In the spring of 2015, I had the pleasure of visiting Italy for the first time. As a lover of architecture, nature and cuisine, Italy had always been at the top of my travel bucket list. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint.
My trip began in Rome, the Eternal City. The moment I stepped off the plane, I was hit with a wave of excitement and anticipation. Rome is a city that is both ancient and modern, and it's impossible not to feel a sense of awe as you walk through its streets. I stayed at The Beehive, my apartment was everything you would imagine a Roman apartment would be, overlooking a picturesque street, shutters on the windows and my roommates were lovely.
After I unpacked I headed downstairs to a quaint little restaurant and had the most amazing spaghetti of my life and almost an entire bottle of wine, they just kept pouring it, at the end the owner and his son offered to take me sight seeing but I respectfully declined. I spent my first day exploring the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and drank wine in the many cute little cafes down gorgeous cobblestone streets.
The next day I went with my new found friends and visited the Vatican City but soon realised it was a public holiday and the lines to get in were massive so I hopped on a Big Red Bus and went on a tour around the city. One of the best things I did in Rome was a walking food tour, through the Jewish Quarter and over to Trastevere, it was incredibly humbling learning and actually seeing history. The food and wine were sensational, I’d highly recommend doing this, I booked all my tours through the Viator app, so easy and I got to meet some amazing people.
After a few days in Rome, I took a train to Florence. Florence is known for its art, architecture, and cuisine, I spent my first day wandering through the city's winding streets, listening to music in one of the many piazza’s, admiring the awe inspiring buildings, and visiting some of its many museums and galleries. My accommodation was a little basic, being a solo female traveller, it was a little scary staying out of the main area, I had a man follow me on a pushbike one day but he turned out to be nice, blonde women with a map walking on the street looking lost, is a magnet for Italian men.
The highlights of Florence were the scooter tour I did through the Tuscan countryside and the cycling wine tour, drink riding is obviously not a concern over there. Riding along the beautiful Tuscan roads overlooking breathtaking fields, poppy’s growing out the sides of the cobblestone walls, was just magic.
I decided to head out of Florence and caught a bus to Siena, then a local bus out to San Rocco a Pilli, he dropped me off, with my suitcase on a dirt road just outside of this tiny town, it was like a scene out of a movie, no one around, I was starting to get a little concerned but I found my accommodation, this enormous fort building, I’d booked through the Hostelworld website thinking I’d get to meet some great people but it was shoulder season so I literally was the only person staying here, me, Maria the owner and her staffy, it was a little isolating and lonely to start with but I ventured into town, tried to do some laundry, unsuccessfully as the man didn’t speak a word of English, got my brows waxed (luckily she did speak some English) and stocked up on wine and cheese. Sitting on my little balcony overlooking the countryside, glass of wine in hand was a moment in time I will never forget.
I was lucky to have some friends living in Italy at the time, they took me to some beautiful Tuscan towns, Montepulciano, Petroio, Pienza and Siena to name a few, it was like a fairytale.
My next stop in Italy was Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre is exactly how it looks in the pictures, colourful buildings and the glistening ocean. I trekked from Riomaggiore along the cliffs, up what felt like a million steps, past peoples little cottage houses and gardens, ate the most fresh $5 cone of calamari fritti and ended up the magical Monterosso, the ocean was sparkling, it was a beautiful warm sunny day but I didn’t have a swim suit, I ended up buying an itsy bitsy pink number from a tourist shop along the foreshore, no such thing as full coverage there.
By this stage of my adventure I was starting to want to chill a little more, organising accommodation and transportation on the go was pretty tiring so I decided to pack up and head to Positano for some relaxation. This time I stayed in a little bit of luxury, sitting on my balcony, overlooking the Mediterranean was the actual moment I imaged whilst creating Brighton Lane. I visited Capri, Amalfi and Ravello, I ate the best seafood pasta of my life, drank Aperol’s and more red wine, actual heaven.
As my trip came to a close, I found myself feeling both sad to leave and grateful for the experience. Italy is a country that is rich in history, culture, and beauty, and I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to explore it. From Rome to Florence to Positano, every place had something unique and special to offer. I can't wait to go back and continue my Italian adventure.