Ah, Italy. The land of gelato, cheese, and wine. As a wise person* once said, Italy is truly “what dreams are made of.”
*yes, I am referring to Lizzie McGuire, thank you very much.
I’m a bit behind on my blog posts, but I wanted to share my amazing weekend in Italy with you all!
If you follow my Instagram account (@sarahcmcdaniel), then you noticed my friend Zoe and I went to Pisa a few weekends ago. Let me just tell you right off the bat; Pisa is not the best place to stay in Italy. It’s not a very pretty town, and besides taking the typical pictures holding up the Leaning Tower, there isn’t much to do there. However, we were balling on a budget and Pisa was the cheapest plane ticket we could find, so we made it work. Luckily, Pisa is in close proximity to many other neat cities, so we just spent one afternoon in Pisa, and spent the rest of the time traveling around the Tuscan countryside.
Our first stop was in Lucca, Italy. I don’t even have the words to explain how quaint this quiet little town was. An ancient walled city teeming with open markets, cafes, adorable shops, and of course, gelaterias, Lucca is a perfect place to really experience the Italian culture without feeling touristy.
We ate lunch on the outer wall of the city (after having a quick photo shoot, because the view was gorgeous and dang it we looked good that day), and then spent the rest of the afternoon spending way too much money on Italian leather purses and gelato (I’m not ashamed to admit I had three gelatos that day). That night, we even found gluten free pizza- Pizzeria Mara Meo had the best GF pizza crust I’ve ever had!
The next day, we took the train to Cinque Terre. If you EVER have the opportunity to visit, DO IT. Honestly, this day was one of the best days in my entire life. Cinque Terre is a string of five ancient seaside villages that dot the northwestern coast of Italy. We were only able to visit three that day, but it was still a success!
Our first stop was in Manarola. This is the city with the most iconic views, so obviously we knew we had to go take some pictures! I also had gelato here (for breakfast), and although I can’t remember where exactly I bought it from, I’m 99% sure it was the best gelato I’ve ever had.
Our next stop was Monterosso. Although it isn’t necessarily the most beautiful village in Cinque Terre, this is where the best beach is! We ate fried calamari (for Zoe) and french fries and gelato (for me) in the sand, and rented paddle boards for the afternoon! Unfortunately I don’t have any photo evidence of us doing this, but I was pretty good at it, if I do say so myself!
Our last stop of the day was in Vernazza. This is one of the biggest cities in Cinque Terre, so we spent our last evening looking at the many shops and exploring the coast. For dinner, we ate fresh seafood (I ordered the catch of the day, and they brought out the entire fish!), and sipped prosecco by the water.
There is no such thing as a perfect vacation- there will always be mishaps with trains, unexpected delays, and problems with the language barrier. But that’s what traveling is all about: exploring new places and trying new things with new people! And by those standards, this trip was as perfect as it gets.