Honeymoon: Italy

I know that we’ve been home from our honeymoon for nearly four months already, and I still haven’t posted anything about it! Honestly, LIFE man. I have been so busy the past three months and things are just starting to slow down (before they pick pack up again!) enough that I know I have to get something posted. That said, I already know this is going to be long so… let’s jump right in!

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We went on a tour with Contiki, which basically allowed us to get on an off a bus while someone else got us hotel reservations, tickets to all the touristy things, reservations for dinner, etc. The scheduled our wake up calls and we walked with a line leader. We literally planned nothing. After a year of doing nothing but making decisions, it was amazing.

We scheduled our flight to get in a day earlier so that we could adjust to the time difference. That ended up being very good (because we got to sleep almost our entire first day in Italy away and woke up totally ready for the tour) and bad (because we couldn’t communicate with anyone in order to actually feed ourselves for the first 24 hours). Our first meal in Italy was some kind of thick bread with a slice of tomato and a slice of mozzarella washed down with a can of coke each.

The next day, we met up with the tour. At first, SO AWKWARD! There were about 50 people in our group, mostly from the US, Canada, the UK and Australia. But then we realized that there were three other couples celebrating a honeymoon, one engaged couple (who got married in Italy after the tour ended!) and one celebrating a one year anniversary. Then we found our people and we were okay. The other half of the group was single and loved to “Party, Party!” as our tour guide, Vinnie, would say! Every morning the bus left someone at the hotel because they were too hungover. We hardly drank and had a fabulous time that we will actually remember!

Rome

So, we started in Rome. We actually managed to get to the Spanish Steps before we met up with the tour group. MIRACLE! And that was about all we accomplished. After we met up with the tour, the schedule was strict. We met at 4pm and headed to our pizza demonstration dinner (which was AMAZING) followed by a night tour of the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona and Pantheon. The next morning we headed straight to the Colosseum and Roman Forum, where we had tours of each. I can’t even explain the feeling of being there, with so much history, walking on the streets and in the stands. It’s just something you have to feel for yourself. After that, we were on our own for the afternoon. Vinnie, our guide, gave us directions to the Pantheon so that we could go inside. Honestly, the Pantheon was the main reason I chose Italy for our honeymoon! We wandered through Rome before heading back to the hotel where we took a nap! That night was another amazing four-course meal with an opera show. We sat with all of the honeymooners and chatted about our weddings!

Vatican

The last day in Rome was dedicated to Vatican City. I was hoping to have time to see Castel St. Angelo, but we didn’t get to. The Vatican was insanely crowded and so hot we could barely stand it. The tour guide rushed us so much that we only spent 15 minutes inside the Sistine Chapel. I travelled 15 hours to Rome to spend 15 minutes looking at Michelangelo’s masterpiece. I was very disappointed.

After the Vatican we hopped on the bus and headed to Tuscany where we got to visit an old castle that had been turned into a winery. We had wine, cheese, and olive oil tastings. I actually found a moscato that I LOVE, and we bought two bottles. Anywhere we went in Italy, it was actually cheaper to split a bottle of wine for dinner than to have two cokes.

That night, we stayed in a hotel in Florence. The next day was spent traveling to San Gimignano, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has been preserved since the medieval ages. We got to visit torture museums with the devices that were just sitting out. SC picked up a pair of long, scissor like things that had a neck hold with spikes inside it on the end. He also sat in a very spiky chair. An interesting thing about this town is that the families used to build towers to represent their wealth. So the wealthiest family would have the tallest tower. Only two of those towers were still standing and operable, and we visited this town on September 11.

torture
The next day we were able to spend time in Florence. This was my favorite city by far, and the one that I had the least expectation for. We took a walking tour where we learned all about the history of Florence. We saw Il Duomo, the octagonal baptistry and the bell tower. We got into the Accademia to see the original David. That was truly an experience. We compared it to the reproduction sitting where the original used to sit, and it was so worth it to see the real one. Just, wow. The detail in the marble was incredible. I really cannot do it justice with words. We saw the Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens. It was really amazing to see all of Florence from the top of the gardens! I was reading Inferno at the same time as our trip, so a lot of our plans were centered around seeing things that I had read about.

florence

From Florence we headed to Pisa, where we took all the obligatory photos with the famous Leaning Tower. The tower is actually a bell tower to the Catholic cathedral and baptistry in Pisa. Every major city in Italy has these three buildings. It just so happens that the tower in Pisa leans. They only let a certain number of people up in the tower a day, so we weren’t able to get tickets. I wasn’t too sad about that. The thought of actually being in a leaning tower that, by all accounts, shouldn’t be standing is kind of terrifying.

Tuscany

From Pisa to Verona, where we saw the real life town that Shakespeare’s play Romeo & Juliet (or as they say in italian, Giuletta) was based on. We took pictures in front of Giuletta’s Balcony and bought a lock, which we signed our names on, and locked it to a fence in Giuletta’s Courtyard to symbolize our love. We attached ours to all of the other married couple’s locks on our trip. It was all very romantic!

From Verona to the mainland just off from Venice. It’s insanely expensive to stay in Venice, so our hotel was on the mainland. The next morning we got to take a boat into Venice. I was super excited about it, but it turned out to be one of those places that you’ve seen once and you’re okay to never see again. It was just so crowded and expensive. Don’t get me wrong, we got to ride the gondola, go up in the bell tower and over the Bridge of Sighs into the prison where SC had a FIELD DAY! But it just wasn’t all I expected it to be, I guess.

venice

After Venice we took a bus back to Rome and stayed with a couple of ladies from the tour in a hotel near the airport. That hotel was awesomely extravagant for not very many euros! We checked in late afternoon so we were able to take a walk down to the beach and put our feetsies in the Mediterranean as we watched the sun set. We grabbed some black sand from the beach and took it home with us! We headed to the airport EARLY the next morning where we caught a flight home via London. The best surprise of the trip was taking the northern route and seeing the breathtaking views of Greenland from the air. Simply unforgettable. It was the perfect way to end our honeymoon!

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Oh, and for the record, I had gelato in every single city in Italy, including the spot voted “Best Gelato in Italy” which was in San Gimignano. Venice had the WORST gelato. Everything else was pretty comparable. I LOVE GELATO. And my husband, obviously.

This was a very SMALL sampling of the photos we took on our honeymoon. If you’d like to see more, you can certainly stalk us on our shutterfly page. But you’ll have to email or DM me to get the password.

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