My parents are heading to the homeland (AKA Italy) this summer and I can’t help but feel jealous. My sister and I have happily provided them with a list of things we’d like brought back so that we can have a piece of Italy here in Canada with us. As they gear up to leave, it’s bring back a lot of memories from when my husband and I backpacked around Italy two years ago. It was hands down one of the best vacations we’ve ever taken together. For 16 days we travelled around Rome, Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast. We stuffed our faces with all the food, visited beautiful beaches and all the touristy spots and fully embraced the beauty that is, Italia. So since we sadly can’t afford to take another trip there (yet), I’ve decided to take a trip down memory lane and share with you some highlights from our Italian getaway, two years ago.
My husband gave me full reigns of planning this vacation and not to toot my own horn or anything (toot, toot!) but I did an amazing job! I did SO much research and wanted to make sure that this vacation was perfect for both of us. My husband loves history and I love the beach, so I made sure that we had the best of both worlds. I also wanted to make sure that we embraced as much culture as we possibly could. So, we agreed to ditch the hotels and traded them in for Air B&B’s! While we were at it, we also decided to ditch the luggage and trade it in for a backpack. Between all the subways and trains, planes and busses travelling was much easier when we only had to worry about having our carry on! So if you’re able to do it, I suggest that you give backpacking a try! For our vacation, we decided to visit Rome, Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast. All three stops were beautiful and completely different! Rome gave us the city vibe with lots of history, Tuscany provided tranquillity and beautiful views while the Amalfi Coast filled our bellies with lots of seafood, kissed our skin with sunshine and provided us with the beach! Our agendas were full of places to visit and things to see and not once did we feel rushed or bored.
Our vacation began in Rome. We spent two full days touring the city and made sure to visit the key tourist attractions; the Colosseum, Vatican & Sistine Chapel and the Trevi Fountain. After doing some research ahead of time I purchased some “Skip the Line” tickets in advance which I suggest doing for the Vatican especially! The Vatican line up is LONG and you can easily spend most of your day waiting in line (and if you’re visiting in the summer, you’ll melt from the heat). We also each purchased a “Roma 72 Hour Pass” for € 38,50! This pass provided unlimited use of the citys public transportation system including the bus, metro and railway lines for up to 72 hours! These passes also gave us FREE entry into the first 2 visited museums and/or archaeological sites in the city. We used ours at the Colosseum and Pantheon. We purchased the “Roma 72 Hour” passes at the newspaper stand in the Termini Train Station. If you’re interested in learning more about these passes and other available tourist attraction tickets, click here for more information.
Out of all the places we visited, Tuscany was probably the most stressful but that’s only because we rented a vehicle and I drove us around from point A to point B. My hubby and I decided that I’d be the chauffeur because I drove standard and he’d navigate us around because I’m 100% directionally challenged. We made a great team in that sense, but driving in Italy stressed me out! The streets were utter chaos, the parking rules were confusing and almost 6 months after our vacation, I received a traffic violation ticket in the mail! BUT don’t let my experience deter you! Our Air B&B was in a small town with absolutely no transit, so we needed a vehicle in order to get around!
It took a bit of getting used to but driving on the Autostrade (highway) was easy and our Fiat Panda took us everywhere we need to go. We spent six days travelling Tuscany and visited some of the regions popular cities and villages like Cinque Terre and Siena but also made sure to fit in some of the less touristy spots like Vinci, Lucca and San Gimignano. All six days were spent in a new village or town and needless to say, Tuscany is the most picturesque region of Italy that makes you feel like you’ve entered a time machine and travelled back to the middle ages. One of our favourite spots of Tuscany was Volterra (where Twilight was filmed). We decided to avoid the major cities in Tuscany like Pisa and Florence simply because we wanted to avoid those tourist locations. I’ve been to Pisa and Florence before and to be honest… the Leaning Tower of Pisa was small and disappointing and my husband didn’t really care to see the Statue of David in Florence, so we chose to skip those! If I could go back and change one thing about our stay in Tuscany it would have been to stay in a vineyard for a couple of nights in a location that was accessible to transit. I would also go back and stay in one of the towns in Cinque Terre for a night because there was lots to see there and it was too much to cram into one day. If I could give one piece of advice, it would be to visit an “Agriculturismo” in Tuscany for the best food experience. You will be served authentic Italian food at a pretty good price and with amazing service.
AMALFI COAST, Italy
Out of all the places we visited, my husband and I both agree that we will visit the Amalfi Coast again. Everything about it is absolute perfection and I would travel back there in a heartbeat. It would be an absolute dream to buy an apartment and retire there. We stayed in an Air B&B owned by the cutest little Italian couple in Maiori for six days. I could go on and on about the Amafli Coast, in fact it is absolutely worthy of its own blog post! But here are the basics. Our B&B was in the best location! It wasn’t overwhelmed by tourits, was located directly across a bus stop, was a two minute walk away from the beach and grocery store AND had a lot of great restaurants and gelateria’s to choose from. Writing about it makes me want to travel back there right now. Even though it was perfect, if I could go back I’d would definately stay in Maiori again however would also stay a night or two in other areas of the Amalfi Coast; the reason being transportation. In order to travel the Amalfi Coast, we relied on a boat or bus ride to get around and we sometimes felt rushed to go back home in fear that we would miss the last boat/bus back to our B&B. I would NOT RECOMMEND driving in the Amalfi Coast unless you’re 100% confident. The roads are windy, steep and… lets just say people have no fear cutting you off while driving up a mountain on a very narrow road. If you suffer from motion sickness (and even if you don’t) you may want to consider taking some Gravol with you. It came in handy for both my husband and I. While visiting you will want to eat all the seafood possible, anything lemon flavoured and enjoy the spectacular views. Some of the places we visited in the Amalfi Coast included Amalfi, Positano (beautiful beaches), Capri (beautiful but busy and expensive), Sorrento and Pompeii (which was not my fav but my husband loved the history there). The Amalfi Coast is such a beautiful region of Italy with lots to see and do and I can’t wait to go back as a family, one day!
I hope you enjoyed going down memory lane with me! Leave a comment down below and tell me what your favourite vacation has been thus far OR where your dream vacation would be!