2023 Italy Travel: Behind-the-Scenes of The Print Shop

9/08/23

We went to Italy this summer!! ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿทโ›ฐ๏ธ๐Ÿ• It was an incredible trip.

We flew round-trip from Austin to Rome, with one layover each way. From there, we travelled through northern Italy. Over 17 days, here’s how many nights we stayed in each area:

  • Rome + day trip to Pompeii – 4
  • Florence – 3
  • Cinque Terre – 2
  • Lake Garda – 1
  • Dolomites (both sides) – 3
  • Venice – 3
  • Rome – 1
  • Google Maps Link of our route

I highly recommend this route if you want to see cites, the coast, and mountains. There’s so much variety! We didn’t make it to southern Italy or Sicily, but we’ll definitely plan another trip for that.

One of our favorite parts of the trip was noticing the major cultural differences between the regions. Rome was wild and fast paced, but it’s also where we had the longest, most relaxed dinners โ€“ easily 2-3 hours! Cinque Terre felt like stepping back in time in a totally different way. In the The Dolomites, we found ourselves reading street signs and speaking German more than Italian (or struggling to do both). It felt very similar to the areas of Switzerland we travelled through last year.

We also ate totally different types of pizza in each region. ๐Ÿ• Some pizzas had a thick crust and some were so thin that the middle they almost turned to a soup. All of them were delicious.

We returned in July, and I just now sorted through the thousands of photos we took. Between my camera and our two phones, there was so much. ๐Ÿ˜…

Many of these photos are now available in The Print Shop! You’ll see them marked below. If you see a certain photo that you’d like me to add to the shop, just let me know. We’re choosing which photos to print for our own home, and I love making them available to you as well.

Enjoy a mix of my landscape art alongside quick phone pictures from our trip!

Rome

Rome was probably was our favorite city (but it’s hard to choose)! We stayed at the Condominio Monti hotel, and absolutely loved it. The location couldn’t be better. The Colosseum was at the end of our street, but not so close that it felt overly touristy.

We scheduled a tour of the Colosseum + Forum, and we took a day trip tour to Pompeii. We spend the rest of our time in Rome exploring on our own and listening to free Rick Steves audio guides.

Our favorite restaurant was Ristorante Santa Cristina al Quirinale. We went there 3/5 nights in Rome. I’ll never forget their lemon pasta ๐Ÿคค, and the owner is our new best friend.

Florence

We stayed in an Airbnb style apartment rental on Piazza della Repubblica, not far from the Duomo. I highly reccommend this area. We walked A LOT in Florence.

Once of the best views was from across the river and up a hill. This area overlooked the whole city and is where I took several of the photos below.

Cinque Terre

This area is just as gorgeous in person as it is in photos. It’s hard to believe it’s real. We stayed in an Airbnb in Vernazza, and we’d absolutely go back to stay much longer.

We had one full day here, and we spent it traveling between the 5 cities by ferry. This was my favorite day of the whole trip! Each city had a different vibe. We walked up and down the main streets and wandered into some quiet neighborhoods. We climbed lots of steps to get a high vantage point, and the views were wild.

Lake Garda

We picked up a rental car and drove to Lake Garda on our way to The Dolomites. We stayed at Villa Edera, which turned out to be awesome! We could see the lake clearly from our room, and there was a former Michelin star restaurant right across the street (Ristorante Rossovivo โ€“ highly recommend!)

I didn’t take any photos worthy of The Print Shop here, but it was really beautiful. This is Italy’s largest lake and it’s hard to describe how GIANT it really is. You can drive along one side of the lake for hours. The mountains across the water are super far away. It had rained recently, so the visibility was little hazy. We didn’t have multiple days to wait for clear skies, but it was stunning in person.

We swam in the area right across from our hotel, and there was no one else in sight. The water was cold and extremely clean. There’s nothing like swimming in the glacial runoff.

The Dolomites

I first learned of The Dolomites when a photo popped up on our TV’s rotating screensaver. This is how almost all of our trips have originated! ๐Ÿ˜‚

We went to Switzerland last year, and we wanted to see something similar. These rough mountain ranges are even more unique.

We drove between the East and West side of the Dolomites, staying in Ortisei and Welsberg-Taisten. This area felt almost exactly like Germany, which was pretty fun.

Venice

As we drove into Venice, the buildings slowly transitioned from German style cottages back to Italian villas. We also almost ran out of gas during this drive. Don’t rent a car without fully understanding how to use gas stations and without realizing that employees go home for lunch for 2-5 hours in the middle of the day. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ Shoutout to the nice lady who helped us.

During our research for the trip, we noticed that Venice gets a bad rep. Soooo many blogs suggested skipping it, but I’m so glad we didn’t! Venice is AMAZING. There’s simply so much to look at!

We also went to the islands of Burano & Murano, and they were both really fun. We sat on the canals, drank wine, and ate cicchetti for hours.

Now for the awards ๐Ÿ†

Best restaurants: Rome

Best casual snack food: Venice

Best history: Rome

Best Museums: Florence

Best overall day: Taking ferries around Cinque Terre

Best swimming: Lake Garda

Best for photography: Venice / Cinque Terre

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austin, Texas + ready to travel anywhere