Europe is slowly becoming my favourite continent, with an array of cities I am dying to frequent. Paris, is always on my mind. I certainly plot my return every other month. I can’t wait to get to Berlin, Madrid or Santorini. There’s just something about summer in Europe that houses the answers to some of life’s many questions. It’s like the great escape.
On a quick trip to Italy for my 27th birthday, I got a little taste of how amazing an Italian Summer can be.
Day 1 & Day 2
The Rome Experience
Rome is a fascinating city.
On first looks only, it screams “picturesque”. Every corner has a grand statue, ancient ruins, little cobbled piazzas, fountains and pizza.
It’s a pizza filled eternal city.
One of my favourite things about being in Europe, is giving myself a free walking tour. I love how you can get lost exploring different places. On our first day we decided to do just that, and got a little lost finding somewhere to eat. We’re still not sure if we’d be able to retrace our steps to where we had the best Margerita pizza in the whole of Italy.
We chose to stay at an absolutely beautiful B&B called The Spanish Suite just walking distance from Piazza Venezia, the central hub of Rome. There’s so much to see from here (you can spot the Colosseum and Roman Forum in the distance) and it’s a lot of fun to people watch too.
Before I had even made it to Rome, I had dreamt of cruising the streets decorated with cobbled stones on a little red scooter. I unfortunately never got around to that. What we did instead was spend some time in The Vatican City, visiting the Vatican Museum, and Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo’s art is magical its almost unreal. A type of art that could have only been established in the heavens. His depictions are breathtaking.
It’s not a Roman experience if you don’t toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain (videos to follow — rumour has it this locks in your return) or walk a little further past the fountain and marvel at the Pantheon and…….more statues.
On our last night in Rome we enjoyed a glass of Prosecco and a few cocktails at iSofa Restaurant and Bar, which had some lovely views of the sun setting just after 9pm (another favourite thing about European summers).
All in all, Rome was a lot of fun, too bad we only had 2 nights and 1 full day.
In the Heart of Sorrento
The next part of our trip took us out of Rome’s busy streets to a small but spectacular town in southern Italy called Sorrento. It’s crowded by homes built in to the cliffs, facing Mount Vesuvius, spread across the northern stretch of the peninsula. With little to no knowledge of the area, we rented an airbnb, Villa Rosamaria, which was a beautiful choice. Our host Stefano, yummy to look at, was friendly and super helpful. He not only shared his “best things to do on the Amalfi Coast” tips with us but directed us towards Sorrento’s best pizza.
Pizza that is much more affordable than in Rome.
THE AMALFI COAST
I must have misled you earlier when I described Rome as picturesque because that’s definitely Positano. This is where the Amalfi Coast truly begins. Everything is just as beautiful as a dream, it doesn’t feel quite real when you’re there. If you look up towards the mountains, it boasts pastel coloured houses that seem to have been stacked one on top of another drawing a sort of crescent on a winding hillside. It gives the impression this small town was built during the height of an artistic historical period.
It was about 35ºC on the day we chose to visit, which was slightly unbearable (mostly because you have to find your way around on foot) but it made up for it with a great lunch at L’Incanto just along the shore.
Positano is enchanting. No wonder it’s a favoured holiday spot.
Day 4 Cont’d
Surprisingly the sun didn’t suck all the energy out of us, right after a climb through Positano’s hills, we took a drive out to Pompeii (much closer to Naples) for a tour of the “ghostly” ruins of ancient Pompeii. This was an adventure that took us back in time. Between 6th–7th century BC to be exact.
Our guide, Antonio, was so patient and lovely. He allocated an extra few minutes at each stop just for us to take pictures, “like the Japanese” he’d say. He made sure we immersed ourselves in this Roman experience with no distractions. We dressed how they would have, ate and drank wine from that period too.
This was enriching.
Can I just say that Capri is a playground for the rich and famous? As soon as you arrive, you realise that its not cheap. I still have to remind myself that I’ve walked through its steep hills or rode a €20 taxi just to get from Marina Piccola to Capri’s centre.
FYI, Getting back to any kind of desktop should be illegal once you’ve been to Capri.
But of course it’s a beautiful island filled with shopping streets, restaurants and anything you need for the perfect summer i.e. gelato. The gelato in Capri was definitely the best I had tasted in the whole of Italy.
We got to Capri via private boat from Amalfi, making short stops by the bridge of Furore, the Blue, Green and White Grottoes and the magical Faraglioni Rocks. We even got a chance to swim in the Mediterranean Sea and encountered one lonely jellyfish.
The Mediterranean Sea is such a perfect blue.
Day 5 Cont’d
The Romantic Ravello
On the other side of the coast you have stunning Ravello. Filled with iconic gardens and views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Its the perfect place along the stretch of the coast for a wedding (we saw two) — my friend has even convinced herself she’ll have hers there.
We couldn’t leave the coast without a visit to Ravello so we chose to spend our last night dining at Terrazza Belvedere at the Palazzo Alvino. It was a fairy tale. I could sit on the Palazzo Alvino terrace, explore the gardens and eat pasta all day.
I wouldn’t drink too much limoncello though.
Back to Roma! Our trip back to the city wasn’t long. We took a drive to Naples and the fast train to Rome. Made it back just in time to have our last pizza across from the Colosseum and spent the afternoon shopping before boarding the flight back to reality.
Just a few things:
- Everything on the Amalfi Coast is about lemons and limoncello (drink at your own risk)
- It’s quite a pricey location. Factoring in getting there, and transport around as well. But if you plan ahead and budget accordingly, you’ll be good.
- Italian wine is heaven.
- Don’t be afraid to just get lost in the day. Even if they don’t speak fluent English, the locals are so easy to talk to. And they love their dark skinned foreigners!
- Summer is the best time to visit the coast (duh) so this means there are large tour groups everywhere. Try to get ahead by booking tours online to skip long winding queues (this counts for Rome too)
- For any info on how to get to the coast, you can use my contact form or get in touch in the comments 🙂