Throwback Thursday: Italy Vacation

Summer is in full swing…sandals and sun dresses, the hint of a tan, fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden, time in the great outdoors, and especially summer vacation!

After we took our much needed vacation to Raleigh and the Outer Banks a few weeks ago, I can’t help but long to be back in Spain and Italy where we were this time last year. Just before we got married, I spent the summer studying abroad in Europe. I loved every minute of it and could not stop talking about it, so Matt and I vowed that we would take a trip to Europe together sooner rather than later. As soon as Matt graduated from grad school, we booked our plane tickets and began planning our trip.

We flew into Madrid for a whirlwind afternoon with my friend Whitney and her boyfriend who were living abroad. We got to see Madrid like a local with true Spanish experiences—a tour of the Las Ventas bullring, a table full of tapas for lunch, a trip to an Asturian cider bar where we learned how to pour it, a walk around the gardens at the Royal Palace, and dinner with a viewing of the Euro Cup match.

The next morning, we hopped on a plane to Rome to see the Coliseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Palestine Hill, St. Peter’s Basilica and other requisite Italian experiences…like Matt’s “big knockers.” Ha. He insisted on me taking that picture. 🙂


Next, we hopped on a train to Cinque Terre where we stayed in Manarola at Ca’ d’andrean which was recommended by the New York Times, and it was wonderful. There was even a little garden out back filled with lemon trees (with lemons bigger than a softball!) where we relaxed and sipped on lemoncino while enjoying the stunning views. Cinque Terre is an incredible place—truly unlike any other. The tempo of life is different in the best way possible. And the seafood! Mmmm….delicious.

We walked along parts of the Via dell’amore between the five cities and spent time on the only white sand beach in Monterosso al Mare and dined beside the water while watching the waves crash against the shore in Vernazza. Each of the five cities has a completely different feel and character, and they are all worth exploring.

Then we waited for another train for a short stop in Pisa to see the Leaning Tower and then a bus to the farm where we stayed in the guest house of a very gracious retired couple in Tuscany overlooking Florence. Each night, we cooked delicious homemade meals with goods from the local market and the best wine I have ever tasted. During the day, we relaxed by the pool and explored the beautiful Tuscan countryside. If we did it again, I would definitely rent a car to see the best of everything in Tuscany. Photos don’t even do it justice. If I could have stayed forever at any point, this would have been it.


For our last stop, we visited the lively city of Florence, cultural hub of Italy. We spent a good amount of time there shopping in the market and local artisan shops. We visited the Marilyn Monroe exhibit at the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum which was by far one of the coolest exhibits we saw. Wow! I only wish I could have taken pictures.


My favorite part of Florence the last time I visited was the panoramic view of sunset over the city from Piazzale Michelangelo (photo at the top), so I made sure to take Matt there.

On our way out, we saw the Duomo and Opera House in Milan in addition to a little shopping for the biggest sale day in Italy before flying back home. Ah, I miss it even more now!

If you ever get the chance to visit any part of Italy, it will be well worth it. I have visited twice now, and there are still a ton of major areas and sights unseen. I would go back again in a heartbeat. Thanks for allowing me to share this with you. I hope you enjoyed it, and let me know if you are planning a trip and would like specific recommendations!

One thought on “Throwback Thursday: Italy Vacation

  1. Jenny says:

    It sounds like you had so much fun during your trip to Italy! It looks like you took a lot of great photos, so you will have memories to last you a lifetime.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s