Happy (Belated) Birthday, Italy Explained!

first birthday || creative commons photo by Daryl Bruvelaitis

first birthday || creative commons photo by Daryl Bruvelaitis

Usually, I’m pretty good at paying attention to the calendar, but the last few months have been so busy that I did something I never do – I missed my own birthday.

Well, the website’s birthday, that is. Italy Explained debuted on September 15th, 2014. 365 days (umm, plus another 14, since I’m two weeks late) and 109 articles later, I thought I’d mark the occasion with a look at five of the most popular articles from Italy Explained’s first year.

Enjoy this little passeggiata down memory lane, folks, and please accept my humble and sincere thanks for joining me on this journey. I love sharing Italy with you. Indeed, I wouldn’t be here without you.

Shopping in Italy: Official Sales

In Italy, there are two state-sanctioned sales periods – one in the summer, and one in the winter. Shopaholics visiting during one of those sales may feel like they’ve died and gone to heaven. The specific dates change each year, and they vary by region and city, too, so you’ve got a little bit of homework to do before you book tickets and pack a bunch of empty suitcases in preparation for the shopping trip of your life. Apparently, a lot of you are doing just that, because this was the most popular article from the past year.

Italy Itinerary: A Perfect Two Weeks

I’m not at all surprised that this article comes up near the top of the most popular, since it’s been the most commonly-asked question in my nearly 10 years of writing about Italy. This is an itinerary almost identical the one I designed for myself on my inaugural Italy trip, and it’s ideal for first-timers who want to be sure not to miss the main sights.

Milan Expo 2015: What You Need to Know

Milan’s Expo has, by all the accounts I’ve seen, been a huge success this year. They’ve seen higher-than-expected visitor numbers, and an increase in food-related exports to go along with that. There’s still about a month left before Expo 2015 is gone forever, so if you’re heading to Milan before the end of October then this (popular) article will guide you through what you need to know.

Day Trips from Milan

You Milan visitors (most of whom are taking advantage of the Expo being in town, I’m guessing) are also clearly looking for escapes from Milan, since this article comes in right behind the one about visiting the Expo. Now, I absolutely love Milan, and I hope that enthusiasm for visiting this northern city continues long after the Expo is history, but there are also some great day trip options around Milan that I’m completely in favor of, too.

The History of the Word Ciao And Why You Shouldn’t Say it in Italy

One of the things I loved most about learning and then teaching Italian was the occasional history lesson that came from a word or phrase. “Ciao” is so ubiquitous that it’s common parlance for “hello” or “goodbye” all over the world, and yet in Italy – where the word was born – it’s a word with a loaded backstory that may not be acceptable to everyone. I’m glad so many of you were intrigued enough to find out more.

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