italia!

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italy-samara-andrews
we have been dreaming and talking and dreaming some more of taking a trip to italy together since our first year of marriage.  every year, we’d start to plan the trip but one thing would lead to another and something (eh hem, the cost) would prevent us from taking the leap.
on our 5 year wedding anniversary this past june, we told each other we wouldn’t be exchanging gifts but instead would get ourselves a new set of silverware for the kitchen because we bought the dumbest set when we were first married. after 5 years of putting up with bottom heavy spoons that always fall to the floor when you place them in your bowl, we decided nothing sounded dreamier than new silverware.
so it was settled. we’d get new silverware for our anniversary and it would be perfect! but i decided to try and surprise josh with a gift anyway because he is always doing that sort of thing for me. plus, fiona apple was coming to town to perform the following week and josh had always wanted to see her perform live. i felt so sneaky ordering the concert tickets for him months beforehand.  in fact, after the tickets arrived in the mail, i hid them so well in our home that i actually lost them for a few months.  but that is a story for another day.  anyway, when we went out for dinner on our anniversary back in june, i slid the tickets across the table and felt so proud of myself. i couldn’t wait to see his face when he opened them.  i almost wanted to say, “ha! surprise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” but i didn’t. i only said it inside my head because i was trying to play it cool like it wasn’t that big of a deal.  we had a really sweet moment before dinner after that and i kept thinking, “this night is so good. and wow! do i love this guy.”
we ordered dinner and talked for almost an hour about our life together and our family.  and then, my husband completely one up’d me and slowly slid a manila envelope across the table. inside were eleanor and samson’s passport applications all filled out with huge letters written across the top saying “I T A L Y!”  and just like that, after 5 years of dreaming about it and trying to find a way to make it happen, it was happening.
so we are off to italy later this month and we cannot wait! have you ever been? we haven’t finalized which parts of italy we will see just yet so i’d love to hear your thoughts if you have any recommendations! what cities are a must see?  any hotel recommendations? or hidden gems you’re willing to tell us about? and you guys,  start talking to me about the food! because you know that is what i am most looking forward to….
it will be an adventure traveling with both our little ones but we like the idea of an adventure. i can’t wait!
*italy map from samara andrews beautiful etsy shop, used with permission.
  1. We took our 3-month-old just this past summer to Italy. We toured Rome, Tuscany, and Florence with her. Tuscany and Florence are a must. We rented a villa in Tuscany (right outside of Cortona) and it was the perfect way to do it with a baby. I would highly recommend this.

  2. oh, I love Italy! I've been to Rome, Napoli and Assisi. The latter is worth seeing for sure.
    (And I dream to visit San Francisco. It is so far from Europe.)))

    love your blog. God bless you.

  3. Hello Taza! My husband and I went to Tuscany for our honeymoon. Siena is gorgeous and beautiful and relaxing. We stayed in a rented apartment up in the hills. Florence is equally gorgeous and a little more exciting! Fun to just walk around and marvel! Next time we definitely want to visit southern Italy but Tuscany really was amazing and charming! Lovely landscape, food & people!! Safe travels & have fun!!!

  4. I'll add my two cents even if you received so many comments already, I'm Italian so I might have something new to say!! ;) You should definitely visit Rome, it really is amazing and there's something that will take your breath away on every corner! San Pietro and the cupola are a must, the Vatican museums are amazing as well, if it's sunny go to villa borghese…remember that the subway only goes until 11:30 I think, also avoid eating in super central restaurants, the best ones are the ones where the Romans eat, try the area of trastevere and testaccio, there are amazing little places there (try the pasta alla carbonara and amatriciana, but also the puntarelle and saltimbocca!!) You guys should definitely see Firenze, Siena and Pisa in Tuscany. Firenze is perfect, there are do many things to see and the food is amazing! The view from the top of the cathedral is breathtaking, ponte vecchio is a must see and so are the uffizzi and the boboli's gardens…if you like red meat try the fiorentina here, try also the ribollita, the pappa col pomodoro and all the hors d'heuvre!! Venice is pretty great, but it's very touristic, you should avoid sleeping in the very center it's overpriced, try sleeping in mestre maybe! The view from there is also pretty! If you have time you should visit the lakes, como and Garda are very pretty and come to Milan which is very underrated!! We have an amazing gothic cathedral, the gallery in front of it, lots of interesting museums like the museum of the 900 and the academia of brera, the castle and the Scala theater, plus the best shopping in the country!! ;) Turin is also nice and the south is worth a visit too, depending on how long you're staying! Remember we eat kind if late compared to Americans, most people understand English in big cities and we're usually friendly to tourists!! :) Have lots of fun!!

