Austria, Italy · 14 Days · 30 Moments · April 2017

Italy 2017

12 May 2017

Onto to Venice. Took the train cause the plane would have only gained us maybe a couple of hours and then we would have had weight restrictions on our bags. All in all I think a better choice. Of course we got lost looking for our place. Samantha eventually found it. Finally got settled in sometime around 4. So we had little time to enjoy Venice. We got to see the Rialto bridge and St. Marks square. Had a pretty good dinner. Then Samantha stayed in. Emily and I went out for a drink. I was surprised how early everything closed up. Early day tomorrow. Water taxi booked for 5A - ugh.

11 May 2017

Today was Pompeii and Mt Vesuvius and our last day in Positano. We found a tour that would pick us up from our b&b and didn't cost a fortune. It was pretty warm today - almost 80. It want too crowded. The tour was informational but the tour guide didn't make it fun. It's a pretty cool place. They picked us up at 7:15 and we didn't get back until 18:00. It was a long day. When we got to Mt Vesuvius Samantha was anxious about how late we were going to get back and she wasn't feeling well so we didn't climb to the top. She ended up having a panic attack. :(. After a while she did start feeling better and we did end up getting back earlier than expected. I went into town and got some things from the store. We ended up having a nice salad for dinner. Another early day tomorrow - heading to Venice.

10 May 2017

Took a boat to Capri. A ton of people so we ended up just going to AnaCapri. We took the chairlift up to the top of the Mount Solaro. Went to a restaurant that Samantha found on TripAdvisor. They had good pizza, burgers and the best sangria. The sangria was made with brut/Proseco and fresh strawberries and orange slices - soooooo good.

9 May 2017

Today relaxed at the beach and took the ferry to Amalfi. Glad we're not staying in Amalfi prefer Positano for sure. Girls were tired and didn't want to wait for the bus so we took a taxi. The guy was super sleazy and overcharged us and nearly didn't stop at our b&b - this guy was the worst.

8 May 2017

Hung out in town today. Booked a "sunset" cruise 🚢. It ended at 7; sunset isn't until 8 :/. We had a snack, a glass of Proseco and a shot of tequila while waiting for the boat. Even though it wasn't really a sunset cruise it was still a ton of fun. We brought some Proseco on board. The boat company also had some Brut. It was a good day. The girls were a little tipsy by a the time we got off the boat. I was worried since we still had to walk back to the B&B but we made it back safely.

7 May 2017

View from our hotel. Changed our plans - added a couple days to Positano because it was absolutely beautiful and was just what we needed after all the craziness and crowds in Rome. We attempted to do the walk of the gods but the buses were packed and we got on a later bus than we wanted. The bus driver wasn't calling out the stops so we ended up getting off at the wrong one. It was getting a little late to start the hike and the girls were pretty shaken about the whole bus experience so we ended up just turning around and headed back into town.

6 May 2017

Onto Positano in the Amalfi Coast. It's Samantha's birthday. Happy birthday chickie. Emily remembered to wish her a Happy Bday before me 😳. Originally was going to drive but decided otherwise. I hired a private car from Naples Garibaldi Train station - worked out great. The driver was waiting for us and we got to our lodging without issue. car was. Staying at a B&B just outside of Positano city center - Holiday House Gilda (Jeelda). We ended up meeting two other people staying at our B&B - Corrine and Caty. They were super friendly but it was their last day. We ended up at the same place for dinner so we sat at the same table. It was pretty cool.

4 May 2017

Today is the day to be our own tour guide. Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Altare de Patria and the Pantheon. We got going a little earlier but it took us two hours at the cafe so we got going a little later today. The girls were a little tired so we took the day at a lazy pace.

3 May 2017

Colle Aventino (keyhole) and an overlook not too far from the Garibaldi statue near the aqueduct fountain. According to Mimo Garibaldi is the true hero for the Italian people. There was no good way to capture the view from the keyhole - amazing leading lines. Mimo dropped us off in a Piazza not too far from our B&B. The girls got cat called (a routine occurrence). Mimo had a chat with the young man. Gotta love him. Went to dinner, had another rude waiter, once again they didn't have the dish I wanted. The food was just so so except Samantha had a creamy pesto pasta dish that was very good and I did find my favorite wine to date.
Basilica di Santa Sabina
Parco Savello - this place was peaceful with the most amazing view. A neighborhood park for the most part. Definitely not over run by tourists. I could have stayed here all day.
Had Gelato at Gelato di Claudio Torce and Proseco at Saba caffe Cucina. Thanks to our guide Mimo for finding some amazing places. The best Gelato in Rome and my favorite Proseco so far. Now that we were refreshed we have a few less know sights to go see.
Our tour guide for the Ape Calessino tour was Mimo. An Ape Calessino is a covered Vespa that has three wheels and a bench in the back. The driving in Italy is crazy and the roads are cobblestone so it made for a bumpy ride. The weather was amazing. On our way to the Colosseum we were stopped by a labor strike. According to Mimo it's a very common occurrence. We visited the Colosseum, circus maxima, termini di Caracalla (bath houses), then we stopped for Gelato and Proseco.
Had a great lunch at Ciampini in Largo Fontanella Borghese. Had the Ciampini salad - tuna, artichokes, buffalo mozzarella among others the things. It was delicious. We also got Samantha a chip for her phone. Then went to go meet the scooterama Ape Calessino tour guide at the Piazza Augustana Imperatore.

