I know several of you have been looking forward to hearing more details and a closer look into our itinerary from our recent trip to Italy!
Let me just say that this was such a dream trip, the fact that I was able to travel with my husband, Edison, parents, brother, friends, and all of Brandon’s siblings made everything that much more special.So, after getting several requests to write a Italy recap of where we stayed, how long we were there, how Edison did and many other questions I finally rounded up everything into one post. If you are planing on a trip to Italy or have one booked already I really hope you find this post helpful.
…We went to Italy from November 25th – December 5th. A total of 10 days during their off season/winter. I mention the time of year we went because I really do feel like planning our trip in the winter verses summer months really plays a big part on how many days you want to stay in each city.
I wish we would have stayed in Rome longer than the Amalfi coast due to the weather and time of year. (continue on reading to find out more)
We stayed in 3 different cities and visited 7 cities in total.
We first flew into Rome, then took the train to Florence where we stayed for the first 3 nights. Then took the train back to Rome where we stayed 2 nights. Then left for our last destination on the Amalfi Coast in Vico Equense for 4 nights.
We also had the chance to go to Venice, Positano, Ravello, Pompeii and Amalfi.
We do owe it all to my sister in law Nicole for literally planning this entire trip for all of us, she booked airbnb’s, arranged transportation to and from our airbnb’s to the train stations and airports, provided a shuttle service which included tours, and arranged tour guides for us. Which is what I would highly recommend doing. Having a tour guide is the easiest way to see the most you can in a limited amount of days. Plus limited the time we had to be outside finding our way around the city in the cold and somedays rain.
I feel like Italy is a place EVERYONE should visit at some point in their lives. It truly is incredible and something that should be seen by everyone. We were lucky enough to find killer deals when we booked our flights. Since it was the off season we got our plane tickets for $350 round trip and direct flight. Let my say that again. ROUND TRIP AND DIRECT FLIGHT for only $350!!!! Yes, we just couldn’t resist booking that exact day! We called just about everyone we knew and got them all on board. Which is why we had a total of 13 of us including 2 babies.
We really lucked out with the price of airbnb’s in each city we stayed in. All but one location (Vico Equense) could host 8-10 people which made things even more affordable by splitting the cost between several people. Plus, due to the off season again, the prices were already at a lower rate than the typical summer months.
(I will be sharing other tips, stories, and exact location under each photo so be sure to notice so you don’t miss anything!)
We stayed at the Villa Sorrento Coast – You can find the exact place here!
We noticed this little boy kept starring at Edison and smiling. So of course we smiled back while tying to get Edison to wave hello. After they were sat at their table the little boy brought over 3 toy cars for Edison to play with. (The cute boy had about 10 cars in total and kept them in a row on his table) While we were thinking that was the sweetest thing he could do, it only got better when we were getting ready to leave the restaurant. I walk over to return the borrowed toys and thank them the best I could (they didn’t speak english) for letting Edison play with his toys. Through hand gestures and nodding they told us they wanted Edison to keep the toy cars as a gift! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!! The sweetest ever. We dug through our bags and gave the little boy some american candy as a thank you!
It really makes me want to do this with Edison as he gets older. A simple yet fun way that teaches them great things by giving up some of their “favorite” toys to make someone else’s day!
Here is the exact link to the Villa we stayed at in Vico Equense.
Since we had 8-10 people staying with us each night we got larger places. Even though this airbnb sleeps 8 people it is such a great location as far as views and closeness to downtown is.While we were staying in the Amalfi Coast we were able to visit Sorrento, Amalfi, Ravello and Positano.
We decided to visit each of the cities along the coast through a tour verses taking the city bus. We figured with such a large group it would be much more organized. After doing it this way we were so grateful! The roads are extremely NARROW! Our driver who was driving a Mercedes van had to fold in his mirrors to be able to pass some cars on the road. It was a little bit freaky, plus we didn’t get carsick being in a smaller vehicle. I really think a bus would ruin me! On that note, pack some motion sickness pills with you while in Sorrento!!!
Our tours and transfers to and from Naples train station were arranged by the AirBnb owner which we were thankful for having that option.We also paid for a cooking class that we did in the comfort of our Villa. It was so much fun learning how to cook real Italian food with Italian people. The food was amazing and we had enough leftovers to last us several days. Which is why we decided to schedule the cooking class the 2nd day we arrived so we could save money and eat leftovers the last two days!
Lastly while exploring the Amafli Coast was the last full day we had which was spent in Pompeii. I actually was the only one from our group you didn’t go to Pompeii. I had woken up a little sick to my stomach the morning of and decided it would be best if I stayed home to rest since we were taking a 13 hour flight home the next day. I didn’t want to feel sick while on a plane. I was so grateful I stayed home and sent Edison with Brandon and our families. I ended up sleeping for 7 hours!!! I did wake up the next day feeling much better.
From what everyone said about Pompeii it was one of their favorites from the trip.
Darn it, Next time!
One advantage of traveling in the off season verses the summer is avoiding the crowds.
From what my SIL mentioned when she went a year earlier in the summer there was thousands and thousands of people in such a small space. You are shoulder to shoulder with several strangers and can’t get a decent photo in front of the fountain without having everyone else in your photo with you.
LUCKY for us, there were people there, but not anywhere close to 1,000. In fact we got all of our photos without having strangers in it. Even better we were able to go and toss a coin in the fountain without having to push our way to the front!
I would say that braving the cold is sure the way to see Italy if you want to avoid the touristy season!