  5. Hi Naomi!

    I am currently studying abroad in Italy! I am in Florence and loving every single moment of my dream. I have wanted to come to Florence since I was 4 years old and I finally can say I know what it is like for a dream to come true. I have been here for a little over a month, and I am here until January.

    Places I have absolutely LOVED and you MUST go:

    -Cinque Terre
    -Verona
    -Bologna
    -Siena and San Gimagnano
    -ROME!!!

    and of course, Firenze is my favorite city in the entire world.
    Have an amazing trip!!!

    -Anna

  6. MissB

    Italy is amazing! You will love it, I've been to lots of places there and would definitely say Venice, Florence, Rome are beautiful. The Amalfi coast is stunning with Capri, Positano and Ischia being highlights… and Lucca in Tuscany is great too! Whereever you go, it will be great :) exciting! x

  7. Lemon

    Siena, hands down.

  8. emily

    oh i'm so excited for you guys! i know you've been wanting to go for so long.
    let me know if you need anymore tips – you know how much i love italy :)

  9. I went to Italy for a week years ago for Christmas with my entire family. Insane. We stayed at a villa in Tuscany, but my favorite cities that we visited were:

    Siena (there's a cafe, dont remember it's name, but the hot chocolate is basically just like melted chocolate – YUM. it's in the main palazzo area)

    San Gimignano. It's a small medieval town that's gorgeous and great to walk around and experience a smaller Italian town.

    Florence. Great shopping and sites to see. I loved it there.

    And of course Rome.

  10. I spent 6 weeks in Florence and one of my favorite restaurants is called Enoteca Coquinarius. The address is Via delle Oche, 15r. THey have the most amazing Pear and Cheese ravioli! Enjoy Italy!!!

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  12. Georgia

    I live in the UK and have been to Italy twice. Amazing surprise for you!

    You will notice (well I did) that what I thought was Italian cuisine back home, actually isnt, their pizza is so simple, and there is NO garlic bread on the menus, anywhere. Also, sadly, it is a country you have to watch out for pick-pockets, especially in the cities and busy areas. Just make sure you dont leave anything out of sight, even a sandwich! (we had one stolen in Milan Train Station)

    It is such a beautiful place, you will have an amazing time, people are so lovely, amazing architecture, fabulous art and plenty of things to go see and do!

  13. If you need some tips or have some doubts just send me an e-mail. I live in Italy and I know a lot of interesting places to be visited ;)
    [email protected]

  14. We stayed in Viareggio on the coast for our holiday, and ventured out for day trips to Pisa and Luca – Luca is insanely beautiful and WELL WORTH a visit if you can! We promised to return as we only explored a teeny part of it when we went…and still loved it!
    We have also promised to return to visit Florence.
    Hope you have a wonderful holiday!
    xx

  15. tasou

    Hi, I am following you the last year, I am from Greece and one of my dream holidays is in Italy in Tuscany and Emilia Romagna which are close together. Florence, Sienna and Bologna are some of the must visit cities. A lot of wine and good cheese.
    Visit one of my favorite bloggers talking about these areas, with great tips!
    http://www.valdirose.com/en
    http://valdirose.blogspot.gr/2011/02/charming-addresses-in-florence-home.html
    http://valdirose.blogspot.gr/2011/07/charming-addresses-in-tuscany-volpaia-e.html
    http://valdirose.blogspot.gr/2011/08/mangiare-nel-chianti-enoteca-baldi.html

    Where ever you go have a great time.

  16. smk419

    You will have such an amazing time!!! I did months of food research before going… The best pasta I've ever had it at this little place a short cab ride outside of Rome… (Anthony Bourdain also went there on The Layover)… It's called Cacio e Pepe. You must go! My family has stayed at the Beehive in Rome and loved it (they have a really nice pay-as-you-wish restaurant, I hear).

    Also I loved the Amalfi Coast, or similarly Cinque Terre. Beautiful views from Capitano in Positano…

    And one of my most memorable days on a vacation ever was spent at this thermal spa on the side of the rocky Italian coastline in Ischia called Negombo.

