Do you have a place in the world that you love more than anywhere else? Maybe your hometown, or the place you went to college, or maybe even where you live now (lucky!), or perhaps there is somewhere in the world that you feel completely, inexplicably drawn to, even if you’ve never been there before? For me, that place is Florence, Italy.
I studied abroad in Florence when I was in college and oh man, it completely captured my heart. Italy as a whole is amazing and incredible and wonderful. I loved everything about my summer there – the cobblestone streets, the open air markets, the tomatoes, the gelato (oh my god, the gelato!), the language, the history, the people, the evening passeggiata, drafty stone churches, wine, leather sandals, nutella for breakfast (and lunch and dinner), the museums (oh, the museums!), the scenery – everything. But there was something about Florence that just drew me. It had an indescribable brand of magic that spoke directly to my soul. By the time I got home, I was already trying to figure out how to get back.
Fast forward two years – my sister was studying abroad in France, and I was about to graduate college and freaking out about what to do with my life. I offhandedly suggested visiting/backpacking in Europe after graduation to my friend Natalie and she totally made it happen. We spent two weeks city bopping, including an amazing 3-4 day stint in Florence (which included the best meal of the whole trip – in fact, we ate there two nights in a row and didn’t even feel a little bit bad about it!).
Casey and I talked about an Italian honeymoon when we got married three years ago, but ultimately decided that it wasn’t the right time (due to both a lack of vacation time and funds). I was disappointed, but we promised each other that we would get there someday.
Finally, about a year and a half ago, I got so itchy to get back to Italy that I started dreaming about it. I must have read Under the Tuscan Sun about a billion times that winter. On a whim, I bought a bunch of guidebooks and started pouring through them. I mentioned to Casey that we could charter a sailboat and sail the Mediterranean and he was immediately onboard (what?!! ahhhhhh!!). We realized that we could totally swing it if we went in shoulder season (late September) and booked our lodging through Airbnb (instead of staying at hotels). Casey even convinced two of our friends to meet us on the boat (for backup/safety). It was actually going to happen! Picture me jumping up and down and dancing around and singing/yelling and then making a thousand and one packing lists.
So last September, we did it – we spent the most amazing two weeks traveling in Italy. I know it’s kind of weird to write about it now, since we’re smack dab in the middle of a brand new adventure, but I want to make sure that my favorite parts of this trip are recorded forever.
I can’t wait to share the amazing little details and highlights that made this trip so incredible. Today I just wanted to share a quick overview of my love affair with bella Firenze and a brief itinerary that shows where/how we spent our time. I’m going to share more in depth stories every Tuesday – so come back and check it out! Reliving it has been almost as much fun as actually going.
I hope that this inspires you to plan a trip to your favorite place, or to that place you’ve always wanted to go! It’s possible! Take the time! Go!! Do it!!
WEEK ONE // MAINLAND
Sunday, September 15 – Tuesday, September 17
Tuesday, September 17 – Friday, September 20
Florence & Tuscany
Friday, September 20
Saturday, September 21
Ferry to Olbia (Sardinia)
WEEK TWO // SAILING
Sunday, September 22 – Friday, September 27
(Sardinia: Santa Teresa, La Maddelena, Palau // Corsica: Bonifacio)
Friday, September 27
Bus to Olbia
Saturday, September 28
Ferry to Civitavecchia // Bus to Rome
Sunday, September 29