Oct 16, 2012


I have a pot of soup simmering on the stove right now.
 It is full of tomatoes, garlic, basil and other things that make it smell Italian.
I just dropped Barrett off at our soccer carpool meeting spot. 
I have two hours before I need to go pick her up.
Gotta love a good carpool!

There is no time like the present to finally share pictures of our trip to Italy.

We went to celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary
and were there for  two weeks.  We were very nervous about going.
First, we were leaving our youngest, Barrett, home with the two older girls. They were just finishing up their semesters at school and had to commute back and forth. The three of them together had to see to it that Barrett got to school on time with homework, lunch and soccer gear in hand.
That was not an easy assignment for these girls!
Trust me, I know them!

We also were very nervous about our arrangements for the trip.
We booked everything (except airline arrangements) through someone we found online.
She is not a travel agent per se, but more of an itinerary planner.
She booked our drivers, private tour guides, made reservations and suggested just about everything we did on our trip.  When we took off in Charlotte, bound for  Naples, all we could do was toast to our adventure and pray we saw a little Italian man holding a sign with our name on it when we got there....
and we did!!!

Let me just say our trip was AMAZING and went off without a hitch!
It was first class all the way!
Every train ticket we had in our hand was good, every corner we were supposed to meet a tour guide on was manned with a GREAT english speaking person looking for us, every restaurant reservation added to the POUNDS that I am still cussing and trying to shed. 

We stayed in small "boutique hotels"...... who knew there was such a term.
Florence was a little creepy because we may have been the only people staying in our hotel the first day and breakfast was served in a formal dining room (on one of those long tables you see in the movies) and, just like the movies, we had our own butler that attended to us.  
At first I was a little hesitant and didn't like being "attended" to, but ten minutes into it,
I was all about it!  
I could get used to that.
(I haven't stopped buying lottery tickets since we've been home!)

Anyhow, we spent a few days on the Amalfi Coast, in Positano.
We stayed at Le Sirenuse.
(The red one.)

We took day trips to Amalfi and Capri and ate our weight in seafood.

Our balcony over looked the entire area and we were very content to just sit there and take in the view.

From there, we had a driver pick us up and take us to Pompeii for a tour

then we headed to Rome for three days. I think we walked 1,000 miles at least.
We had a tour of the ruins one morning and of the Vatican one afternoon.  
We parked ourselves at cafes for red wine and ate at small restaurants off the beaten path.  

After Rome, we went to Tuscany and the Chianti region.
I think I found heaven on earth!

We stayed at Castello Banfi.

(the way to our room)

Outside our door was a rose garden and a balcony/patio that overlooked a valley and since we had nobody staying in the rooms near us, we decided that it was OURS!

We toured so many little villages and towns in the area I lost count.
We bought cheese, wild boar sausage and balsamic vinegar.
Art shipped wine home.

From there we were once again picked up and driven to Florence. 
We. Loved. Florence.

(the beautiful lobby in Florence)

(our room)

(one of the few pictures of me from the entire trip)

We spent one morning with a guide. 
She was an American lady about my age that met an Italian man from Florence while she was an exchange student and ended up staying there and marrying him.
(sigh........just like the movies....)
We had a great time with her.
Another day we took the train to Bologna ( 45 minutes) for a food tour.
We were met right on time and whisked away, along with six others,
up into the hills of what is known as the food capital of Italy.
We went to a parmigiano reggiano factory, a parma ham curing house, a balsamic house
and then finally to a local farm town restaurant where we experienced probably the best meal ever!
We needed to walk back to Florence instead of taking the train!

We took a cooking class in Florence with the two cutest Australians!

After our time in Florence, we took the train to Venice.
We took a water taxi to our hotel and immediately left to explore and savor our last three days in Italy.  

(our room)

We found a hole in the wall that had great seafood.
We ended up hanging around there and eating there more than once. 

We spent our last day on the islands on Burano and Murano.

(It was laundry day for her!)

The next morning....
we were on our water taxi headed to the airport.
Sad to leave, but ready to get home.


Love Being A Nonny said...

OH. MY. WORD. The trip of a LIFETIME girl! I am living through you on this trip!! Amazing...the food, the places you stayed...everything!! I had to laugh when you said you pretended it was yours!!! LOL Thanks for sharing!

Formerly known as Frau said...

Wow what an amazing trip! I loved Italy one of our favorite European vacations....still so much to see. Our 25th is this year....hard to plan a trip when the University cost of killing us. I want to go to Napa and San Fran. some time this year to celebrate. Awesome pictures!

Okiegirl said...

Okay now I'm in love with Italy too. Wonderful pictures!

Okiegirl said...

Wow now I'm in love with Italy too! Wonderful pictures!