    More suggestions later… Time to pull out my notes!

  17. I love Italy. You should definitely go to Venice. Two days is all you need there. Rome is also one of my favorite cities. You should spend at least 3 days there. However, the times I visited both places was before kids, so on second thought, you might need more time. Have a lovely time! How fun with your whole family!!

  18. my my, you've gotten quite a bit of advice already!

    when i studied abroad in London in 2010, i spent my entire 10 day break exploring Italy without an itinerary :) (we also went in late october!) we stumbled upon so many little treasures and i know you will too–especially if you don't plan everything to a tee and leave room for a little spontaneity.

    we flew into Rome, and i'm guessing your fam will too? i'd recommend spending three days there to see all of the sights. Rome might've been my least favorite part of Italy because it was very crowded, noisy, and a bit dirty in areas. but all of that is forgiven when you're standing in front of the colosseum and the pantheon and the trevi fountain. the magnificence of those trump all. also try to see the spanish steps and the roman forum.

    the vatican is time consuming and takes an entire day to tour, what with the lines and masses of people. tours are pretty pricey as well and i don't think you can get in without being on one. so i guess determine how much time you have before you commit to that.

    after Rome, we took a train to the Amalfi Coast–worth experiencing if only for the mind blowing pizza! Naples boasts the best pizza in the world and i think it's true. but aside from that, it's a breathtaking area, and so very different from inner Italy.

    we stayed in a small town called St Agnello, which was nice because it was cheaper, quieter, and only a 2 minute train ride away from the more touristy Sorrento. Sorrento is a charming town on the coast which offers ferry rides to the island of Capri. Capri is gorgeous, but I don't recommend a boat tour around the island if the seas are even slightly rocky.

    Positano and Amalfi are further down the Amalfi Coast. they're right on the water and they're some of the most colorful, charming places i've ever seen. You can lounge on the beach by Positano, but it may not be very warm this time of year.

    my final and most urgent recommendation is FLORENCE. we took the train to Florence after the Amalfi Coast and just fell in love. it's one of the cleanest, prettiest, most charming cities in the world. and there's lots of culture to soak up.

    the Duomo is unlike anything i've ever seen. the cobblestone streets are even more perfect than the set of a movie. the art museums are incredible–you MUST see the David sculpture. and the leather market! oh, the leather market. i have a feeling Florence will be your favorite ;)

    i've heard wonderful things about all of tuscany, but be prepared for it to be pretty chilly. the change in temperature is significant from northern italy to southern italy.

    ahh, naomi i'm just so excited to see what fun you and your family experience on this trip! there's no doubt you're going to have an amazing time, no matter where you go.

    wishing you safe travels!
    sincerely, stefanie

  19. paola

    Hello,
    it's Paola from Italy again….I just came back this morning froma weekend trip to Florens and Chiantishire…..fantastic you cannot skip it….go to Panzano in Chianti and bok a table In Dario Cecchini place…one of my best meak ever….You have to book quite in advance as it is always full….let me know if you need help with that a friend of mine is friend with Dario!! by the way the name of the menu is "Solo Ciccia"…divine
    paola

  20. I have nothing to say except you are living my dream. Literally since I was 5 or 6 I've been dying to go to Italy. I cannot WAIT to see what it's like for you.

  21. toi

    italy is one of my homes and i miss it every day i am away from there…

  22. Ah lucky you, Italy is wonderful.

    If you are staying in Northern Italy, I would check out Lucca, a lovely walled town just outside Florence. It is where my sister got married so has some very fond memories for me.
    For brilliant fresh food and a different Italy head down to Puglia and just drive around into all the small towns and explore the brilliant markets. Just gorgeous. Gallipio one of the best beaches ever.. Oh and then if you have time Amalfi Coast is pretty spectacular but watch out for the crazy drivers. Enjoy x

  23. laura

    Get pizza in Florence!!!! It is soooo good, and it cannot be duplicated anywhere.. even in other cities in Italy!!

