So, I used to be that person that had everything done on time. And then, sometimes life happens, and I’m blogging our trip to Italy we took LAST APRIL. Nearly 10 months later. But here we are friends. Admittedly, I really don’t expect you to read this, but I use these personal trip posts honestly as a digital album I can look at on rainy days, and a good resource for travel recs (and what to avoid) to anyone wanting to do the same thing.
This was our 10 year wedding anniversary, so this was a big trip. 2 weeks in Italy, and the longest I’ve been away from home. And right before we began to pack – life happened. My person, my FAVORITE person in the world, the lady we took care of and the person that gave me unconditional love my whole life – passed away. I was shattered to the bone, and if I’m being honest, still am. Her funeral was on Saturday and we boarded a plane on Sunday. Did we have a great time? YES. Did I cry in between selfies? Also yes. Grief is a weird thing, and while it hurt more than anything in the world, this trip was a good distraction before coming home to a life without her in it. I know no one cares about this, but in a world where we are presenting our highlight reel online, I think it’s important to be transparent. You’ll never see me post a crying selfie, but know life isn’t always rainbows for any of us.
Okay, back to it. We booked this entire trip on TRIPMASTERS.COM – Our flights, hotels, train tickets between cities, car rental. It was SO awesome, because planning multi-city vacations can be daunting and this was a single resource. They also had great customer service, because I called to verify this was real and in fact not too good to be true.
Our itenerary – Venice, Florence, Rome and the Almafi Coast. And yall, 100% of these photos are from my phone. Even though I’m a photographer, it’s reallllllll nice to leave it all at home. Judge away – it’s freeing to be just like everyone else on vacay and not toting a 30 pound bag of equipment and obsessing over every possible epic photo to take and not enjoying myself one bit.
When you fly into Venice, you get your bags and then board water taxis. I had no idea what to do when I walked up to the ticket office, but they were very helpful and got me right on track.
The gelato is the creamiest creamy yum I’ve had in my whole life. Also, drink your coffee standing up – if you grab a table, you’re going to pay double for it. Italians drink coffee at the bar, like a shot. If you don’t, then you pay for it.
Venice is everything you want it to be! Things you need here – GOOD walking shoes. You’re going to walk miles all over Italy, so don’t be dumb. I was so pleased with THESE, wore them nearly the whole trip and went with everything I wore.
Pizza is ordered one per person. It’s thin crust, delicious and only about 6 euros – so for us, this was a cheap meal and we splurged more on dinner. And gelato.
This is BURANO. The most colorful little area in Venice and all of my Lisa Frank Dreams come true. You’ll get on a water taxi to get here, but add this to your list. Don’t you dare go to Venice and not spend a few hours here.
Water Taxi map in Venice. Easy to nagivate, cheap to use. Do it!
Splurge for a gondala ride. 80 euros well spent!
Our hotel was ADORABLE – we stayed at Gabrielli Hotel, really close to the Bridge of Sighs and the main square. Also, a water taxi port was reallllly close, so a perfect location in my book. We stayed 3 days in Venice and that was plenty! Next up, Florence. We took a train there, clean, easy to use, and only about a 2 hour ride. We got to see so much countryside on the way and holy cannoli, it was beautiful.
Florence is nestled in the Tuscany region of Italy, known for Renaissance art and architecture and monuments. Also, the leather capital of the world. Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Galileo all called Florence home, and it was amazing to see not only their work, but walk on the same streets they did. I walked away from this town feeling smarter by association.
The gardens alone here are fabulous. We went at the perfect time with everything in bloom. Seriously, this town smelled like roses and wine.
You’re going to walk alot here, climb 10,000 stairs and wonder if this is real life.
We spent 2 nights, 3 days in Florence and it was plenty! Next up ROME, one of my favorite cities in all of the world!
We took a cab ride from the train station to our hotel, and just casually took this photo above from the car window. Oh, you know – JUST THE COLOSSEUM RIGHT HERE OFF THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. I nearly shit my pants. Same exact feeling when we went to Stonehenge in 2018. Just sitting there off the side of the road, looking all epic and shit.
