It’s definitely been a long time coming, but I finally had some time to sit down and write about our trip to Italy and France in 2016. Getting there was Quite eventful! I’ll share more on that later.
When I was younger, I would see locations on TV and in movies and say to myself, I will go there one day. Like in the movie Letters to Juliet (2010), even though it was a super sappy romantic movie (I secretly love those, don’t judge meee), I just loved that there were so many romantic landscapes shown, and I had always dreamed of going to see some of them. Italy had so many places that were on my list, so it just made sense to want to go there next. I also LOVE Italian food, so that’s reason enough right there to go!
We traveled from September 18th-October 6th
So we planned our trip for September 18th-October 6th. The plan was to shoot a wedding in Athabasca on September 17th, and then fly out the next morning. The plan still went ahead, but 2 days before the wedding, I was in a car accident.
I had hit a deer on the Anthony Henday going about 110 km’s/hour, and completely totalled my car. I ripped off some fingernails and had a concussion, but other than that I was extremely lucky to walk away from it. I had no time to hit the breaks before the deer was in front of me, and once I hit the deer it flew like 30 feet into a sign. There was also traffic coming from behind and I had come to a complete stop between two lanes, it was also night time. I’m so thankful to have walked away from that and was still able to shoot that wedding and go on my vacation with my husband. It’s not something I’d like to experience ever again. I’m almost glad I was the only one in the car, I would’ve felt to guilty even though I couldn’t have stopped it. I’m also super thankful to the 4 people that stopped to see if I was ok and that called the police for me since my phone was dead.
So once I shot the wedding, I went home, edited a few sneak peeks, scheduled them to post while I was gone, and backed up their images. I did my last bit of packing and the we headed out early the next morning to catch our 11am flight.
We decided to fly in and out of Paris as it’s way cheaper to do a round trip out of somewhere. We arrived the next day (Monday September 19th) at 8:45am and got to our hotel that was right by the eiffel tower. Once we dropped off our stuff, we headed to the Louvre because it wasn’t open the next day on Tuesday. We were pretty jet lagged, and I had just realized I didn’t pack a tripod, so I was pretty upset and stressed. After checking out the Louvre we headed to a camera store and bought a tripod before heading back to the hotel.
Once we slept and ate, we headed over to the eiffel tower to see it in all it’s glory at night. We were just walking around the grounds, and didn’t go up in the tower until early the next morning.
After seeing the Eiffel Tower during the day time and going up to see the views, we headed to our train to get to Milan. We arrived in Milan at 10pm and headed to our Airbnb .
We checked out the Milan Cathedral. Here’s 6 amazing facts about Milan Duomo. And Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (the world’s oldest active shopping center.)
After breakfast we caught a train to Venice. I think Venice was one of my top favorite locations in Italy! We checked into our hotel Hotel La Pergola Di Venezia in Lido (a 20 minute boat ride away from venice) and then spent the day in Venice scouting out some cool photo locations, then we headed back to our place in Lido for the night.
After Breakfast we checked out Doges Palace. We then shopped and explored Venice. We went to a specific place I had seen in a painting to do some self portraits.
We checked out the islands of Murano (famous for their blown glass) and Burano (famous for their lace). We first went to a blown glass museum and ate lunch. It was crazy hot out and Murano didn’t have a lot of shade, so most of our time there was spent trying not to get too hot. Then we took a boat to Burano (another one of my favorite places in Italy). I bought a beautiful scarf and we took a bunch of photos. That place is an instagram heaven! So many colorful houses and cool places to see. We also went to a lace museum, it was actually really cool! Some really interesting stuff. After Burano we headed back to Venice, and then back to Lido to the hotel.
After spending more time in Venice, we took a train to Rome and found our hotel. We then explored a bit and went out for supper. The view from the breakfast room was amazing! Highly recommend the Beldes H.R Hotel!
After breakfast we headed to the Coliseum for a tour. We got to go up to the top and saw some pretty amazing views of Rome! A tip if you’re going to check out the Coliseum: Don’t bring ANY liquids. We had an unopened bottle of spray sunscreen confiscated and our bottle of WATER too. They have fountains inside though to refill your bottles, but it was definitely a hassle. After the Coliseum tour we ate lunch and then headed to the Roman Forum. Entry to the Roman Forum is included with your Coliseum ticket. After the Roman Forum we went back to our hotel for supper.
We headed to the Vatican and although it was free entry day, there were fences up and huge lines so we were unable to go in without paying for a tour by some stranger. It kind of seemed like a scheme but we decided not to go in. So we decided to go to Castel Sant’Angelo, then the Pantheon, and the Trevi Fountain. Because there were so many tourists at the fountain, I decided to try an image composite. It worked out I think! It pays to be a photographer sometimes.
We traveled from Rome to Florence via train and explored for the day.
We went on a day trip to Cinque Terre and on the way visited Pisa. I really wanted to stay until just after sunset, which was about 6:30-7pm. The last train out of Cinque terre was about half an hour after sunset, so we were cutting it a bit close, but thought we would be ok. While in Cinque Terre discovered that there was a train strike and that we might not have made it home. At the end of the day we were sitting on a train platform after dark hoping our last train to get to florence would arrive. Thank goodness it did and we got back to our hotel in once piece. Other than that whole stressful situation, Manarola was also one of my top favorite locations to have traveled to in Italy! Well worth it. Oh! Don’t forget to pack a bathing suit.
We shopped around, and checked out Museo Galileo and went to Piazza Pitti
We went to check out the Florence Cathedral (The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore) the Baptismal, and got some ice cream at the magnum store. At the end of the day we took a bus to Piazzale Michelangelo to get a great view of the city of Florence at sunset.
We picked up our rental car in Florence by the airport, then headed to Tuscany. On the way to our Airbnb we found a vineyard to take some photos in. We then checked into our Airbnb in Greve in Chianti, and explored the area. At the end of the day on the way back to the Airbnb we took some amazing sunset pictures just above a vineyard. Then for supper we went to a place called Restaurant Vescovino in Panzano. The owners were an italian family that moved to Brazil or a few generations and then moved back to Italy. Their food was some of the best we had during our time in Italy. Highly recommend.
We checked out of our Airbnb and headed to Orvieto. On the way we checked out Poggio Covili and a few spots that had a bunch of cypress trees. Once we arrived near Orvieto we parked our car and took a funicular up to Orvieto and checked into our airbnb. We then checked out some shops for pasta bowls.
After breakfast we went shopping and I bought a pasta bowl that I am obsessed with. It’s so cute! And I got it for $60. Everything else was $100-$1000. Hand painted too! After buying a bowl we checked out and headed to our vehicle and drove to Livorno and checked into our Airbnb. We then biked down the street and went swimming at sunset. For dinner we went to a local place and talked to some of the locals. They asked what certain works meant in English and it was quite funny. They also asked why we were in Lido and then told us “I would not come to Lido”. Meaning they didn’t think very highly of Lido themselves lol!
We drove a little further down to Tirrenia (such a cool place!) and found a place to eat lunch. I had the most amazing crab penne. After lunch we spent some time on the marble beach, then headed back to Florence. We went to a really fancy restaurant called La Ménagére (we had to make a reservation a few days before to get in) and then headed to our hotel.
We traveled to the Florence airport and flew back to Paris, then home to Canada.
Throughout our entire trip we were both sick with head colds. Ryan had just gotten sick a few days before we left, and then about 2 days into our trip I was sick. Other than being sick, that surprise train strike, and a few other bumps along the way, it was a stellar trip! If you have any questions about where we stayed, what car rental company we used, or anything about this trip, just ask!