Ah, Roma.

In all honesty, Italy swept me off my feet.

I’d never placed it too high on my bucket list, but I absolutely wouldn’t turn down the chance to catch a flight with my boyfriend + best friends. So here we are.

Our trip starts and finishes in Rome. Over 12 days we’d take TrenItalia (the amazing railway system in Italy) to Venice, Cinque Terre, Florence and Saturnia.

Our first stop was Venice, the island with more than 170 canals running through it. Of course we hopped right on a Gondola (80 euros) and then explored the city by water boat. We ate way more pizza and pasta carbs than I’m proud to admit. Not much is open late in Venice, but we did manage to find a hole in the wall spot called Time Social Bar, where we drank wine like water while they blasted Queen. One of the best pasta dishes we had was from Dal Moro’s- a to go spot with tons of pasta options and a good sized portion. Also, if you have time, be sure to visit Libreria Acqua Alta, where you’ll find a some very Instagramable spots….and lots of cats.

Cinque Terre was a fascinating site to see. It is comprised of 5 small little towns that are recognized as UNESCO heritage sites among the coast of northwest Italy. The rainbow buildings of Riomaggiore and Vernazza (the two towns we visited) touch the sky in the sweetest way, you can’t help but feel at ease, surrounded by the bright color.

We also spent some time in Porto Venere, which isn’t technically apart of Cinque Terre, but its still worth a visit! You can dine on the coast with views of the clearest blue water you’ve ever seen, and if that’s appealing to you, then you’ll love taking a quick boat tour around for only 12 euros to see the caves.

Saturnia is home to these beautiful thermal baths that are completely open to the public. We actually stayed in Grosetto, a nearby town, and rented a car to get there. It was 49 euros to rent the car from Eurocar, and was relatively easy to navigate the two hour drive from Grosetto to Saturnia. We also stopped in a very small, but stunning cliffside town called Pitigliano. I highly recommend taking advantage of the jaw dropping views this place has to offer on your way to visit the hot springs.

Rome felt a bit like the faster city pace of NYC, except cleaner, everyone seemed friendlier, and it is WAY more rich in culture. It was nice weather, which made walking everywhere really worthwhile. Every corner you turn there is a gelato shop, and I recommend trying as many gelato shops as you can stomach, because they’re all so different from each other! My favorite flavor was a combo of lemon basil + pistachio. This is where you’ll really see EATily come to life.

My top 3 favorite Gelato shops during the trip are:

  1. Gelaterria dell’Angeletto (Rome)
  2. Ara (Florence)
  3. Vivoli (Florence)

There is so much more to do, see and eat in Italy, and it’s crazy to think we only covered the northern part! I can’t wait to plan a trip through southern Italy and see more crystal blue waters and majestic cliffsides.

Side Note- the best thing I ever did was sign up for the AMEX Delta Skymiles Gold credit card. So many cards have foreign transaction fees, and that’s the last place you want your money to go when traveling. Another reason I love this card is because when you sign up, you get 60,000 bonus miles (which is a FREE fight, equivalent to Hawaii or Europe) as a welcome bonus. So there ya go, your flight to Italy is already paid for! Use my link below to activate this offer! (You must use the link to get the 60,000 miles)

If this is a trip you’d like to take, please share!