In April my BFF Kristy and I took a 2 week trip to Italy and it truly was the trip of our life! It was the highlight of my "Year of 50" for sure!
We flew into Florence and spent a few days there -- next time we will spend more time there. Climbed up the Duomo for the awesome sights of the whole city. Search out the rooftop bars as well!! Next we took a train to Sienna (Tuscany) which has the most beautiful wine country. While in Tuscany, we rented a car and went in search of some natural hot springs. We found them and also stopped to visit the Montalcino Castle.
Rome was next and we did the town! We signed up for an early tour of the Vatican Museum and ended up being in a small group to view the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Quite awe inspiring just thinking of all the history. When in Rome we chose to eat according to Anthony Bourdain's recommendations and WOW was that a great idea! (Sadly he passed away shortly after our trip.)
Finally we spent our last week in Positano on the Amalfi Coast. Our luck was good with the sun that time of year. The highlight of Positano was a cooking class that we did with Marina of Cuchina. She was a doll and we met some wonderful new friends from Georgia. Instead of taking the shuttle to Capri -- we hired a private boat for a ride down the coast! Also a shout out to TonyTaxi (he is on facebook at Positano TonyTaxi) -- he was our driver from Naples and gave us the best "insider" recommendations for Positano locals.
My tips for Italy travel:
- Download the Lonely Planet app and e-books or you can buy the print books which are fabulous! Buy a new travel book today from Lonely Planet! These ladies had maps and reasonable recommendations for local restaurants and off the beaten path sights to see.
- Wear good shoes!!!! I had a pair of Keen Women's Sienna shoes -- as you will be walking!!! All the better to rid yourself of the extra pounds from wine and food!
- We used TripMasters to coordinate the entire trip and it worked perfectly for our first big trip abroad. Next time will use VRBO for Rome, Italy Vacation Rentals. We talked with several fellow travelers who had much better accommodations closer to the beach with VRBO.
- Bring Euros! We had US dollars and while the restaurants will take the dollars -- the waitstaff still has to go turn in for exchange of their tips -- so they really appreciate Euros.
- Pack LIGHT!! I know this goes against all of our Goddess ideals -- but stick to a few black pieces, good shoes and one super cute outfit for nice dinners out.