(Be sure to toss the coin in your right hand and over your left shoulder for you wish to actually work!!)
Doing a 2 day tour with a large group of people is again the best way to explore Europe. Especially in the rainy season. We were able to stay dry, and of course had to do absolutely zero thinking when it came to figuring out a city, and transportation to and from different sight seeing locations. It saved us SO MUCH TIME!!!
Here is the tour company we used in Rome.
We did the ‘Rome in 2 Days’ tour and our tour guide’s name was Rossella Rocca. She was so amazing and informative! I highly recommend her
This was where we stayed while in Rome.
We only had one day to visit and took the train from Florence. It was about a 2.5 hour ride which made for a long day, but totally worth it.
Only half of our group ended up going to Venice while Brandon and his brother went to the Lamborghini Factory and my SIL’S went to Milan.
I remember this day so vividly because we almost missed our train ride by missing our alarm and not waking up on time. We darted out the door and made it within seconds, only to have the train delayed. Probably such a blessing for us! I would have been devastated not getting the chance to see Venice.
Be sure to plan extra layers for Venice, it was SO cold during the Winter because you are near water the entire day, which made it more humid and right to the bone kind of cold.
Which I highly recommended too!!
Worth every penny.
It surprisingly took us some time to hunt down a gondolier, we later learned that if you go closer to St. Mark’s Square you are more likely to have better and quicker results. They also don’t go as frequently in the winter, so we were happy we were able to still make it happen!
Again, due to the time we made it to the square we missed out on going inside Doge’s Palace. Seeing the outside was amazing too!We knew we needed to get some hot coco in Venice because it was just so cold! The only problem with finding hot chocolate in Italy is, it’s nothing like american hot chocolate. It is straight chocolate goop! Thick and bitter. I wasn’t ever a fan. We were all thrilled when we found a place in Ravello that was serving hot coco powder with water!!We visited a recommended place by my brother. “The Most Interesting Book Store in the World” It sure does live up to it’s name! Books from the group up to the ceiling, creating shapes, and unusual shelves made it so much fun. One of my favorite souvenir I got was a children’s book for Edison about just one day in Venice. I decided I will start buying books as a fun reminder everywhere Edison has traveled.
I remember loving it, and felt like it was such a charming city.
Maybe I don’t have a vivd memory of it because it was our first day and I realized that I had not packed warm enough clothes for as low as the temperatures were. It was generally in the 30-50’s but I wasn’t thinking about the humidity and the fact that I was going to be outside the entire day. Normally if I am in those low temps I am just going from car to building and don’t realize how cold it gets.
Thankfully my brother, who has been a world traveling going on 3 years, was more prepared than I was. I, who brought a total of 2 luggages (both Edison and I) didn’t have enough clothing to layer on top of each other. But my brother who packed one backpack, gave me his down coat that was thin enough to wear under my coat and on top of my sweater. I wore it EVERYDAY and told him he couldn’t have it back! Thankfully he never needed it. I also ended up wearing the same long sleeve shirt under my sweatshirts and the same pair of black leggings under my jeans EVERYDAY!!!! It was the only way I could keep warm.
So on this day, the first day in Florence, I didn’t have my extra layers, and was just froze to the bone!!
Be smarter than me, and pack better!!!!
We had to tease everyone and my brother because the guy who packed the smallest bag ended up lending out gloves, scarves, hats, thermals to so many of us! I guess 3 years of traveling you have it down!!!
Don’t go on Mondays!!!
All museums are closed on Monday’s and we weren’t fully aware of that. We were especially sad to not be able to see the real David staue, however there is a replica outside the Church of Croce, but from what I am told, it is a lot better than the one in Vegas ;)We did do a walking tour by a man named Jonathan in Florence and I loved that we were still able to visit and see several things we most likely would have missed if we didn’t do a walking tour.
If you are looking to do a walking tour you can contact Jonathan through their Bed & Breakfast contact that they run in Tuscany.
As a quick round up, I wanted to share everything we did in the 10 days we visited Italy. Just so you know how many things you can plan around.
Replica of David Staue in the Palazzo Vecchio
Church of Santa Croce
St. Mark’s Square
Arch of Constantine
Basilica in Saint Paul outside the walls
Castle of St. Angelo ( I never mentioned this above, but really highly recommend it. We were all taken by surprise and loved it!)
St. Peter’s Basilica
Sistine Chapel (again, never talked about it above, but simply amazing!!)
Pieta Staue by Michelangelo
Here are just a few tips that I would like to share that I wish we would have done or tried.
– Pack light: I felt that I did pretty good with luggage. 1 bag for each of us. Orginally it was going to be two. But I felt I should throw in some extra sweaters because of the low temperatures. Packing for winter clothes is already tough to begin with. Again three bags would have been doable, still hard when dealing with trains. But what we didn’t think about prior to packing was having the stroller, boppy pillow, and two backpacks we used as carry ons. Next time I travel to Europe. One backpack, and one small carry on for both Edison and I!
-Watch Documentaries: Be sure to read up and watch several documentaries before going to each destination. I wish I would have. It would have been so much for impactful having more knowledge about the colosseum while being there. Just like everywhere else, Pompeii would have been a good thing to watch too.
-Don’t plan on going to Cinque Terre and Capri during the winter. Most of the little cities are closed down. For Capri, you could still go, but the waters are super choppy and of course not everything will be open.
Overall we had such an amazing trip and I love having such a good memory to always remember!
I hope this blog post was helpful to those of you who plan on going one day. I am so sorry it was long, but felt I needed to share my experience!