Back in May of this year my girlfriend Ann called me and told me of her upcoming vacation plans. She was going to spend the month of July touring Italy with her son Anthony. I enjoyed hearing of her plans and thought I too would love to see Italy and enjoy a true food fest eating my way from North to South and of course in between bites seeing all the sights that Italy offers. For many years we discussed a trip and I always said Id like to travel during the Harvest. So in July we made the decision we weren’t going to miss another September Harvest and I soon began planning our exciting journey. We had decided that we would tour on our own as I’m never ready when the tour starts and never ready to leave when they are either. I get caught up in the moment and have to share another story with a local from the town we’re visiting or have another glass of wine or just can’t seem to hit all the shops and touch all the goodies. You get the picture by now that I can be a problem with time RESTRAINT LOL! It was a wonderful trip and I’m so excited to share so many memorable stories of all the magnificent places we visited and all the delicious food we tasted but most of all share the wonderful stories of the beautiful people we met. I always say I can ooh and ahh over scenery and monuments, but they don’t speak to me the language and the love like the local people themselves do.
From London to Venice to Florence to Tuscany to Rome to Naples to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast back to the London Countryside we journeyed for 22 fabulous days. For the exception of three hours of rain in Venice we only saw the Sun and the beautiful Moon each evening. To be greeted by each City with its breath taking scenery, and richness in culture, followed with the best food ever plays out an experience of a lifetime! Of course I will also start by saying with all this joyous bliss there was only one struggle we had to endure……LUGGAGE!!!! With all the warnings I did over pack and of course you know me and all my grand ways(remember I act like British Royalty if not the Queen herself LOL) only to get a reality check that I had to drag my 65lbs of bags around with me!) My Husband and I each had a big piece of luggage and one carry on plus my pocketbook. This journey was actually a European version of the Survivor according to my Husband Rocco! I will break down the itinerary and then over the course of the next few weeks share the details of this great get a way! We began with a British Airways flight from Orlando Florida to London Gatwick Airport. We then spent the next 3 1/2 days in London and then flew to Venice. We enjoyed 2 1/2 glorious days in this magical city and then took the Frecciargento High Speed rail to Florence where we rented an apartment for four nights and 5 days with day trips to Bologna, Modena and the Ferrari Museum in Maranello! So exciting! Next we rented a Fiat to drive the Mountains of Tuscany and our first stop was Montalcino and Castello Romitorio Winery. We had a private tour of the winery and Danielo had a lovely lunch (actually a Feast) served and then we walked the grounds and tasted the grapes off the vine. I will detail in a later post. From Montalcino we went to Montisi where we were staying in a Bed and Breakfast and this is where I realized that my eyes saw sights that changed my heart and mind forever.
From being torn away from a dream we next drove down the mountains toward Rome. One big point Id like to make before I go off on my tangents of Romance is Never Drive In Rome!!!!!Its not the driving actually, the fact there is no place to pull over to stop. We got to our Bed and Breakfast by Via Veneto but had to pass the street at least 5 times and then my Husband literally pulled on the sidewalk to drop the luggage and then return the car. We were so lucky that the Avis rent a car was only two blocks away. For 2 1/2 days in Rome we did like the Movie Eat, Pray and Love….. and danced as well at Cafe Veneto. The Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St Peters were beautiful and the Coliseum as majestic as a ruin can be. Of course secretly I wish they could have vendors at each level reenacting an outdoor festival rather than think about all of what really went on there! By this point on our vacation my brain was on overload on facts and knowledge. You know you can’t remember all the facts, yet we don’t want to miss a word. I’m always amused when we walk away of how much I don’t know yet seem to enjoy my little world just fine :)))
From Rome we took the high speed Italian train to Naples.We dragged our luggage across from the station and went to a local little restaurant so I could sample the pasta and tomatoes from this region. It was outstanding, actually I think the best in all of Italy. They say the ash from Mount Vesuvius is what makes the tomatoes the best and I totally agree! After our lunch break there was no Siesta for us as we had to catch the Ferry to Sorrento. Once again boarding a Ferry with luggage gives you a workout of sorts. A beautiful trip seeing the coastline and a breeze blowing thru our hair was refreshing. We were in Love again and the thought of luggage didn’t blur the beauty of the Coast with its villages steeped in the Mountains. Reality was forty minutes away when we arrived in Sorrento!
Upon arriving we called Palazzo Montefusco and Angelo and Giovanni came to meet us and took over the luggage. Needless to say we were Happy! We walked thru narrow winding streets with vendors of Fruit, Lace, Ceramics, Paintings, Leather and so many beautiful Restaurants like in a Movie. I was in love at first sight and happy to know we were here several days! We went to Capri the next day by Ferry and walked the streets and took the trolley up the hill. We had attempted to walk the steps to Ana Capri but it was really warm that day and I realized I would need oxygen any minute. :))) The following day we hired a Driver who picked us up and took us on an all day excursion to the Amalfi Coast stopping at Positano, Amalfi, Rovello and Grotto dello Smeraldo. We were enchanted with each stop and vowed to return to this beautiful region of Italy. At this point it was time to say Arrevederci to Italy and return to the UK. We had a driver take us to Rome from Sorrento as yes we didn’t want to handle the Luggage! It really was relaxing and we enjoyed our Driver who helped with my Italian lessons and just seeing the scenery. We said our goodbyes and boarded our flight to London Heathrow and off we went.
We were excited to explore the countryside and take a leisurely ride to our Bed and Breakfast. We had to rent a car big enough to carry the luggage which by now was a standing joke between us. Driving was a little tricky as well as scary as your on the wrong side of the street with a six speed manual transmission and everybody but you knows where their going! At one point my Husband was grabbing my Soda Bottle sitting in the slot next to the shifter and trying to switch gears saying there’s a problem and then realized and went hysterical laughing. It was truly one of the funniest moments of our Journey.
We enjoyed the Countryside for 3 1/2 days and then we headed back to Orlando and reality. Our trip was truly a dream come true with so many experiences I will share and hope you enjoy. In the meantime here are a few pictures of the wonderful people we met. Ciao and Grazie to all our Friends! We will be back……………………………………….and Yes with Less Luggage.
Welcome to Britalia Way! Thanks for stopping by. Please join me as I share with you a series about food, people and experiences that are special to me. English and Italian traditions are so enticing and were the inspiration for creating Britalia Way!
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