Italy and Greece: My Two Legendary Loves

“Which do you prefer?” someone recently asked me, “Greece or Italy?”

I could just say I love them both the same and leave it at that, but keeping it so simple wouldn’t be much fun. The truth is that I’m torn between my ongoing passionate Italian fling and my long-time love affair with glorious Greece.

I dream of Greece all year round. I have done since I turned 16 in Halkidiki (yes, it was a long time ago but who’s counting?). I dream of lazy days soothing my soul as I swish in Greece’s clear waters. I dream of tzatziki, of tomatoes as big as apples, of tiny family run tavernas on the beach.

I dream in blue and white.

The Perfect Lunch Spot in Thassos

Thassos in Greece.

But then there’s Italy, and that first weekend in Venice that changed my life.

Now I get hungry for all things Italian; I lust after one whirlwind trip a year when Italy sucks in every inch of my being and whips me around places like Rome, Verona and the piece of heaven that is the Amalfi Coast. For me, Italy is always non-stop and there’ll never be enough time. Pompeii, Capri, Lake Garda – Italy wants me to see it all.

I need to see it all.

Capri in Italy

Capri in Italy

But then Greece whispers in my ear to tell me there’s an island waiting for me. An island where for me, time will stop.

Of course, Italy will tell me there are plenty of peaceful places up his sleeve too, but he never lets me rest. He’s always got something else to show me.

In Greece, I find these gems myself, at the pace of a snail. I still soak up history in places like Crete’s Knossos and I see village life inland from the island shores – I just do it more slowly than I do in Italy. I don’t know why – I just do.

In Thassos

Happy in Greece

So which do I prefer?

How can I ever really answer that? You see, as much as I can picture Italy ready to kiss me on both cheeks, eager to pour me a glass of sparkling Prosecco, I can also see Greece waiting to embrace me with a hug that will swallow me up, while the sun bakes today’s freshly caught octopus overlooking the sea.

In Amalfi

Happy in Italy

There’s no way I can make a choice between my two legendary loves.

But then, why would I ever have to? These two will never meet after all. I can devote myself to both equally whenever they call to me.

When it comes to Greece and Italy, for once I’m going to let myself have it all.

Have you been to Greece or Italy?

23 Comments

  • What a difficult choice!! Both truly amazing places, and both obviously hold very special places in your heart! I have the same issue when people asked where I like better, London or Paris, Europe or Australia, etc. You make so may special memories in so many places, it’s impossible to choose only one “most special”! :)

  • I just have to say that I love your dress in that beach photo. Perfection.

  • It’s such a difficult decision, Clare! They both have their strong suits, but what you said about the timing really resonates. Time moves more slowly in Greece while Italy seems more fast paced than its Mediterranean neighbor. I can see how dreaming about both of them would take up a lot of time! Love your photos from southern Italy – they’re beautiful!

    • Clare says:

      Thanks! Hard not to take half decent photos of such lovely places (just as well, with my lack of skill)! I’m always dreaming about Greece and Italy. At the moment, I’m deep in the search for a new Greek island…

  • Agness says:

    For me, the choice is obvious GREECE!!! I have been to Italy where I spent two weeks travelling around different towns and big cities, but a week in Crete was one of the best travel experiences I had in Europe. I’m in love with Greek cuisine and amazing sky!

    • Clare says:

      Oh Agness I loved your posts on Crete – I LOVE Crete. And I am totally obsessed with Greek food. But then there’s Italy!!! I’ll never pick a favourite! 😉

  • Aggy says:

    I never want to choose either! Both countries are amazing. I love Greek food but adore Italian cuisine. I never got over Pompeii and wishing I could go back there again – but I have the same feeling about Santorini! Ah the two are too wonderful! Don’t make me choose Clare please 😛

  • NZ Muse says:

    Two of my favourite countries! (high five)

    Santorini remains the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited. But for the food, Italy…

    • Clare says:

      Can you believe I haven’t actually been to Santorini despite 12 (I think?) trips to Greece? I always go for cheaper less popular options usually, but I think I need to see Santorini now – I’ve waited long enough!

  • Jo says:

    It’s a bit like asking a mother which child she loves more, isn’t it? I think it’s a question of mood – I’m finding myself drawn to Rome for some reason at the moment, but then maybe next week I’ll be pining for a Greek Island.

    Either way, both a always on my list!

  • Can a man have two loves? And a wooman? Of course? Would I follow in love with the breeze of the sea and the golden and fine sand on the beach? Yes, and golf too.
    Tourism Motivatons

  • I’ve visited Italy three times now, but know I have so SO much more to discover there. I love it for the food, the history, the crazy fun fast-slow culture… ooooh I want to be back there right now! I haven’t yet been to Greece but I’m booking in a sailing trip for this summer – I can’t wait to discover the beautiful islands for myself. I love your description of dreaming in blue and white – Greece looks magical!

    • Clare says:

      Greece is wonderful – really perfect for a proper slow-down break. It’s so amazing. You’ll love it. I’ve never done a sailing trip, but I fancy a bit of island hopping. Maybe we’ll cross paths at sea? You never know!

  • EscapeWriter says:

    Capri was one of my top travel experiences ever!
    Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find many flights from Greece to Italy. Despite the fact that the two countries aren’t that far away from each other. On the map, at least…

  • Jamie S. says:

    I have to say I´m a bit biased here..I´ve spent one of the best vacations of my life in Greece! Living on a boat and going around the islands, visiting places that as a regular tourist I would have never accessed..forlorn beaches and lagoons. But when I see your pictures of Capri — waw! Italy´s a great beauty!

    • Clare says:

      Capri was stunning! Even if it did rain when I visited. Italy and Greece are both so wonderful. It really is impossible to choose (for me, anyway). I’d love to go sailing around the islands of Greece though. I generally just do one island at a time. Imagine it for a whole summer! Bliss.

  • Davide says:

    If I have to choose between Italy and Greece it will not come as a surprise that I choose Italy as it is the country where I am from!

  • Leslie Brlec says:

    Great blog. Thank you for this.

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