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Great Time in Italy

Just got back to DC after 10 amazing days in Italy. Started in Venice, then Florence, then a small town outside of Naples where my wife has family (Alife), and then some time in Naples.

For those interested, here are some photos I took: https://share.icloud.com/photos/076t7OhHd9lYfw6pxBCFiPgtg

Highlights of the trip: (1) Wine tour in Tuscany with Tuscan Trails. Seriously one of the most perfect days we’ve ever had—Going from vineyard to vineyard in an impossibly beautiful landscapes with no cell service or Wi-Fi. (2) Early morning walks. Yes, Venice and Florence are packed with tourists… but not before 8 or 9 am. Wake up at 6, and you’ll have the places to yourself, and you can experience the most beautiful time of day. And you’re on vacation, so if waking up early makes you tired, just chill (or even take a nap) during the afternoon when the masses are out. And then don’t tell anyone how magical it is to have a place like Venice to yourself; let’s keep it our secret.

Surprises: (1) How crowded Florence was. I was ready for Venice to be packed, but not for Florence to be the same. That said, between 6 and 10 am, Florence was as peaceful as could be. (2) Naples. I was excited to see Naples. But I expected a ton of grit and didn’t think it’d be safe. But—while there certainly was grit—I was blown away by how beautiful the city is, and how fantastic the waterfront, sites, cultural, and shopping areas are. I definitely will be back to spend more time in Naples.

Not surprised but still blown away: The food. Their pizza isn’t junk food. They’re pasta isn’t buried in sauce and cheese. It’s just reasonable amounts of fantastic dishes with outstanding ingredients.

In sum, go to Italy.

Posted by
5400 posts

Thanks, Syd. Your comments on Venice and Naples confirm what we found in June.

Posted by
1980 posts

Your pictures are amazing. I especially loved the ones of Venice, since we were there most recently.

I too was surprised by Naples. We then went to Sorrento which seemed stale by comparison.

Posted by
2851 posts

Nice photos. I'll never get tired of the view of the Duomo in Florence from the hill. That may be the first sightseeing tip I took from a Rick Steves book after I "discovered" him and his books in 2014.

Posted by
3870 posts

Syd, thank you for sharing your “great time” in Italy. Your tips for avoiding the crowds were spot on in Venice & Florence! So helpful for travelers. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos. I never get tired of seeing Florence & Venice. We were in Naples briefly in 2014. We were on a culinary tour in Southern Italy and Sicily. Our chef guide was originally from Naples, so we were introduced to the “best Pizza” and the divine Sfogliatella pastry. Ahhhh, Naples is calling us back.
Edited to add: Loved the red Fiat!

Posted by
150 posts

Everywhere it still seemingly crazy busy. Both Venice and Positano were VERY crowded in early November.. I can only imagine what a nightmare they would be in July/August.

I met a man in Sorrento who also was the found who found my wallet I dropped (whoops) and he said Sorrento and the surrounding areas were -never- busy like this prior to the pandemic, but a hunger for travel and good late season weather has changed all that

Posted by
77 posts

Beautiful photos, thank you for sharing. Gets me excited for our upcoming trip! We'll be in Venice for Carnivale, expecting busiest crowds, but also visiting Florence and Rome, not sure what to expect in February.

Posted by
386 posts

"(1) Wine tour in Tuscany with Tuscan Trails. Seriously one of the most perfect days we’ve ever had—Going from vineyard to vineyard in an impossibly beautiful landscapes with no cell service or Wi-Fi. "

Who was your tour through?

-- Mike Beebe

Posted by
9 posts

Mike - We took the wine tour through Tuscan Trails: https://tuscantrails.com/

Can't recommend tuscan trails more highly--Todd, who conducts the tours, is fantastic. Knowledgeable, professional, laid back, just great.

Posted by
2651 posts

I'm so glad to hear that Todd is still doing his thing! Did you go the vineyard where the Pazzi family planned their Easter attack on the Medici family?

Posted by
9 posts

Yes! That was so interesting (and beautiful).

Posted by
386 posts

"Mike - We took the wine tour through Tuscan Trails: https://tuscantrails.com/
Can't recommend tuscan trails more highly--Todd, who conducts the tours, is fantastic. Knowledgeable, professional, laid back, just great."

Syd, thank you much!

-- Mike Beebe