I cannot believe we leave for Italy in THREE WEEKS! I had a dream last night that I had done nothing to prepare and that I only had a few minutes to pack and that I didn’t have time to do a packing post for you guys and I was very upset ? I have a feeling this is my subconscious’ way of telling me to start getting my you-know-what together because this trip is going to sneak up on me before I know it!
Anyway, I’ve been getting a lot of questions as to where we’re going and where we’re staying, because a bunch of you, it turns out, are ALSO planning trips to Italy! Hooray!
First of all, let me give you a little background on our trip. We always wanted to do our honeymoon in Italy, but with the stress of wedding planning, we really didn’t have the extra time to take two weeks off post wedding, didn’t want to spend the money it would require to do it the way we wanted to right after we paid for our entire wedding, and truthfully, wedding planning took so much out of us that we just didn’t have the time to think about planning a big post-wedding European adventure. In hindsight, this was the BEST decision we could’ve made–we did 6 nights in Cabo instead, and our brains were so fried that we really just needed bottomless Coronas and the pool.
Second, Italy holds a very special place in my heart because I studied abroad in Florence and lived there for a semester. It was definitely one of the biggest highlights of my whole life, and I’ve been dying to get back since and haven’t had the chance. I’m pretty sure Neal could’ve gone anywhere, but I’ve been talking about going back to Italy ever since he’s known me–so let’s be real–we weren’t going to go anywhere else on our “big honeymoon trip.”
Okay, now that you know the background, let’s get into the details! We decided to work with a travel agent who has planned all of our friends’ Italy trips as well–her name is Barb and she is such a gem–if you want her info, just message me on Instagram and I’ll send it to you!
Our Italy Itinerary:
First up, Florence:
My favorite city in the world–we’ll hop off our flight in Rome and get on the next train bound for Florence. We’ll be there for four nights, staying at the Glance Hotel. We booked this on points and chose it because it was reasonable (we didn’t have to use ALL the points) and it’s in a perfect location that I’m very familiar with–near Santa Maria Novella train station and a short walk to the Duomo. It’s also a pretty, modern, boutique hotel which are a lot harder to find in Italy than they are in the states. The pool was the kicker for Neal (although, I made him promise that we wouldn’t spend much time there while Florence was awaiting us!)
My main goal here is to not plan too much, but just wander about on our own, take in the city, and stop at some of my favorite restaurants: Il Gato e La Volpe, ZaZa, Antico Noe, La Giostra, and hopefully finally make it to Three Benches, and of course–check out plenty of new spots, too! We’ll definitely be stopping into Massimo leather for a jacket, and sipping a lot of iced cappucinos (if you’re in Florence, you HAVE to get one!) Maybe take the bus up to the tiny hilltop town of Fiesole, above Florence, to explore for a couple of hours–I’m so excited to just be there again!
Second, Tuscany: Borgo San Felice
While I studied abroad in Florence (which is in the region of Tuscany). I never spent any real time in the Tuscan countryside. I did do a Chianti tour when my mom came to visit. However, it was just a day trip. I’m really excited to experience the region for the first time with Neal.
This is one of the instances where we decided to splurge, and we’re staying at Borgo San Felice, which came highly recommended by friends as well as our travel agent, and it looks UNREAL. I would highly recommend going through a travel agent and booking early, because we got a really good price (I think it was around $400/night–obviously expensive, but nothing insane) which I thought was really fantastic for such a high-end place.
From BSF we’ll plan to do some wine tasting and take advantage of some of their awesome tours and experiences (bike riding and a picnic in the Tuscan countryside? Yes please!)
Third: Praiano, Amalfi Coast:
From Tuscany, we’ll rent a car and drive to Sorrento, stopping to explore Siena and San Gimignano on the way–I’ve visited both once before, but really fell in love with San Gimignano, a tiny Medieval town surrounded by 13th century walls. It’s amazing! We’ll drop off the car in Sorrento and have a driver take us the rest of the way to our hotel in Praiano, which is right outside Positano. (The roads are treacherous on the coast so our travel agent recommended we get a driver instead!) I’ve never been to the Almalfi coast before. So this leg of the trip is perhaps what I’m looking forward to the most. (Well, in a different way than I am to Florence, which feels like returning home!)
Our big splurge of the trip: we’ll be staying at Casa Angelina, which is a quieter, less touristy village called Praiano–between Positano and Amalfi. To be honest, much of us choosing Praiano was because fell in love with the hotel first. However, we loved it even more when we learned that Praiano was a bit off the beaten path. Less crowded, and less touristy than it’s two neighbors. Yet still a great location for exploring the other towns along the coast.
We still need to solidify our plans here, but definitely want to do a day trip to Capri by boat and definitely pay a visit to La Fontelina Beach Club that we’ve heard so many friends rave about!
After 4 days in Almalfi, we’ll head back to Rome for the last three nights of our trip! We’ll hit up the touristy spots like the Vatican and Coliseum, as Neal hasn’t been. But really, we have no other plans here other than to just soak up the city and explore! I definitely want to find some more local hangouts off the beaten path. As I feel like studying abroad and taking out of town visitors to Rome so many times really took the magic out of it for me.
Hoping I can see the city through fresh eyes this time! Some friends who studied abroad in Rome lived in the Trastevere neighborhood, so I’ve spent a little bit of time there, but never got a chance to wander what I’ve heard are some of the most charming, picturesque streets in the city! We may have to pay a visit to Tony’s, which has the best Penne a la Vodka I’ve ever had!