I feel like I’ve been hoarding my memories of Italy to myself for long enough. Where to start?
There was that first day in Milan, where we hung out at a quaint café next to our hotel until check-in time. We were definitely desiring a little sleep and hot showers, and this was the perfect little haven to relax and drink a cappuccino in until then. Later this afternoon we would come back to this same café for another delicious cappuccino, and the barista would, with curiosity and humor in his tone, ask me why I was ordering said drink. Apparently cappuccinos are not ordered in the afternoon in Italy–I remembered reading about this only after making the mistake. Despite his amusement, he sweetly made me my requested beverage. Looking back, I love that I had the chance to learn by being that silly American accidentally breaking a cultural norm in Italy.
(Venice, St. Mark’s Square)
There was the gondola ride in Venice. The gondolier sang and told us about the area, and the husband and I held hands whilst taking in the many incredible sights and sounds of Italy. It was like a storybook or a sappy romance film, so perfect was this ride around the gorgeous Venice.
(Gondola Ride and our gondola dude)
There was huffing and puffing our way up 463 steps at Florence’s Duomo, only to have our breath taken away again once we got to the top. That view was more than worth every single step it took to get there. (And, honestly, even getting up there was kind of fun. Despite being seven months pregnant and feeling a little panicky climbing up such a narrow, never-ending space….It was an adventure. And I love me some adventures.)
(View from Florence’s Duomo)
There was the best pasta of my life in Milan and the most delicious pizza in Florence. There was strolling the streets of Venice in the evening, eating gelato and checking out the corner shops, as the pretty hanging lights twinkled above us. Everything in this city, it seemed to me, was made of magic.
(Florence’s famous Ponte Vecchio bridge and the bronze doors of The Baptistery of St. John )
There were the typical tourist sights, from Venice’s St. Mark’s Basilica and the surrounding St. Mark’s Square to Florence’s Ponte Vecchio bridge to the Sforezco Castle of Milan, all captivating and seemingly too lovely to actually be real. I found that it was nearly impossible to turn anywhere in Italy without being astonished by the beauty of this country.
And then there were all of the moments in between. The moments that can’t be found on any top sightseeing lists that have turned out to be some of my most treasured. Early morning, sleepy-eyed hotel breakfasts of orange juice, croissants, salami and plenty of Nutella. Shopping at a narrow-aisled Italian grocery store; My husband happily purchasing cookies to eat as a late-night snack back at our hotel room. Every corner, shop, alleyway and café of Venice; Each one able to leave a hauntingly exquisite impression on my memory. Holding hands and sharing quick kisses and constant laughter as we excitedly explored our new surroundings. Laying in bed at night, cuddled up and chatting, exhausted in that mesmerized way that only foreign grounds can exhaust a person. The lively and delightful Italians; The hotel clerk who, upon our checking out and hearing my husband’s accent, started singing a song about a cowboy. Standing on our balcony in Venice, enjoying the view of the canal and the calm stillness of the night. Attempting to figure out the quaintly ancient hotel elevator in Florence. Being both amused and fascinated by the shops, talents and eccentricities of downtown Milan. Train rides to and from Milan, Venice and Florence; Whether reading a book, looking out the window while trying to capture to memory all of the stunning views, or falling asleep on my husband’s shoulder, these train rides completely enchanted me. There was just something magical about leaving one place, still entranced by the charm of the last city, and heading to another, with the childlike excitement of wondering what we’d find next.
I could post a hundred more pictures, write a thousand more words, and still it would not be enough to explain how incredible our trip to Italy was. Nor could I properly explain how blessed I feel to have had the chance to explore this part of the world with someone I adore so completely. I’m sure more memories will come to me, more inspiration will hit, and more blogs will be written about all of the moments that made up one of the best weeks of my life. Words will never suffice, but still I will write them. I’m reminded even now of my husband noting, on our last evening in Italy, that we had unintentionally spent our first and last night eating at the same gelato shop. It seemed right that my trip should come to a close in the same way that it had started–with a full tummy and heart, next to the boy who never fails to remind me of just how beautiful this big ‘ole world can be.