I’m in Italy, where can I travel during my work placement abroad? And that’s a very good question if you’re doing your work placement in Italy, because you’ll have no choice: you’ll have to travel and discover the magnificent places scattered around Italy, but also in its neighbouring countries. From Italy, you can of course easily get to France – that’s why Lyon has a high level of Italian immigration, it’s where my grandmother arrived in France – but you can also get to Slovenia, or if you want to take a ferry, you can go as far as Albania or Malta. But, believe me, you’ve already got a lot to do in Italy, which offers a huge variety of landscapes.
Rome, the capital
Rome is a veritable open-air museum. As a capital that is both modern and full of historic monuments, you’ll need to include it in your itinerary if you’re doing your work placement in Italy. The city boasts no fewer than 700 fountains and churches, proof of its exceptional wealth of heritage. Nicknamed the Eternal City, it is the cradle of Western civilisation. Rome is also a bit like Paris, with incredible monuments and a wealth of culture in its museums and streets. The capital, like its French neighbour, has two major drawbacks: its prices are excessive compared with the rest of the country, and it’s always busy.
Apulia and Bari
Discovering Puglia is a must if you’re doing your work placement in Italy. In fact, you can find our feedback on Bari and Puglia here! And when I say a must-see, I mean a must-do: Bari has spread out around its old town by the sea, and it’s beautiful and very lively. There are large terraces everywhere, mingling with the family tables that the locals bring out in the evening to dine in the cool of the night. From Bari, you can travel by train to the whole of south-east Italy: Polignano a Mare, Monopoli, Taranto and many others! Puglia has splendid landscapes, old towns with character and beaches that are no match for those of our dear influencers on Instagram. Puglia is also Italian cuisine in all its splendour.
Florence and Tuscany
Having been there, Florence brings together everything that is most beautiful in Italy. The Boboli Gardens, the Ponte Vecchio, where you can admire the magnificent sunset over the river while eating a homemade gelato. In Florence, you’ll find the greatest concentration of art from the early Italian Renaissance, as well as the imposing and incredibly detailed Duomo, the David… and hundreds of other works. For me, Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. What’s more, from Florence you can visit Pisa, world-famous for its tower, or the village of Monepulciano and its vineyards, renowned the world over for their quality.
Verona, a city of love
Verona has remained very medieval, but is still the city of Romeo and Juliet! You can visit Juliet’s house with the false balcony and titillate her breasts … Also the Scaligere Arch, Piazza delle Erbe, the Castelvecchio, a fortified castle housing several Venetian and Veronese works. In short, like all Italian cities, a unique architectural diversity.
The Dolomites, an alpine mountain range above Venice, are famous for their winter slopes and hiking trails. It’s home to some very cute towns, including Belluno (Hi Diego!) and Fletre. It’s also a part of Italy that’s steeped in history, particularly during the Second World War. If you like getting out into nature, the Dolomites are an excellent way to treat yourself! If you’re there, you can even go as far as Venice, or the Slovenian border, or even Trieste, a city by the sea, which is absolutely splendid. It was also here that I discovered the three-bullet Ugo Spritz, and I can tell you that the evening was pretty lively. I was with a group of young people who had come to Nantes a few months before on an ERASMUS mobility programme, and we had a lot of laughs.
The world-famous city of Venice – even if I’m not a fan because of the crowds, which are oppressive – is an absolute must: its canals, its squares, its clichés… it’s really beautiful. The only downside is the pollution. Mass tourism doesn’t really help! On the other hand, there’s no need to take your date there, it’s far from the romanticism we’re all familiar with, but rather ultra-familial ah ah. For the perfect date in Italy, I’d recommend Florence: it’s magnificent wherever you go. Venice, on the other hand, is Italy without the Italian charm: the locals are pretty fed up with tourists, and are much less friendly than in the rest of the country.
Naples and Pompeii
Naples is a bit like all the clichés of Italy rolled into one: crowded streets, lots of hand-wringing, scooters going the wrong way, drivers without helmets and with speeds that would make Sébastien Loeb look like Oui-Oui the taxi driver, good food, taxis that negotiate prices like you’d negotiate a trinket on a barter and flea market, and lots of simplicity. There’s also a fair amount of corruption … but that’s another matter, and we don’t want to mess with the mafia, so we won’t talk too much about it ?. Not far away, you can push on to Vesuvius and Pompeii, a city buried under lava that has preserved some amazing remains and a fascinating history. In short, Naples and the surrounding region are a must if you want to get to know Italy, and especially enjoy its excellent pizzas. Incidentally, we’re going to avoid the pineapple on the pizza – thank you for respecting my culture -: once this affair almost turned into a diplomatic incident, true story to be discovered here.
Malta, by ferry
Malta is the country where we’re still sending the most people for a work placement abroad in 2022: since Ireland decided to raise prices so high that even a Parisian is afraid to go there, Malta has become the leading destination for young Europeans for their work placements abroad. So we can talk about it for hours and hours. Malta is widely known as Europe’s new Ibiza, especially for young people aged 16 to 22, as the country allows a great deal of flexibility when it comes to alcohol consumption; the legalisation of cannabis has not contradicted this image either. But Malta is also about culture, the great religious wars, and a strategic location during the World Wars, with the incredible Church of Mosta and its fourth largest dome in the world as a vestige. Malta is a small, sunny country where life is good, as long as you don’t go and live in Sliema or San Giullian, which are packed with tourists. Malta is a great place to visit, whether it’s for cultural reasons or for partying to your heart’s content. It’s also a surprising mix of cultures to discover: the southern version of English cuisine, the chill of the Maghreb and the friendliness of the Italians. And, if you struggle with English, you’ll even find plenty of French, so don’t worry, it’s all pretty straightforward!
Slovenia is absolutely incredible. In fact, you can check out our feedback on the destination if you like, or our blog on the top 10 most fun cities in Slovenia. Slovenia, on the Italian border, is all mountains and the Socca, that turquoise river – really, go and look on the internet – and if you push a bit, you can very quickly reach Koper, Ljubljana and Maribor. Slovenia is a small country with a huge amount to offer, with a relatively surprising diversity of landscapes for such a small country. It’s also the safest country in the European Union, so you can enjoy the night without stress.
We loved Italy and have been there so many times that we can’t recommend it enough! And if you’re looking for other stylish cities in Italy to go and see, you can check out our blog dedicated to the top 10 most fun cities in Italy, or convince yourself by checking out the one dedicated to Italian gastronomy. We haven’t mentioned Naples, Venice, Sardinia or Sicily either, but don’t be in any doubt: if you give us a call, we’ll be sure to whet your appetite! So if you’re looking for a work placement in Italy, get in touch!
For more general questions, visit the International Horizons Internships Abroad FAQ.