Last Summer, we flew to Italy to photograph a wedding in Tuscany. Since we had already made the trip, we extended our stay to enjoy a European vacation in Italy. We landed at Fuimicino Airport in Rome in the early hours of the morning, hopped in our rental car, and headed out to Firenze. The first three days of our trip were spent exploring this spectacular city. While walking down the narrow streets and along the Arno, we feasted on spaghetti, gelato, and lots of tasty Italian beers.
In Italy, Florence specifically, is known for its leather goods. While walking the city streets one will see endless vendors selling everything from jackets and belts to shoes and backpacks. Other local artisans can be found throughout the city. Painters recreating local scenes are a sight to behold and their talent is just incredible.
San Gimignano and Siena
Following our stay in Florence, we headed South to Tuscany where our second stay awaited us- Borgo San Luigi. Nestled deep in the Tuscan countryside, this stunning resort was home for us for two nights. The staff took the absolute best care of us and we recommend to anyone who is planning a European vacation in Italy. Breakfast consisted of an omelette bar with farm fresh eggs, a veggie and fruit juice bar, and daily-made pastries that knocked our socks off.
Two major towns were located just a short drive away from where we were staying- San Gimignano and Siena. San Gimigano was at the top of our list of places to visit during our trip. This 800-year-old walled medieval town sits atop a hills and boasts 360 degree Tuscan views. Nicknamed the medieval Manhattan, San Gimignano is known for its towers that are spread throughout the town. With classic architecture, absolutely incredible food, and unparalled views, we could have wandered around forever.
The next stop on our trip was the town of Siena. Most famous for their food, narrow streets, and the famous bi-annual Palio, this town is just overflowing with things to do. It just so happened that our visit would coincide with the famous Palio. This event, dating back to the 1600’s is the most important event that takes place in Siena. Ten riders, each representing a different city ward, ride horses bareback in the city center for three laps. It is absolutely something one must experience in their lifetime.
Ah, Rome. Where do we even begin with this spectacular city. Filled with a seemingly endless list of landmarks to visit, we only just scratched the surface of this magical place. Only having a day here to explore before our flight home, we saw as much as we possibly could in 24 hours. The great coliseum was at the top of the list, followed by the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and Altar of the Fatherland.
Needless to say, all of the walking and exploring certainly gave us quite the appetite. Fortunately, we just so happened to be surrounded by some of the most excellent restaurants in the world. For ten days straight we were in pasta, pizza, and truffle heaven!
On the morning that we were set to head home, I woke up before sunrise to capture the sleeping city, before the streets were overrun with people. There’s just something about that warm light from sunrise and a quiet city that’s just magical.
One venue in particular that was a must during the trip was Borgo Santo Pietro. This five star estate is truly a dream come true. They havean infinity pool, suites fit for royalty, lush gardens, and a spa that I could die happy in. We spent the first few hours of hour visit exploring the seemingly endless grounds. They have an organic farm that is absolutely mind blowing- not to mention their vineyard and culinary gardens. This property is truly like something out of a fairy tale.
We stopped into their restaurant, Trattoria Sull’Albero which hands down serves the best prosciutto pizza I’ve ever eaten. After a mild food coma, we continued our tour inside the property’s 13th century villa.
One of our last stops on our trip was to visit the infamous Amalfi Coast. We stayed in Serrano, ja quaint little town just a short drive from the town of Positano. No one told us that parking a car in Positano is a hopeful wish. We left our rental at the top of the hill upon arriving and made our way down via a series of steep, narrow steps. After about a mile of descending, we finally made it.
The narrow streets were fulls of tourists and vendors who were selling their goods. The buildings in the town are almost overlapping one another, similar to Santorini. This place really exudes relation to whoever visits. Being there makes you want just kick back with an aperol spritz on your hand and your feet up. We (slowly) headed back up to the car after a relaxing lunch to visit our next destination: Villa Cimbrone in Ravello.
I knew before even leaving for Italy that we absolutely had to visit this iconic hotel. Villa Cimbrone is perched atop the Amalfi Coastline overlooking the Mediterranean and has been around since the 11th century. This venue contains the iconic Terrazzo dell’lnfinito (perfect for cocktail hour) and an ancient crpyt that hosts the most beautiful wedding reception you’ve ever seen.
We had the most wonderful time visiting this beautiful country and we can’t wait to return for our next adventure!
Film Lab | Richard Photo Lab
European vacation in Italy