Italy Honeymoon Recap: Positano

And we're back for the third and final honeymoon recap post! I mentioned in my Rome recap that we purposely planned our final stop to be Positano because we knew we would be ready for some R&R after being on the go for the first week of our honeymoon. Definitely recommend that!

We took the train from Florence to Naples where we rented a car to drive down the coast to Positano. I've already professed my love for the Italian train system and will do it again because every train trip we took was so easy.

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If you are traveling to Positano, bring comfortable shoes! There are steps literally everywhere and you should be prepared to walk and go up and down stairs a ton. Nick and I joked that walking around town was like nature's stair master. Definitely not the place to wear your cute heels or wedges!

Activities

Hike the Path of the Gods

We didn't plan any actual activities like we did in Rome and Florence, and the only thing we had on our to-do list was to hike the Path of the Gods. We did a self-led hike that was one of the toughest physical activities I've done in my life (and I've run quite a few half-marathons, ten milers, etc) but SO worth it for the amazing view at the top. There are literally no words for how gorgeous it was. All in all, we hiked for about three hours and went over 190 flights of stairs - impressive and definitely a good way to work off some of that pizza and gelato! ;)

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Our hotel was on the beach and with that, we had a small private beach, off to the side from the popular, tourist-filled beach in the center of the city. The weather was a cloudy for most of our time in Positano but we were lucky enough to get a day of sunshine on Day 1 and definitely took advantage! The black sand beaches were gorgeous and my only regret is that we weren't able to travel to Capri (they weren't letting any boats go out due to the weather) because it looked incredible.

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Food

il Tridente

We had our favorite dinner in Positano at il Tridente, a restaurant located inside of the Hotel Poseidon. The food was amazing, the views were incredible and the service was the best of any place we went to in Italy. We sat outside so we could look at the town all lit up, and when it started to get windy, the staff brought out a blanket for me to stay warm. Literally the way to my heart.

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Casa e Bottega

I was most excited to visit Casa e Bottega after reading many positive reviews about their healthy, fresh menu. Our experience, however, wasn't that great and while the food was okay, I wouldn't go there next time we visit the Amalfi Coast. 

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Chez Black

One of my friends recommended Chez Black, a restaurant right on the beach in the center of town. Unfortunately, we happened to go there in the middle of a downpour so we had to sit inside, but it was a great way to spend our final night in Positano. The chef even made me a heart shaped pizza - how can you not love it?!

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All in all, Positano was the perfect way to close out a truly amazing honeymoon. I'm already working on figuring out how to make a return to Florence and Positano in the next few years. 

Italy Honeymoon Recap: Florence

I want to start this post by saying that I was shocked by how much I absolutely loved Florence. To be honest, out of our three Italy destinations, Florence was the one I was least excited about visiting. However, the charming city completely surpassed all expectations I had and I would go back in a heartbeat.

We took the train from Rome to Florence on Sunday morning and transportation was a breeze. The train was very clean, comfortable and fast - totally different from the experience I typically have when I train from Baltimore to NYC for work. 

When we arrived, we checked into yet another Airbnb with an incredible view of the Duomo. Again, our Airbnb was centrally located and we were able to walk pretty much everywhere with the exception of our two activities that were located about 15 minutes outside Florence in the Tuscan countryside.

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Activities

Similar to Rome, we planned two activities so that we could have enough time to really immerse ourselves in the city life but make sure to check some of the Florence must-do's off of our list.

Winery Tour

Our first full day in Florence was Monday, and Nick booked a winery tour for us through a local company called Grape Tours. The tour was led by a master sommelier and we were bussed up into the Tuscan country side early that morning for a day of wine tasting! We made three stops, and learned about the wine-making process and all that goes into producing Chianti Classico - not to be confused with Chianti, which is pretty popular in the US. Chianti Classico is considered to be a bit more refined and higher end wine than Chianti because it’s produced from grapes harvested in the best vineyards of the region. Our tour was extremely informative and ended with an authentic Tuscan lunch at our final stop where we had a "light" lunch of bruschetta, pasta, more bread and cheese and biscotti. I can't recommend doing a tour like this enough because we learned SO much but also got to see what Italy is really all about - the wine! ;)

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Cooking Class

I booked us a pizza and gelato cooking class for Tuesday through Walkabout Tours. Similar to the winery tour, we took a bus up to a farmhouse in the Tuscan hills where we were greeted by Chris, our gelato chef. Despite the rain it was absolutely gorgeous up in the hills and we spent over four hours learning how to make gelato and pizza - and then got to enjoy them. Both Nick and I learned a lot about the science behind gelato making AND the secret to perfect pizza making. It is safe to say American ice cream and pizza don't hold a candle to the homemade meal we made. The class was so fun and our chefs were hysterical - pizza chef Luca had me laughing so hard I was almost crying and I am now his #1 Instagram follower. 