  24. My husband & I were just in Italy for 16 days and absolutely loved it. Do not miss Cinque Terre and Siena. They were my favorite. & if you can manage- stay at Tenuta la Santissima it WILL NOT DISAPPOINT. Mine is the first review listed on TripAdvisor. It's out of the way (10 min outside of Siena by car) but it was the best food we had the entire trip and Marie was so perfectly Italian. Perfect setting too. Enjoy!
    http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g187902-d2661447-r136837668-Tenuta_la_Santissima-Siena_Tuscany.html

  25. Bridget

    AMALFI COAST… it is magical there!!! (especially Positano and Ravello!)I also loved Siena. (lots of little kids running around the main square) Happy Planning!

  26. Lauren

    I am so incredibly jealous of both your trip and your amazing husband! What a fantastic anniversary surprise! I can't wait to see photos and hear about the wonderful time you guys will have!

  27. clealala

    Italy is the best…
    The food is amazing, the country still so beautiful and untouched, the people so friendly and a bonus point for you, they LOVE kids.

    Cinque Terre are amazing.
    Rome is a must, but take your time, 3 days minimum.
    Puglia ( in the heel of the boot) is beautiful and still wild
    Almafi Coast is splendid, a dream…

    happy beautiful holiday!

  28. Oh man! I really should've paid more attention in Italian today at uni when we were talking about il cibo e il dolce!! :P

    I've never actually been, but we talk a lot about where to go and what to see in Italian classes (and what to eat, obviously!) and I think the south and the north east sound great.

    I'm going on exchange there next year for 6 months – if only you were going after that I could give you so many handy tips!! haha. Have fun :D Rhi xx

    The Wildest of Dreams

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  30. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!!!!!have a nice time there…it is an amazing country also you can go swimming because the weather is enough good…there are awesome beaches!!!!Also you have to visit the other Mediterranean counties one day…!!!!!

  31. Maryann

    I'm so excited for you!! All of Italy was beautiful! I studied in Florence and am bias, but still it is a must see! You must climb the duomo, go to Piazza Laloggia-which overlooks all of Florence- see the David- impressive- buy something nice for yourself or the kids on the Ponte Vecchio- take pictures of all the locks of love by the bridge- look it up super cute! I have names of the pizza & gelato place that are the best- I will email you with them. I also loved southern Italy- especially Sorrento! It is such a small gorgeous little town. I know you will get alot of tips and sights from other people but no matter what you will have a good time & WANT TO GO BACK!!

  32. ellen

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. ellen

    Visit Cortona in Tuscany! You'll never find a more warm and welcoming people than those who live in and and have always lived in the town of Cortona!

    And be sure to take the most beautiful walk around the mountainside to visit La Celle where St. Francis of Assisi stayed while in Tuscany (that place is PURE MAGIC) and walk up the hillside towards Santa Margherita and the Medici Fortress and I promise you've never seen a more breathtaking view of lakes, mountains and valley for days! Incredible food too! Eat at Osteria del Teatro (ever changing menu of gourmet goodies and the most incredible chocolate board) and Nessum Dorma (apple, walnut risotto and the best gnocchi!!) or Enoteca for their truffle sauce sandwiches (heaven)! Snoopy's Gelataria for the dark chocolate/pistachio frappe!

  34. Cobbman

    Italy is amazing! We have been to Rome twice (including a very hot honeymoon…) and absolutely loved it, but it was beaten into second place by our first visit to Florence last year. Florence is absolutely stunning – even more beautiful than the hype. The leather and cobbler areas of the city are wonderful and you feel like you're on the set of "A Room with a View" the whole time.

    Naples is a dump – DO NOT go there!! It's a good place to fly to if you do the Amalfi Coast though. If you do Amalfi, definitely take a visit to Positano. It is the prettiest place on the planet, and I've travelled quite a bit. It's a pricey place to stay, but worth every penny. Hotel Vittoria is a cheap and clean hotel there.

    Enjoy! If you do Rome, I would say you don't need any more than 2-3 days there. A great hotel is Daphne Veneto or Daphne Trevi – both near the Trevi fountain. Run by an American and her Italian husband, and has some of the best customer service I've ever known.

