My first visit to Italy happened during my study abroad semester in college. I flew from Copenhagen to Rome and arrived after dark. I’ll never forget the beautiful taxi ride through the city and seeing the ruins lit up like pieces of art. It was breathtaking. The next morning we took a train to Florence. I enjoyed the art of the Uffizi, seeing the David, and the experience of Florence, but I was excited to get back to Rome a couple days later to explore more and visit Vatican City. We ate plenty of gelato along the way, and on my next trip I plan to tackle this list of gelaterias. Last year, I was plotting a trip back to Rome, but instead ended up visiting the Amalfi Coast. The stunning beauty of this part of Italy quickly found a place in my heart.
We stayed at the Hotel Pasitea in Positano and used it as a launching pad to visit Capri, Amalfi, Ravello, Sorrento, and Pompeii. I would highly recommend Hotel Pasitea – the morning breakfast buffet was great, Tony at the front desk was funny and helpful, the hotel itself was very clean, and the view from our room was stunning.
- On the way back up from the beach on our first day in Positano, we found ourselves on a private staircase which lead us up to the lobby of the Le Sirenuse, which is one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever seen. Imagine our surprise!
- Tony recommended La Tagliata to us for dinner one night. It’s way up in the hills of Positano with impressive views and the largest portions of family style food I’ve ever seen. We happened to be there on the same night as a small wedding party and got to experience celebratory fireworks right outside the windows of the restaurant set against the backdrop of Positano!
- When visiting Capri and embarking to the city center from the dock, take the bus or a taxi! We learned this the hard way and mistakenly thought that a simple arrow reading “centro” would mean a short walk. We were wrong and have taken to calling it the Capri Climb. It seemed never ending, and we were exhausted after finally reaching the city center, but we saw some amazing homes and got some great shots.
- A day trip to Amalfi and Ravello was well worth the nerve wracking bus ride along the winding cliffs. In Amalfi, we toured the Paper Museum and discovered a wonderful chocolate shop called Cioccolato Andrea Pansa in the square across from the Cathedral. Ravello was stunning and filled with the smell of flowers everywhere we walked. Our last stop was for drinks at the Hotel Caruso, which provided us the needed courage to brave the bus ride back to Positano.
- Another unparalleled dining experience in Positano was at Lo Guarracino, which looks directly out on to the ocean from a somewhat hidden spot off the main stretch of beach. The food, the service, and the company were great. Thanks, Mattia!
- I loved bringing home limoncello and other goodies from a great little (non-touristy) shop in Sorrento called Fattoria Terranova. I was so excited to find out they sold online and would ship to the US. Then, I saw how much they charged for that shipping! Oh well, I’ll just have to make do with domestic limoncello.
After a long lull in my international travel adventures, Italy welcomed me back with open arms, and I will be forever grateful. My experience is that Italy lives up to all the hype! This post is my answer to my friend Jenn who asked me recently about visiting Italy. Having just finished reading Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert, and probably still has visions gelato dancing in her head. Overall this not a shocking sentiment, I realize, but it’s true nonetheless!
- Jenn – below are some pictures from my college archive too! Not sure why Mel and Ashley are wearing the same sweater, but just noticed it!
- There’s no shortage of information about Italy online, but here are a few of the resources I’ve enjoyed recently on the web and on Twitter – @CiaoLaura, @ItalyTravelista, and My Bella Vita.
- Elizabeth Gilbert came to Dallas recently to speak as a part of a program at the Dallas Museum of Art. I was lucky enough to join a packed house to hear her speak. Not only is she a great writer, but she’s a great speaker and has the timing of a stand up comedian. It was great to find that she was very down to earth and to hear that even though she has had such success and achieved such insight, on a daily basis she said she doesn’t feel like she has it all together! To learn more check out her profile and speech on creativity on TED. Love that website!