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Shopping

Benheart

Obviously Florence is famous for its leather. Before we even got to Italy, I told Nick I wanted to buy a real leather jacket while in Italy but once we got there it was SO overwhelming. Walking through the city on our first day, I was very overwhelmed and slightly confused because it seemed like every leather shop we walked by had the exact same thing - I couldn't really see anything different or unique. Turns out that's because a lot of those places buy from wholesalers, and more often than not are jackets not even made in Florence.

Cue Benheart!

We had friends who happend to be in Florence at the same time as us and after doing extensive research, they found Benheart, so we went after they raved about their experience there. After spending time with Ben in his store, I totally get it. We got to meet Ben, who is a very well-known designer and owner of 11 leather stores around the world, and he brought out many custom-made jackets for me to try on until I found one that I absolutely loved. And, he was not pushy at all, which was honestly a nice change from some other vendors and merchants we had met. Ben has an incredible story and was so humble and amazing to talk to. Not only did he pick out the most beautiful leather jacket, but he gave me these beautiful leather sandals that I was eyeing up for free with the purchase of my jacket, and also gave Nick and I personalized leather bracelets that I now call our friendship bracelets. :) I love the fact that I have a truly unique, custom jacket and know that it was made in Florence by one of the coolest people I have ever met. If you are even in the market for a leather jacket, Benheart is THE place. Bonus: he also might put you on his Instagram.

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Food & Drinks

Shake Cafe

Another Italian city, another smoothie place to check out! Shake Cafe is the healthy spot of my dreams. Not only did their menu feature amazing smoothie and acai bowl combinations, they served all kinds of healthy coffee drinks and breakfast/lunch options. I loved their homemade granola (full of hazelnuts) and got one every day we were in Florence along with an iced coconut milk latte.

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Trattoria ZaZa

One of my best friends recommended Trattoria ZaZa to me and we had dinner there not once, but twice because it was so good! The wine was great, the bread was amazing and the best dish of the meal was the Tuscan vegetable soup. Nick and I went back the second night solely for the soup which says a lot for an Italian restaurant! 

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Rasputin

Nick's coworker and her husband happened to be in Florence at the same time, so we met up with them for dinner and drinks. They had gone to a speakeasy the night before and suggested going after dinner, so we walked throughout the city until we ended up at a very unassuming building, covered in picture frames. Once we knocked, one of the frames slid open and we were brought inside and downstairs to a reservation-only space. It was so different and they had a very unique drink menu full of crazy combinations that just worked. I ordered a tequila-based drink that tasted very much like a margarita and loved it. It's not easy to find Rasputin but SO worth it.

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I'm already trying to think of ways to get back to Florence. It totally stole my heart and I would go back tomorrow if I could.

 

Italy Honeymoon Recap: Rome

Ciao! Eight months later, we just got back from our honeymoon in Italy and it was amazing

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We spent 10 days in Italy, split between Rome, Florence and Positano. We flew out of Philly on Wednesday night, landed in Rome on Thursday morning and hit the ground running. One of the best things about Italy is the convenient, clean and easy public transportation that makes traveling from city to city a breeze. We took the train from Rome to Florence and Florence to Naples, where we picked up a rental car and drove down the coast to Positano. 

I'm going to recap each city separately so first up - Rome!

Activities

Nick and I split up planning and he planned the activities while I planned our shopping and food must-do's. I have to give him a LOT of credit because he picked some great companies for our tours and we both loved everything we did in Rome.

Friday morning, we walked over to Vatican City for a tour of the Vatican. If you have any interest at all in touring, I can't recommend buying skip the line passes enough. We paid about $20 more per person and were able to go right in once the Vatican opened, had a wonderful tour guide and learned a LOT. Our guide told us that some people will stand in line for hours to get in, so the extra money is totally worth it. It was pretty surreal to be inside the Vatican and see so many famous things that we both grew up learning about. Another benefit of our tour was that we were done by 12, which left us the rest of the day to explore Rome...aka shop. ;)

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We also did a bike tour around Rome, which was a great way to see a lot of the famous sites without having to spend hours at each stop. We started in "Ancient Rome" and learned a bit about Roman history before biking all over the city. Notable stops on our tour include the Colosseum, Pantheon, Jewish Ghetto, market at Campo de Fiori, and Trevi Fountain. We also made a few stops along the way for espresso, pizza and gelato. Our tour guide was so friendly and knowledgable about Rome and its history, and both Nick and I agreed that the bike tour was something we would 100% do again.

