“Italy is a dream that keeps returning for the rest of your life.” – Anna Akhmatova
Although long overdue , here we have it… ITALY!
Gregg and I agree, Italy was our favorite country that we explored. We did things a little differently travel wise; instead of staying in one country for thirty days and traveling out from the destination, we hoped around every 2-7 days. In just under thirty days we were able to travel to Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome, the Amalfi coast (Vietri, Positano, Amalfi, Paestum and Sorrento), Pompeii and finally Naples.
It was quite the whirlwind adventure made even better by the food, wine, scenery and company. One of my oldest and best friends Lauren came all the way from India and braved traveling with us for close to two weeks! Having a friend there to travel with was exactly what I needed. So, what were some of our very favorite experiences??? I’ve grouped some of our favorite spots by location …
1. Milan: Milan was stop number one for us and we weren’t in the city for even 24 hours. The train station is an absolute must see! The architecture reminded me of Barcelona… dark, gothic and fabulous. We got to our apartment thanks to Air BnB, asked where we could find the best pizza and Gregg was on his way. We had three pizzas which were out of this world, just as we imagined.
2. Venice: Oh, Venice! You are romantic and one of a kind. Venice is unlike any place I have ever visited, and sadly we didn’t feel like two days was even close to enough time to explore this incredible place. Everything is soft, dreamy and just like it looks like in the pictures. My favorite family adventure we went on was the day we ventured to Piazza San Marco. St. Mark’s square is packed full of beautiful spots and we really enjoyed feeding the pigeons and taking the elevator St. Mark’s clock tower for gorgeous city views.
3. Florence: Everything that is the epitome of Italy can be found here in Florence. When you walk through the streets you get a real sense of inspiration that so many Renaissance artists felt as they created some of the most awe inspiring, famous pieces that are priceless and treasured. We spent five days in Florence, which was just enough for us. We were able to slow down and allow the kids time to rest every day which is crucial. There truly are two ways you can travel with kids: 1. You can rush through a city and hit all the tourist spots in two days, or 2. take your time, allow the kids to have naps and spend more time in a city. Happily, we spent five days in Florence, allowed the kids time to rest almost every day and still saw most, if not all of the sites we wanted.
My favorite day in Florence was one of the days where adventured to the Piazza Michelangelo and sat with a hundred Italians and tourists to see the sun set over Florence. Afterwards we went to grab a drink and snacks at a nearby bar and had some of the most delicious pizza right across the street. When I asked Gregg (five seconds ago) what his favorite part was he agreed. I’ll have to ask Lauren what her favorite part of the trip was since she joined us in this city … but I can almost guarantee you with 100% certainty that Nolan’s favorite part about Florence was playing with his Legos
Here is a photo of the Piazza:
4. Rome: Rome was another five day whirlwind tour where we all had different experiences that made us fall in love with its ancient beauty and rich history. For me, the food was everything. We didn’t have one bad meal in Rome whether it was hand tossed pasta or homemade noodles. Just thinking about the pesto and margarita is bringing tears to my eyes and making me thirst for Italian carbohydrates.
There is way too much to post about Rome here, so I’ll revisit the city later. Best advice? Clear your day and make sure you stay long enough to visit what you want. Its old, ancient and incredible.
5. The Amalfi Coast
When I retire I will go here and live out the rest of my days in happy bliss as long as it is on the Amalfi Coast, specifically in Vietri Sul Mar. This incredible sleepy beach town was everything I imagined when I pictured what Italy would be like. Friendly locals, cheap wine, amazing food and some of the most beautiful scenery you couldn’t even dream up if you wanted to. One of the coolest ways to get around Amalfi is on their water bus. Get on early morning and ship yourself up to Amalfi, Positano, Rovello and Capri.
The beaches of Vietri are by far and away THE most UNIQUE I have ever been to. The first morning we were there Gregg went out on a walk and came back to tell me the beaches were covered in ceramic tile. I didn’t know what he was talking about until I went and saw for myself. Sure enough there were soft edged pieces of tile throughout the beach. Where did they come from? I’ll tell you more about that later!
Please, please don’t skip the Amalfi Coast and if you have the time stay in Vietri and say hello to our dear friend Marco! He showed us some of the best spots in Vietri and Paestum. Don’t worry, we will get there!
Pompeii is a must see for everyone, especially those who are interested in history, architecture and breathtaking views. To be able to walk among the ruins from a once productive market hub that was instantly destroyed by a volcanic eruption was a true honor. We went to the ruins after visiting the city pediatrician who diagnosed Griffin with an ear infection, but despite the sickness everyone had a great time. Nolan was able to walk seemingly wherever he wanted to (besides the Venus room) and the gloomy rain made for some incredibly pictures with the backdrop blanketed in fog.
Pompeii ruins from the exit… the contrast is striking — old ruins vs the green
Thanks for waiting sooooo long for this post. We are going to try something a little different after I get out UK experience up! Hope you all enjoy and continue to follow us along our travels!