Get this…I get a call this past summer from an old (partial) friend from Orlando, Florida. We catch up for a little while and then she drops a bomb.
“So, I know we haven’t talked that much…or like hardly ever ((we hung out with mutual friends at a pool in our neighborhood)) but I was wondering if you would want to go with me to Italy in August? Most things are paid for you just have to buy a plane ticket etc. Oh, and I’m going because my friend is getting married at a castle in Bolzano…the countryside of Italy.”
SPEECHLESS. I promised myself earlier this year that I wouldn’t go back to Europe because my experience was way different from what I had hoped…but how the fuck do you pass this up? Not just the going to Italy part, or even the money that’s already been paid…but A WEDDING AT A CASTLE. I would let you push me off a flaming bridge into the depths of hell if I said no. Of course, I didn’t say no. I SAID FUCK YEAH.
One month and lots of planning/excitement/shopping later…we were off for 2 weeks to explore the beautiful country of Italy…here’s our Italy itinerary.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Literally the first words I uttered when I landed because I waited my whole life to say that haha. ANYWHOOO, the city of Rome, the first stop on our trip. We landed early, had an amazing espresso with our Airbnb hosts, primped from the long plane flight and hit the town. Ice cream at 11 am? DUH!
The gelato was just as good as I expected…but wanna know what I didn’t expect? As we were strolling along, I noticed that the Colosseum was in the middle of the city. WHAT??? Okay, call me crazy but holy shit I had no idea. This is something that people drive past every single day.
For some reason, I thought it was in the outskirts of Rome in some majestic fucking field. My mind was blown. I mean, people don’t just drive past the Grand Canyon on a daily basis…there were taxis honking and hundreds of people swarming it. My feelings were mixed.
After seeing a long line, some guy talked us into a group tour to get us in there faster…all I can say is, underwhelmed. Eh, it was okay. Moving on…
After we sat down and had lunch at this cute cafe, of course, me not being able to keep my mouth shut ever, I overhear the table next to us was American so I spark up a conversation. LOW AND BEHOLD, the girl at the table went to the same college as I did!! WHAT?
We instantly became friends, got each others number and I thought I would never see her again. Well, that night after exploring all day, we all meet up, have the best dinner filled with a shit ton of pasta and Prosecco that’s when the real fun began. Weird outdoor carnival anyone? After we left the creepy carnival, for the life of me I can’t remember the place we went, but I just know it was awesome. Some indoor/outdoor beach club. Let’s just say I get more than blackout.
The next morning I wake up only to realize we missed the Vatican tour. UGHHHH why do I do this to myself? Long story short, we rally, I throw up from being so hungover outside the Vatican, I die a
slow and painful death waiting for the group tour and then somehow feel a tiny bit better enough to enjoy everything.
Wanna know a not so fun fact?
Rome’s restaurant and bar scene pretty much close down by 10-11pm. The only place you can go out late and have fun are clubs that are usually open until 3-4am.
Sure, we visited the Trevi Fountain, completely submerged with tourists, and saw some main attractions, but just as I expected, Rome was not the best start to this wonderful Italian vacation. This is why I love traveling though, it really makes a difference in your trip more so with the people you meet sometimes rather than the things you see.
This is more like it. Wow, what a city. Away from the crazy hustle and bustle of Rome, Florence was like a little hidden gem. Known for its Italian leather and rich culture but I came to love it strictly for the food. Not to say it was better food, but the vibe of the city was way more intimate and relaxing, exactly how I pictured Italy to be. We stayed here longer so we could visit Tuscany, you know, the wine region? It took my breath away. The rolling hills, beautiful landscapes and of course lots of wine.
But Florence wasn’t all about the wine…okay maybe 90% of it was 😉 but I felt so much more from this amazing little city. This was the turning point for our trip, and although it had only been a couple of days since we set foot in Italy, we realized the touristy stuff just wasn’t for us. A Duomo we wanted to see, a museum we wanted to enter, but everything was packed. JAM PACKED, and the more we got to thinking, the more we realized we didn’t want to do any of that.
Shopping, eating, drinking, wandering, socializing. Those were the things we wanted to experience, so that’s what we did.
