What a dream this place was. A train took us from Switzerland to Milan- it was crazy how drastically different everything was the second we went into another country. Things got busier and dirtier really fast. Milan reminded me a lot of New York. We only spent a few hours in the city. We went from the train to the subway system that dropped us at the Duomo di Milano. Definitely a tourist hot spot, but an incredible sight to see nonetheless. It was right in the middle of big elaborate buildings and a fancy mall covered in ornate gold patterns with only the top designer stores. The first thing I noticed were the gelato shops everywhere. They were like a Willy Wonka factory begging me to come and buy my weight in treats-when in Italy...right?
We learned how frustrating Italian transportation can be when we were on the train traveling to Florence. We bought a ticket, but we didn't realize we had to validate it before we hopped on our train. The train ticket man later told us the fine was like a hundred dollars, but he would let us off the hook for $20. Unfortunately, we didn't have any euros, only american dollars. He wasn't very pleased. I was waiting for him to handcuff us and drag us off the train, but right at the perfect moment some adorable students from Finland, who were sitting next to us offered to pay for us! I was so thankful! Maybe we should have gone to Finland instead of Italy!
Florence was the most perfect small city. Everything was old, but absolutely stunning. All of the sights were within walking distance, and the restaurants were the ivy covered, family business types. I ate the yummiest gnocchi in a cozy place right below our room. Our Airbnb was seriously the coolest! It was this giant 500 year old loft with tall arched ceilings, brick walls, and modern fixtures. It was in the very center of the city next to the famed, Duomo.
We took the train to Salerno, and from there a very windy taxi drive to Positano on the Amalfi Coast. The second we drove onto the main coastal road, I never wanted to leave. It was as charming as ever. The water was insanely blue, and the cliffs were breathtaking. We stayed in a hotel overlooking the water. We walked up and down the steep hills daily and earned our morning croissants. I think we went to the same restaurant twice because it was so good. I died over the croquets, and almost threw up the limoncello they gave me (not knowing it was alcohol or like drinking straight up lemon juice). We took a ferry one day to the island of Capri. Only an hour away, it was a little slice of heaven. A tiny little island, it was clean, and white. We raced to the other side of the island to see the famous Faraglioni and get some sun. We came across the center of the island where all the shopping is- some of the most expensive stores in the world all together in one place. It was unreal. A playground for celebrities. The hotels and private homes on the walk down to the water were Kardashian style. Ready to go back to Capri right this second.
Our last stop in Italy was Rome. Because it was the end of the trip, we really just wanted to cuddle up in our hotel room and not even see the sights. But we went out for gelato and saw the Colleseum, the vatican and the trevi fountain. Rome had a few too many tourists for us. I prefered the small towns of Italy much more. The lowest and maybe most comical part of the entire trip was next to the Ciampini airport in Rome. We were planning on sleeping in the airport, and flying out early the next morning. However, we both wanted a good night sleep so Ryan booked a cheap (really cheap, $40/night) hotel room. I expected crap, but what we got was even worth than that. The walk to the hotel was scary- fights, yelling, broken bottles being thrown. The hotel itself looked like it used to be a hospital or mental institution. Our room had bad lighting and felt cold and empty. We grabbed food from their cafe in the basement. It felt like a hospital cafeteria, and the waiter looked like a mortician. We were both laughing at how ridiculous the situation was. No hotel or motel will ever be as bad. However, the food, the architecture, the landscape of Italy blew me away. It is definitely a place I'd like to go back to.