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Italy: Virtual Summer Travel Blog Series

June 22, 2020



Last month, I shared some of the fun experiences we had in France on the beginning of our Euro Trip in summer 2019, including a French pastry baking class, drinking wine out of baby bottles, and more! After 3 eventful days in Paris, we flew to Italy. We rented a car so we could travel through Italy and get the best views, and the cities we visited included Venice and Burano (by water taxi), Verona, Cinque Terre, Pisa (quick pit stop), Florence, and Rome.

Here are some of the highlights and pictures of these wonderful Italian cities, I really enjoyed going back to these pictures and remembering the amazing views and food!

Venice – Venezia

We did a quick one day, one night stay in Venice. We did the obvious gawking of the gondolas, canals, and cool Carnaval masks, visiting St. Mark’s square and the tower overlooking Venice, eating pizza across from Doge’s Palace, and traveling by water taxi!

Our favorite spot we found (thanks to a blog somewhere on the internet!) was the Alta Acqua libreria (High Water Bookstore). Since Venice is a city known for occasional flooding, this book store has all of its books in containers that will float, including a gondola in the center. It also has some very friendly cats, which was arguably my favorite thing about it!


We had a midday gelato and then took a water taxi to nearby Burano, which is famous for its colorful houses, lace, and other artisan products. It was closer than Murano (known for its famous glass products like fine jewelry), but was definitely a work of art in its own right.

Unfortunately, when we got there the restaurants had closed, but we got refreshing granitas (kind of like slushies) that were as colorful as the houses there. The upside was that hardly any tourists were there, a stark contrast from crowded Venice, and we got to enjoy some solitude and unblocked views. 

Afterwards, we had dinner in Venice by the water at sunset – can you believe these views???


We drove through Verona to visit the Santuario Madonna della Corona (built in 1625) in the mountainside. This was an Instagram find that I was dying to visit! The walk down to the church seemed like something of a pilgrimage (the walk back was more like a hike!) and Marcelo lit a few candles in honor of his grandmother before venturing up the steps. There were also some really cute alpacas nearby!!!

Cinque Terre

We stayed in the quieter town of Corniglia, which had a hidden path down to the beautiful turquoise water for swimming! Our Airbnb hosts also owned the restaurant attached to their place, so we ate there for dinner and had the most fantastic seafood pasta dish and local white wine. 

We got a “Cinque Terre Pass” to visit some of the other towns like Romaggiore, where Marcelo planned a surprise visit to a lemon grove and a little boat tour there! This was also probably THE hottest day of the heat wave last year and it was a little miserable, but nice once we got out onto the water and got to swim.


We made a quick pit stop in Pisa on our way to Florence, but honestly it was so hot and so touristy that we got our leaning tower pics and left!

Marcelo really enjoyed watching people stand in weird poses with the tower, though!

Florence – Firenze

Florence was my previous favorite Italian city, so I had to take Marcelo there! I absolutely adore the Duomo building so we climbed like  a million steps to see the dome from above!

However, the BEST thing to do in Florence is to watch the sunset at Piazza Michelangelo. Crossing over the river, the city just looked incredibly serene, and the trek up to the plaza was worth it. We found a spot on a ledge to sit on and take in the view, and later “discovered” our new favorite drink – the Hugo Spritz! There was a man playing music on a violin and it was SO romantic!

Rome – Roma

Last but not least, Roma! We also had a quick turnaround here, but we made the most of it with an authentic pizza and pasta making class outside the city, and a late afternoon stroll around the Coliseum, the Vatican and the Trevi Fountain!

Hungry for pasta now?? Check out these recipes for homemade spinach fettuccine and beet ravioli noodles I made 🙂

Once it got dark, we had dinner and found a nice bar that made our new favorite cocktail – the Hugo Spritz, and walked into a historic Meat store – and contemplated how to fit a giant wheel of authentic Italian cheese into our already full suitcases/backpacks. We also found a truck that was shorter than I am!

Next month, I’ll be sharing a Greek recipe and pictures from the last leg of our trip in Athens + Santorini!!! If you don’t want to miss a blog post, I’d love for you to sign up for my monthly email list – it’s always got highlights for the blog posts from each week of the month (which rotate between food, travel, senior portraits, and engagements/weddings), and my email subscribers are the first to know about upcoming specials and discounts!

thanks so much for reading!

johanna elise

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