  35. Oh so many comments you probably know everything! I just want to share a gem with the best cheesecake. If you go to Florence, across the Ponte Vecchio is a beautiful restaurant called Borgo Antico (antiquo? i forget the spelling). The cheesecake is unlike anything in America – they make their own ricotta and it's so light. You can get it with berries (my pick) or chocolate. If you ask for the topping on the side they give you more. :o) I could go on for miles, but that is my BEST tip. :o)

  36. I studied abroad in Rome and have traveled in central and northern Italy. I definitely recommend visiting Venice but I have a tip. When you walk out of the train station, go RIGHT. When you go left, you are surrounded by tourists, overpriced, subpar restaurants that cater to American tastes, and gimmicks. If you go left, you avoid the crowds and get a true taste for how beautiful the city is.

    If you like magical old cities that have less to "do" but delicious food and beautiful architecture, I suggest Assisi.

    You simply MUST go to Florence… and eat Florentine steak with roasted potatoes! And if you can find a Sicilian mamma to let her try her tomato sauce, do it! My friend used to make us simple spaghetti with the jars of homemade sauce his mother would send him – best meal I have ever had. Nothing beats Sicilian tomatoes.

    My suggestion is to stay in nicer/private hostels – you save money but still get privacy and can make connections with caring people who will give you tips for local dining and sights.

    Buon viaggio! http://americaningenue.blogspot.com

  37. Love it! My husband and I got engaged and honeymooned in Italy… we go back every year now… kind of obsessed!

    You MUST MUST MUST spend time in Tuscany… try airbnb.com for a villa all to yourself at a ridiculously cheap price (read: just there this summer with four friends and spent $67 a night split between each of us… so cheap!)

    Also, MUST MUST MUST visit Cinque Terra… absolutely breathtakingly beautiful!

    Have so much fun!

    Blessings,
    Hannah

  38. joslin

    i went on a study abroad in germany and we took a weekend trip to milan, italy. it was the greatest! we had been to prague and berlin and so this was a good difference because it wasn't as touristy. i'm not sure if it is what you are looking for! BUT there are so many fun places to go! we stayed at this hostel and it was a bit sketchy but super cheap and close to a good place to eat! if you just go to the right out of the hostel there is a good place to eat on the right. delicious food!
    http://hostelmistermido.com/
    thennn the best gelato ice cream is here!
    https://plus.google.com/114954394375702394141/about?gl=us&hl;=en
    enjoy!!

  39. Krystyna

    I would definitely recommend the Tuscan town called Orvieto. It's set up on a hill like a big fortress and it is so romantic and quaint! Narrow streets, beautiful leather shops, and incredible food of course! Also you definitely have to go to Lago di Como. I've travelled a lot and it is one of the most incredible places I've ever seen!

    Wikipedia on Orvieto: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orvieto

  40. I know you probably have 5 BAZILLION of these comments to go through, but I just wanted to leave my two cents as a fellow lover of delicious food.
    If you make it down to Naples/The Amalfi Coast you MUST MUST MUST go to L'Anitca Pizzeria Da Michele (aka Da Michele's Pizza to the locals). It is a small hole-in-the-wall pizza joint, but it is ABSOLUTELY the best neopolitan pizza in Naples (ask TripAdvisor if you don't believe me). My husband and I were just there 2 days ago for our 2nd time and just writing about it now is making my mouth water :)

    http://damichele.net/?lang=en

    You are going to have such a wonderful time!

    Love,

    Chelsea
    http://www.theadventuresofcsquared.com

  41. Italy is AMAZING!!!!! We went for our honeymoon. We took British Airways out of JFK and they were an absolute dream (says the girl who hatessssssss flying!)! We're considering going back while Finley is still a baby – not sure yet though. We did Rome (very much like NYC) and Cortona (Tuscany) and we had such a blast!!

  42. Stacey

    If you go to Rome then you must go to Della Palma for gelato. There's close to or over 100 flavors and they won't let you just pick one. Small is like 2 to 3, medium is 3 to 4 and large is 4 to 5 different flavors. My boyfriend and I went every night after dinner and would always try new ones, that was part of the fun.

    http://www.dellapalma.it/

  43. Italy is so beautiful and lovely! My brother and my sister-in-law moved to Rome two years ago. So, within a series I featured on my blog about some beloved friends who are living in foreign countries, she wrote a beautiful post telling about the secrets of the city and some really fun findings. Maybe it could help you. In case you'd like to read, here are the links (there are two parts): http://carolrial.blogspot.com.es/2012/06/vivir-en-la-ciudad-eterna-living-in.html and http://carolrial.blogspot.com.es/2012/06/vivir-en-la-ciudad-eterna-2-living-in.html Hope it turns out useful Arrivederci! :)

