My husband and I recently arrived home from a two-week adventure overseas. When we got married, we were able to take some time off for our honeymoon, but life looked a lot different at that point and it was difficult to plan anything for more than a few days or a week at the most. So we promised ourselves that we would take an extended trip together before we turned thirty, and we both really wanted to explore Europe. Fortunately, we both now have super supportive work families that made it easier to walk away and enjoy some time off. I need to give a special shout-out to Amy here for managing ALL elements of the business while we were away – that is no small task and I am so thankful that she so graciously offered to handle it all and encouraged me to not bring my computer or stress about anything while I was away! We truly had the best time.
I wanted to write a post about our journey because I thought it would be fun to share some highlights + other tips and suggestions (including what to pack) for any of you that may be planning something similar in the future! We spent two weeks away, so I decided it would be best to split it into two posts – one post would simply be way too long. 🙂 Our adventure started in Italy because the Amalfi Coast and Positano was on my personal bucket list and I just HAD to go! But I also wanted to do all of the sightseeing in Rome, so that’s where we flew into first.
Obviously, there is SO much history in Rome, which pretty much makes it the coolest city ever. It’s nearly impossible to walk anywhere and NOT run into something historical. The first day we were there, my husband and I walked over 15 miles all over the city to take in all the sights. There is also a really easy to navigate city bus system and plenty of taxis around if you don’t feel up to walking that much (but I can tell you first hand it felt so good coming off that plane ride).
Here’s a list of everything we were able to see during our time there:
- The Colosseum
- The Roman Forum
- Palatine Hill
- Altare della Patria
- The Vatican
- Sistine Chapel
- Peter’s Basilica
I won’t get into too much detail about all of these, as you can easily read and find much more factual information on the internet, but for what it’s worth, my top two favorites were the Colosseum and the Sistine Chapel. These were also my husband’s favorites. Also important to note that we were able to see all of this in one day, but I would highly recommend spreading them out over two! Especially because we still didn’t get to see everything that we wanted to.
We pre-booked tickets for the Colosseum and the Vatican online. They were supposed to be “skip the line” tickets – but it still took us over two hours to get through the line to the Colosseum. The earlier you can get to both of these places, the better. We did them both in the same day so we did not have that luxury. We did the Colosseum mid-morning and headed to the Vatican in the early afternoon. By the time we got there, we were over the whole wait in line concept, so we negotiated buying into a group tour which allows you to truly skip the line and get in right away. The only downside to the group tours is that they can be LONG (like, multiple hours) so do your research and make sure you’re aware of time so you can squeeze everything in that you want to!
Where to stay:
If you’re looking for convenience, there are so many places to stay around all of the popular tourist sites. I was hoping to get away from all the craziness at night (and pay a little less), so we stayed at a family owned and operated bed and breakfast around the British Embassy. It was close to bus stations and easy to navigate. The downside was that even though we were removed from the main attractions, it was still very loud and hard to sleep at night. Rome is a crazy, noisy city!! If we go back, I would do more research on quieter neighborhoods. We heard Trastevere is nice but I can’t speak first hand on whether or not that’s true. Maybe I’ll just have to go back and find out for myself 😉
What to pack:
Even if you opt to take a bus or a taxi from place to place, you will still find yourself doing a ton of walking. You will 100% need to wear tennis shoes/sneakers, so pack outfits that you can pair them with. I absolutely loved wearing my Striped T-Shirt Dress because I could wear it with sneakers and still look cute and put together.
From Rome we took a high-speed train to Naples. From Naples, you must hire a private driver or taxi because there are no other public transportation options that will take you to the coast. After we got there, it was easy to understand why – the roads are so narrow and windy and Italians drive like crazy people who don’t value their life. Anyways, as I said before, the Amalfi Coast has been on my bucket list for a long time; once I got there I was NOT disappointed – it is truly dreamy beyond imagination and I am now an advocate for making sure everyone adds it to their own bucket list.
Where to visit:
Positano is a MUST! It was so much more than I ever thought it would be. I was just excited for the beach, but there are SO many restaurants, bars, independent shops and most important – gelato stands! I recommend multiple days here if possible. There are several beaches – we stayed on the main beach and rented chairs but you can also hop on a boat in the main harbor for free which will take you to a more secluded beach where the chair rentals are cheaper and apparently they serve you meals as well! #winning
Where to stay:
If you don’t have to budget and you love people, Positano is where ALL of the action is! Again, we were looking to save some money and get out of the crazy tourist areas so we chose to stay outside of Positano in Montepertuso and I would HIGHLY recommend this adorable little town to anyone! We had the best experience with our Air BnB villa – amazing views and the best hosts, who brought us fresh vegetables and eggs every day! They also greeted us with champagne and cake, which basically means they got an auto 5 star review. Anyways, Montepertuso is a very quaint and quiet town which was the best scene to come back to after our days in Positano. And I can’t forget, the best restaurants with the most amazing food!!
Where to eat:
Il Ritrovo in Montepertuso. We went twice because the food and the service was ON POINT. It has such an amazing wine selection with incredible fresh seafood and amazing pasta!
What to pack:
Positano is so bright and cheerful with fresh florals everywhere, so I felt like I fit right in with my Off the Shoulder Top in Floral. It was super hot so I opted to pair it with jean shorts and slider sandals. At night, I loved dressing up a little for dinner at Il Ritrovo in the Melrose Midi. Dresses are always the easiest outfit to pack in a suitcase!
All in all, I absolutely loved Italy. I mean, where else can you acceptably eat pizza and spaghetti for breakfast?! Next time I hope to see Venice, Florence and Tuscany! Who else has been to Italy and what were your favorite places?! Leave a comment and let me know, because I definitely plan on going back! – Alli