Video provided by Heaven Quiban.
My journey from the San Francisco airport to Washington DC, and then arriving in Rome to study abroad.
By Sam Abramson and Michelle Hayman
10. Catalan culture
One of the best parts about Barcelona is the strong pride citizens take in their Catalan culture. From crazy human tower events to a pooping Santa Claus at Christmas time, Catalan sure has a unique flair only known to Barcelonians.
Just an hour outside the city of Barcelona lies one of the most gorgeous beach towns you will ever see. Once you tire of being yelled at by gypsies on the Barcelona beach, head on over to Sitges.
8. Free events make you feel like you’re VIP
Simply strolling through Placa Catalunya or La Rambla is enjoyable in itself, but Barcelona also boasts multiple events throughout the year that are an absolute blast. La Merce is a must-attend celebration that takes over the city, while San Joan is an all-night beach party to celebrate the longest day of the year.
7. Public transportation saving you dough
Most major European cities have extensive and thorough public transportation systems and Barcelona is no different. You can get anywhere in and around the city via metro and bus for cheap.
5. Food to die for
Located right on the Mediterranean, Barcelona boasts some of the best seafood in Europe. Paella is a staple dish of the city and with good reason- it’s unbelievable at the right locations. Tapas are also a great way to try a bunch of different staple Barcelona dishes in a single sitting.
Futbol passion engulfs Europe, you know this. But no city in Europe gets behind their club more than Barcelona, which boasts the premier team in the world with some of the biggest stars. You’d be hard pressed to walk more than a block without seeing a bevy of Messi, Xavi, Neymar and Iniesta jerseys. Oh yeah, and did we mention their stadium, Camp Nou, holds nearly 100,000 people?
You don’t need to be an engineering wiz or architecture buff to appreciate the masterpieces of Gaudi that are sprinkled throughout the city. La Segrada Familia and Parc Guell are two of the coolest places you’ll see in Europe.
Barcelona has some of the best beaches in all of Europe and if you’re trying to take advantage of point #1 from this list, you’ll need to have some color on those cheeks.
1. Nightlife. ‘Nuff said.
Get ready to redefine your idea of “a night out.” Massive clubs, contagious energy and beautiful people combine to give Barcelona the best nightlife options in Europe.
There are two types of people in this world: people who have already visited and fallen in love with Italy or people who have it on their bucket list, promising themselves that they will make it out there at some point.
It’s no wonder that movie producers and directors take advantage of the gorgeous scenery that Italy has to offer. In Italy’s capital, everything from action thrillers to love stories have been set with its amazing scenery. Rome is the place to be for any cinematic experience. Below are just a few of the many films that take place in Roma, Italia.
This action movie has a classic ancient Roman plot line, showing Rome before it became more the city we know today. Featuring Russell Crowe as a Roman gladiator seeking revenge after the murder of his family, this plot easily reels in an audience.
Roman Holiday (1953)
No list is complete without this 1953 movie starring Audrey Hepburn. Highlighting both the best Rome and Hepburn’s iconic career role, this classic is a necessary must see.
Angels and Demons (2009)
Both an incredible book and movie, its story-line has action, suspense, plot twists and much more. Focusing on the Vatican and its Pope electing process, it gives people a greater insight to the inner workings of the Catholic capital of the world. Like other books in Dan Brown’s series, it spurred a buying frenzy and a fire to travel.
To Rome with Love (2012)
This movie follows the lives of four people living in Rome and their romances. What makes this story different than the rest is its alternation between four different, unrelated people and how Rome has become such an importance for all of them.
A Broadway musical made movie, this movie brings out the essence of Italian traditions. For people who love a good musical as much as they love Italy, this plot will definitely leave you wanting more!
History is around every corner in Florence, but what’s better than taking it a step further and actually wearing some of that historical goodness? Wait, what? Don’t worry, we’re not talking about breaking off a piece of the Santa Croce, just perusing the many vintage shops this city has to offer.
Let’s be real, there’s not a much cooler answer to, “Where’d you get that jacket?” than, “Oh, it’s vintage…I picked it up in Italy.” Casual. While none of us want to think about leaving this place yet, knowing you’ll have authentic keepsakes to take with you and remind you of your time as an Italian resident might help to soften the blow a bit.
So where to pick up these treasures? The Santa Croce area is rich with antique finds. Stop by Vintage di Antonio Alessandra (Piazza Calamandrei Piero, 2), located in the very tiny Piazza Calamandrei Piero for starters. This little shop appears no bigger than a shoebox but a walk downstairs reveals shelves stocked with sweaters and racks of jackets, dresses, blouses, and more to sort through.
On a side street off the Santa Croce, you’ll find L’Chiodo Vintage Store (Via dell’Anguillara, 30R), a little hallway of a shop chock-full of appealing flannels, pants in every pattern, funky sunglasses, and more.
Stroll across the river to Celeste Vintage (Piazza San Felice, 1R) for a cozy little boutique with some high-end pieces at surprisingly low prices. The clothing is organized by color and includes finds from Gucci to Ferragamo, as well as many more classy, made-in-Italy garments. There’s also a large assortment of chic purses, trays of baubles, and striking shoes, so you can be outfitted in Italian finery from head to toe.
If you want to browse antiques of all kinds, check out Piazza dei Ciompi, an outdoor flea market open year round. You’ll find trinkets and treasures ranging from lamps to postcards to books and everything in between. You’ll also find some more moderate prices than at many vintage stores, which makes it a perfect place to pick up souvenirs for yourself and friends and family at home. Bringing back a legit piece of Italian history in the form of a vintage record just might be the coolest gift your dad has ever gotten.
Still hungry for more? Venture out to Via de Pilastri to check out Lady Jane B, a quaint little shop packed to the brim with vintage goodies. If you’re feeling fabulous, Boutique Nadine (Via de’Benci, 32R) yields treasures galore, but isn’t ideal for bargain hunters–expect to spend a pretty penny here. Melrose Vintage (Via de’Ginori 18) is another appealing option with racks upon racks of leather jackets, fedoras, sweet kicks from combat boots to sneakers, and much more.
The best part about vintage shopping is, of course, that you never know what you might find. So get out there and discover Florence in what might be my personal favorite way to explore any place: through shopping. And keep an eye out for the coveted saldi signs–there’s nothing better than taking home some one-of-a-kind finds at sale prices!