Florence

Yes, I am still posting photos from our Italy trip, which took place approximately 3 months ago.

Two more cities to go. Stay with me!

Next up: Florence!

Out of the cities we went to, I think Florence can be most easily compared to Rome. It’s a smaller city and doesn’t have all of the ruins, but it was really beautiful. If I had to rank them, I might say I liked Florence just a smidge better than Rome.

The first major landmark we came across when we arrived in Florence was the Duomo.

I think I saw the whole thing through the screen on my camera because I couldn’t put it down the entire time we were there. The Duomo is quite photogenic (wish I could say the same about myself). Every angle was prettier than the next.

The rest of Florence was just as impressive and probably my favorite city to just stroll around, taking in the views.

We went up to the Piazalle Michelangelo, where the views totally justified the amount of steps we had to climb to get there.

We stayed at the Residenza dell’Orafo, and they left us this little treat while we were out during the day.

Score! (Except the orange drink was actually kind of gross.)

The second day we were in Florence, we wandered around Boboli Gardens and took a tour of a Medici castle.

We also saw the David, which was more amazing than I was expecting. It’s huge! (No, I’m not referring to any specific part of him when I say that. The whole thing. Is huge.) But alas, David’s a bit camera shy. No photos allowed.

And finally, we obviously had to make time to sample the amazing food and wine Florence had to offer. We were in Tuscany, after all!

Ok, so now I only have one more city left to share in our whirlwind tour of Italy. Venice is last but not least! Stay tuned for that.

And here are the links to my other Italy posts if you need to catch up:

Sorrento

And now for the next installment of our Italian adventure: Sorrento!

On our third day in Italy, we took an early train from Rome to Naples and hired a driver to pick us up and take us to Sorrento. It was about a 45 minute drive with lots of scenery – definitely the way to go if you’re traveling with a group and can split the cost. I’ve heard the buses in this part of Italy are cheap but also crowded and vomit-inducing for those who get car sick easily.

We stayed at the Hotel Plaza, which was really nice and modern–it kind of had a South Beach-y Miami vibe.

After settling into our hotel, we headed out to find something delicious to eat for lunch.

Mission accomplished.

Awesome thing about Italy #2026 (there are a lot of awesome things about Italy): Many of the restaurants we went to brought out complimentary limoncello at the end of our meal. Salute!

After an amazing lunch, we rode our buzz over to a lemon tree grove and got free samples of–you guessed it–more limoncello! Loved this place.

By this time, we were feeling good. Prett-y, prett-y good. So we wandered around, somewhat aimlessly, and took in the sights that Sorrento had to offer.

Travel tip: Maps are generally more helpful when you’re not seeing double.

Later that night, we were enjoying a nice, relaxing dinner outside when we suddenly heard cheering and minor explosions nearby. Then we almost got blasted by a rogue firecracker as we were walking back to the hotel. Relaxing evening = over.

But it turns out that Naples had just won some big soccer game and everyone in Sorrento was pretty jazzed about it. Apparently when Italians are excited, they like to drive around, blast techo music, chant, fist pump and set off smoke bombs. It was quite a show.

It was pretty cool to see such an exuberant, spur of the moment celebration. Italians like to have a good time! And when it comes to soccer (excuse me, futbol), those guys are batshit crazy.

The next evening in Sorrento was a bit more subdued. We got back from touring Pompeii and Herculaneum (the subject of my next Italy post!) and had drinks on the rooftop of our hotel at sunset before heading out for a fantastic dinner.

(Sorry, Mom)

As a final thought–it’s just so completely unfair that my life can’t be like this everyday. I wish I was even more spoiled than I already am. Somebody slap me in the face.

More Italy posts you may have missed:

Rome (if you want to)

I don’t know if you read this blog because (1) You’re entertained by my writing; (2) You enjoy looking at my photos; or (3) You’re that creepster boy who used to stalk me in 3rd grade now you’ve found me on the internet and you just read my blog instead of hanging out in the bushes in my front yard like you used to. (And by the way, that experience is why I had an extreme distaste for suburban shrubbery in my adolescence. And boys.)