  44. laura

    You have to go to the area of Napoli!!! The Amalfi Coast is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen! Capri, Sorrento, Amalfi… You can go to small agritourismos where they make and sell their homemade Mozzarella, olive oil, limoncello…
    If you're looking for the Most beautiful beaches like carribean beaches (no joke!!) you have to go to the island of sardegna! It is very very italian there, almost nobody speaks english and it is soooo beautiful!
    I'm from Germany and we can go on a 5 Hour trip to the North of italy for example in the alpes or to the lakes, like Lago di Garda, Lago di Como … Also sooo beautiful!
    Sorry for my english, but I had to tell you my italy-favourites!
    P.s. My parents went to all the places with us when we were kids and I will go there with my kids when I have some in many years:) so no worries, italian People Love children!!!

  45. So jealous! I was just in Italy for three weeks back in June and fell in love!! Rome is usually a must for most first-time visitors (for obvious reasons) but I honesty think Florence is where you need to go! It is the most beautiful, manageable little city – and so close to other beautiful places (cinque terre, chianti, Lucca, and even not too too far from Venice). And, from following you on Instagram, I can tell you love food and Florence is THE best place to go for food. If you do decide to go to Florence, you must absolutely go to Gusta pizza (near Pitti Palace). Seriously the best pizza I've ever ever had – and very very budget friendly. You may have also heard of Acqua al 2 (there's one in dc), which is a nicer place but very good too. They also have a new restaurant around the corner called The Diner if you need a good (read: big) American breakfast —- and their burgers are to die for. Closeby those two places is the very very best gelato place Il Vivoli. Seriously, they are world renowned for their gelato. Grom is also delicious but you can get that in NY now. You really can't go wrong with gelato in Florence. Lastly, if you're up near the leather market in Florence another great place is ZaZa's – wonderful for authentic, delicious Tuscan specialties.

    Obviously you can tell I love to eat and I love Florence – so I very highly recommend it. There are so many great places to eat and see around the city as well. I imagine it would be a very manageable place to be with young kids!

    Have so much fun – cannot wait to see what beautiful pictures you will take. If you want any more recommendations about other places in Italy, please let me know! Enjoy!!

  46. I can see that you have collected a lot of advices…I'm italian, I live near Venice and simply want to wish you a good trip! Italy is really beatiful!

  47. Go to Pompey.. It was and is my favorite part of Italy!

  48. Jenny

    Ahhh how exciting! Italy is THE place I have wanted to go my entire life, so I'm very jealous! ;) you'll have an absolutely amazing time. x

    http://www.jenventure.blogspot.co.uk

  49. lkalder

    If you go to Venice, don't bother with a stroller…there are stairs and bridges with stairs EVERYWHERE!

  50. emj

    cinque terre is a must!!! it is absolutely gorgeous! one of the most beautiful places i have been. out of the five little towns vernazza is my favorite but manorola has the best gelato we had during our whole italy trip. the place is called: 5 Terre Gelateria e Creperia. also cinque terre is supposedly where pesto all began. we had some delicious pesto pizza there.
    so obviously rome is a must and there are all the standard go tos: Colosseum, trevi fountain, pantheon, vatican city and the museum, etc. i will say that i had the BEST lasagna of my LIFE at a place called Canova in piazza de popolo in rome. you will not be sorry if you eat it.
    and you must must go to venice, the most romantic place ever. it is just lovely to wander around the city exploring. have some italian hot chocolate. it is like drinking rich melted chocolate!
    florence is also a great city!
    i am jealous! i was in italy around this time last year. you are going to have the time of your lives. cant wait to read about it and see pics on the blog!

  51. Hi Taza, what a great surprise! So, i went to tuscany this summer for first time, are you ready to eat a lot? :)
    I serious recomend you my favourite: Lucca, Siena, Cinque Terra, St. Gimignano, Firenze and Pietrasanta (the city of artists, perfect for shopping, amazing vintage stores). And of course Rome, Milan… If you want to take a look: thesweetswallowblog.blogspot.com

    Regards,
    Daniela

  52. I'm totally late on this train but I've been all over Italy and since you're going; I thought I'd tell you about my favorite place.
    Italy is pretty amazing and if you have the opportunity I HIGHLY recommend heading down to Capri. It's my favorite place on earth and has by FAR, the best pizza in all of Italy (and I have eaten pizza in many, many cities there). You have to take a ferry to get there but it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.
    No matter where you go, I'm confident you're going to love it! How exciting! Have the best time! :)

  53. I went on a choir trip and we did Rome, Siena, Florence, Venice and Milan. They are all so wonderful for different reasons. Rome satisfied my historical hunger. It was so old and facinating. As an avid reader, I was so excited to see the setting of so many of my novels with the Vatican and the Forum and Castle St. Angelo. Wonderful place and I'm so glad to have seen it.

