Rome, Sorrento, Florence, Oh My! My Italian Adventure
This post is going to be a little personal, as I just got back from a 10 day family vacay in Italy. It was the first vacation I have truly taken in awhile. I’m a self-proclaimed workaholic, so unplugging even a little bit was a bit of a struggle. I didn’t unplug completely, but I definitely only answered emails twice a day, and enjoyed the Italian adventure we were on. Plus, with access to such amazing food, you know I didn’t hold back.
Let the Italian adventure begin!
Hopped on a red-eye flight from JFK and arrived mid-afternoon in Rome the next day. Since it was a group of us (my parents, oldest brother, and two sets of aunts and uncles), we planned this trip as part of a tour group. For the first three days we were in Rome, then off to Sorrento for two days, and ending in Florence for the last three.
*FYI if you plan a trip to Italy, prepare to walk (a lot) and climb stairs. It’s not the most handicap friendly, and wear comfortable shoes, since the streets are all cobblestone.
In Rome, we were a little touristy, seeing the Colosseum and the Roman Forum as part of the tour. Though one of the things we opted in for, was going to Vatican on the Sunday and actually getting a papal blessing. Being in Vatican Square amongst all those people and hearing the pope speak was something I will never forget.
Food wise, the hole in the walls were my favorite. One in particular is called Sora Margherita’s in the Jewish Ghetto. I know it sounds weird, but truly that was just the part of town the Jewish population settled in during the 1800’s. Now it is a very popular area, but some of the gems still exist. This place is a hole in the wall, with only a red curtain as it’s doorway. Be prepared to eat, and let the waitress choose for you. Some good options are Cacio e Pepe pasta (cheese and pepper) and also fried squash blossoms.
Under the Sorrento Sunset
After our jaunt in Rome, we then packed up and moved on to Sorrento for two nights. I truly wish we had more time in Sorrento since the hotel was bonkers. Too pretty for words and photos cannot even do it justice. Sorrento is a resort town overlooking the ocean and is a few miles away from Capri, so you can imagine the vibes.
Speaking of Capri, we went on a day trip to Capri the second day and it’s an experience. Very touristy on the main part of the island, and known for sandals and crystals. Oh and being super expensive, just FYI. We took a boat tour around the island, stopping in to little grottos and just being on the water. I’m not one for boats usually but this was so peaceful, and the water is incredibly clear, it’s ridiculous.
*Side note, if you choose to visit Sorrento, stay at the Hotel Parco dei Principi if you can, you won’t be sorry.
Florence is for lovers
If you love food, art and feeling like a local, Florence/Tuscany is for you. The best food and memories I have from Italy are in Florence, where I studied art history for a month intersession class in college. Being able to retrace my memories and getting to share it with my family was so special for me.
There are too many things to mention in Florence, so here are some of my favorites:
- Best Panino: All’Antico Vinnaio, or Salumeria Verdi (Pino’s Sandwiches)
- Best Dinner (authentic Florentine cuisine): Il Gatto e La Volpe, Acqua Al Due
- Best Gelato: Grom, Perche’ No, or Vivoli
- Shopping: San Lorenzo Leather Market, Piazza di Santa Croce
- Museums/Art to see: Gli Uffizi, Gucci Gardens, All’Academia (Michelangelo’s David), Il Duomo
Also as a side note, my all time favorite dish is a Tuscan stew called Ribollita. You can’t get it in the states, so if you ever go over, you need to get it.
We ended the last day in Florence at a winery in Tuscany, where we tried 10 different wines from the winery, had a plated lunch, and I got fed a biscotti by an attractive Italian man. I’d say it was a good way to end the trip. Though being back home feels pretty good too.