You may have noticed I’ve been MIA recently-or not, but lets stroke my silky, smooth-oh-so-gooey, burrata mozzarella-coated ego for second, shall we? 😉
Yes Fashaloonies, I recently returned from 10 beautiful days in Italy, with Venice, Naples and the Amalfi Coast headlining the travel itinerary. Although I had pre-scheduled posts for my absence, the sometimes spotty Wifi made publishing no easy task. So instead, I ate (a lot). I walked (a lot). I hiked (a little). I travelled by plane, train and (white knuckled!) automobile, and managed to take some pretty incredible pictures to share with you afterwards. If Italy is on your travel bucket list, may I suggest booking a ticket as soon as you’ve finished reading this post? You won’t regret it! Let’s begin in Venice.
We started our journey in Venice, the fabled city steeped in rich maritime history. If it weren’t for the massive cruise ships that continuously dump hoards of day-trippers (34,000 average daily!) onto the islands and the exorbitant prices on everything, one would think they stepped back in time. I think Rick Steves said it best when he described Venice as “a Disneyland for adults”. Breathtaking architecture, museums, gelato and of course, the famous canals make Venice the perfect destination for a romantic getaway.
Um, wow. After extensive research on where to stay on the Amalfi Coast, we decided on Maiori, and couldn’t have been happier with our choice. Although the coast gets its namesake from the town of Amalfi, the insane amount of tour buses blocking the seafront makes Amalfi town proper a less appealing place to base yourself in for your visit. Maiori, Minori or Positano are definitely where it’s at for a relaxing stay on this breathtaking stretch of coast.
So, what to do? Depending on your mood, plenty or absolutely nothing. Hike the 1500 steps up from Minori to Ravello for panoramic views of the coast, take a boat trip to Capri for some truly incredible beaches, or simply sit back and enjoy the ambiance at many of the restaurants and cafes that abound this rocky stretch of heaven on earth.
Ah, Naples. One of the most ancient cities in Europe (founded in 470 BC!), this big, noisy, manic, beautiful, (and yes, appallingly dirty) city is a place that you’ve got to see with your own eyes, at least once. Divine Renaissance buildings covered in graffiti, romantic twisted lane ways strewn with garbage and dog shit and beautiful balconies and terraces crumbling to the brink of decay. You wonder how the citizens can stand it, but the fact is, the city itself is sadly cash-poor, with no budget in place for maintenance, let alone restoration projects. Oddly enough, it’s a charming place to explore.
The pizza is outstanding, the seafront is lovely with gorgeous views of hilltop castles and Mt. Vesuvius and the people- despite the warning of pickpockets and muggings- are as pleasant as you’d encounter in any metropolitan city. Go for the pizza and the chaos, explore for the day, rest for the night and head further down the coast for a bit of tranquility. Naples is unforgettable.
Have you been to Italy? What regions did you explore? It was really hard to narrow down where to go for a first time visit. After a long, cold, dark winter in Toronto, spending the majority of our time in the mid-southern region seemed the most appealing. An early Spring visit meant perfect weather for sightseeing. Visiting before peak season also meant lower accommodation prices and the benefit of way fewer tourists who haven’t yet embarked on summer holidays with family in tow. We never had to make a reservation at any restaurant (impossible during July and August) and pretty much had the city and seaside towns to ourselves, less the few eager travellers who booked with the same mindset as us. Perfetto!
Next on the bucket list? Milan, Cinque Terre and the beautiful Northern Lake District. Arrivederci!