Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Honeymoon: Bologna & Lake Como

And then there was Bologna, Lake Como and a very brief stint in Milan. The last week and a half was spent up north doing nothing but eating. I ate almost exclusively mortadella for many days straight. That's Italian bologna. It's basically exactly the same except that they shave it paper thin. #healthy

Let's start with Bologna. I was so anticipating our stop in Bologna. All I knew about Bologna was that it was in the Emilia-Romagna region which is home to Parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar, mortadella and countless other salumi. That's enough to get me excited. Bologna seriously did not disappoint. We stayed in the cutest attic apartment up about a million flights of cool, old stairs. We did absolutely nothing in Bologna but explore the streets, eat tons of meat and cheese, and drink wine. Oh, and we climbed a terrifying tower up about one million flights of stairs. Altogether, it was perfect. A small city in comparison to Florence and Rome, which was a nice change of pace. 

Our last stop was Lake Como. We stayed in a town called Varenna, but actually up the mountain from Varenna in a town called Vezio. Our house we rented was massive with a full kitchen, fireplace and outdoor BBQ area, perched up on a mountain with a beautiful view of both the lake and mountains. It was off season in Lake Como so it was very quiet and even a little chilly. The first day we got there, our host told us that the nearest grocery store was just a "quick walk" to the next village. What she meant was a long hike through the Alps. No joke. It was super comical. We passed a waterfall and about 10,000 bees. The next few days we hiked down to Varenna, took the ferry to Bellagio to do some exploring, and rented a boat so we could cruise down to George Clooney's house. He invited us in and introduced us to Amal. NBD.

The last stop of the honeymoon was in Milan. We took the train back from Como and were only in the city for about 24 hours before we flew out. Enough time to stop at the Duomo and get mad at all the tourists.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Honeymoon: Roma, Chianti & Florence

And then there was Italy. For two weeks. We trekked from Roma up to Lake Como and back to Milan to head home. I'll share some fun pictures and places we stopped in between. First stop: Rome.

We were only in Roma for about 1.5 days, so we really didn't get the full picture. We didn't see the Vatican, or the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain was under construction. So, we kind of botched Rome. It was 100 degrees and were just coming off of Mykonos. So, we didn't have the best experience. We had one delicious and memorable meal at Roma Sparita where Brian enjoyed the much anticipated Cacio e Pepe. Thanks for the recommendation Anthony Bourdain. We stayed at the Marriott which had a beautiful rooftop breakfast and was steps away from the (slightly disappointing) Villa Borghese gardens. All in all, 1.5 days was enough for us in Roma. Next time!

Next stop, Tuscany and Chianti! We loved Tuscany so much. We had a magical Airbnb in Castellina in Chianti which was situated directly on a vineyard and winery. It might not be everyone's preference, but we were so excited to have a kitchen so that we could buy local products and wine and enjoy them on our balcony and cook in our cute kitchen. And that we did! I think we cooked every single night when in Chianti after days full of exploring Siena, wineries and driving through the hills of Tuscany. We had a few favorite wineries and sent a few (oops!) cases home that we're already enjoying.  Castello di Ama, Biondi Santi, Casalvento/Livernano and Talosa were some of our stops. Castello di Ama was probably our favorite because we stopped in for lunch and had such an amazing meal overlooking the vineyards. Tuscany was definitely a contender for one of our favorite spots. 

Off to Florence! We just fell in love with Florence and agreed we didn't spend enough time there. We would have wondered through the streets for hours, eating gelato at every turn. We went back to hotel life in Florence and stayed at the beautiful Westin Excelsior which was right on the Arno River. Some of our favorite stops in Florence included: Mercato Centrale for lunch, Konnubio and Il Santo Bevitore for dinner, Langolino for drinks, and of course, Gelateria Dei Neri for gelato. We even bumped into some friends while we were there to grab a few drinks with the night before we took off for Bologna!

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