Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Travel Adventures- Italy

One year ago today, Eric and I were frantically packing for our honeymoon in Italy.  As a way of reminiscing, I thought I would put together a little travel post on our Italy experience (because I wish I was there now).

When Eric and I began discussing our honeymoon, we decided to each come up with a list of our top five places we would like to travel to.  We went to our separate spots, jotted down our choices and then revealed them to one another.  Italy was number two on each of our lists (Fiji was my number one, Australia was Eric's) and it was as easy as that.  One month later, our eleven day trip to Italy was booked.

Let me back up again though.  We had other parameters for this trip- we wanted to keep the trip to a two week time period, we didn't want to have to plan ANY of the details (hotel, transportation,etc) and finally, we wanted to see as much of Italy as possible while there.  So, while the trip would be relaxing from a planning perspective, it would be busy/ exciting once the vacation was under way.

To accomplish this, we turned to Trafalgar.  Trafalgar is a tour company that takes care of everything for you.  Hotel, transportation, bilingual guides, tickets for sight-seeing excursions.  Basically, we just had to pack our bags and the rest was taken care of.  Although I did love the trip, I would say that in retrospect, I do not know if I would have gone the Trafalgar route, but I can honestly say that I do not know if we would have seen near as much of Italy had we not.

Our trip started in Rome, with three days of sight seeing.  Day one, Eric and I were on our own and decided to take the subway to Vatican City and do a Scavi tour.  Scavi tours are private pre-booked tours through the Vatican office of Excavations that take you to the necropolis under St. Peter's Basilica.  You are not allowed to take pictures down there, but this plan shows you where we were.  You literally drop three floors underground below the church.

It was absolutely fascinating and something I highly recommend.  You need to book about six months out though.

Day two was spent at Vatican City with our tour group.  We hauled booty through as much of the Vatican as possible in one day (the Sistine chapel was amazing).  The advantage of being in a tour group- no waiting in lines.

Vatican museums:

That night, we ate dinner in an underground restaurant that was actually in the tunnels that the Gladiators used to access the coliseum.

Day three in Rome was spent at the Coliseum, Forum and Trevi Fountain.

I have heard some say that it isn't necessary to pay the extra money and see the inside of the Coliseum, but I disagree.  It was fascinating.

Apparently, throwing in my coin was very serious business.

And just like that, our time in Rome was done.  Day four, we drove down to the Amalfi Coast for some beach time.

We spent some time in both Sorrento and Positano.  They are both absolutely gorgeous.  Very touristy, but not something to be missed.  We wandered the streets, swam in the water and drank Lemoncello!

Day five, we made the short trip to Pompeii.  Pompeii is an ancient Roman city that was destroyed in 79 A.D. with the explosion of Mount Vesuvius.  When I asked Eric after our trip what his favorite part of the trip was, he said Pompeii, without a doubt.

It is a bit erie because the people living in Pompeii were entombed by the ashes and essentially made molds of how the people just fell over to their deaths.

We spent a couple of hours wandering around Pompeii and you could truly imagine life in what was a bustling city.  Amazing.

Day 6 was spent in Assisi, which was in route to Venice.  It was one of my favorite spots of the entire trip.

Assisi is famous for St. Francis of Assisi's tomb.  The town is gorgeous- medieval, clean, crawling with monks and peoples pets, and just plain relaxing.  We were lucky enough to stay the night there and the city emptied of tourists around 7PM.  Eric and I walked around late into the evening enjoying the town to ourselves, which is a novel concept in Italy, which is crawling with tourists.

There is also a medieval castle at the top of Assisi that you can explore.  For six euro, you can wander anywhere within the castle and it was so much fun.  We were running through tunnels and climbing turrets.  Awesome.

That concludes week one of our Italy trip.  I will be back later this week with week two.

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