Lazy Sunday: Pre-Italy Edition

It’s early Sunday morning and I’m holed up at my favorite coffee shop, trying to write a few blog posts ahead of time – be still my heart, this never happens – because in one week Ryan and I are heading to Italy for two weeks of technology-free honeymoon/first anniversary adventure.

Venice Photo Via A Home in the Making

I have some questions for you, but first, the back story:

In a way, this trip has been 4 years in the making.  When Ryan and I got married we decided to keep things simple for the post-wedding relaxation, so we headed to a family friend’s house in New Hampshire.  I don’t know how people plan both a wedding and an exotic, overseas honeymoon at the same time.

I’d asked Ryan to go somewhere exotic over the winter, and my main choice was Indonesia, which I feel in love with while reading Eat, Pray, Love multiple times.

After the wedding, I remembered that years ago Ryan wanted us to take a trip to Italy. But we’d only been dating 6 months, and I told Ryan “We shouldn’t go to Italy.  That’s the kind of trip you take for your honeymoon, not just a random vacation when you’re first dating.”

Four years later, after walking down the aisle, I remembered that conversation and asked Ryan if he still wanted Italy.  He said yes.

Crap, I thought.  There goes my exotic adventure in the jungles of Indonesia. Fortunately, in the process of researching our Italian Adventure, I have become very, very excited.  Specifically, I can not wait to visit the hills of Tuscany.

San Gimignano, in Tuscany.  Via Flickr.

Our Italian Adventure includes the following:

  • Train to Levanto.  Spend a few days exploring the Ligurian coast, to include Cinque Terre.
  • Go to Tuscany.  Spend a weekend in Montepulciano, home of one of my fave red wine varietals.  Drive around the countryside just exploring places like San Gimignano.
  • Spend a few days in Florence.  See art, artists, and opera.
  • End in Venice.  Do whatever Ryan wants, since he’s most excited about that city.

In the planning process, I’ve loved re-reading Jenn’s posts about her anniversary trip to Italy last fall.

I’m also devouring all of Cassie’s travel posts about Italy and Europe at Hi Sugarplum, especially her recent post about Venice.  Apparently I’m copying her and doing a very similar trip 🙂

Do you have any recommendations, warnings, tips, or comments? I’d love to know your experiences if you’ve been to any of the places I’ve listed above!

Of course I’m going to blog about the trip when I return.  But if you just want to look at pretty pictures, check out my Italy Pinterest board where I’m keeping track of hotels and sights to see.



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  • Reply Jen on the Edge at 10:02 am

    I am so excited about your trip and am looking forward to hearing about it afterward. Italy is on my travel wish list and I’m considering starting Italian lessons in the fall. Everyone in my family wants to go, so really, we just need to figure out when.

    I don’t have any specific advice about Italy and I believe you’ve been to Europe before, so any European travel advice I have, you probably already know.

  • Reply Kiri at 10:36 am

    I travelled through Europe for 3 months back in 1990 so anything I could add is going to be 20 years out of date. For a lot of the the things to see, that’s ok because the building have been there for centuries. LOL. There are stunning amounts of beautiful architecture in Italy. I still remember being in awe of many of the more ancient buildings and how they actually managed to build them. Pompeii was completely amazing – I spent a day there. The more reading up you do before hand the more you’ll get out of it I think – the Forum in Rome is a must-see, as is the Pantheon which is the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. And it was a skill that was forgotten until many centuries later. It’s stunning. I was awed by it all. It’s worth doing a tour in Venice, because they will take you to see a glass-blowing factory and a demonstration of how they do it. It’s well worth seeing. I loved Florence and Pisa. There’s so many mosaics and other small details. Remember to take lots of photos and make notes. You’ll thank yourself- I still love looking through mine, and reading through the things I’ve forgotten brings the memories back as strong as ever.

  • Reply Kim at 10:56 am

    My daughter has spent quite a bit of time traveling Europe and recently I tagged along thru Italy. We spent two weeks divided between Rome, Cinque Terre, Florence, and Venice. It was amazing! I think I enjoyed Cinque Terre and Venice in particular but wouldn’t have missed seeing the other two cities either. Enjoy!

  • Reply Ainhoa at 2:38 pm

    I went to Florence a few years ago and also explored San Gimigiano, Lucca, etc. I’m sure you’ll love it. Though I wasn’t a fan of San Gimigiano, I thought it was too touristy, and it reminded me of Disneyland (not in a good way, but in a “this looks fake” way. Then again I was there on a Sunday in mid-summer).
    There’s an AWESOME restaurant at the top of a hilltop near Lucca (and it’s very cheap). Just plain, homemade food that was delicious. I know that’s vague, but I can’t remember the name… I find out I’ll let you know. Have fun!

  • Reply Vinnie at 10:40 pm

    I’ve had a couple of trips to Italy, including some time in Tuscany. I’ve blogged about them and included lots of photos – here’s some links:

    In 2011, we did Amalfi, Napoli, and Rome (with a side trip to Firenze), starting here:

    In 2012, we did Milan and Lake Como, starting here:

    In 2008, I did Rome and Arezzo (in the heart of Tuscany, halfway between Rome and Firenze), starting here: (but the photos seemed to have disappeared).

    Have a great time!

    • Reply Jane at 11:03 am

      Thank you so much for sharing, because somehow your blog wasn’t in my reader anymore! I tried to comment on it but I can’t because I closed my Google accounts…but anyway, also wanted to say that your post about making bitters is super inspiring. I’ve made flavored vodkas but haven’t done bitters yet. I’ll have to try it!

    • Reply Tara at 2:56 pm

      So glad you’re going to Cinqueterre. We spent far too little time there, but it was gorgeous. Be sure to pre-book tickets to the Uffizi/ Accademia galleries so you bypass the lines… a must!!

  • Reply Funnelcloud Rachel at 1:44 pm

    You will have a great time in Italy! I think the best thing about traveling there is that you don’t have to do a lot of pre-trip research and can still have a fantastic time wandering around and exploring as you go since everything in that country is old/historic, gorgeous, and/or delicious! You can’t lose!

    For Venice, keep in mind: 1. You might get wet. (If it rains, the city floods!) 2. You will probably get pooped on. (So many pigeons in St. Mark’s Square!) 3. You WILL get lost. (I didn’t believe people when they told me this – after all I *can* read a map, thankyouverymuch – but Venice is like a MAZE with water! So cool, but so confusing!)

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