Wednesday, June 27, 2012


So as many of you know ( I mean really... how could you not with all of my obnoxious posts?), Sam and I are off on a new adventure this week.  We embark to Italy this weekend! To say that I am excited is an understatement.  Coming from two families where travel was not a priority or not always feasible (other than travel within the state), this will be both of our first trip overseas.

To be honest this trip was more my idea than Sam's, and I am lucky that I have a supportive husband who agreed to this "pre-midlife crisis".  About 7 months ago, I was in a funk one day and could not figure out why. I realized that travel abroad was a part of my life that I needed to experience.  I had always dreamed of travelling the world.  I am not really one for collecting stuff, toys, or material possessions. This is more my husband's cup of tea, which I understand; however, I would much rather go somewhere new and fun! I am appreciative that I have ventured through many of these United States, but I have always wanted to experience other cultures and lands. We needed to make it a priority, and he supported me in this dream. I am so grateful!

I am anxious to see beautiful landscapes and foreign seas, learn a new language (maybe a little bit...), try new foods (This is a challenge for me, but I am trying to get better.), soak in the ageless art and architecture, appease my inner history-buff, relax, and drink wine.  And did I mention drink wine?

As you can imagine, I will blog about our vacation when we return.  I hope to keep a log of our adventures, experiences, meals, tips, and more as we go, so I should have much to report!  I will log in and post pictures when I can access wifi, but will have a full report here. Just in case you are interested in our trip, I have laid out our overall itinerary below as a sneak peek.


We will begin by venturing to Venice with a brief layover in London.  I wish it was a longer layover, so we could actually poke about London while on "holiday", but that will have to wait until a future trip. Once we arrive in Venice (Venezia)- after an overnight flight- hopefully we can fight off the jetlag somewhat to enjoy St. Mark's Square and the striking views from the canal!  Most of our three days in Venice have been slated in the official itinerary as "wander".  Truly, we just plan to walk all over and soak in Italy.  We may take a water taxi out to Murano to check out the beautiful glass blowing if we feel so inclined!



Venice to Milan to Monterosso al Mare

Our next stop will be to take the train (I have never ridden on an actual train!!) via Milan to Monterosso al Mare- a small seaside town on the Mediterranean in the Italian Riviera.  It is one of five small towns - The Cinque Terre- connected by a steep water's edge hiking path.  We plan to relax by the beach and hike the entire trail seeing all five of the towns.  The entire area has been through quite a lot in the last year, as they had torrential flooding and mudslides last October, but now they are back on their feet. I feel that visiting this area is very important, as the people of this area need the tourism in order to make a full rebound. I think this may secretly be the part of our trip that I am looking forward to the most... everyday people in a quaint and charming atmosphere. And the beach helps.

Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre


Monterosso al Mare to Pisa to Florence

Next we will take the train, with a brief stop in Pisa, to Florence (Firenze). We will spend about three days here- soaking in the great works of Renaissance and Baroque artists, such as Bernini, Leonardo da Vinci, Carravagio, Raphael, Titian and many more. With ancient art and architecture abound, we will have a lot to see in a little bit of time! Some of the highlights include the Uffizi museum and then the Accademia, to see Michaelangelo's David. We also plan to climb the steps of the Duomo, walk the streets, and explore the gardens and outdoor markets.  We plan to meet up for a night in Florence with my good friends from college, Abby and Dogan, who will also happen to be there! I fully intend to eat obscene amounts of gelato while in Florence.



The path we plan to take (more or less) through Tuscany

After Florence, we will continue through Tuscany, renting a tiny European car and trolling the countryside, visiting hilltowns and wineries! We are staying at an agriturismo in Greve in Chianti. Agriturismo's are working farms that are given subsidies from the Italian government to also function as B & B's, fostering both farming and tourism.  There are many along the countryside, and the one we have chosen is a winery, as well as a producer of olive oil.  We will stay in their farm house for three nights, eating delicious homemade breads, meats, and cheeses while sampling the local wines and relaxing.  We have three scheduled stops over our three days in the Tuscan countryside- all arranged tours at wineries and castles. Otherwise we may just venture about from tiny town to town and see what we happen upon.  I will be sure to give a thorough report upon our return. 

View of San Gimignano in Tuscany


Florence to Rome

After our tour of Tuscany, we return the car to the Florence airport and then take the super fast train to Rome.  We will be in Rome the final four days and nights of our trip.  We are staying in a private apartment that overlooks the Colosseum! Some of the sites that we plan to see include the obvious must-see's such as the Colosseum, the Roman forum, and Palatine Hill.  We also plan to visit the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, and Trevi Fountain among all of the numerous Piazzas and bustling neighborhoods of the city.  We have a day dedicated to touring Vatican City and St. Peter's Basillica as well. On our last day we may rent bicycles and venture along the ancient Appian Way to sight-see the ancient road that is preserved as it was so many years ago with a possible visit to the aqueducts and catacombs. We then fly out of Rome, again through London, and back to Chicago. 

I can't wait to go and although a bit apprehensive, I know it will be a vacation of a lifetime for us.  Stay tuned!  

1 comment:

  1. YAY!!!!!!!!!
    have a BLAST!!!
    SO happy for you! cannot wait to hear all about it!