leg three and four of our honeymoon were definitely our favorites. after my brother studied abroad and visited the cinque terre, he encouraged billy and i to make it a key location on our trip. so glad we did. and rome- i did not expect to fall in love with rome as much as i did. i was eager to see a lot of the sites, mostly the vatican, but i did not expect to love the feel and atmosphere of the city as much as i did. i think i loved it a little bit more than paris (eek!).
cinque terre // a few referrals in the cinque terre led us to book our stay with a delightful couple, martha & francesco. martha is originally from los angeles, was studying fashion abroad in milan and vacationed to the cinque terre with her girlfriends. she met francesco, they fell in love, and she moved her life to riomaggiore in the cinque terre where she runs a vacation home and francesco is a boatman. of course they are. pure fairytale.
and that’s what the cinque terre holds for visitors – it’s all a grand fairytale taking place on the mediterranean coast of italy. 5 towns sit along the cliffs, each one with more to discover than the next and each with their own personality. we stayed in riomaggiore, which we loved, and traveled by foot or by ferry or by train to the other towns. my personal favorite was monterosso, the largest of the 5 towns. we feasted on lemon & shrimp pasta with a plate of fried calamari while we were there. we sat in the sun and watched little italian babies play in the sand on the shore. after falling in love with monterosso, we decided to leave our lock there. my brother and billy bought a lock before the wedding in chicago with the intent to leave it in the cinque terre. “i wish i had a lock to leave here,” i told billy. he whips one out of his backpack and surprises me, all nonchalant. “good thing we have one.” so we left a part of us in the cinque terre.
billy loved the hike we did from town to town. it’s a bit of an out-of-body experience, hiking on a tiny cliff trail with vineyards running down the cliff on your right and views of blue sea on your left. the weather was immaculate during our time there and we took full advantage.
my brother also gifted us with euros to spend on an italian experience for our wedding. we paid a captain to take us out on a private cruise at sunset around the cinque terre. wine, cheese, and biscotti accompanied us around the 5 towns. it was pure bliss.
we’ll never forget our time there. it was magic. and we will be back.
rome // after leaving the cinque terre, rome had a lot to compete with. it did not disappoint. we arrived in rome early evening on our second to last day of the honeymoon. we decided to follow rick steves’ self-guided walk through the heart of rome. *tip* rick steves is the freakin man. i cannot tell you how many of his self-guided walks and tours we did. we wore out our rick steves italy book and it was worth every single penny. he knows details about traveling experiences that no one else would and we used his advice for getting around, planning meals, navigating train schedules, and seeing the sights.
rick’s tour brought us to my favorite piazza, piazza navona, then to the pantheon, trevi fountain, and the spanish steps. in just a few short hours, we had casually strolled through the heart of rome at sunset and hit most of our to do list. delightful.
the next morning, we were up early to see the colosseum and the vatican. both were completely mind bending. we caught the tail end of a papal audience by pope francis. yes, we saw and heard the pope speak while were visiting the vatican in rome. seriously?!
rome has so many treasures to find. you’ll be walking on city streets and all of a sudden it opens up to some magnificent piazza and your mouth drops open again. billy had been to rome years ago and loved it all over again. i felt like all of my senses were alive there. and we can’t wait to go back someday.
so with that, part 2 of our dreamy honeymoon. we love you, italy.