    Siena and Florence satisfied my "Italy" hunger. They were exactly what I imagined an Italian city to be. I didn't realize that in my imagination the overriding picture of the country was Tuscany but really, there is so much more to Italy that that. Loved the Cathedral in Siena (we called it the zebra church) and the history around the Palio – horse race in the main plaza. Florence was perfect. I wish we had more time to look around. We saw The David, I found a yummy leather purse, the flea markets are wonderful, the view of the city is breathtaking. and on, and on and on.

    Venice was also just like it should have been. We splurged and took a gondola ride just in case I didn't make it back. I loved all the little bridges over the canals and the leaning homes and St. Marks and the Doges' palace was exquisite.

    Now Milan – there have been lots of comments about Milan being a place you could miss – I guess you could if you are tight on time but I love Milan. I love the contrast with the history of Rome and the Romance of Florance. The Duomo there is my absolute favorite of every church (including St. Peter's in Rome). The view from the roof is magnificant. Seeing The Last Supper with my own eyes and learning about the history of it has changed me forever. The operahouse La Scala so beautiful and the museum there was really interesing. I like that it is an old city that feels current and exciting. However, maybe it's a little too close to NY and you want something a bit more romantic. In that case, I guess I toss my hat in the "you must see Florence" ring. Also, I give two thumbs up for GROM every night too.

    So excited for you, it will be wonderful. And as a new mom, I am so pleased to hear that your kiddos are included in your plans. I'm a bit afraid of big trips with the little one but can't stand the idea of always vacationing with out her either. Can't wait to read about your adventures.

  54. Adin B

    My husband and I have always talked about ITALY and wishing to visit the country someday. We too love the food and it would be awesome to explore the place and sample their food. Oh how wonderful!!! I bet you are all excited and can't wait for it to finally get here. I am sure you guys can do it with two kids. :) Good luck and have a safe one!!!!

  55. Vicky

    Come to my place in South Tyrol – Bozen. A wonderful dreamy city in the mountains in Italy – especially when there is snow :)

    From Paris with love, Vicky

    The Golden Bun

  56. if you're going to check out venice, it's cheaper to find a hotel out of the island you can take a bus or train to the island whenever you want to!

  57. Hi,

    I went to Italy with my husband and (at the time) 12 month old in August. We went to Rome, Cinque Terre, and Venice. I used the lonely planet book. I loved the hotels (we stayed at hotel romae in rome, the hostel in corniglia (cinque terre village), and the Al capon (or something like that) B&B; in venice. however, we did not have good luck with food. We went to the budget places that lonely planet recommended, but just felt that it wasn't good food and was way over priced. I guess when you are in the super touristy places they try to get your money, so perhaps you have to go off the beaten path for real italian food, or pay a lot more, or maybe get a different guide book (other people on amazon who reviewed the guide book had similar experiences as I did with the bad food).
    As for traveling with a small child, we found it easy enough. I always got a seat on a crowded train or bus and no one seemed to mind that I breastfed in public (in contrast to my experience afterwards in Germany, where EVERYONE stared).

  58. Lisa

    That's so incredibly sweet! Have an amazing trip!!

  59. Haley

    I went to Italy to visit family last summer.. We did Rome in a day.. and it was amazing! fast, but awesome. The colosseum is unreal! Blew my mind. My favorite part of the whole trip was going to the small island of Capri. It is so gorgeous, quaint, and small little town. The views are spectacular, and you HAVE to swim in the blue grotto. It is so cool. A definite must see. :) Have fun!

  60. Just returned home on Sunday from a two week European vacation in Italy and Amsterdam! You guys will love it! Definitely go to Sorrento… hike Mt. Vesuvius… tour the Amalfi Coast (but take dramamine before the drive!). You guys will love the land, people & food! I cried when we landed in JFK!