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Food

It's true. There is literally a pizza, pasta, coffee or gelato shop everywhere you turn in Rome. The good news is that you will never go hungry or be under caffeinated while you're out and about.

However, while Italians do love their coffee, they love it differently. We learned quickly to ask for an Americano or a cappuccino depending on whether we wanted black coffee or a more latte-esque drink. Even when we ordered Americanos, they were so much smaller than what we are used to - I'm talking like a tall Starbucks drink - so often times Nick would order several coffees, or a coffee and espresso. 

Santa Lucia Ristorante

This was my favorite restaurant in Rome. If you've watched Eat, Pray, Love then you may recognize it from the scene where Julia Roberts masters Italian and orders everything on the menu perfectly. The restaurant opens at 7 (which is typical of many restaurants in Italy) so we walked over early to have drinks at the bar. We had THE best white wine we've ever had and were amazed to learn that it was just the house wine. Italy just does wine really, really well. It's also pretty typical for restaurants to give you a complimentary spread of snacks, and I was so excited when the snacks our bartender gave us included peanuts because I couldn't find peanut butter ANYWHERE in Italy. Once the restaurant opened, we headed outside for dinner and had one of our favorite dinners of the entire trip. Santa Lucia is famous for their lobster pasta so that's what we both ordered - and I totally get it now. I can't recommend this restaurant for a romantic dinner enough!

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Mimi e Coco

I stumbled upon Mimi e Coco when I was searching for a wine bar close to our Airbnb and am so happy I found it. We had dinner at this small restaurant with some friends of ours that happened to be in Italy at the same time as us and it was a wonderful night. We spent over two hours here enjoying dinner and drinks and despite the fact that the restaurant is TINY and you are literally on top of each other, we never felt super crammed and the food was delicious. This was one of the only restaurants where I could find a large, fresh salad and it was great to be able to eat some greens after a few days of pizza and gelato. :) Nick and I both ordered pizza here, which was a little different and served on a rosemary foccacia flatbread. SO good! 

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Ginger

You know how much I love my smoothies and smoothie bowls, so when I found Ginger .1 miles from our Airbnb, I told Nick we had to try it. It was AMAZING! Not only did they have a ton of smoothie and smoothie bowl options, but they also had both a lunch and dinner menu full of delicious salads, sandwiches and more. This was a perfect lunch spot for Nick and me because I could enjoy a smoothie bowl and he could enjoy his favorite Italian sandwiches. Ginger was the only place we found in Rome that served iced coffee similar to what we are used to here in America. Highly recommend stopping here even if it's just for an iced coffee or a smoothie!

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Grom

When in Rome, you MUST eat gelato daily. I did a fair amount of research for gelato spots and Grom consistently topped lists across TripAdvisor, Yelp and many travel blogs. And for good reason! One thing we learned in Italy is that the best gelato is kept in small metal tins that sit under the counter. The massive, colorful mounds of gelato that you see in a lot of display cases tend to be chock full of preservatives and chemicals, which is what allows it to stay that way all day. Grom's gelato was unreal. I got the chocolate and hazelnut flavors (yes, basically Nutella) and it's amazing how such a small amount of gelato can be so satisfying. 

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Airbnb

When we booked our trip, Nick and I agreed that we wanted to go the Airbnb route. Not only was it affordable, but it was really fun to stay in a true Italian apartment and feel completely immersed in the city. We had so much more space than we would have had in a hotel with multiple bathrooms, bedrooms, a tiny kitchen and a really nice outside patio area where we were able to sit and drink wine before heading to dinner each night. The location was also incredible and since we were pretty centrally located, we were able to walk everywhere. The only time we got in a car was when we left for the train station!

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Miscellaneous

Shoes. Make sure to bring comfortable shoes! We averaged about 20,000 steps a day so a good pair of shoes is non-negotiable. I wore my Adidas Superstars and Tory Burch Miller sandals on days where we walked all around the city, and saved my heels and booties for dinners where we didn't have to walk too far.

Cash

It may seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of places are cash-only. If you're planning on walking around and stopping by markets and shops, make sure to have some Euros on hand.

You could definitely spend days or weeks there and never even get close to experiencing everything the city has to offer. Rome was the perfect start to our honeymoon and our three and a half days there were nothing short of incredible!