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IMG_3678A few years ago I took my first trip to Europe. I visited London, Barcelona and Greece. On the way back to the U.S., I scheduled a longer layover in Rome so that I could see as much of the city as humanly possible in say 10 hours (at no additional cost for the layover). It was a whirlwind, but I managed to throw my bags into a locker and be at the coliseum in time for opening. I also managed to see the Vatican museum, but not before an amazing, dirt cheap, lunch of what else… spaghetti and gelato. Cliché, but delicious nevertheless. Before I knew it, I had to head back to the airport, but it was the best layover! It left me wanting to see what the rest of Rome was like and of course outside of the city. So this year when my boyfriend suggested spending the summer in Italy I was all in. We managed to see Rome, Naples, Capri, Florence, Venice and definitely one of my favorites, Cinque Terre.

Naples was a shocker for me. When we asked people for recommendations they said it was dirty and not much to look at.  My opinion was totally different. It was chaotic in spots, but there was a beauty to this hood. I wasn’t in Sicily, but I felt the soul of Sophia Petrillo around every corner. It reminded me of everything I love about NYC… a little Spanish Harlem stoop action mixed in with beautiful churches and tiny bodegas crammed with some of the best fruit I’ve ever tasted.

We also had the Eat Pray Love pizza experience at L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele. Considering how wildly popular the book was, I thought everyone would know how to get there. Not the case. In fact, most people felt more comfortable telling us THEIR favorite old school pizza parlor than they did giving us directions to where we’d actually asked. And trust me, everyone had an opinion on which spot made the best pizza. We eventually found it and it was worth the hour plus wait and walk across half of Naples. Whether you go to this one, or one of the other ancient pizza places, they are definitely worth a visit.

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Vernazza, one of the five towns of Cinque Terre.

It’s hard to pick a favorite place in Italy. I loved everything about it. From the hiking in Cinque Terre with killer ocean views and breath taking mountains to the vineyards of Tuscany, it was a perfect trip. While I long to see the whole world and sometimes struggle with going to places more than once, I’d go back in a heart beat.

 

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Market in Naples.

 

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L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele. What an experience!