July 17, 2016 Leave your thoughts
Hello friends! I have pulled another disappearing act on you. I know, I know, this is like the tenth bazillion time this year, but hey, what can I say? Senior year keeps you busy. At least it’s over now. (Thank goodness! No more high school ever! Balloons!)
For my graduation, my wonderful parents whisked me off to the land of beautiful carbohydrates — Italy — for twelve days. A foodie since my elementary school days, I’ve always wanted to go, intrigued by the promise of a country filled with every type of bread and pasta imaginable. And don’t get me started on the gelato daydreams. (You know ice cream is my kryptonite!)
My expectations were beyond fulfilled. I’m surprised I’m not a 350 pound bowling ball right now from all of the delicious goodies I ate from the Veneto to Tuscany to Cinque Terre.
We first arrived in Venice, our first destination, via water taxi, which was awesome. No better way to shake the airplane blues than a clear, sunny sky and the wind blowing in your hair!
For lunch, I demanded pizza. Of course. Being the veggie queen I am, I opted for a vegetarian pizza loaded with squash, onions, and eggplant.
Damn. I love pizza. This phrase will be uttered countless more times over the course of this post.
After wandering around Venice, we stopped for some gelato on the way back to our hotel…
…did I mention how amazing apricot turmeric gelato is?! Seriously. What a killer flavor combination.
For dinner, we went to this adorable restaurant on a canal called La Zucca, which specialized in veggie-centric food.
This asparagus and zucchini lasagna we split as a starter was simply divine, as was the chocolate-hazelnut semifreddo we had for dessert.
If I hadn’t been in public, I would’ve picked up the plate and licked it clean. Sometimes I do consider chocolate the most important thing in my life.
After another lovely day in Venice filled with canal traversing, alley exploring, and yes, more gelato, we departed for Tuscany, stopping en route in Bologna for a stretch and some lunch.
While Bologna is known for its meaty specialties, it actually has fantastic gelato, too. Out of all of the frozen treats we ate on our trip, this was #1. (And believe me — I consumed a tremendous amount of gelato.)
La Sorbetteria Castiglione, you stole my heart. I had white chocolate with caramelized bits and coffee/mascarpone with chocolate-covered coffee beans in a cup cone. Genius. Amazing. Much wow. (Also, I saw a sign in the shop saying they were opening a location in — you guessed it — New York City. Our love was meant to be.)
For the next six days, we puttered around Tuscany, visiting towns big and small all over. The hotel we stayed at was gorgeous, with a beautiful nighttime colors against the cypress trees.
Now, a smattering of nibbles and photographs from the Tuscan portion of the trip. Here’s some tasty food served at our hotel…
Some scenes from Florence…
And a few other shots from around the countryside (plus some pizza)…
(I clearly need a Vespa. Can someone get me one? Please?)
After six gorgeous days in Tuscany, we hit the road again for Cinque Terre, stopping on the way in Lucca for a stroll and some chow. (And by chow, I of course mean more gelato.)
(I clearly need a Vespa for every outfit. Maybe one day when I take over the world.)
We stayed in Monterosso al Mare in Cinque Terre, which was picturesque. European beach towns > American beach towns, at least in my snobbish opinion.
I had my favorite pasta dish of the trip our first night in Monterosso. Seated at a table by the sea, I was brought an enormous skillet filled with penne pasta, seafood, tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and wine. Can you say HEAVEN?!
The next morning, we hiked the trail from Monterosso to Vernazza, the next town over. PHEW. Can you say steep? I don’t think I’ve ever sweat so much in my life, and that’s saying something. (Have you ever taken an ashtanga class in August with no air conditioning and fifty other people in a small room? Serious competition here.) The views were incredible, though. And somehow, my milkmaid braids held up. Good job, hair.
Here’s me in all of my sweaty potato glory, and Vernazza, where I promptly proceeded to jump into the ocean in all of my clothes. (This will not be pictured, hehe.)
From Vernazza, we took the train to the remaining three towns in Cinque Terre. The highlight for me was of course the food. We had scrumptious fried seafood in Riomaggiore and I, being the diehard foodie I am, took the train all the way back to Vernazza just to try some gelato I had seen there previously. (I will do anything for food.)
(It was worth it.)
Cinque Terre was so beautiful…
The following morning, we departed for Pisa, where of course I had to take some insanely dorky selfies…
…and we returned to the U.S. the following day (cries).
Italy was freaking fantastic. I can’t wait to document more of my adventures next year and beyond. 🙂