I don’t have a way to describe everything you’ll see here other than life changing. Americans have 240ish years of history. Rome? 28 CENTURIES. Like, I’m standing in places Julius Caesar, Mark Antony stood, and I feel royal AF doing so.
Rome was clean, even the subways. Always felt safe. Do the ‘skip the line’ tours, you’ll be happy you did. Do all the things, drink all the cappuccinos, eat all the pasta.
Zoom in on the one above. Rain on a sunny day.
We took the subway all over the city and walked/climbed our butts off. Do it all, see it all. We stayed 4 days, 3 nights here and could have stayed longer.
We took a day trip to Vacatian City. Also mind blowing and also SO CROWDED. But you guys, I had to see the Sistine Chapel and I did. And I cried.
From Rome, we had a rental car and drove to the Amalfi Coast. It was an experience. BEAUTIFUL but scary. The driving is easy, nothing like the wrong side of the road in England and Ireland, but once you get on the outskirts of the city, shit gets real. Like hairpin curves, side of mountains, one lane and living on a prayer. I wouldn’t do this again. Of all the travel research I did, not a damn person said anything about this, so I’m here to tell you. The Almafi Coast is on the side of mountains, with death curves and nothing but an ocean to catch you below. You’ve been warned.
Honestly, I have no idea what this town was called and wish I did. Before the driving got scary. No one spoke a single lick of English, flowers all over the beaches and maybe one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.
We stayed in a town called Ravello – and it was GORGEOUS. Not far from Postiano and Sorrento, a smaller town on the actual top of a mountain – Lemon groves everywhere. One lane roads.
Our hotel – Villa Piedimonte – 10/10 recommend.
Postiano. So funny story, took this while peeing off the side of a mountain. Can’t take the country out of the girl.
The Ravello Tree – super famous spot in the region.
THIS. This is what all driving is on the coast. Only thing you don’t see here are 1234358235 tour buses that take up the whole road and will hit you if you aren’t paying attention. They DGAF.
Almafi Coast Recs – I would 100% go here again. But, I would also hire a private driver for day trips to Postiano and Sorrento. I thought having a car would be amazing because there is alot to explore here, and while we did it, I may have a heart condition now as a result.
Last stop of the trip was Pompeii. AMAZINGLY preserved, gorgeous, sad. It rained most of the day, but whatever. Also, did you know they were obsessed with penises and orgys? I didn’t. Our tour guide said ‘where they had orgies, of course’ after every spot they showed up. 10/10 recommend getting a penis key chain.
See the Pompeii Penis up there?
And that’s a wrap! I can close my eyes and smell Italy just like I’m there. Bread, garlic, wine, lemons. If you can go, GO. We spent about the same a family of 4 would spend for a week at Disney World – travelling doesn’t have to be super expensive! So if you’ve made it this far, here’s my recommendations on what to do, what to bring.
Comfortable shoes. I didn’t want granny tennis shoes, so I took these. Wore them nearly the whole time: https://amzn.to/37RLxNz
Portable Phone Charger – don’t get one of those cheap ones from Target – get a good one, you’ll use it the whole time – I use this one: https://amzn.to/2SQpd2M
Capsule Wardrobe – While I didn’t pack everything in a carry on, I did use a small suitcase, and did laundry half way through. Lots of black and neutral patterns!
Medicine – Europe doesn’t have a Walgreens on every corner, and their pharmacies are limited to what we have here. Pack a little of everything that you would need, worst case scenerio.
Take trains and subways! Don’t let them be intimidating!
A good day pack – we use the kind that are theft proof – we never had a single ounce of trouble, but part of that is we knew what to look for, what to avoid, and how to dress like a local. We used these: https://amzn.to/2vTQqs8
And my favorite HACK OF ALL – Get your Euros before you go. Don’t bother with the currency exchange at the airports – they are the biggest rip off! If you are a AAA member (we are lifetime members!) did you know you can do currency exchange for FREE?!?!?!? And, it’s a next day service. We’ve been to Europe 3 times now, and this was awesome to do!
So a big cheers to you, me, and this amazing world we live in. Get out there in it!