We are just back from our second trip to Italia! Bags are unpacked and laundry is in the machine and I thought I'd capture our trip report while it is still fresh in my mind. I'm going to have to split this report up into sections as I always write too much! Thanks to the many who answered questions and helped us plan it - we had a great time! We were celebrating our five year anniversary; we honeymooned in Italy and have been wanting to return ever since. This return trip was unfortunately shorter since DH has limited vacation time, so we decided to focus on southern Tuscany and Rome. Southern Tuscany was completely new to us and we loved it. As for Rome, it was interesting to see things again that we had seen before, especially after visiting other places in between. We had a new perspective on things the second time around. It was also great to see new things in Rome, including the Colosseum at night, Domus Aurea, Trastevere, and Ostia Antica.
To start, I thought I'd briefly cover some miscellaneous things discussed lately on the forum:
Shoes for ladies - anything goes! I saw an incredible variety of styles and colors of tennis shoes. Everything from brown leather to white to black to bedazzled to pastel to neon. And lots of booties. I personally wished I had packed two pairs of tennis shoes to alternate between while in Rome as we did a serious amount of walking. My Fitbit recorded me at a little less than 15 miles a day. My feet got tired of the same shoes every day and could have used a break from the same pair.
Rental car and driving - we used AutoEurope and the car came from Hertz. The car was the nicest we've had so far, a sweet little Audi hatchback. It came with it's own built-in GPS so we hardly used the GPS that we had brought. Ours came in handy for the places we had pre-programmed into the unit. Other than that, we didn't even need it. DH enjoyed driving in Tuscany. He had read up extensively on the road signs which was good - I have never seen such a variety of road signs as we had seen in Italy. ZTL and parking signs are well-marked and easy to spot if you are looking for them.
Weather and clothes - it was great sunny weather all but one day. A cold front came while we were in Rome, so while it was still sunny and in the 60s, the wind blew hard and had a bite to it. I was so surprised to feel such hard wind; I'm used to it in Kansas but was not expecting it in the city. We both fortunately brought the recommended layers which worked well for us but we found it surprisingly chilly due to the wind. I did not account for the wind early enough and ended up with extremely uncomfortable wind-chapped lips that are still healing. I am not a regular chapstick user but will plan ahead for that on future trips!
Easter holiday - almost all the tourist type stores in the towns we visited were open both Easter Sunday and Pasquetta Monday. I had read about Sundays and Mondays and shops being closed so I had anticipated this, but, in fact only a few were shut down. It was a busy time at Easter so I'm guessing most did not want to miss out on the commerce of extra traffic moving through the area.
Bringing back wine - I used reusable "wine skins" that I bought off Amazon. And nothing broke! We brought back four bottles of wine, one bottle of olive oil, and a couple of tins of olive oil. We packed it all in my carry on piece (which we checked) and used dirty laundry to pad around everything, which filled it up entirely and the suitcase ended up weighing around 28 pounds by the time it was fully loaded. This was the first trip that we brought back so much liquid goods; also the first trip that we had a luggage scale and I was happy to have it for peace of mind of knowing exactly what our luggage weighed.