My 10 Year Anniversary with Rome

Thanks to those fun Facebook memories, I was reminded that July 3rd, 2007 I arrived in Rome for the first time.

I had traveled before. We traveled to the Caribbean often and I had spent a month in Ireland a few years before, but this trip was different.

I was traveling as a supervisor for a high school English credit (which just so happened to have my brother and cousin taking the class). The students had class during the day, and we spent our afternoons Rome-ing around.

That first day exploring we visited the Baths of the Diocletion, the Piazza della Republica and the Spanish Steps. I remember so vividly walking from the Baths to the Spanish Steps when it hit me – these were the roads that an ancient civilization walked on, these were the places they built. Here I was, thousands of years later, being in awe of all of it. That feeling of being in awe followed me each day – to the Vatican, through the Forum, to the Pantheon and on our day trip to Florence.

That month changed my life. I learned so much, about myself and this beautiful city. I grew as a person. I found a strength in me I didn’t know I had. It sparked a love of travel and need to continue exploring the world.

No matter where my travels take me, I always feel a calling back to the Eternal City.

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Quick Take: Venice

We visited Venice on our (now annual) Eurotrip in May 2017. Here is the quick take!

Visited: May, 2017
Days in Venice: 3
Travelled to Venice by: Plane from Toronto
Stayed at:
Hotel Campiello

Favourite site: The Grand Canal!
Favourite restaurants: Trattoria alla Rivetta, Ristorante da Cherubino, Ristorante Antica Sacrestia
Other Great Spots: Dal Moro’s Fresh Pasta to Go, Bacaro Risorto
Venetian Specialties: Bigoli in salsa, Scampi with polenta, Bacalá mantecato, Polenta
Tours: Walks of Italy – Venice in a Day Tour
Must See & Do:
Piazza San Marco, St Mark’s Basilica, Grande Canal & Rialto Bridge, Fish Market, La Fenice Theatre, Mercato Rialto, Dodges Palace, Bridge of Sighs and take a Vaporetto ride. Gondola rides are fabulous, expensive but fun.
If you have time: Take a ride to the island of Burano and Murano.
Day trips: None.
Tips: Buy a Vaporetto day pass (good for 24 hours) to get around and see the sites from the water. Most dinner restaurants probably need a reservation (which you can mostly make online).

Quick Take_ copy

Italy – May 2017 Update

Okay. I admit it. I was far too boastful in my trip planning. After thinking about it (logically and financially) we’ve made some changes to our trip.

Here’s the thing – as much as I love Italy (and I really do) there are some cities *cough*Venice*cough* that I want to go to once and feel as though I don’t need to go back. We also realized there was more we wanted to see and do in Emilia Romagna.

Here it goes:

Day 1: Land in Venice at 7:30am. Take a nap and stroll around.
Day 2: Venice tour day!
Day 3: Day trip from Venice to Burano.
Day 4: Drive to & tour Verona.
Day 5: Drive to Bologna, stopping at Parma.
Day 6: Bologna tour day!
Day 7: Day trip from Bologna to Modena.
Day 8: Train from Bologna to Rome!!
Days 9 & 10: Tour Roma.
Day 11: Fly home.

Last weekend we booked all of our accommodations so now it’s just time to plan our tours!!

If anyone has any recommendations or tips for these cities, please share!

Italy – May 2017

I feel like an evil genius! I’ve figured it out!

I believe I’ve mapped out the best trip possible for us starting in Venice and ending in Rome.

Here it goes:

Day 1: Land in Venice at 7:30am. Take a nap and stroll around.
Day 2: Venice tour day!
Day 3: Day trip from Venice to Burano.
Day 4: Drive to Golfo Paradiso, after spending a few hours in Verona.
Day 5: Tour Golfo Paradiso.
Day 6: Drive from Golfo Paradiso to Bologna, stopping at Parma & Modena on the way.
Day 7: Bologna tour day!
Day 8: Train from Bologna to Rome!!
Days 9 & 10: Tour Roma.
Day 11: Fly home.

We’re going to be moving a LOT more than normal but I think we’ll be okay!

If anyone has any recommendations or tips for these cities, please share!

Pizza & Gelato

It’s official!

We’re heading back to Italy this May for our 30th birthdays and 5 year wedding anniversary!

We have a very vague plan right now – fly into Venice and fly home from Rome. The idea is to road trip our way down and *finally* be reunited with Roma for the last few days. The countdown begins to all of the pizza & gelato… and Parmesan…and prosciutto…and *drool*…

Here is my wish list of stops:

~ Venice
~ Burano
~ Verona
~ Bellagio and Lake Como
~ Parma, Bologna and Modena
~ Golfo Paradiso
~ Maybe Florence
~ And finally, Rome.

Hopefully we can fit it all in! We will be going on our shortest trip to Europe so fingers crossed!!

Eating in Italy

If the Italians know how to do one thing, it’s eat! Before you visit, though, there are some things you need to know about eating in Italy.

  • They don’t eat breakfast like North Americans. Let me explain. Here we have eggs, bacon, toast, the works. In Italy, breakfast is a light little wake up – maybe a small bun, croissant or pastry and a caffe (espresso), cappuccino or caffe latte.
  • Italians don’t drink cappuccinos after noon, so if you’re going to order one, have it with breakfast.
  • Sitting down at a cafe will almost always mean they charge you for service. If you order a coffee, drink it at the bar like the Italians!
  • Be careful of what time you stop for lunch if you want to have a sit down meal. Most places, restaurants included, close between 1 and 2 for the afternoon. Places that make sandwiches or serve pizza by the slice only will usually be open all afternoon for a lunch on the go.
  • Italians enjoy an aperitivo before dinner – a drink (prosecco and champagne are favourites because it’s believed the bubbles help prepare your stomach for a meal) and some light snacks are usually eaten after work. Some bars have aperitivo hours (between 5 and 7 or 8) and will serve little sandwiches, pieces of pizza, chips and other snacks. Check before you sit down, though – there might be a charge for the snacks!
  • Most of the better restaurants don’t serve dinner until 7pm or later. The reason? Most Italians take their time with the aperitivo and aren’t hungry or ready for dinner until 8 or later.
  • Avoid any restaurant that has people outside inciting you to come in. Generally speaking, they’re not as good and tend to cater to tourists instead of locals.
  • Also, avoid any restaurant that has their menu translated into a ton of languages. Most good restaurants will have an Italian and English menu, maybe one in a third language (Spanish or French). After that, you know they’re only after tourists.
  • Try to walk a few streets away from any main tourist site. As a general rule, don’t eat inside a piazza or square – the view is nice but the food is never as good.
  • A lot, if not all, of the restaurants will have a menu posted outside. Take a look before sitting down.
  • Restaurant menus will have antipasto, primi and secondi sections. Some will also have contorno (side dish) and dolce (dessert). The primi plates are usually pasta or risotto, something heavy. Secondi dishes would be meats or fish, something a little lighter.
  • If you’re drinking wine, most restaurants will have a wine list. Ask for a house wine (vino della casa) even if you don’t see it on the menu. Most places have a house wine at a great price, and they’re usually delicious.
  • A meal isn’t complete without gelato. Okay, maybe that’s just my rule, but make an effort to find and try as many different flavours while you’re in Italy.

Do you have any tips for eating while in Italy? I’d love to hear them!