Like most of our trips, we randomly decided to go to Italy one day. Well, maybe not super randomly… we were definitely craving a true Italian meal. We’d heard from friends and family that Italy had the best food, therefore… we planned our trip!
Since we are beach people, we wanted to not only see/learn the history of Italia but also enjoy the sea. We booked two places, one in Sorrento and one in Rome. Other than in Sorrento and Rome, we didn’t plan much else so that we had the liberty to create day trips, depending on our energy.
We landed at Fiumicino International Airport "Leonardo da Vinci" around 7am and we previously had purchased our train tickets to Naples in order to get to Sorrento first. The train was for 11am. Like a good over-worrier, I had to leave ample time between connections because flights are not reliable and well, I also hate to be in a rush with luggage (and not surprisingly, I am not a only-carry-on type of girl).
Sorrento is so dreamy! The buildings, the businesses, the people. Everything was incredibly darling and beautiful. I was in love! Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved stucco buildings/homes. Perhaps it’s nostalgia from growing up in Peru with buildings made out of brick and cement and all sorts of colors.
Day 1 was pretty chill, since we had a bit of jet lag. Once we arrived to Sorrento, we unpacked and walked around the city sightseeing, eating and staring at the sea. Some of the churches reminded me of the ones in Lima downtown. There were lemon everything everywhere. Been that I am a pattern crazy maximalist, I was home.
Day 2 We hopped on an express bus and 40 minutes later, we were in Positano. Note to self: Never wear sandals when exploring. We walked approximately 13+miles that day. Not including the stairs we had to climb down (then up) to reach the beach. There was an option to get to Positano by ferry, which left you right at the beach. But where is the the fun (pain) in that? At least we got to see the pretty hidden residences while going down (…and up. Though while going up, pretty sure I blacked out at one point).
We paid for a quick tour by boat from Sorrento to the Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra), to AnaCapri with a stop in Capri for lunch. Apparently, the Blue Grotto tour is a tourist trap LOL, well… if we went to the psychedelic Robot Cafe in Japan might as well keep the tourist trap tradition alive. Plus, to be honest… it was pretty cool. I thought I was going to die for a hot minute. And you know the saying… If you weren’t scared for your life at one point, did you even vacation? :) Luckily, they gave out plenty of alcohol to cope… Unluckily however, I no longer drink like I used to so I only had a few sips of limoncello and prayed to all the Italian Virgins to take care of one of their own (ha!).
The tour was on a nice yacht. To enter the Blue Grotto however… you had to hop on a tiny ass boat with 3 other people (1 of them whom rows the boat). Depending on the time of the day, and weather obviously… the hole/entrance to the sea cave gets smaller and smaller. When they pointed to where we were going, my heart skipped several beats but *welp*, there was no turning back.
I’m not entirely sure I would’ve done it if I would’ve known what the visit entailed… so I’m glad I didn’t know. The entrance gets smaller and smaller as you going in, so the guy that rows us in asks for us lay flat and watch our limbs…oh and he too has to literally lay down on the people behind him. Once you get in, the rowing dude starts singing, because the acoustics are amazing, obvs.
Capri had beautiful views. From the marina, where they drop you off for about 4 hours, we took the funicular to go up to Piazza Umberto (filled with stores for the wealthy). From there, we walked to Giardini Augusto to relax and breathe in some views, then to Cala Grande Beach to chill.
The next day we explored Sorrento some more and ate more delicious things. The guy that drove the yacht from the Capri Tour, gave us some tips on places to visit near Sorrento. My absolute highlight of the entire trip was Bagni Regina Giovanna (Baths of the Queen Giovanna). This place is so freaking magical. We left around 6am to catch an early bus to take us near there, which was about 10 minutes from the main bus stop in Sorrento. Then, the walk began (about 20 minutes, going down… a g a i n ). I feel like this is def a hidden treasure that not many people are willing to do because it’s a HIKE, and not a super safe one. At the beginning there is a path, but as you get closer it gets a bit rocky and the paths are broken. After getting a rock hole in the middle of the sea without knowing how to swim… I felt like Lara Croft so I was good and ready. There was a family of three people already there, but after 15 minutes, they left the water and the whole place was all for us. It was absolutely the most beautiful and serene world.
And after 5 nights of sunsets by the beach, we took the train back to Rome.
We woke up early pretty much every day during our vacation, mainly to beat the crowds and be able to appreciate the sights better. Once 10ish-11AM hit, it was like someone airdropped thousands of people to all the tourists spots, it was nuts. However, still enjoyed every second of it. As soon as we arrived to Rome, we bought a weekly pass for the metro and went on our way. We were able to see Vatican City (Including the Sistine Chapel), The Colosseum, a zillion of fountains including the Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps and so many other things that will stay with me forever.
While taking a stroll, I started searching things to do nearby. Funny enough, I found this popular “keyhole” in a private garden where they claimed you could see St. Peter’s Basilica perfectly centered. When we got there, there was a line. We decided to wait and see what this was all about. We ended up staying until night time and saw the sunset with the Basilica’s views. It was beautiful.
The metro is super easy to use. Every major stop had something to see and against our legs true desires, we took full advantage of it. Even though we ate so much, the amount of walking surpassed the calories, so we never feel stuffed. We wanted to go to so many other places in Italy, but time was of course limited. A friend recommended a restaurant in Florence so we decided to spend the day there. We bought a train ticket from Roma Termini and in about hour and a half, we were in front of more breathtaking architecture and delicious gelato. Trattoria Mario Firenze is a true Italian style restaurant, where you share a table with strangers within a couple of inches of each. This place was PACKED. We had to wait about 20 minutes for our table. The recommended plate (served somewhat raw and by the pound) was “Bistecca Fiorentina” which is Florentine Steak. It was SO good. We were originally going to order a steak each, but after the waitress opened her wide eyes and said “That’s too much!” haha we went with one and ordered a side dish of octopus. Afterwards we sat on some church steps with the view of the Duomo while eating the most creamy gelato. We walked around some more, went through some local markets, and then headed back to Rome. On our last days, we made sure to eat plenty of pizza. The bread is HEAVEN. At some places they served the pizza bread as an appetizer, which surprising didn’t leave you bloated. La Dolce Vita en Roma was a true experience, I can’t wait to visit more of this beautiful country. Until then, arrivederci Italia!