Whenever someone says they went to Italy no one thinks of Padova as a first choice. But ouu boy that was the first Italian city I went to, and the guilty one of my love for LA BELLA ITALIA.
A school trip was the reson we ended up in the North of Italy and thanks to that trip (student exchange, actually) we got to know the culture, people and great places Italy has. We traveled a bit and got to visit other charming places such as Verona and Venice. But I don't know why I completely fell in love with Padova! Everyone says "but why?!" with faces that translate "poor girl...she is happy with so little". But no, really. The place had great streets that give you a welcoming and friendly atmosphere.
So much was the loveliness of the place and the friendships we made there that some friends and I came back to make another route (Treviso, Vicenza, Padova...) and have a chat and a drink with some of our exchange friends from that first trip when we were only teens (17? time flies!).
I then returned to Italy thousands of times but to visit other places (read half of them were to re-visit the love of my life: ROME- but that will need a full post...). It has been my favourite country to go to but also a comfort zone, because the language is great and at first it was similar to Catalan and Spanish in some things, then I developed a serious interest (read obsession) in learning Italian since I got to reach a good level to understand and communicate when going around. Then there are the people, who are kinda similar to the ones here so that was another plus, friendliness and same ways of living more or less. It's very nice to go to places where you don't feel you have to change your schedules or manners completely (though I always think you have to try everything and that's also why I headed to Belgium to spend a whole year...). So apart from its character and beauty, I really felt a special link to the country and I liked ALL places I visited (so far), which are a lot.
What was your first trip abroad? Which was the first Italian (or whatever country you like) city you went to?