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My next trip

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In just over a month, I’ll be heading off on my next trip to Italy, which will last for six days. During that time, Back In Italy will turn into a travel blog with a daily post about the day’s events as well as small updates and photos on Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram.

It will be similar to a trip I had last year in which I travelled by train to Genoa. I was inspired by the BBC TV programme Great Continental Railway Journeys, which is presented by the former British Conservative politician (and train enthusiast) Michael Portillo. Just as in the programme, I will be going by train to various locations on the route to my final destination.

The journey will start at St Pancras station in London, from where I will take the Eurostar to Paris, going under the Channel Tunnel between Britain and France. Arriving at Paris, I will take a train from Paris Lyon station all the way to Lugano in Switzerland, via Basel. Now, Lugano is not in Italy but it is very much an “Italian” city culturally, being in the Italian-speaking Swiss canton of Ticino.

I’ll be visiting the Cantonal Art Museum, the Hermann Hesse museum, the Parco Civico, and, of course, Lake Lugano. Apparently there is also a Swiss miniature village, which I will am hoping to find time to see. I will spend two nights in Lugano, in a rented private room I found using the popular holiday accommodation service Airbnb. If you haven’t already given it a try, I strongly recommend it.

Leaving Lugano in the afternoon, I will move on by train to Florence, via Milan.

Now, I am very much looking forward to this part of the trip, as it will be the first time that I will be returning to Florence since my stay there as a child. It will be really nice to say the least. I look forward to walking down to the Piazza del Duomo, exploring the Uffizi, and strolling across the Ponte Vecchio. Of course, I’ll walk to my old apartment, and fully expect to see that nothing has changed. Perhaps the Esselunga supermarket might still be around the corner.

After a day in Florence, I will take an overnight train all the way down to the Sicilian city of Catania, via Naples.

This is the first time that I have been to Sicily or indeed anywhere south of Rome. Just as with Lugano, I’ve used Airbnb to book my accommodation, which happens to be an entire apartment near the coast.

I will be exploring the city and its surroundings, and perhaps have a little expedition towards the nearby Mount Etna. I have been receiving tips from Italian friends as to what to do and see in Catania, and I now have a list of restaurants and food markets. It seems one eats well in Catania, to use an Italian form of words!

I will be spending three days in Catania, before flying back to London from Catania airport, via Rome.

It will be a fun and very packed trip and I’m looking forward to sharing it here.

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