as a self-employed entrepreneur. Nico is the nicest French-Italian guy I know 😉 and their hospitality was naturally kind-hearted. I wanted to move in with them but I wasn’t sure if that was appropriate in the Italian-French-Texan culture. I will just say thanks again and I miss you Ginger! Keep up the great work!


Rome was a sensory overload, in a good way. I was only there for three days to see all of the main sites. I did really like Rome, I think it would be an interesting place to live in. I was BUSY, always running to the next place with gelato dripping down my arm. Oh, and I was staying in another crap hotel so I always wanted to be outside. I saw the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon, and most of the famous villas and piazzas. I didn’t get much rest in Rome. Also, to confuse everyone in the country even more, I got a very Italian haircut. Yes, I saved money on accomodation but you get what you pay for in Italy. Two star hotels in Rome are rated properly.

Vatican City

One day I walked over to St. Peter’s Square to see what the action looked like at the entrance of the Vatican City. It was CRAZY! People everywhere!! I wasn’t surprised, well, yes, I was surprised because there were THOUSANDS of people. I quickly realized that I needed to book a quality tour so I would not have to wait in line for four hours just to get into some of the museums. I booked a tour with “Walks of Italy” and it was remarkable. The tour guide had an amazing amount of knowledge. The map room was my favorite! It is so unbelievable that people could make such accurate maps with no real photo references of the world. It was a four hour tour, skipped all of the lines, saw everything, perfect! I learned so much. But then, I thought back to my college days as a tour guide at Wonder World – the cave in San Marcos, Texas. I made up so many “facts” about that cave on my tours and I always got good tips: $$$. So, I tipped the tour guide ten euros to repay all of the people that supported me through that cave: €€€. Yes, I spent money to tour the Vatican City sites but you get what you pay for in Italy. Walks of Italy Complete Vatican Tours are rated properly.


I didn’t like Naples. It was scary, maybe that was just my experience. Yes, I saved money but you get what you pay for in Italy. One star hotels in Naples are rated properly. Ok, Naples has some beautiful historic sites and I did like the pizza and coffee! But, the walk from the train station to my “hotel” was not fun or clean. I literally stepped in dog poo twice. LOL. The struggle was real people!

Amalfi Coast

One of my days in Naples I decided to get out of that crazy city and go for a self made tour of the Amalfi Coast. I created my own public transportation itinerary and spent all day on subways, trains, buses, and on foot to see this beautiful region! I also got some time on the beach! I left at 8AM and returned at 7PM and spent about 15€ total for the transportation that day. I am sure I set the record for the cheapest day on the Amalfi Coast! Of course it was inconvenient but I had a lot of fun. I actually like the moving part of traveling – riding buses, boats, trains, walking etc. Yeah, yeah, you get what you pay for in Italy. Either make a better plan for Naples or just pay to stay out by the coast.

Naples to Bari

My bad attitude towards Naples quickly created bad karma for my train ride across Italy to Bari. The initial plan was for me to leave Naples at 8AM on a regional train to Caserta and then catch a fast train from there to arrive in Bari at around Noon. Well, Naples loved me and wanted me to stay so my first train was delayed for two hours. I went to the ticket office and was confronted with a decision: “Do you want to wait four hours in Naples or go to Caserta and wait four hours there?” I quickly answered “Caserta!” I walked around Caserta for about one hour and then just hung out at the train station. The police at the train station must have thought I was crazy for sitting there that long so they  eventually took me aside for a detailed inspection of my passport. They made a couple of phone calls to someone and kept flipping through my passport, rubbing the pages. One of them asked me “residency?” but I thought he asked “presidency?” so I shouted “Obama!!” Oh man, they did not speak English at all and my heart was pounding. Finally, one of the officers looked at the ugly hiking boots I had on and said: “U.S.A. – turista, ok, ok!!!” Yay, I’m free! But wait, when I missed my last train I lost my assigned seat…you win again Naples.

Eventually, I made it to Bari to relax for a night before I head out to my next country! Sell your TV so you have more money to spend as you travel through Italy. Oh, and just buy that business class train ticket. You get what you pay for in Italy.


Venice {ITA}


Florence {ITA}

Rome and Vatican City {ITA}

Rome and Vatican City {ITA}

Naples, Amalfi, Bari {ITA}

Naples, Amalfi, Bari {ITA}

  17 Replies to “You Get What You Pay For in Italy”

  1. Thelma
    June 1, 2015 at 11:21 am

    You take great pictures Anthony! Even looking at them on my phone they are amazing! Take care!

  2. Ace
    June 1, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    It’s not really fair to say this because all your posts are so great, but I thought this was the best one so far!

    • June 12, 2015 at 7:24 am

      Thanks Ace, you are the man!

  3. Jeff Gabbert
    June 2, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Great post! Safe travels my friend! Dig the do!

  4. Sarah Calfee
    June 2, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Loved this post!

  5. Anita
    June 2, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Enjoyed reading your experiences in Italy. Beautiful pictures! I have only been to Venice and some parts of Tuscany… many beautiful sites and yummy food! Safe travels

  6. Nancy mihalski
    June 2, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    So glad to read about your Italy visit and hope you future tour is the best. So glad you got to visit with Georgette. Hope you will be back in states to come to their wedding celebration in new braunfels in November

    • June 12, 2015 at 7:26 am

      Thanks Nancy! Yes, it was so much fun to visit Georgette, I felt like I already knew her since I met some of her family at your house a few times!

  7. Beau
    June 3, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Hi Anthony, really nice blog you got here. Great meeting you and Jack in Dubrovnik! I look forward to seeing more of your posts.

    Take care,


    • June 12, 2015 at 7:27 am

      Thanks for reading Beau! It was great to meet you too and I hope all goes well with you in Kentucky!

  8. Jenn
    June 4, 2015 at 12:36 am

    The haircut pic is my fave, is that weird!? Also, that twin bed picture is hilarious – luxury living Italian style?

    Fabulous update! xoxo

    • June 12, 2015 at 7:28 am

      Thanks for stopping by Jenn 😉 Not weird at all.

  9. Lauren Peters
    June 19, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Miss you Tony! Glad you are having fun. I’m sitting at work, taking a break reading through some of your post and cracking up!

    • June 27, 2015 at 7:53 am

      Haha, thanks Lauren PETERS! Thanks for the comment, I miss you too! Tell Brad hi and congrats on your wedding!!

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