All of that to say – this post includes a LOT of photos. So hopefully you picked option #2. And if you don’t visit this blog for the photos, feel free to thoughtlessly scroll through as you please. That’s why I added the parenthetical “if you want to” to the title. It had absolutely nothing to do with wanting to reference the B-52’s song from the 80’s. Nope, nothing to do with that.

So Rome!

It was fabulous. And maybe my favorite city we visited in Italy. I’m not going to try to describe everything pictured here, so if you have any questions about what’s in these photos or where we went, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

We had gorgeous weather the whole time we were in Rome and made sure to take advantage of the cheap beer and wine charming al fresco dining options.

Attraction #1 on our Rome itinerary was of course the Colosseum! Our tour guide Rosella was fantastic, and I really learned a lot about the history of the ruins. I also learned that getting zero hours of sleep the night before turns my short term memory to crap. So all I can tell you about the Colosseum is that it’s super cool looking. Find it on Wikipedia if you really want a history lesson.


Did I mention our parents were our travel buddies on this trip? Both sets!
Rosella also took us to see the Forum, Palatine Hill and some of the other ruins scattered about the area. I don’t know if you knew this, but Rome has a lot of ruins. And all of the buildings are so old and beautiful, which of course prompted me to be all, “Hey look at me, I’m a photographer!” and take an obscene amount of photos.

And  of course it wouldn’t be a trip to Italy if we didn’t gorge ourselves on gelato on the first day. And everyday thereafter.

And at the end of one of the longest days of my life (yes, this was all on our very first day!), some wine. Because I wanted to be just a bit more comatose than I already was.

So that was Day #1 of our fantastic Italian journey! Stay tuned for Day #2 featuring the rest of Rome, including the Vatican where I discovered a deadly vendetta against the Catholic Church and embarked on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs and deserted cathedrals! All in my mind, of course. Angels & Demons, anyone?

Bon voyage to me

Your attention, please.

Tomorrow I will be boarding a flight to Rome, armed with my camera, iPod, brand new Kindle, and an inappropriate amount of luggage that I will deem as “traveling lightly” while everyone else groans and rolls their eyes. I will also be wearing leggings as pants. Comfort is key in international travel, and I have a  fear of deep vein thrombosis. I’m pretty sure constrictive non-legging type pants will increase the odds of all of the blood vessels in my legs violently exploding in a bloody mess all over my fellow passengers. I believe this is a medically accurate description.

But, assuming I survive, I will return with (hopefully) amazing photos, happy memories and perhaps a few Italian luxury goods! And then I will tell you all about my exotic travels and you will be equally entertained and jealous.

I’ve managed to throw together a few weak-ass posts that are scheduled to go up while I’m gone so you don’t forget about me completely. Yes, they are mostly pictures. Sorry I’m not sorry. I’ve been busy. In a contest of who is the busiest person in the world, I would win based on my dramatic diatribe listing all of my exhausting obligations. But not because I’m actually busier than everyone else. I’m sure Barack Obama is busier than me. And also probably Kim Kardashian.

So I guess I’ll meet you back here in June! I hope the rest the month of May is as good for you as it is for me. (HA, there’s no way that could happen – mine is going to be AWESOME! Unless I die from deep vein thrombosis…)

Ciao for now!

(source)

ITALY !! :) :)

I had trouble coming up with a title for this post, but I think what I ended up with accurately expresses my thoughts right now.

Because… we’re going to Italy this spring!!!

Plane tickets are BOOKED. So there’s no turning back now. Not that I’d want to.

Rome, Capri, Amalfi, Venice, Florence… hide yo’ pasta, hide yo’ wine. And hide yo’ gelato. Cuz I’m eatin’ everything out there. Run and tell that.

Anyone have any suggestions for things to do, places to stay, where to eat? All you Rick Steves wanna-bes out there – hit me up!

(Images from here, here, here, here and here.)