Ishita Sood is an Indian blogger who ha fallen in love with Italy. She’s the founder of a blog called Italophilia, where she mainly writes about her trips to our country. She accepted to share with us her opinions about Italy, Indian tourists incoming, and Italian tourists traveling to India. Let’s discover her views.
Ciao Ishita, can you introduce yourself and your blog to our readers?
Ciao a tutti voi di BIT2018! I am Ishita Sood and I hail from Simla- a city in the North of India. I grew up with a fondness for books, travel and nature. Since my early twenties, Italy was my top choice to visit mainly because I wanted to see the Colosseum. I had little idea about the history and culture of Italy and almost nothing about its people and language. A few years ago I had the fortune to visit Italy and it changed my life forever….
After spending 3 weeks in Italy and returning to India from my travels then, I felt something was missing. There was a constant restlessness to return to Italy and explore more. I felt deeply connected to something bigger than just a thirst for travel. There was a yearning to return to the land and its people. I would sit and dream for hours about Italy and make lists of places I wanted to see the next time.
With time, I realized that Italy was my calling. So I took the plunge to travel to Italy again and I visit Italy every chance I get. This feeling of connection magnifies with every travel and I understand a greater pull towards the land and its people.
Italophilia was a result of my first trip to Italy and it started merely as a hurried diary entry. Slowly, it moved to become a blog of thousands of readers where I now have the pleasure to share my Italian travels with readers across the world. I document all my travels on Italophilia but it is and will always be first a blog on Italy.
In 2015, I fell in love with the Italian language while traveling in Puglia. Not everyone spoke English there and hearing the language made me feel imaginative, whole and inspired. I enrolled myself to learn Italian after a few months. I think that there is no greater joy for me than to understand and speak to a local in Italian.
According to you, what do Indian tourists love about Italy?
As tourists, Indians love the land- whether it is the inimitable Dolomites or the sparkling Adriatic or the art of Florence or the Puglian burrata. Italy has something to offer to everyone and that itself is a testament to how diverse the country is. Indians love Italian food, which also turns to be a very popular international cuisine in India. The beautiful friendly people of Italy also win our wins coupled with its abundant wine which is a treat to the eye and soul.
What are your tips on the best ways to welcome Indian tourists in Italy?
Travel offers are always enticing and we appreciate travel deals whether museum passes or good transport options for a few days. We are also a warm and welcoming nation where we consider guests as gods. We believe in the highest forms of hospitality and expect the same. We also are big on food and a hearty plate of pasta combined with good conversations will go a long way.
What are the top 3 must-see for Italian tourists in India?
India is a huge country with a rich cultural heritage. Every state has something different to offer and you might feel as if you are in a country within a country. If you are traveling to India for the first time, it is best to start with two good states and travel slow to see the real India. I suggest visiting the capital city to get a sense of pace of the country and move your way to smaller towns in and around Delhi. They could be parts of Uttrakhand or Rajasthan or simply the mountains of Himachal. India offers a range of options to the foreign tourists. Then there are other options of starting with a Southern city such as Bangalore and seeing the towns around it or visiting Kolkata in the East and exploring the area or simply booking a trip to Mumbai- the financial capital of the country.
This brief journey across India and Italy has come to an end. But we do hope to meet Ishita again in Milan, at Bit2018.