I have a confession to make. Up until recently, Italy wasn’t really on my radar. I decided to check it out this summer because we could do a quick road trip from France relatively easily. Man was I off base! I had no idea how INCREDIBLE Italy actually was!
This absolutely stunning country is filled with gorgeous everywhere you look. From pristine mountain villages, to incredible costal swim spots,to some of the most legendary art and sculptures of our time Italy is a bucket list dream come true. I am converted! If you haven’t been you must go!
Here are five incredible places in Italy that will make you fall in love and start packing your bags today!
THE CITY OF NAPLES|NAPOLI
In truth, didn’t know much about Napoli when we planned our trip. Yep! I know it will make everyone cringe (I’m sorry!) but all I knew was the Eat, Pray, Love version. Rough around the edges and the BEST pizza ever. Well it DOES have the best pizza ever but it also emanates an erie energy that is very unique and makes it unlike any other city I visited in Italy. Dark cobble stone streets, grande Basilicas covered in urban tag, and masked Pulcinella‘s on every corner. Basically, if Vampires where real they’d live in Naples. There’s just something about it that feels rebellious and beautifully untamed. As a tourist for a day, exploring the streets of Napoli was complete affirmation of this.
Mange: Voted the BEST Neapolitan pizza in the World in 2016, saying Gino Sorbillio is a popular place is an understatement! You will have to wait in line (we only waited about 15 mins at a peak time) but it is WELL worth it! Two beers and two big ass amazing pizzas cost us about 25 Euro. I was clearly in Pizza heaven.
Walk Around: The old town historical centre of Naples. With a moody creative, urban vibe this area was by far my favourite. Check out Piazza Bellini on the skirts of the “Old City” for a taste of local life and some quirky interesting art.
Cool down: At Caffè Letterario Intra Moenia located in Pizza Bellini. After eating too much pizza and walking around in 35 degree weather, finding this place was like an Oasis! A beautiful garden terrace with misting fans a delicious cold treats. Grab some Mimosas or an Icy lemon dessert. You won’t be dissapointed. Don’t forget to have a boo around the inside of the the Caffé! It’s beautiful and aims to preserve the history of the neighbourhood.
THE TOWN OF POSITANO| AMAFLI COAST
I’m sure you’ve read all the reviews praising Positano for it’s beauty and it’s swanky euro crowds. Well I’m here to tell you, Positano lives up to every review it’s been given. Despite going in peak tourist season the lush beauty of Positano was not lost – you can still look out over a the cliffs and have your breath taken away as if no one is around.
Walk: Start at the top of Positano and make your way down the winding road to the beach. You’ll get tons of beautiful views and photo opts. We went on a Saturday (which to me seemed like tourist suicide) and yet it was beautifully serene until we got to the beach! During the day all the life is at the beach! And rightfully so!
Buy: Limoncello and a classic embroidered beach towels (beach towels from gorgeous beach destinations are kind of my souvenirs)
Mange: Anywhere overlooking the beach. This may be tourist trappy but who cares. You want to gaze out over the water, yacht spotting while sipping some white wine. Trust me. You want to do that!
THE BEACHES OF SPERLONGA IN LATINA
We went off course during our drive down to Napoli and found Sperlonga by accident. Thank the Universe for that because it became our favourite beach spot on our entire trip! Unlike the beaches on the Amalfi coast, these beaches are not overcrowded, they have light, soft sand and perfect frolic water! I can’t even tell you how happy I was to find Sperlonga. It was a paradise! I had my first ever sunset swim in Sperlonga, a moment I will never ever ever forget! It was pure heaven!
Drive: From Rome – Sperlonga is an amazing day trip option from Rome. It’s only about an hour and a half away and it’s considered one of Italy’s best kept secrets!
Swim: Any of the beaches South of the town. You’ll see from inside the town that there are a few beaches off to the side. Go there! They have umbrella chairs and reasonably priced drinks if you want but there’s also sections of chill free beach that you can hang out on and watch the sun set long after the cabanas close.
Explore: The town of Sperlonga. It will remind you of a quaint little Greek town. It’s absolutely costal and perfect. You won’t find many tourists here. Maybe the occasional Brit because as I’ve discovered the Brits know ALL the best spots everywhere in Europe 😉
THE REGION OF TOSCANA| TUSCANY
Toscana is famous all over the world and with good reason. With rolling hills covered in vines, Italian Cypress trees and warm coloured homes dotting the country side it’s easy to fall in love with the land that birthed the Italian Renaissance.
Drive: As many scenic routes as possible. Pick up a road map and spend a day driving around this beautiful countryside! Every lookout you find will take your breath away and make you want to stay.
Stay: Check out Air BnB and stay in the Tuscan countryside as opposed to staying in main city of Florence. It’s an amazing experience to walk up to such a pictuesque landscap before you head into the city for a day of exploring.
Mange: At Il Quartino in Pelago. Part of the Frescobaldi Estate Vineyard, treat yourself to delicious tuscan wine and a gourmet menu while surrounded by vineyards and classic tuscan countryside. Grab a seat outside and watch the sunset while sipping on some estate red. This place is about 40 minutes outside of Florence and well worth the drive!
THE CITY OF FIRENZE| FLORENCE
Florence is a love city. It just exudes romance everywhere. A perfect place to explore, eat gelato and be in love. Florence was by far my favourite city! You know when you find a place and you think “Ya, I could live here…absolutely” well I think that’s how everyone feels. Florence makes you want to stay in this beautiful Italian bubble – where the architecture and art reminds you of every movie you ever saw depicted during the Renaissance.
Mange: All the Gelato you can get your hands on. On Via de’ Guicciardini between Palazzo Pitti and Ponte Vecchio I found a few places that dished out some of the yummiest Gelato I’ve ever tasted! Flavours I’ve never heard of that were a delicious dream. I’d check this area out to fill your Gelato craving.
Walk: Everywhere! Just walk everywhere. Head up to Piazzale Michelangelo for a breathtaking sunset overlooking Ponte Vecchio, then head down to the city and have an evening walking tour adventure. Make sure to visit the Cathedral Di Santa Maria del Fiore at night. It’s astonishing how even with no light it shines in the dark.
Buy: Leather! Florence is the place to buy all things leather in Florence. If you’re planning a trip to Florence save your pennies so you can splurge on a chocolate Italian leather jacket and purse! I loved how unique some of the jacket cuts where and and Italian leather purse is a classic staple piece.
Just when I think I’ve seen some of the most beautiful things in the world, Italy came out of no where and made me realize my journey has just begun! I wish you all the gelato, pizza and pasta your heart desires and I hope you will get on a plane or a train and visit this sensational country!
Have You Been To Italy? Did you find your own slice of Heaven! Share with me! I’d love to hear about it!!