Oh Venice, how beautiful you are. Or so I thought. You hear about and see pictures from this colorful, vibrant city all over the internet. But just like all things on the internet, it was a mirage. Okay, don’t get me wrong…the city was definitely how it looked. Bright houses lined the canals, the architecture and the sheer essence of the place was pretty magical…BUTTT (there is always a but) it was dirty. The canals were disgusting, it smelled bad and the gondola ride for being $100 Euro did not seem worth it to me. It’s not you and your significant other romantically riding around being serenaded by the guy in the striped shirt…it was gondolas bumping into one another and canals filled with 6 boats at a time.
I feel like I am always rambling about the let downs but I was definitely let down. Now, this might have something to do with the fact I was there during peak season, so I can’t speak for any other time. All I know is the gondola ride at the Venetian in Las Vegas looked better than that.
I think the highlight of Venice was getting stuck in a terrible rain storm while sitting at a restaurant on the canal. It was us and one other table that braved the winds and vicious rain. It was also both tables that got free Limoncello for waiting it out. Seems like I had a lot of luck with this throughout my trip haha.
If all else was to fail, the food was delicious every single place we went. Italy never let me down on food.
By far my favorite city of the entire trip! I am a sucker for those countryside mountains and views that go on for miles. If you think about it, the other cities were just concrete slabs, but this was heaven.
See what I mean?? Imagine seeing nothing but the city and then driving into this!
So, as much as I want to give you the full rundown of the wedding we attended here, I think it deserves a post in its own. There was just so much detail and exciting things that happened that I don’t want to get off track. Let’s just say that it leaves you speechless…in a good way of course. Here’s a sneak!
Maybe one day ::cough cough SINA cough::
Bolzano was strictly for the 2-day festivities so we didn’t get to explore much, but I need to add that the people we rented the room from in our B&B were the friendliest people ever. So welcoming and made the entire experience more than enjoyable. Despite there being no AC in the room …us Americans are spoiled.
Fashion capital and that it was. There were men dressed to the 9’s and women just struttin’ their stuff like the entire sidewalk was a runway. I was so ecstatic to be here since I have the worst shopping addiction.
No really, it’s bad. At this point in the trip though I was just ready to be home and didn’t care too much about doing anything. We hit up a few shops; Europe seems to have amazing shopping, and cheap too! I had to purchase another carry-on bag to bring home because I bought so many clothes and presents!
Since this was the last stop on our trip, somehow (not sure how) we were tired of Italian food. I know it sounds like the worst kind of sin but we just were. I was pizzaed out! Probably because I ate it so much for breakfast…oops. We pretty much just hung out that day and then took a day trip to Genoa!!
You know, like the salami? Ha, so this wasn’t supposed to be on my list, but a friend of mine from Florida was doing a European trip same time as us! Since this was the first time we were close in proximity, we decided to meet up! I needed some greenery and beach in my life, so what better place than the coast of Italy?
We met her and her friends in Genoa and took a train to the beautiful beach of Bogliasco. I’ll be honest, the water was unreal, but the beach itself was literally ROCKS. Big ass rocks too. Not the nicest thing to plop your ass on to catch some rays. We endured the pain for a little while before getting a table near the bar. DUH.
That’s me barely being able to walk out to the ocean. So worth it though, look at the blue ombre! After sitting down at the table, we literally just drank bottles and bottles of champagne. Relaxing, enjoying the view and good company. Exactly what we all needed after weeks of fast travel!
Is a place ever really as you expect? I feel like some places can blow your socks off and some can be complete duds. Italy has both of those feelings! As always, the very popular tourist destinations took a plunge to the bottom of my mental list considering a number of people visiting and overrated sites to see.
Bolzano was at the top, showing me that the countryside can sometimes be way more exhilarating than any big city. Overall, I would LOVE to visit more parts of Italy in the future! Making my way to some islands and doing a little more research the next time I go!
Each and every person has their own path they like to explore and that is perfectly fine! Always remember to stay true to who you are and what you love. If you do this, you are (almost) always guaranteed a great time! Have you been to Italy before? If so, what did you love AND hate about it? Let me know in the comments but until our next adventure…