One and Not Done
Rome and Tuscany, Italy
Italy, I miss you every damn day. Rome and Tuscany were part of my Amazing Race of a honeymoon, where I packed way too much into a 14 day getaway. Pro tip- don't pack too much into your honeymoon. Duh, you may say- but beware this can easily happen to you! Italy is so big and there is so much to see, and a travel agent may say "you only need 2 days here, then just hop on a quick 2 hr train, to catch a car, to walk to your new villa and boom you can see the entire country!" Real talk- you cannot see this entire country in 2 weeks, not in a month, probably not even in a year to really do it justice. So choose your places wisely, limit your travel within the country, and really soak up the places you are in.
On that note, let me tell you about my brief experience with Rome and Tuscany. August 2014, we spent 3 days in a villa right outside of Montepulciano in Tuscany, and 2 full days in Rome. Both areas, would could have done a week in. Let me start with Tuscany:
Tuscany is wine country- picture beautiful rolling vineyards with small midieval towns perched on top of large hills. Montepulicano was truly like stepping back in time- cobblestone streets, castles, views all around, red roofs. Amazing pasta, amazing red wine, all super cheap prices. We stayed at a villa, which was about a 10min drive into the town of Montepulciano. Villa life is pretty amazeballs. Staying on a vineyard, that acts like a B&B, but with a full-service restaurant, concierge, pool -it's pretty dope. You get all the perks of staying in a hotel but privacy of an Airbnb. Highly recommend going this route when visiting this region. We spent an entire day just chilling at the villa by the pool, eating lunch and dinner there; another day we signed up for a bike tour of the area (way more intense than I was expecting, will never do this again. Remember what I said earlier - that Tuscany is basically a bunch of small towns on top of hills? These hills are absolutely NO JOKE. That was drawback number one- I was expecting a leisurely ride, it was anything but. Also, they took us off-roading onto gravel trails, I toppled off my bike into dirt trenches, and arrived to lunch on a small vineyard in tears. If serious biking is your thing you will love this experience. It is not my thing, clearly. The third day we checked out an annual barrel rolling festival in the town of Montepulciano- which apparently was a huge deal around those parts and super random, and had dinner at an amazing restaurant, La Grotta, which I highly recommend checking out. Beautiful restaurant in a beautiful area with awesome food, cant beat that! I recently visited the Chianti region of Tuscany as a side trip when I was in Florence. Chianti was very different from this area of Montepulciano- so try doing both if you can!
From Tuscany, we headed to Pompeii and then onto the Amalfi Coast and Capri- read all about that part of the trip in my All Time Favorite Places section! Pompeii is close to Naples, and I definitely recommend doing a tour of it if you have the chance. We did a private guided tour - and it is just wild how well preserved the area is, and you get amazing views of the volcano. After Pompeii, Amalfi and Capri, we took a train to Rome and finished our last 2 days of our honeymoon there, before we flew out of Rome home the morning of the third, final day. Our hotel was in a great location to walk to most of the touristy places, right across from the Capital. We had a tour each night- the first night we toured the Vatican, and the second we did the night tour of the Colloseum. I am not a huge art person, and that is basically what the 3 hour tour of Vatican city is- all art- culminating in the Sistine Chapel. It is extremely impressive, but again, not being that into art, I wish it had been half as long. On the other hand, the Colloseum tour was awesome. We toured the whole grounds around it as well as inside- so cool. The area around the Colloseum really sums up Rome quite well- its the extremely old still in tact, with the new built around it. Everywhere you walk in Rome, you have beautiful old churches, pillars, buildings, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, surrounded by Starbucks, Gucci stores, etc. Its crazy and really cool. The rest of our time in Rome when we weren't doing tours, we were walking the city, checking out random ruins, parks, and saying our goodbyes to Italy. It was a great place to say goodbye too, even though in our 2 days I'm pretty sure we just scratched the surface of the city.