Italy – check that one off the bucket list! I finally visited a country I’ve always wanted to experience and it was nothing short of amazing.
Kenne and I departed on 10 October for Rome. It was a bit damp when we arrived but we were determined to make the most of it. We scoped out a place for lunch in a torrential downpour while we waited to check into our Air B&B. There was a bustling outdoor farmers’ market happening in the square as we enjoyed our food and wine. The next morning we met at Piazza Navona for a walking tour of the city and ancient ruins. We checked out the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Roman Forum, and the Colosseum.
As we strolled back to the apartment to clean up for dinner, we decided to stop in a cool little beer joint. The “white” chips (i.e. garlic and parm house made chips) were fantastic.
That evening, I ate – well, should say devoured – the best spaghetti carbonara I’ve ever had at Osteria Delle Coppelle. In addition to the carbonara, we had some wonderful small starters including goat cheese with honey, pate, and eggplant parmesan.
On Monday we were off to Firenze (Florence). We stayed at a lovely hotel with the nicest staff I’ve encountered during my time in Europe. They spoiled us with great dinner recommendations, nightcaps, and breakfast in bed. The first evening we headed to Osteria del Porcellino and enjoyed great food and great company. I started with the potato and leek soup and followed it up with the spaghetti with clams.
I was so excited to dig in I forgot to take a picture of the spaghetti, oops. Take my word for it, it was delicious. Kenne and I also met Simone from Australia and had lovely conversation while we enjoyed dinner.
The next day, we toured the Duomo – Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral. It is a breath-taking structure constructed from a decorative mix of pink, white and green marble. That night we went to Boccanegra, another recommendation from the hotel. We started with a cheese and jam appetizer and I enjoyed a dish of rabbit with grilled veggies. We decided to check out the bar scene on the way back. We ended up at Off the Hook for a beer and met a couple from Denver. The four of us decided to continue on to a jazz club down the street – Rex. We had a fun evening meeting more new friends, Holly and Brent!
After a train delay from Florence, we made it to Milan on Wednesday. Not going to lie, I wasn’t super psyched about this city. It was interesting to see all of the high fashion shops and the cathedral was beautiful and very intricate.
The best part about being in the city was it was where we got to meet up with our friends from the states – Nels, Sarah, Eric, Abby, Garrett, and Kristy. The best part of our evening in Milan was La Prosciutteria – by far. We fell off the beaten path after meandering through the city’s castle and decided to give it a try and I’m so glad we did. We sipped on wine and nibbled on wonderful dried meats, cheeses, olives, and marinated veggies.
The last stop of our Italian adventure was Venice. Kenne and I used our backpacks for the entire trip which worked out extremely well until we decided to walk to the hotel from the train station when we arrived on Friday afternoon. The map indicated it was a little over a kilometer away so we skipped the water buses and taxis and decided to hike it. That was a mistake. Little did we know that with the zig-zagging paths and bridges it would take us almost an hour and a half to get there. I suppose it wasn’t all bad – at least we burned a few extra calories after all we consumed during the week.
Once we made it to the hotel and Ken showered (again) we went out on the town to celebrate Ken’s birthday. This time we bought a water bus pass to get to our destination! Our friends arrived in Venice earlier that day so we met up with them at a place on the Grand Canal – Ristorante Terraza. To celebrate, Kenne and I went all out with the seafood special and it was delicious. After dinner we found a cool club around the corner with live music, good beer, and free snacks – score!
Our last day in Italy was a beautiful day in Venice. We spent the day exploring and found a nice, quiet place for our last meal in Italy.
Before we knew it, vacation came to an end. In order to make our way home from Venice, we hopped a water bus at 5 am, a bus at 6, a plane at 9, and finally got in the car to drive home around 10:30. We were exhausted by the end, but it was totally worth it. I can’t wait to go back!