Taylor and I FINALLY got to go to Italy together! We have been talking about this since we were dating. And since we dated since we were 14, this has pretty much been a long time coming. It was amazing. We had such a beautiful time.
We first flew in to ROME and went straight to the restaurant to meet everyone. We were so spoiled and got to eat at Gusto every day we were in Rome. The food never stopped coming. Even if we were so full and we really thought we were going to burst, something else would be brought out and somehow I would manage to eat it. We stayed at my Zia Ida's house while we were in Rome.
After a few days, Taylor and I took a train up to VENICE. The first day poured on us all day long, and we walked around the soaking wet flooded streets in Venice looking like drowned rats. It wasn't the best way for Taylor to see Venice for the first time, but we did try to make the best of it and braved the storm. The second day was luckily much better and we even found a good deal on a Gondola ride! It was magical.
After Venice, we took the train to FLORENCE and met my Dad there. The Professor had a study abroad group with him, so we met up there and got a personalized tour of Florence from the Art Historian himself. It was great for Taylor's first time, because even though I have been myself many times, my Dad knows everything there is to know about Italy. People, places, names, dates, shortcuts, etc. He really is the smartest man I know.
After two days in Florence, we went back to Rome and met up with the family. My family is Abruzzese. We are from PESCARA on the East Coast of Italy, and my Nonna still lives there. Even though she was staying in Rome with us while we were there, I thought it would be fun to show Taylor my roots and where we come from. Nonna was so sweet and let us stay in her condo for the weekend all alone. She lives literally across the street from the beach so we spent our weekend there at the Beach, walking the boardwalk, and eating traditional Abrzzese food. (Arosticini, my absolute fave) It was dreamy.
After Pescara, we headed back to Rome and got to celebrate Zio Ginanni's birthday with a surprise party, even though the surprise actually got ruined. whoops! Still fun though! Piero, Ines, Sara, Calo, Mia and LuLu also came to meet up with us in Rome for the night before we headed down to the Amalfi Coast. Nonna had no idea that Sara would be coming with her new baby LuLu, and Nonna was so surprised and excited. We all went down to the coast to celebrate Nonna's 80th birthday. Part of the reason Taylor and I decided to go to Italy in May was because we wanted to be there for Nonna's 80th!
The next day, everyone headed down to Sorrento. Our hotel was absolutely gorgeous. I have never ever stayed anywhere like that. We were literally on a cliff overlooking the sea, and we had a huge balcony in our room to enjoy it. It really was a dream. We had the best time exploring the Amalfi coast, visiting cities like AMALFI, POSITANO, SORRENTO, and getting a private boat tour of CAPRI. I have been to Capri several times before, but this private tour really made it much more incredible. We ate like kings and queens the whole time, the BEST seafood I have ever had every day we were there. After celebrating Nonna's birthday with my mom, all of my aunts and uncles, and a few cousins, we headed back to Rome for our last day before heading back home. We went straight to the restaurant and had a goodbye dinner. You better believe I got my mozzarella di buffalo and prosciutto crudo and ate it all.
It was a sad goodbye. I always cry when I leave Italy, I get this pit in my stomach and my heart breaks a little bit. This may seem dramatic to you, but it's because I never know for sure when I will be back. My Italian family is so amazing. We just have fun and laugh the entire time together. It makes me sad that at most, I see them only once a year. But at the same time, it makes me appreciate my heritage. I am PROUD to be Italian and so grateful that my parents chose to raise us just as immersed in the Italian culture as we are in the American.
It was so great to be able to show Taylor this part of my life. It's half of who I am, and in a sense I was able to show him around my childhood and show him where so many of my favorite memories were made. He got so close to my family and it was so fun to see them interact despite the language barrier. He said he is going to learn Italian before we go back again, so we will see if he sticks to it.
He also told me that it makes him feel closer to me, hearing the language flow through me and seeing this side of me that not many get to see. Me in one of my elements. Several times he looked over at me and said, "I see where you get it!" This bonding experience in our marriage alone made the trip that much better.
Sorry this is so long, and sorry for the picture overload. I want to remember this forever.