rome, tuscany, florence: summer in italy

My trip to Italy a few years back was one of my favorite trips ever. Everything about it was perfect and it holds a special place in my memory, so I felt the need to share it even though it’s not a recent trip (we went for 2-weeks in June of 2013).

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We started in Rome, making our way to Tuscany with a few stops along the way. We made the most of our time in each city- but we really didn’t let one minute go to waste while in Rome. We walked the ancient ruins, up the Spanish Steps, marvled at the Coliseum, did some shopping (okay – a lot of shopping), enjoyed cappuccinos every morning and gelato everyday. We indulged in authentic Italian cuisine and copious amounts of wine every night – not once feeling guilty about it.

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Walking Tour of Trastevere

One really cool thing we did in Rome that I’d recommend is a walking food tour of Trastevere – a section of the city just across the Tiber River.  I’m not sure exactly which one we did, but there are tons if you do a Google search “Trastevere Rome Walking Food Tour.” We toured old basement wineries, met master pizza-makers, connected with families that have owned and operated their bakery for decades, ate the best pasta and gelato ever, and so much more. It was a great combination of culture, learning, and fun – and at the end of the day we were so fufilled (and extremely full).

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Bruce Concert

Another reason this trip was so special is because we were lucky enough to be there at the same time as our all-time favorite person – Bruce Springsteen. We went to his concert, which was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to (probably the 10th time I’ve seen him)! The Bruce crowd in Italy was so much younger than his fan base in America – still lively and fun, but surprisingly more subdued than the Jersey crowd. He played for hours and hours and we sang and danced along with the strangers around us – a night I’ll never forget.

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After exploring the ins and outs of Rome in three days, we drove to Tuscany, where we stayed for a week. We learned that June was a great time to be in Tuscany – as long as you have access to a pool or beach (it was hot)! We stayed in a beautiful house tucked away in the hills – it had an amazing pool, outdoor pizza oven, fire-pit and patio, and the best views from each and every window. We booked a private pizza-making lesson, which was so much fun. We learned everything from making the dough to baking it, each finding so much pride in our personal creations (which turned out insanely tasty).

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Castiglione Della Pescaia

From Tuscany, we took a day trip to a cute little beach town called Castiglione Della Pescaia. We knew nothing about it before we got in the car – we seriously just looked at a map and chose the closest beach to where we were. We were the only tourists on the beach which made the experience that much more amazing. We tried to blend right in with the Italian families as we drank rose on the shores of the Mediterranean sea… which is just about as dreamy as it sounds.

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While in Florence, we did a walking tour to learn a little more about the history. Usually we’re not fans of organized tours (because we like to go off the beaten path and explore), but we enjoyed this one because it was short and actually interesting. We saw the Florence Cathedral, walked across the Ponte Vecchio Bridge, learned about paintings from the Medieval times, and of course – ate our way through the day.

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The single best thing about this trip is that I got to experience it with the people I truly enjoy spending time with; my Mom and Dad, Zach, Kc, and Aunt Alison. We were kinda bummed Steve wasn’t’ able to come with us- spent his time off work surfing in Nicaragua with friends, which he said was an incredible experience as well.

It is so interesting to observe other cultures and really watch how other people live… especially in European countries. They seem to go about their days with such ease, stopping to smell the roses, enjoying each others company. It really puts it into perspective how much Americans rush and just do things to get them done. In Italy we tried to adopt the European way of doing things- we slept in just a little bit longer, ate our food slower, walked at a pace much more relaxed than the typical American speed walk, and laughed more often than we didn’t.

I could go on forever about everything we did with our time there and what made it so special, but I think this is a case where sharing more pictures can do that better than words can.

More recently, I went on an incredible trip to southern coast of Italy. I’m working on a detailed post about that, but until then I made a recap video if you want to check it outI made a recap video if you want to check it out.


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