elliefreckles in Italia!

My friends who’d been to Venice before had told me it was overrated because the whole place seemed like it was dying, run-down and over-commercialised. I think this was a little harsh on poor Venice! It’s true lots of areas were being renovated, Piazza San Marco in particular was getting lots of work done. The Bridge of Sighs was completely obstructed because of reconstructive work which was a bit of a pity. But despite the bits of construction work going on here and there Venice still held its quaint small-town vibe. It’s a good place to window shop around, many boutiques in the area make the famed Murano glass and Venetian theatrical masks using traditional methods. As with almost anywhere in Italy, historical sites can be found all over Venice. Having said all that, it is a small place, and you probably wouldn’t need more than a couple of days there to see it sufficiently.

Rome is the most amazing mix between the past and the present, ancient history intertwined with the fun of a modern city. Scattered through the city are fenced off sites, where construction work has been halted when remnants of the past have been found and then must be preserved. I loved it, it was everything I had imagined I would find in Italy and more. Spaghetti Bolognese, pistachio gelato, cobbled roads from centuries ago, fashionable Romans, cuttlefish pasta, historically rich sites, the ever-impressive Colosseum, grand marble statues of muscled human figures, Gucci stores, Burberry sales, beautiful leather boots, tailored pea-coats, beige trench coats, 5kg nutella!, the Trevi Fountain surrounded by hopeful tourists making their wishes, Audrey Hepburn’s Bocca della Verità, gladiators having a ciggie outside the Colosseum while waiting for tourists to pose with, it can go on forever! This photo was taken from the Spanish Steps where people congregated every night while people wandered selling roses, balloons and cheap trinkets.

The highlight of  Sorrento, as ridiculous as it sounds, was the bed and breakfast we stayed at the Villa Oriana Relais. It was a bot out of town, about a twenty minute walk, but the seclusion was relaxing rather than a hassle. The family run business takes pride in using their fresh produce (the b&b is placed in an orange and lemon grove). Every morning you wake up to a feast of baked goods, among other delicious dishes, made by the owner of the villa Maria. It’s hard to describe how good the food is! Some of my family’s favourites were; the chocolate almond cake, fresh tomato and mozzarella salad, jams made by the villa and the tangy lemon cheesecake. During your stay you’ll get to know the staff there, it’s such a friendly, homey kind of place to stay. The view from the dining room is breathtaking, you get to eat over the bay of Sorrento, with the island of Capri and Mount Vesuvius in the distance. It’s a downhill walk to the town of Sorrento, and just a short ferry ride if you want to visit Capri (which is stunning).

The beautiful Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy was incredible. I was staying in Sorrento with my family, and we couldn’t pass up driving along the famed Amalfi Coast even if that meant taking on the treacherous roads on our own in a cute little hire car. The roads were definitely hard to handle, at times it got a little scary with the winding roads and sharp turns at times it looked like we could easily tumble over the side. But it seemed like we were the only ones on the road who were at all concerned by this! It was pretty obvious to all the other drivers that we weren’t local, and we were overtaken many, many times. But the stress of it was well worth it, (well for me as a passenger it certainly was anyway). The views were truly beautiful, so high up on the cliff face, and after awhile I found driving along the curvy road which bore into the hillside soothing. I snapped this from the car window of our little red Fiesta.

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