Travel

Italy

Finally! I am going to write about my travels! Starting with one of my personal favorite trips so far – Italy. This country is full of welcoming individuals who want nothing more than to fill your belly of good wine and pasta, my kinda people!

I took this trip to Italy (and France) the day after I graduated from college – it was my graduation gift from my mom! We got up pretty early the day after my graduation and ran to the airport because we were both so excited for our first international journey! We got to see Rome, Positano, Pompeii, Paris and Versailles on this week long trip (I will talk about France in another blog)!

The flight was actually not that bad, I watched two movies – Why Him? and something else that I can’t remember now. Oh well, the important thing is I felt like we were there in no time!

When we got there, I didn’t sleep, not until about 10 PM that night. I didn’t want to be fighting the jet lag the whole time we were there. We only had a week and I had full intention of taking in every single minute. One perk of the time change is we woke up around 6 – 7 AM every day and didn’t feel tired because we were so excited to be there and explore the city of Rome!

Our hotel, The Inn at the Spanish Steps, was about 20 feet from the Spanish steps, and it was located right above Prada – a very dangerous place to be! I eyed the bags in that store every time we left our room but I proudly didn’t buy a single one despite the large sum of graduation money I had just received. Right around the corner from our hotel was a gelatto shop that we may have visited one, or two, or three…times (tehe) and some delicious places to eat dinner!

I would highly recommend eating at Numbs Piazza di Spagna for lunch after visiting the Spanish steps! It doesn’t really matter what you get, we went twice and everything was so good! And if you are in the mood for a tasty cocktail, then I would recommend Il Palazzetto which I actually found out is a hotel too! We stumbled across this little spot, and it does fill up fast because there are about 10 tables so get there at an off time to get a good spot! The picture below is me sipping on a cocktail at Il Palazzetto on the Spanish steps:

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We did see the Colosseum, and we also went to the Vatican City to see the Sistine Chapel. Both of which were absolutely beautiful and rich with history! I would recommend wearing conservative clothing to the Sistine Chapel out of respect. I wore jeans and a short sleeve, scoop neck shirt. We had a margarita pizza on the outside walls of the Vatican and it was pretty yummy and totally unplanned!

Oddly enough, the best food and drinks we had in Italy were at the places we didn’t even plan on going. We would be walking along for lunch and dinner and would just stop at the place that caught our eye and fancied our appetites (:

I think that is what made this trip so unforgettable! We planned the big things, like our tour bus (which I would highly recommend doing, because you get to listen to descriptions of so many things as you pass them that you would never think to stop and look at). Also, don’t underestimate your uber driver! Most of our drivers spoke English  well, and they were a great source of information in regards to both history and recommending restaurants.

Everyone in Italy was so passionate and kind! Our drivers to the Amalfi coast were so sweet, and I wish I knew the name of the driving company because the car was clean and spacious as well! My mom and I were super hesitant to book it because it was a great price and we didn’t know who would be picking us up and whether or not we could trust them. It ended up being a man who looked a lot like Joe from the Princess Diaries and a sweet older lady, which you can imagine was about as intimating as a fluffy Golden Retriever puppy.

We stopped along the road to the Amalfi coast to admire the views and also buy some local cherries and lemons (which were huge!!). I just about jumped off this cliff and into the crystal clear water – so pretty, right?!

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We also stopped off at Pompeii along the way and got an hour and a half long tour of 3 uncovered sections of the city. It takes about 3 days total to see all of Pompeii, but if you don’t have that long, the hour and half tour that we took was also impressive! I could probably write an entire blog on Pompeii alone. The innovations that they made are still things that are in use today, and that was back in 6th Century B.C! They had Chipotle like restaurants, gyms, saunas, hot tubs, bakeries, shopping centers, and irrigation systems. If you have time to stop in Pompeii then do it because the movie just doesn’t do it justice.

The three biggest things I would tell people who are looking to travel to Italy is:

  1. Do not attempt to drive yourself around the cities! The streets are old and small, but they do drive on the right side, so if you want to brave it then more power to you – but I definitely did not want to drive cliff side in a foreign country
  2. Talk to the locals, they were all friendly and more than willing to provide directions and recommendations
  3. Avoid “hawkers”, these are the people surrounding the major sites and they will charge you 20 Euros for a picture that you didn’t willingly take. This is my 20 Euro photo shoot about 1 mile from the Colosseum (you can’t even see it at this point)

I hope you found this blog useful and entertaining, and I am not sorry if you are now Googling the next flight to Rome because it is worth every penny!

Xoxo,
Rayne

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