Three Weeks in Italy

On my recent three week journey through Italy I realized several things:

1) I am obsessed with chairs. I think after being in the event industry for ten years and only having access to the same chairs over and over, I really get excited when I see a cool chair. I always think, "now that would be a cool chair for XX event or I wonder if we can get this chair made or…" So, here are my chair photos I took. Some are more art photos and some just cute chairs.

2) I am obsessed with pools. I like swimming in them, looking at them and taking pictures of them. When I was on the Amalfi Coast there were tons of pools overlooking the ocean, which is a win for me. Later in Tuscany, I enjoyed experiencing the pools that overlook the beautiful green rolling hills. So, I think it was a tie between the views.

3) I am obsessed with biking. Road, mountain, beach or just wobbling around Florence on a junky old rickety bike. I think it’s the best way to explore the city. We were lucky enough to find bike rentals in most places. Especially loved cruising through Lucca and Florence.

4) I am obsessed with backgammon. I have fond memories of my childhood playing hours and hours of backgammon on the beach. I grew up in CT and was on the swim team and tennis team, so my summers we spent at our beach club from 9am till 9pm every day. I practically lived there. My friends were all there, food was there, ocean, pool, sailing, and the best ice cream ever. Anyway, I came across a beautiful wooden back gammon set while in Lucca and decided to pick it up again. My friend Bethanie and I played a lot of back gammon and watched a lot of the world cup games once we hit the country side where there is way less to do at night than in Rome.

Other things I learned or tips I offer:

When driving in foreign countries in cities, get navigation. It's easy to drive around the rolling hills of Tuscany, but in the city the street names are hard to see as they are on the side of old buildings and there are lots of roundabouts and fast drivers and tailgating and havoc.

Social differences and acceptable v. unacceptable gaping.

Table wine is not always bad (well maybe only in Italy).

Italian pizza is both beautiful and delicious.

Planning your trip is good to do for at least the first couple of nights, but allow for the unexpected.

Don’t make appointments when you are in charge of getting yourself there (i.e. plan to get lost).

Stay at least two nights, if not three, in each place and try to not be such a tourist--leave the map at home and get lost a little. That can sometimes be the best experience--stumbling upon either a little boutique that’s not in the guide book or a small restaurant that makes everything from scratch.

You make more friends at smaller b&b’s than at larger hotels.

Go to one museum, not five.

Carry extra shoes!

Sizing is different in other countries, a size 6 in the US is fit differently in other countries, so don’t freak out if you need a a size 10 just so it fits your arms.

Bring your own tools to get a pedicure… we found after scouring all over italy that pedicures are not as easy to find in Italy as in the US.

Learn some key phrases. It's respectful to be able to say, "hello," "thank you," "how much?" and "where is the toilet?". And most importantly, "excuse me, do you speak English?" before assuming anyone does.

When in Italy, buy leather! Love the purses, shoes, everything leather. I bought 5 pairs of sandals (whoops).

Check back soon for more photos from the villas and amazing venues we scouted in Tuscany and along the Amalfi Coast.



Sibel said...

Hi Alison,
thank you for the post about your traveling experiences. And I also have fond memories of playing backgammon for hours in the summertime - in the Turkey that is ...

With all your tips I totally agree. Especially the "sizing" tip made me smile. I always tried to write up the different sizes + systems for me and my friends in my notebook but it never was up to date.

So I positively freaked out a few days ago, when I found the little app "Favorelli" for my iPhone: It manages all the size systems for various persons. It's on iTunes.


a thousand mason jars said...

oh italy, how i miss thee! went last year for the honeymoon & your pictures had me dreaming of a return visit!

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