In 2006, Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir touched the hearts of travellers and lovers around the world. Throughout the book, Gilbert takes readers onto planes and buses, immersing them in the beautiful landscapes of Italy, India and Indonesia. Each segment tells a story of appreciating humanity through our capacity to feel—whether through our bellies, minds or hearts. Her title reflects this: “Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia.” It should come as no surprise then, that this memoir inspired a search for something in many of its readers. Combined with a sense of adventure and wanderlust, many readers felt called to embark on a self-discovery journey of their own!
The release of the book’s movie adaptation in 2010 furthered this call to action, giving travellers a visualization of what their next trip could look like! With that being said, we wanted to create a brief Eat, Pray, Love-inspired travel guide featuring some must-see sites in each country. May you eat, pray and fall in love on this trip of a lifetime!
Italy (Naples & Rome)
While there is a lot more to do in Italy than gorge on homemade spaghetti and wine, this sure sounds like a great place to start! If you want to follow in the film’s footsteps, ordering a pizza—or two—at the Antica Pizzeria da Michele in Naples is your first stop. This restaurant is featured in the film, and it has been in business since 1870. It is argued that this local favourite serves some of the best pizza in the world. Their Margherita pizza, in particular, is highly acclaimed. For a taste of something sweet and authentic, the beloved gelateria, Il Gelato di San Crispino has also been vetted by Gilbert! It’s located in Rome and has an assortment of unique flavours to try.
Beautiful views are just as plentiful as the incredible food here, and exploring each city on foot is a foolproof way to take it all in.
When in Rome, the Piazza Navona should be on every traveller’s checklist. The piazza is rich in architecture and historical significance and is home to the Fountain of the Four Rivers—or the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi—and the Fountain of Neptune. The infamous Trevi Fountain is another gem located in the Trevi district of Rome.
Visiting the Mausoleum of Augustus would also align your travels with the adventures of Elizabeth Gilbert. Lastly, while not featured in the film, the Galleria Borbonica and the Catacombe di San Gennaro are two sites that you won’t want to miss in Naples.
India (Delhi & Pataudi)
In Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert travels to India after eating her way through Italy. She comes here to pray. Although Gilbert never disclosed the name of the ashram she visited—in order to protect it from an influx of tourism—the ashram that the film uses is called the Ashram Hari Mandir, located in Pataudi. In Delhi, other well-known ashrams are the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashram, and the Ramakrishna Mission Ashram.
For those that are looking to experience Delhi’s history, culture and architectural wonders, the Qutub Minar, the Swaminarayan Akshardham and Humayun’s Tomb are three locations that require your undivided attention! Following a guided tour of these three attractions can provide tourists with a deeper understanding of each monument’s significance and beauty. The Lodhi Garden is another beautiful way to spend the day exploring in Delhi. Lastly, a train from Delhi to the city of Agra can take visitors to see one of the seven wonders of the world: the Taj Mahal.
Last but not least, Bali—or more specifically, the town of Ubud—is where Gilbert goes to find love… Between the beaches, forests, and rice paddies, it’s easy to understand why! There’s no shortage of exquisite, lush scenery to explore here, and while filling your days with adventure is incredibly tempting, using this trip to venture inwards and find your inner balance is important too… and very in line with Gilbert’s experience here. In Ubud, she met Ketut Liyer, who became her spiritual teacher. While Ketut Liyer passed in 2016, his teachings are present in the surrounding spiritual community of Ubud. Today, travellers can also visit the Saraswati Temple to get a feel for Balinese spirituality.
Lastly, some other beautiful sites in Bali include the Campuhan Ridge Walk, the Tegenungan waterfall, an Ubud Kajeng Rice Field walk, the Ubud Traditional Art Market and the Elephant Cave. Joining an eco-tour in Ubud is also a great option.
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By: Briahna McTigue