3 Must-See Sights in Italy

When some think of sights to see in Italy, their minds immediately go to the biggest tourist attractions — the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Vatican, and so on. Of course, Italy offers more than just these sights alone. The country is packed with rich history and stunning views from shore to shore. Here are a few sights you absolutely cannot miss on your next trip to Italy:

The Duomo in Florence

Built by Filippo Brunelleschi in 1418, this domed cathedral is one of the most magnificent sights in all of Florence. After touring the exterior of the building and the cathedral, guests have the opportunity to climb to the top of the Duomo to get a bird’s-eye view of the sprawling city below. Although this feat requires a bit of stamina — as there are 463 stairs to climb and no elevator — the end result is worth it, especially once visitors get an up-close look at the fresco-covered ceiling that was meticulously designed by Giorgio Vasari. Cost of admission is €15 ($16.71 USD) and hours vary throughout the week.

The Village of San Gimignano

Many who visit this Tuscan village claim that it is like stepping back in time — which, truthfully, is no exaggeration. San Gimignano is renowned for its fascinating medieval architecture, towers that provide visitors with breathtaking views, and the centuries-old walls that still stand around the perimeter of the city. Visitors can find many things to do in San Gimignano, ranging from visiting the local art and history museums, getting a taste of authentic Italian cuisine, or even touring the city with a map provided by the Associazione Pro Loco San Gimignano.

Casa di Giulietta

Located in the city of Verona, this 13th century home was owned by the dell Capello family and is supposedly the main inspiration behind William Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet. Although it is likely that Romeo and Juliet were just figments of Shakespeare’s imagination, many locals still refer to the dell Capello home as the birthplace of Juliet Capulet. Admission to the Casa di Giulietta museum is €3 ($3.35 USD).

Three Beautiful Travel Words

Three Beautiful Travel Words

In the 2016 film ArrivaAmy Adams’ character, linguistics professor Louise Banks is asked to come to a secured location in Montana for a special translation project. The project? Help decipher the language of extraterrestrial invaders who have just landed in twelve locations on the planet. The suspense in this film however, drives not from the typical sci-fi thrills of alien vs man, but how language defines our perception of history and each other.


While we’re not contending with extraterrestrial beasts when we travel, we are confronted with languages that may tingle our ears with their unfamiliar inflections. But your native language may limit how you want to express yourself and how you understand others (Read about the Sapir-Whorf theory). The type of feeling you want to describe is often restricted by the words available in your language.

Inspired by Migrating Miss Sonja’s great list of 24 Unusual Travel Words You Should Know, I wanted to share some words related to travel and identity.


Schwellenangst Jiea Rutland Simpson

Schwellenangst. Schwellen in German means a threshold – a liminal moment in time. So, schwellenangst is the fear to of embracing these liminal moments. Travel is an opportunity to embrace the courage to forge through these daunting passageways.


Jiea-Rutland-Simpson-mono no aware Japanese

Mono no aware (Japanese 物の哀れ): This is sad way to speak to the melancholic passing of time. It’s a way to address the beauty in the beginnings and endings. This term is fairly young; it was coined in the 18th century as a literary critique the Tale of Genji, of its sadness that brought its readers together. It is often translated into the “ahh-ness” of things.




Do you ever feel frustrated, anxious, and angry that you can only experience the world through the one body you’re given? You’ll never really know the experiences of those living across the world; their cultures, daily life, textures of the landscape. No matter how much you travel, you can never fully grasp the bigness of this world. Now you have a word to describe these feeling; onism, a Danish portmanteu to describe the awareness of all the things you’ll never quite touch. Monism is the philiopsophy that things can be explained in terms of a single reality, so onism is a kind of monism, because your life is limited to the single reality of what you see, people you meet, and experiences you encounter in your brief existence on this wondrous planet.

Now get out there and have a great time traveling, even if you’re stuck with a bit of onism from time to time. Learn some languages, meet new people, and embrace this big beautiful world.

Read JieaRutlandSimpson.org.

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Top Travel Destinations in West Africa

The New York Times recently released their notorious list on some of the best places to travel in the world. Among the places featured were destinations in South Africa, Colombia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, countries linked or rooted in African culture.

As more African-Americans travel all over the world, it is important to continually highlight Africa and areas in the world influenced by the continent as a great space to explore identity and history.

Here are some of the best places to visit in West Africa, home of one of one of the largest cities (Lagos, Nigeria) on the continent. The western region of Africa boasts some of the most beautiful beaches along the coast line, fresh food, history and vibrant cities .

Calabar, Cross River state, Nigeria

Seated in the lush Southeast belt of Nigeria, this gem is slowly becoming one of the best places to visit in the Country. Calabar’s government has made toursim one of it’s strongest priorities , and it shows in how catered the state is to the business. To get the most out of Calabar, visit the Marina Resort, the Drill Ranch , the historical slave museum and enjoy some of Calabar’s finest food.

Accra, Ghana

Ghana is usually one of the first countries people visit when they travel to West Africa. To get the most of this experience, visit Bojo Beach, Kwame Nkrumah Memorial. Aburi Botanical Gardens, kokrobite beach and the famous James Town.

Lome, Togo 

Once dubbed the “pearl” of West Africa, this vibrant African city rests on a beautiful coast line, and home to some of the best resorts in the region. Discover Togo through the 5 Day Castle tour, the Grand Marche “the big market”, Monument De l’independence and the National Museum. Lome also boasts a great nightlife scene and is a country filled with very friendly people