When Caitlin was invited by one of her oldest friends to her wedding on the Amalfi Coast, I was thoroughly jealous. When Caitlin invited me to go with her as her plus one, I was in! We RSVP’d, and decided to make a week out of it.
This trip was my third time to Italy. After the first time when I was 13, I expected to be disappointed every time I went back. Nope. Italy is Italy for a reason. Because it’s absolutely amazing. There’s a warmth to Italy. The food, the wine, the people, the history.
Technically the first time I’d touched down in Europe, it was in Rome when I was 13 – my parents and I were on our way to the Mediterranean and were flying through. I didn’t have high expectations of Rome, thinking of it as a big, dirty city, and Caitlin had been there before and not liked it. But we felt like this was a good opportunity to experience it.
And now I have to say, Julia, I get it… When Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love was describing her hopes for Rome, she was saying she wanted to go somewhere she could marvel at something. Rome is a marvel.
We selected the centrally-located Trastevere neighborhood for our stay there and I’d say we chose perfectly! We were in the heart of it all, with Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon all within minutes away.
I did sneak one morning run in, along the river and turning around at the Terazza del Pingio with a view of the city before me and Sunday morning bells ringing through my ears.
We spent the bulk of our time wandering around, losing ourselves in the romance of the city and our neighborhood.
It could be said that we walked from coffee to pizza or pasta to coffee to gelato to wine. And probably pizza again.
And of course wine again. We loved getting wine at Etablì.
Our wanderings did include such sights as the Colosseum:
The Spanish Steps.
And the Musei Capitolini.
We got a bonus night in Rome after our journey to the Amalfi before flying out back to the States. Another night of wandering around the beauty of Trastevere, taking in the warmth of the city, eating pizza and gelato. The perfect ending to the perfect week.
We stumbled upon this little hole in the wall called La Prosciutteria and it was amazing! Unique meat and cheese boards with prosciutto hanging from the ceiling alongside crystal chandeliers and rap subtlety playing in the background.
After boarding the train station in Rome amidst ruins and statues, getting off in Naples was like entering an entirely different world. The 10-minute walk from the train station to our Airbnb was quite the introduction to the world of Naples. It was chaotic and dirty. We had to weave in and out of stands of cheap chotskies overflowing from stores onto what passed for sidewalks as we dragged our wheelie bags down unmarked streets. It was stimulation overboard, kind of a harrowing experience getting to our apartment, an open-air, high-ceilinged haven on the border to a quainter part of town.
Our purpose in Naples was simple: we were meeting the shuttle for the bridal party to ride out to Ravello together. Caitlin and I decided to go the night before to explore. In our research, we discovered that Naples was home to the Italian mob and quite dangerous. When people in Rome heard we were headed to Naples, we were warned to be careful. We decided we couldn’t just stay holed up for our afternoon there, and wanted to be back at our apartment before dark. We strategically packed our day bags and dressed in baggy, non-flashy clothes and set out in the direction of the water.
As I said, where we stayed was on the border of a cuter part of town. We wandered these streets in the general direction of the water. We caught some pretty views, but missed the beauty we fell in love with in Rome.
The walkway along the water was lovely.
We did eat some delicious food, including getting pizza at L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, where Julia dined in Eat, Pray, Love.
Definitely worth the muffin top. We also loved dinner at Trattoria da Nennella!
I’d passed through Naples before, getting on a boat when I was 13 to set sail for the Mediterranean. So I saw the port and then Pompeii. I was hoping to enjoy it more this time but I have to say Naples was not my favorite. We found some pretty views and ate good food. I never felt unsafe per se, but I was very aware of “the male gaze” pretty much everywhere we walked. We called it our palate cleanser between falling in love with Rome and the amazingness to come on the Amalfi…
Part two to come… Check out more from our trip to Rome and Naples!