Two months of traveling through Italy and doing workaway.
Europe28 days / October - November 2020
Highs & Lows
Milking the goats at the workaway farm
The covid lockdown at the end of the trip.
The first two weeks I traveled together with my mother. One of the most beautiful places we visited was Matera, a city in the south of Italy that is mostly known for its neighborhood with houses that are partly carved out of stone. We mostly just walked around the city and enjoyed the architecture and history. There were quite some other tourists there but it wasn’t too crowded. The sky was blue which made the houses even a brighter white. It is amazing to walk up the hill and enjoy the view over the city from there. We spend approximately one day there but didn’t stay overnight. It is not so big which makes it perfect for a day trip. There are many nice restaurants around to have lunch, dinner or just a drink. The surrounding area is also quite beautiful with hills and rocks and a lake not too far.
After my mom had gone home to the Netherlands again, I started doing volunteering (workaway) at a farm near Rome. It was an amazing experience that taught me a lot about sustainable farming and animals. There were around ten goats at the farm so every day we had to milk them. We would then make very delicious cheese. The village where I stayed was called Zagarolo and it is a typically Italian picturesque place. It is mostly just one large street on top of a hill with houses, shops and restaurants. I got to know the place quite well since I was staying there for a month. The surrounding area mostly contained of farms which could make it difficult to find good hiking tracks. Nevertheless, I made some really beautiful walks there and really enjoyed the overall atmosphere. The Pasticceria Caffetteria Mellini sold the most delicious pastries. The village is only an hour from Rome so me and the other workawayers made many daytrips there.
One of the daytrips we made was to Castel Gandolfo, a little town near Rome. It is beautifully located on top of a hill next to a large lake. The city is mostly known for the fact that the summer residence of the pope is there. We arrived there by train and had to walk up the hill towards the centre of the town for a bit. At the top there was a beautiful view over the lake and surrounding landscape. In the center there was one large streets with cafés and restaurants where we had lunch and drank an Aperol spritz. It was not too busy but there were some tourists and souvenir shops. Afterward, we walked down towards the lake. It was a bit too cold for swimming that day but otherwise, we would have definitely taken a dive. The lake was really big and there were barely any people around which gave it a nice serene feeling. We made a beautiful walk and watched the sunset. In the evening it got a bit colder so we hade some really good hot chocolate and then took the train back to where we came from.
Q & A
What would you have changed?
At the time I was in Italy, there were many covid restrictions. So the restaurants had to close at six for example, which made the trip a bit less fun.
What tips would you give a friend?
If you ever go to Rome, take the time to explore the region surrounding it. It is very beautiful and often overlooked by tourists.
If you don't have a car, make sure you know the public transportation system a bit in Italy. The trains are really good and go to almost all places but you have to know when they leave of course.