2 May 2017

We are staying at Approdo Ripetta B&B. It's a nice place. The proprietor was pleasant but not as nice as Donatella. Our ride from the train station has taken on the name of youbear. :)
We took a train from Florence to Rome. The whole process went smoothly up until we got to Rome. When we got off the train we decided we wanted to take a taxi versus taking the Metra. A taxi driver approached us - red flag #1. We agreed to a price and then we had to go to his taxi which was several blocks away - red flag #2. He was not a taxi and had an "Uber" sticker in his car - red flag #3. Even with all those red flags - we still got in the car. Our luggage barely fit in his car. I was wary so I followed his route against google maps. He was going the right way. Then we ended up in some very bad traffic and he ended up running into a parked car. At this point Samantha is grabbing my fingers so tight I thought I was going to lose circulation. We finally get near the hotel and he wouldn't take us all the way there. He let us out several blocks from our b&b. Thankfully we were alive. So I paid him and we trekked our bags the few blocks. Got hold of the proprietor and she let us in.
Agriturismo La Papessa
Antica Fattoria LaCastellina
Today we did a biking wine tour through Tuscany. The weather was wonderful. The sky was scattered with big puffy white clouds. The sky above it was the most beautiful blue. It was a little chilly around 50 deg F but perfect bike riding weather. We used I Bike Tuscany for the tour. We went to three locations CASTELLO DI FONTERUTOLI, Antica Fattoria La Castellina and Agriturismo La Papessa. I thought Fonterutoli had the best Chianti. The one in Castellina was in a small town with a ton of charm and La Papessa had the most beautiful grounds. It was a nice combination of wineries.
The biking nearly kicked my ass. It was a 10 mile ride in total. To say the least Tuscany is a hilly region. There was one hill on the way to the last winery that I just couldn't handle. But other than that I was able to muscle through the rest of the hills using the "granny" setting on my bike (highest gear). Samantha was not feeling well and Emily was not comfortable riding downhill so they chose to ride in the van. Overall a really nice day. Samantha started feeling better and we all enjoyed the wineries. The tour was very nice but would have liked to be able to stop more for pictures along the way. But they could have sped the tour up to meet our timeline because we needed to get back early enough to get to Rome. Our next destination.

1 May 2017

The restaurant we ended up was DiladDarno. It ended up being an amazing restaurant. We talked to the owner and he told us about how the restaurant came about. He had his Mom and Dad helping out because he was short on staff due to the holiday. It was a very warm and welcoming place. We ordered a liter if their house wine which was soooo good. Of the food we had the cheese plate was just amazing. We had such a good time. I'm sure we annoyed everyone else that was there. After we left, all the street lights were on. It was kinda freaky and then we attributed it to fate either that or it had not yet been dark long enough for all the lights to go on. Either way we found a gem.
After the sunset we went to dinner. We wanted to go to this restaurant that was a "must go to" place in the Lonely Planet. It was open earlier but we weren't able to get there for lunch. When we got there is was closed - likely cause of the holiday La Festa dei Lavoratori (Italy's Labor Day). So we started to go in the direction of a Piazza we had seen earlier that had a bunch of restaurants open. We were walking down a well lit street but once we got to the next intersection none of the street lights were on. Although we felt very safe in the area we hesitated going down completely dark streets. It just so happened there was a restaurant sign just a half block down from where we stopped. So we went there.
Went to see the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo. Donatella had given us some bus passes so we planned on taking the bus there. Google maps tells you the bus schedule so we headed to the bus to get there about 45 minutes before sunset. When we got to the bus stop I realized that I had forgotten my ticket of course. I told to girls to go ahead and take the bus so they didn't miss the sunset. I finally caught up with them without issue. The sunset was gorgeous. The view was stunning. Wish we had gone earlier to see more of the grounds. This was definitely a place to go.
Went to Palazzo Pitti and Ponte Vecchio. We met a cool couple from St. Louis who gave us some ideas for when we get to Venice. After we got to Ponte Vecchio it started to rain and got colder. Samantha found a beautiful ring. Emily got an amazing leather jacket. We ate at a restaurant that had amazing tiramisu but some pretty rude waiters. We met a couple from near Florence. We also met a couple from London. Had a nice conversation. Spent nearly 2 hours there. Luckily the rain pretty much ended by the time we left.

30 April 2017

Santa Croce
Uffizi gallery
Went to Uffizi, Santa Croce, the Duomo, Academia. Some amazing art. My favorite Primavera from Botticelli. Absolutely loved David. 21,444 steps. Seemed like a lot more.

29 April 2017

So after an interesting experience at check-in we did get to the plane. Lesson definitely learned. Austrian airlines check-in personnel were amazing. The flight went smoothly. Made it to Florence okay. Love our B&B. Donatella is our host and is amazing. Went looking for dinner and got lost. Finally found a little trattoria and has an amazing dinner and a bottle of wine. Perfect end to a pretty crazy day.