Italy | November 2015

Falling asleep on a train. That's how our first few hours were spent in Italy. Over 24 hours of travel from Raleigh, NC to Milan, with a first official stop in Verona, Italy. We were tired, but our introduction to Verona by Mara, a vibrant woman we rented an apartment from, woke us up and we mustered enough energy to spend an hour taking in the beauty right outside our apartment. Fall in Italy was going to be an amazing thing, that much was obvious. Then, we zonked out in an attempt to recover from the jetlag of a redeye transatlantic flight.

In the following 10 days we toured Verona, ventured to Venice, Florence and Rome before the train ride back to Milan for our flight back to North Carolina. As a reserved couple we wondered if we were making the wise choice spending all of our time in large, populated cities. When we traveled to Ireland our favorite moments were spent in the places where we were able to look out and see no one but each other and the scenery (and the sheep and the cows). In the end, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit such major bucket-list cities. So we did it. While we would love a trip back to travel into the smaller Italian villages, we reveled in the beautiful sights and unique experiences.

Venice was unforgettable in a way I don't even think I'm eloquent enough to explain. It was even more magical than you'd expect, only because there's just no place you've ever been that you can really compare it to. Some of my favorite moments of our entire trip were experienced in Venice.  Strolling along the narrow alleys, we witnessed a mom walking with her two children, a boy of about 12 kicking a soccer ball behind her, when an older man came around the corner and upon seeing the boy, lit up and started kicking the ball around with him. The older man schooled him, and it was great.  (I have to admit, it was such an adorably charming moment that I simply lowered my camera from my face and watched it unfold before me...I couldn't help it). Later we had lunch on the Grand Canal and in the evening stopped for canal-side Venetian cicchetti (delicious) and wine. And while this will probably sound so ridiculous, I'd be lying if I said I didn't actually get teary-eyed as we took our water taxi ride down the Grand Canal at sunset. It was a view I'll never forget for the rest of my life. It was so beautiful it couldn't have possibly been real life. If there's one thing I definitely regret, it's that we didn't dedicate enough time to Venice. We spent one day there, certainly not enough.

In Florence we spent a chilly night in Piazza della Repubblica, a charming and popular square with an antique carousel, market and live music. The atmosphere was beyond words. To tour the Uffizi Gallery was awe-inspiring and we spent an afternoon at the Boboli Gardens enjoying all of the fall color. We climbed I don't even know how many steps to Piazzale Michaelangelo on our last night in Florence to take in the sunset. On a quirky note, our adorable apartment in Florence was situated above a restaurant, and we enjoyed the aroma of cooking with olive oil every night before bed.  

Rome was big and bustling and I'm glad we worked our way up from the smaller city of Verona. It's quite a thing to be a reserved person from a small town riding crowded public transportation and walking busy city streets! In Rome we toured the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Campo de Fiori, and Villa Borghese (where we were super touristy and rode in an adorable little row boat). Some of our favorite dining experiences were in Rome - a restaurant called Parma Roma where you can enjoy parmesan cheese in just about every bite (that was a LOT of parmesan), and on our last night, Antica Trattoria da Pietro Al Pantheon, where the jovial owner doted on us and offered limoncello at the end of my meal to help soothe my throat (I did, unfortunately, get sick during our trip). This was my first experience with limoncello. :)

Now for what you all really came here to see:  the photos. We hope you enjoy seeing Italy through our lens.