  61. Veronica

    Hi, 
    i'm Veronica, i'm italian and i live in Milan. I can suggest you many places, one of these is Camogli, is a small di fisherman town and it's near portofino and San Fruttuoso, (Liguria) ( try "trofie al Pesto" and "Salsa di noci" and the real "focaccia")
    Cinque terre are beautiful but keep away from there because they've been recently   damaged by strong rainfalls.
    Yes you have to see Rome, it s big and chaotic, many things to  see and many dishes to try (carbonara, carciofi alla giudia, bucatini cacio e pepe, puntarelle) and the flea market of Porta Portese it's nice and very big! (only sunday morning).
    Outside Rome there is a magic place that i love, Bomarzo and its " monster park", special and freaky place to see, a garden created In the XVI.
    If you need more suggestions, feel free to ask!
    Veronica.

  62. Ulysses Hostel in Sorrento! A hotel for the price of a hostel with cheap outings to the Amalfi Coast and Capri! Have so so so much fun!!! <3

  63. I'm studying in Italy right now (right outside of Rome), and I absolutely love Nemi (a part of Castelli Romani). It's a perfect, small Italian town that is so charming and has a wonderful view of Lake Nemi. They are also well known for their strawberries (they are really, really tiny…but so good). And it's only about a 40 minute train ride away from Rome, so it's very easy to get there. Rome itself is also very fun, if you want to eat cheaper though walk away from the popular sites and you can find great food at a great price (make sure you get the carbonara since it's a Roman dish, and suppli is a must-its rice in a tomato sauce with mozzarella fried) .

    Also, Cinque Terre is beautiful as well, plenty of beautiful views since you're near the Alps.

  64. I'm studying in Italy right now (right outside of Rome), and I absolutely love Nemi (a part of Castelli Romani). It's a perfect, small Italian town that is so charming and has a wonderful view of Lake Nemi. They are also well known for their strawberries (they are really, really tiny…but so good). And it's only about a 40 minute train ride away from Rome, so it's very easy to get there. Rome itself is also very fun, if you want to eat cheaper though walk away from the popular sites and you can find great food at a great price (make sure you get the carbonara since it's a Roman dish, and suppli is a must-its rice in a tomato sauce with mozzarella fried) .

    Also, Cinque Terre is beautiful as well, plenty of beautiful views since you're near the Alps.

  65. I'm studying in Italy right now (right outside of Rome), and I absolutely love Nemi (a part of Castelli Romani). It's a perfect, small Italian town that is so charming and has a wonderful view of Lake Nemi. They are also well known for their strawberries (they are really, really tiny…but so good). And it's only about a 40 minute train ride away from Rome, so it's very easy to get there. Rome itself is also very fun, if you want to eat cheaper though walk away from the popular sites and you can find great food at a great price (make sure you get the carbonara since it's a Roman dish, and suppli is a must-its rice in a tomato sauce with mozzarella fried) .

    Also, Cinque Terre is beautiful as well, plenty of beautiful views since you're near the Alps.

  66. I'm studying in Italy right now (right outside of Rome), and I absolutely love Nemi (a part of Castelli Romani). It's a perfect, small Italian town that is so charming and has a wonderful view of Lake Nemi. They are also well known for their strawberries (they are really, really tiny…but so good). And it's only about a 40 minute train ride away from Rome, so it's very easy to get there. Rome itself is also very fun, if you want to eat cheaper though walk away from the popular sites and you can find great food at a great price (make sure you get the carbonara since it's a Roman dish, and suppli is a must-its rice in a tomato sauce with mozzarella fried) .

    Also, Cinque Terre is beautiful as well, plenty of beautiful views since you're near the Alps.

  67. I'm studying in Italy right now (right outside of Rome), and I absolutely love Nemi (a part of Castelli Romani). It's a perfect, small Italian town that is so charming and has a wonderful view of Lake Nemi. They are also well known for their strawberries (they are really, really tiny…but so good). And it's only about a 40 minute train ride away from Rome, so it's very easy to get there. Rome itself is also very fun, if you want to eat cheaper though walk away from the popular sites and you can find great food at a great price (make sure you get the carbonara since it's a Roman dish, and suppli is a must-its rice in a tomato sauce with mozzarella fried) .