After spending a little over a week in London, my friend, Chelsea, and I headed to Rome, AKA my favorite city after London. The first hostel we stayed in, Mr. Rome, was super cute and homey, and had a bed & breakfast kind of feel to it. Every morning, there were fresh baked goods (including Nutella croissants!) and a sweet Italian woman making cappuccinos for all of the guests.

We arrived in Rome late afternoon, grabbed an early dinner, made our way to Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish steps, got gelato, and did some exploring before heading back to Mr. Rome to get some sleep to prepare for our early morning trip to Tuscany.

Highlights from Italy!:

1. Tuscany

We booked a day trip to Tuscany through Viator. Overall, the tour was great – we visited the towns of Montepulciano, Montalcino, and Pienza, Sant’ Antimo Abbey, and enjoyed an incredible 3-course Tuscan lunch, while sampling 5 different types of wines. The trip began with pickup at Piazza del Popolo @ 7:30am, and we returned around 8pm.

Tip: Before meeting at Piazza del Popolo, I highly recommend visiting Gold Cafe, located right next to the Flaminio metro stop and the piazza. It’s a very small place, but was always filled with locals and felt authentic. Plus, they have incredible cappuccinos and pastries!

2. Vatican City

Through Viator, we booked a mid-afternoon guided tour of the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel, which were all incredible to see in person! Warning: there isn’t any air conditioning in the Vatican Museums (as expected), so the tour was very hot and a bit exhausting, considering we were there midday in the middle of June. After leaving Vatican City, we did some more exploring in Rome, eventually made our way to Trastevere, had an incredible dinner, and walked along the Tiber River. While in London, we met a local store owner in Notting Hill, who recommended that we try Bucatini all’amatriciana, a traditional Roman pasta dish. We took the man’s advice and ordered it at the restaurant, and I’m glad we did!

3. Capri/Anacapri
img_8874Our 3rd and final Viator-booked trip in Rome was to the beautiful island of Capri. From Rome, we toimg_8908ok a bus to Naples (~3 hours), where we boarded a boat to Capri (~45 min). Once we arrived, we were brought up to Anacapri, located above Capri, where we tried limoncello (Italian lemon liqueur), and were given free time to walk around, visit local shops, and grab lunch. The views from Anacapri were INCREDIBLE, and photos don’t do it justice. After lunch, we were brought down to Capri, which is known for its high-end, luxury shopping. We planned to visit the Blue Grotto (sea cave) during our trip, but unfortunately, it was closed when we went. After a few hours in Capri/Anacapri, we made our way back to Rome. It was an incredibly long day, but completely worth it! Once we were back in Rome, our tour guide recommended we try a nearby restaurant, Osteria St. Ana. The food was some of the best we had in Rome, and we had a super nice waiter who gave us free limoncello shots! Perfect way to end our final full day in Italy.

Some more photos from Italy: