So friends, we went to Italy. Starting this post seemed like the most overwhelming thing ever, not only because this 16 day trip was full of so many amazing memories we were worried we wouldn’t remember them all, but because we have done so much traveling since we’ve been back in these two short weeks (If you follow along on Instagram you know that Ben surprised me with the most epic early 30th birthday surprise EVER – more to come on that soon!)
We spent the beginning of September exploring tons of bucket list places, and through a mix of iPhone and real camera pictures we’re sharing some of our most favorite memories of our trip today. But before we get started, let us say this. This blog post is already going to be so long (so if you stick with us through the end, know that you are a champion!) and even knowing that, we also know it isn’t even going to express a fraction of the awesomeness of this gorgeous place. So all we can say, is that if you are even thinking about going, do it. Like, TOMORROW. And if words aren’t enough to convince you, hopefully something in this post will. So let’s get started!
Our trip began with a nine hour flight, a 30 minute train ride, a transfer to a 2 hour train ride, and then an hour long walk across Naples before we found ourselves on the boat to Sorrento . . .
But every minute of the journey was worth it when we arrived to one of the
most charming towns we’ve ever set foot in.Everywhere we turned the scenery looked like something from a painting, which made the fact that we we running on about 4 hours of sleep tooooottaaallly forgettable ; )
And after checking into the most adorable little (totally blue) hotel, we were off for a bit of sight seeing . . . Which was mostly filled with lemon EVERYTHING!And we of course had to take a break to swim in the Mediterranean. Dinner our first night was in the most romantic lemon grove that had been lined with string lights.
This is where Sarah’s trip catch phrase “I’m living my best lyyyyfffeee!” was born.Using Sorrento as a base camp, we spent the next few days exploring the sites of the Amalfi Coast
(after a few cappuccinos every morning, of course ; )There was a day exploring the ruins of Pompeii….Which was where we realized JUST how hot it could be in Italy.
And was also the day that the trusty vacation hat was born.
Get ready to see a LOT of this hat. It’s sunny in Italy guys! And a day of driving the coast exploring Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. Ravello turned out to be our favorite, not only because of the gorgeous views but because of the super friendly cats that were EVERYWHERE!
And after a few gloriously sunny, lemon-filled days we enjoyed one last Amalfi Coast sunset
before heading off to our next stop . . . .Rome!We didn’t have a HUGE bar for Rome, since we’ve spent so much time in other big cities like New York and Paris.
But it blew all of our expectation away and was seriously stunning. There was amazing works of art everywhere we turned . . . And an equally large amount of gelato everywhere as well ; )After arriving we knew that we wanted to see a quieter side of the city, so we got up at an UNGODLY hour the next morning for some early morning sightseeing.
But having the sights of the city completely to ourselves made it more than worth it.
And then, after two days that went by far too quickly, we were off to our next destination.
The Cinque Terre! We used the small town of Riomaggiore as our base camp since it was a little less touristy, and we couldn’t have fallen more in love with it.But as much as we loved Riomaggiore we couldn’t wait to see the other 4 towns of the Cinque Terre, so the next morning we set out super early to do just that!
There were views. . . and aaaaallll the foods . . . And little nooks that made you feel like you were the only person in Italy.
These quiet moments were some of our most favorite. If you’re heading to Italy, we definitely recommend making the Cinque Terre a must-do stop.
We mean, just LOOK at how charming! And then, yet again, after two days that flew by, we were on our way to the next stop of our trip.
But not before passing through Pisa to say a quick “what’s up!” to the Leaning Tower ; ) And of course we had to take a few super cheesebally, oober touristy pictures before heading out….. . . . and eat a giant pizza.But eventually we made our way to Florence!Our first night we walked a gillion steps and climbed a bunch of hills for the perfect sunset view.
(Which obviously merited a celebratory bottle of wine ; ) Ben tried to make his own moody sunset version of the David . . . . . . .and also made the super giant moon that quickly rose into a street lamp.
We spent the next day in Florence seeing all of the art, and having a little of it made for us too . . .
Sarah’s favorite was The Birth of Venus (which she’d been dying to see FOREVER) . . .
and Ben spent a long time obsessing over the use of light.
And after one last trip to the Ponte Vecchio,and one last scoop of gelato . . . we hopped in our rental car and headed for the hills of Tuscany.Tuscany became a fast favorite for us as far as highlights of the trip.
It was quieter than the other cities we had visited so far, and we stayed at what may be the most charming bed and breakfast in the history of traveling. And as if we weren’t smitten enough, there was the most vibrant double rainbow (cue flashbacks to the Youtube video!) when we checked in.
Tuscany, now you’re just showing off. With Borgo Argenina as our home base, we ventured out on day trips to some of the nearby towns. And couldn’t help but snap a few pictures of the locals.
We hope we’re lucky enough to shuffle down the street like this together one day. We explored Sienna, Montepulciano, Panzano and Pienza
(which requires you to try some Pecorino cheese!) And as much as we loved adventuring outside of our B&B, one of our favorite trip memories happened inside it’s walls.
Where we took a cooking class and made what may just be one of the best meals of our lives. Internet, meet the best pesto and homemade pasta the world has ever known.Pesto so good, that it makes the locals who eat it all the time float on a cloud of pure joy. Just ask Tula.
This is Tula, the resident cat of Borgo Argenina. Not pictured are the two sweet pups who ate breakfast with us (and drooled on Ben’s lap) every morning. On our last day there we made sure to take a walk around the property and simply take in every charming little nook. . . . and maybe sampled a grape or two from the garden ; ) And then we hopped into our rental car and headed for our last and final destination.
But before we move on from this chapter, I feel like it’s pretty important that I pause and share the most unexpected part of our time in Tuscany.
Which is me, holding what is the largest owl I had ever seen, that just so happened to be the pet of the chef at a restaurant we ate at. Her name was Mary. Without much communication (because of the gigantic language barrier) I suddenly found myself with Mary on my arm, and I was partially amazed, partially terrified, and 100% in love.
Until I found out that “Mary” was short for Bloody Mary because of her small dog murder record.But, back to the trip recap.
And away from the talk of murder.
Internet, meet Venice!
Or rather, some butts in Venice.Venice was our last stop of the trip, and was the perfect grand finale
(or should we say the Grand Canal-e. . .get it?) to our trip! We loved every bit of it (with the exception of St. Mark’s Square which was far too crowded when we went).
But the fun with pigeons made up for it ; )On our last morning there, we once again woke up at a time reserved for only the most extreme of morning people.
(Which we most definitely are NOT).
But we could think of no better reason than to snag a few pictures before the streets got crowded
(which proved to be way harder than we initially thought.)
Which may not be as famous as Venice, but is every bit as charming (and maybe then some).There were buildings of a different color in every direction you looked, and of course gelato that was every bit as colorful.
And just like that, a trip that was planned for months was over in what seemed like a blip, and we were back on the plane. Italy was beautiful, and delicious and full of people that were so incredibly sweet and welcoming that we already can’t wait to go back. It definitely was deserving of it’s place on our travel bucket list, and we know we’ll spend more time there one day. But we’ve got some brand new places to see before we do ; )
Love + Laughs (+ happy travels!),
Sarah & Ben