In honor of Ferragosto (the feast day of the Assumption of Mary), we're going to reminisce on our trip to Italy to see one of our besties tie the knot! In May, we traveled to Rome, Florence, and the Tuscan countryside to stand by our girl, Truly, as she married the man of her dreams in the little Tuscan city of Chiusdino. Let's just say, not one picture we took will even begin to do this beautiful country justice.
All you 90's kids know Lizzie McGuire promised us one thing - Rome is where dreams are made of. So, we obviously started our 11 day trip there. Rome is an incredible city, full of history and culture; there is so much to do!
See & Do
Trevi Fountain & Spanish Steps - Our flight arrived around midnight, so we stayed up all night and got to the Trevi fountain and Spanish Steps around 6:00 am, totally normal, we know. But y'all, this is a must! We had the chance to take amazing pictures and there wasn't a soul there! SO. WORTH. IT.
Colosseum & Roman Forum - Helloooo, history. If you're like us, you like exploring and learning about the history when on vacay, so a guided tour is your best bet, mainly just to skip the lines, (we suggest booking through Italo). You're in and out in about 2-3 hours, and you learn so much! Our guided tour was very informative on all of the artifacts, and gave detailed notes on the history of Rome and these amazing ruins. Seriously, standing in the Colosseum is breathtaking and really does take you back to 70 and 80 AD.
Trastevere - This is your young, hip, and up & coming part of town. It's across the bridge (perfect for sightseeing) and offers great restaurants, bars, coffee shops. Go!
Vatican City - You've got to (attempt to) see the Pope while in Rome. We didn't purchase tickets, as you get to waltz right into St. Peter's Basilica and St. Peter's Square. There are going to be crowds and lines, be aware, but it is one of the most beautiful churches we have ever seen. Plus, it's its' own city - so cool.
Aventine Hill Keyhole - follow these instructions: get in a cab, ask to go here and absolutely do NOT Google it before. It's beyond worth it to see as a surprise, but Google it for the historical info after!
Piazza Navona - One of Rome's most well known piazzas, built on the stadium of Domitian. We rented an Airbnb for two nights with our friends in town from Europe & Israel, and a hotel the third night. There are so many places to eat, drink and be merry around here! It's an easy walk to most places and super affordable.
Eat & Drink
Da Lucia - this was one of our fave spots for dinner, as everything was under 10 euros and the food was INCREDIBLE, be sure to order the cacio e pepe. And like everywhere else in Europe, order the house wine, ALWAYS. You'll thank us later.
Pierluigi - really incredible seafood restaurant located in the heart of Campo de Fiori.
Sant' Eustachio - this amazing little coffee shop has been around since the 1930's, so they know how to brew it. The lines are always long, but the caffe freddo is totally worth the wait!
Pimm's Good - cute and trendy bar in Trastevere. Great cocktails, great music and great location for photo ops. I mean, who doesn't love an ivy-covered wall?
After three nights, we hopped on the train to F-L-O (channeling our inner Miley Cyrus, obviously) and headed to Florence, Italy - the birthplace of Renaissance. Purchase the Firenze Pass and skip the line at every museum, church, sight you could dream of. It's about 75 euro, but it lasts for three days. Totally worth it.
See & Do
Uffizi Gallery - One of the world's greatest art museums, and former home to the infamous Medici fam and now home to so much Renaissance art. It holds works by Leonardo da Vinci, Giotto, Botticelli and Michelangelo. Holla at us, history!
Galleria dell' Accademia - Home of Michelangelo's David sculpture. It's huge (we're not talking about his nether regions), and you have to go see it in person!
Santa Croce - The most beautiful church we visited in Italy, also the burial place of Michelangelo, Rossini, Machiavelli and Galileo.
Baptistry of St. John & Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore - Both located in the Piazza del Duomo and absolute musts! The Baptistry is the oldest building in Florence and a literal gem, the ceiling is covered in GOLD! The Cathedral, also known as the Duomo is beyond amazing. If you can keep your claustrophobia in check, be sure to climb up to the top of the dome. Once you get up there you have the most amazing views of the city.
Medici Chapel - All you could ever want to know and see of this powerful, Tuscan dynasty.
Ponte Vecchio - This stone bridge over the Arno River lights up at night with live music, and is housed by shops during the day. Great for a late night stroll (helps digest your Florentine steak).
Piazzale Michelangelo - Hands down the best panoramic view of Florence. It's a trek to get to the top, but the view of Ponte Vecchio and the duomo are picturesque.
Eat & Drink
La Buchetta - Don't ask, just order the "Bistecca Fiorentina". This will be the biggest steak you have eaten, and it is worth every single bite.
Golden View - the name doesn't lie, head here for lunch and get a front row seat to see Ponte Vecchio and all it's glory!
Bar Vivoli - Tip of the Day: stay as far away as possible to fluffy gelato, it's just not as creamy. Bar Vivoli is located near Santa Croce and is said to be the oldest gelato shop in Florence. It's also very flat, so you know it's damn good.
Grom - Since we basically ate gelato for before and after every meal, we couldn't narrow it down to just one. Grom was also one of our faves and is located all over Europe!
Laduree - French bakery, best known for their macaroons. If you haven't had the chance to go in France, you must go! Best little macaroons in the heart of the fashion district in Florence.
Third stop, six hours in Siena. We took a quick pit stop on our way to Truly's wedding in Chiusdino, and we're so glad we did. Siena is a quaint, Tuscan town with scenes for days. You must pop in Nanini, a fantastic coffee shop with super yummy gelato. Before your train takes off, grab happy hour at one of the cafes near across from the bus station, classy, we know. But you can always count us in for a 12 euro bottle of Italian pinot grigio.
She's going to the (Tuscan) chapel and she's gonna get married! After a bottle of wine and the most road winding car ride of our life, we arrived to our final stop - the beautiful Chiusdino. Our bestie, Truly, picked the most breathtaking and dreamy location for her nuptials to her man. We all stayed at Tenuta di Papena, a countryside villa very close to their ceremoy at San Galgano Abbey. If you're ever traveling through the Tuscan countryside, we highly recommend staying at a villa. Everything is close (30 min to an hour away), and the experience is unforgettable. TAKE US BACK!
See & Do, Drink & Eat
Vineyard & Farm tour - Truly and Patrick organized a wine tasting and farm tour for us in the town of San Gimignano (San Jimmy Johns, as some might call it) at Fattoria Poggio Alloro. We enjoyed a five course meal and snacked on fresh prosciutto, salami, and cheese fresh from the farm. Basically we rolled outta here! And one of the (many!) highlights of our trip.
San Gimignano - Home to the world's best gelato, Gelateria Dondoli. You'll see the line from a mile away. Pop in to this small, but gorgeous, town on your road-trip through Tuscany. The views are to-die-for and the cute, Tuscan shops and restaurants are great.
Hot Springs at Monticiano - Need to relax after all the stress of being on vacation? Head here for a spa-like experience in the Italian countryside.
Y'all, this definitely was a trip for the books. We've always dreamed of traveling the Tuscan countryside and experiencing it with some of our best friends. We ate the best food, drank Italian wine and limoncello, and watched a "Truly" one-of-a-kind bride get hitched. All in all, it was a beyond successful trip. Cheers to Italy, to friends, and to the Kane's - we love y'all!