So not that I want to rub it in or anything but I had a pretty amazing vacation. I’ve been talking about it for months with mentions here and there on the blog and I can’t believe that it’s already over! My two weeks of bliss included NYC -> Rome -> Florence -> Pisa -> Luca -> Santa Margherita -> Milan. While I traditionally share only food on the blog, I’ll be covering my vacation for the next two posts including my recommendations for foods to eat, places to stay and things to see.
First things first. NYC. I didn’t really make any ‘official’ announcement here or on any of my social sites, I have alluded to the fact that I got engaged while in NYC. Woo hoo! This was a great start to our vacation. I think I’m most excited for cake testing!
After one night in NYC we jetted off to Rome. I’ve been to Rome before but did not remember much of it so I was quite excited to dive back into delicious food and wine. While the busy season for tourism is winding down it was still quite hectic here.
For our hotel we stayed at the Portrait Suites, of which I have no terrible things to say. The hotel is owned by the Ferragamo family and this small, 14 suite hotel is like a dream come true. Our two-story suite (yes, TWO stories) was amazingly beautiful. We were greeted with some delicious jelly candies and a welcome note from the hotel. Breakfast was served each morning on the rooftop terrace including traditional Italian meats and cheeses, pastries, breads, fruit and much more. It was beautiful. If you’re planning a visit to Rome in the near future I would highly suggest looking into this hotel. (No, I’m not being paid to say these things.)
As for food, it was a bit difficult finding things that were not total tourist traps. I did find gelato every block and made sure to eat that…sometimes, twice per day. Don’t judge. We were on the hunt of truffles and were very excited to find Tartufi & Friends, a truffle lounge. This restaurant is tiny but the flavors are huge. I had quite possibly the best truffle risotto that I have ever tasted. We also stopped by Tazzo D’Oro where I had my first ever espresso granita! I suggest checking out this espresso bar, which is located near the Pantheon.
As for the sites, we paid a visit to the traditional tourist attractions: Colosseum, Roman Forum, the Vatican. These are all great sites to see once in your life but unless you like to fight a lot of crowds, it’s a one-shot deal.
From Rome we took a quick train ride to Florence. Florence is pretty similar in terms of tourism to Rome, but slightly smaller and more manageable. We had the opportunity to visit Michelangelo’s David and took a nice little hike for a great view of the city. As for food, we were able to try what Florence is known for: Bistecca alla Fiorentina. Which is basically a giant T-bone steak. While I’m not traditionally a fan of this cut of meat, the preparation made it delicious. Typically the dish is served for two people and it is a rather large T-bone that has been aged and cooked rather rare. I’m not sure how you feel about steak, but this was delicious.
Aside from the David, we walked across the Ponte Vecchio and stared at all of the gold vendors selling their trinkets. Shopping in Florence is everywhere, from high end retail down to street sales of Italian leather goods. You can definitely find something for everyone.
Before I close for today I wanted to mention the Central Market in Florence. This market is the essence of what I picture Italy to be. It is filled with vendors selling meats, spices, vegetables, fish, cheese, wine…anything you can think of. I say this is a ‘MUST’ if you’re ever in Florence!
That’s all for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with some more stories and recommendations.