Updated: Jul 1, 2020
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If you know me, you know much I love Italy. The culture, the history, the natural beauty, the vibrant city life and of course the vino! I first fell in love with this country the summer before my senior year of college, in August 2015.
We had the opportunity as a basketball team to travel to Italy and play a few games. I am forever grateful for that trip because it allowed me to experience Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, Venice, Lake Como and Milan. No two cities are alike. Possibly the best part about it; you can get to nearly any city you’d like for a simple day trip! I encourage you to get over there and city hop. They make it so easy to see everything you’d like.
There’s no place quite like it! The fact that you can have all the desirable paradises of the world in one country blows my mind. Ocean, mountains, lakes, rolling vineyard hills, monuments, ruins, bridges, towers, rivers, to name a few. Anddddddd they’re within a few hours of each other.
Most Italians will know or understand English. At a young age they are taught English in school. However, I encourage you to speak Italian when you’re there, it’s such a pretty language! Everyone was so sweet to help us with pronunciation.
In the more rural areas or in smaller towns English speakers will be harder to find. Plan accordingly when needing a taxi or to order off a menu.
Taxis are fast! both in driving on the roads LOL and in pick up time. There’s generally one or two taxi companies per city and you call in asking for a ride and if they say your driver will be outside in 2 minutes they mean your driver will be outside in 2 minutes! It’s so great.
Ubers are around, Just not as many as taxis. compare prices before you choose one over the other. Also no Ubers in the country or small towns.
You can walk almost anywhere. My advice, don’t have an agenda. Just walk and pop into the restaurants and shops that appeal to you. There isn’t one bad place to eat or drink in the city.
Stay two nights to spread out all the sightseeing and shopping! Maybe even another night if you want to go into Vatican City.
Comparatively longer flight. The closer to the east coast you depart from the shorter the flight. We flew direct (ON POINTS!) by American from Chicago O’hare. Roughly 9.5 hrs. We flew direct from Milan into San Francisco on Air Italy and it was 11.5hrs. Significant difference.
Different language. However this is a pro in my mind because sitting back listening to Italians speak to one another is one of the most beautiful things.
You may be asked to pay to use the public bathrooms. Especially at train stations or larger public places. It’s only about 1 euro or less so keep change in your pocket for emergencies.
Some restaurants require you pay for your silverware. Again, not a large expense. Just not something we’re used to.
bathrooms & hotel rooms are significantly smaller than in America. In particular toilets and showers. Often times places don’t have warm water or it takes a minute to get going.
Biggest tip I can give you…… be patient! This is a country that is in no rush to do anything- except drive their car, you’ll see.
Not big luggage friendly, as you can imagine. Dragging a 50+lb suitcase over ancient cobblestone roads and up narrow stairwells is not the dream.
Rome (FCO) airport is also a great option for flights back to the states when you’re through with your Italian tour. listed in increasing flight time
Boston (BOS) 9hrs 20 min
Newark (EWR) 9hrs 45 min
New York (JFK) 9hrs 50 min
Washington (IAD) 10hrs
Philadelphia (PHL) 10hrs 15 min
Detroit (DTW) 10hrs 32 min
Charlotte (CLT) 10hrs 50min
Chicago (ORD) 10hrs 50 min
Miami (MIA) 11hrs 10min
Atlanta (ATL) 11hrs 11min
Dallas (DFW) 12hrs 5 min
Oakland (OAK) 12hrs 25 min
Los Angeles (LAX) 13hrs 5 min
List of airlines flying direct from Rome to the states:
Delta, United, American, Norwegian Air, Alitalia,
Rome is a city for history and romance. Every where you walk there is beautiful architecture and cobblestones under your feet, older than anything you’re familiar with. Take it all in. I say, Rome is for lovers.
We flew into Rome FCO airport and stayed in town one night, before heading to Florence. There are three main things I love to see when coming to Rome. The Colosseum, The Spanish Steps, & The Trevi Fountain. The first time I had been to the Colosseum and Spanish Steps but we missed out on the Trevi because it was under construction. This time I made it a point to highlight the Trevi on our 24hrs there. After some research I found Hotel Fontana an undervalued incredible hotel literally facing the Trevi Fountain. You cannot get any closer to the fountain without standing in it. On of my favorite moments at the hotel was right after we checked in we napped for a bit, so we opened the windows and all you could hear was running water. Oh my goodness it was like a dream. Really, who gets lulled to sleep by the Trevi Fountain in the comfort of their hotel room!? Unreal.
The Uber or taxi will drop you off about a block away behind the Trevi, turn that corner and feel your jaw drop.
Hotel entrance, the lobby is simply a hallway with a slim desk and the elevator fits two people max, that means one person and one oversized luggage lol. Do not enter if claustrophobic hahahahaha.
Vintage charming hotel rooms
view from our hotel room, Jan and Emma had the room to left of us with the same view
The View from the upstairs hotel restaurant. We had wine there at night and breakfast in the morning.
Breakfast consistently will look like this unless you stay at an American hotel. pastries and baked goods, hard boiled eggs, cold cuts, cheese, fruit plates, espresso & juices.
Can we just talk about this view one more time!? There’s no such thing as waking up on the wrong side of the bed here!
& the Mallorca Striped Pocketed Tie Pants so lights & so comfortable!!!
Because of our incredible proximity to the Trevi Fountain, we were able to wake up with the sunrise to avoid the people and have a fountain photoshoot hahaha.
my talented photographer <3 @ekittle on this trip
We encountered a bit of a rain storm while exploring a few hours after our arrival. The rain was a relief as it was nearly 100 degrees and humid, we were dancing in the rain on the Spanish Steps, another pinch me moment.
Nothing to see here just a gelato shop hidden in plants
The view from the top of the Spanish Steps
I mean everyone needs an Emma @ekittle
dancing in the rain <3
Jan in the streets of Roma
Cute little grocery store and bake shop right around the corner from our hotel
Right over the river to the west of Rome is this lively bohemian beautiful little town called Trastevere. This is the place to be at night! People line the streets, drink in hand and cars can barely pass by. We had drinks at Hosteria Del Moro Da Tony unreal atmosphere, be sure to sit outside as the sun goes down and listen to the locals play street music.
For dinner we went to @Aroma the Michelin star restaurant on the rooftop of Palazzo Manfredi Hotel. Not the best service and they seemed to be having issues with not only our reservation but many others that night as well. But if you’re dying for an unparalleled view go here. Maybe try for lunch and make your reservation wayyyyyyy in advance.
Another incredible restaurant we found is Ginger Sapori e Salute right in the heart of Rome. Stumbled across this beauty while shopping in the surrounding area. An organic, healthy & sustainable restaurant. We were in Heaven! The decor was so white, bright and beautiful Emma and I thought about coming back later for photos lol.
Leaving Rome, taking the train to Florence. About an hour and a half ride later we are there! Don’t be scared by the train systems they’re just as easy if not easier than the ones in the US. I compared it to taking the train into San Francisco.
Momma and me pic before heading to florence
Next stop, Florence!!!!