Viva l’Italia

Viva l’Italia indeed! So six months ago Meredith and I started planning a trip based around a set of dates rather than a particular destination. We talked about some Caribbean islands, various cities in the US, thought about Spain, and then settled on Portugal. The weather during the end of December wasn’t the best and we read mixed reviews about Portuguese food and started to have second thoughts. After much talk of “salted cod and potatoes” we booked a trip to Italy. Hey, even if the weather wasn’t going to be great, at least the food and wine could be counted on! All you pro-Portugal and pro-Spain folks don’t worry, we’ll visit on a different trip I’m sure.

So on the 25th of December we ditched the kids with Grandpa and Grandma (first kid free trip in almost three years!) and headed across the pond. After landing in Naples (in the rain) we checked into the hotel and the adventure began. Our first full day had us touring the Amalfi Coast in our rental car. Pompeii was the first stop and even with the three hours spent there we barely saw a quarter of the ruins. Sorrento, Positano, and Amalfi were great but the view as you drove was the real attraction. With the help of the GPS we managed to stay somewhat oriented on the windy Italian roads.

The island of Capri was the next full day’s focus. Once on the island, we took the chairlift up to the top and the views did not disappoint! After we worked our way through the twisty, narrow streets for a few hours, we watched the sunset and headed back to Naples on the ferry. Back in Naples, we made our way over to the most fantastic pizza place of the trip, Pizzeria Starita. We waited a good hour and a half but the crowd was all locals, you can get €0.50 glasses of wine from the grocery store around the corner, and once you take your first bite of their pizza, you’ll swear it would’ve been worth twice the wait!

On Sunday we woke up, had a pastry and a cappuccino (probably our 20th in three days), and hopped on the train to Roma! After checking into the hotel we hit the streets and began soaking in the city, one 2,000 year old building at a time. Sunday night we saw the Forum, the Vittorio Emanuele Monument, and the lights of Via del Corso before we called it quits. This was of course after eating the best meal of the trip at Salumeria Roscioli (or simply Roscioli). Meredith gets the credit for this upscale wine, cheese, and salami store turned restaurant.

The majority of our first full day in Rome was spent at the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, and Saint Peter’s Basilica. Talk about stunning places. As hard as we tried we couldn’t quite do it justice with the camera.

New Year’s Eve we headed to the Colosseum, the Forum, and Palatine Hill. Dinner was a great 5 course meal at La Fata Ignorante followed by fireworks back at the Colosseum. Even though it was a bit packed it was a fun place to bring in 2014. We would’ve been okay without the prosecco shower that seemed to be the thing to do but…. (you thought I was going to say “when in Rome” didn’t you)

We took it easy on our last day in Rome, strolling the streets, doing some unsuccessful shopping, and putting down another half dozen espressos. Our final meal did not disappoint and we were bummed to pack our bags and say goodbye. 707 pictures later (986 if you count the ones taken on the iPhone too), we hopped on a plane for the States. Smiling kiddos joined us back in Minneapolis and the Wiktors pressed west back to San Diego.