We’re Going to Italy! (And Paris, too)


photo via Hither & Thither

Back in August, Jamal and I booked a two week trip to Italy for this coming May. We’re going to Italy! It will be a first trip for both of us. I’ve been keeping the news under wraps for a while, because we were a month away from the wedding and subsequent honeymoon when we booked, so I’m sure it would’ve sounded strange (entitled? spoiled?) that we would even be thinking about another European vacation (not to mention financially irresponsible). But, like my flight to Paris last spring, and like our honeymoon flight to Athens, we booked this trip to Italy entirely on Jamal’s frequent-flyer miles. The next three weeks find him boarding 14 airplanes to two different countries for three different work trips, so these miles are hard-earned. (And very, very well spent, I hasten to add.)

We booked with Delta, and as there are no direct flights from Philadelphia to Rome, we have a quick layover in Paris both directions. Just a few hours each, but a presented opportunity just long enough to send me spiraling into fits of Francophilic despair; “Do I have enough time to take the bus from Charles de Gaulle to the city and run around like a lunatic, buying and eating everything in my path?”

“This trip is about Italy,” Jamal reminded me. Frequently.

I did not listen.

Eventually, my threats of, “I’m going to pretend to go to the bathroom at the airport and then leave and go to Paris FOREVER,” wore him down, because Christmas morning after all the presents had been opened, Jamal said, “There’s one more present. Check your email.” He’d sent me an updated itinerary: that hour and a half layover on the way home had been extended to THREE DAYS in Paris, at the tail-end of an already indulgent 13 day trip to Italy. !!!!

I believe the phrase, “I CAN’T EVEN,” was coined for this exact situation.

Great husband or greatest husband? Rhetorical question!

My Parisian-excitement in no way detracts from my enthusiasm at exploring a new country. I am so, so looking forward to Italy. We don’t have much of a game plan yet, only a rough outline of an itinerary. We know we’re flying in and out of Rome, and we want to go to Florence and somewhere in either Tuscany or Umbria. The problem with Italy is that it’s so large and all so beautiful, we couldn’t possibly see it all on one trip. Rather than killing ourselves running around on vacation (we learned our lesson in Belgium a few years ago) we are going to stay on one coast and take our time. On the next trip we’ll get to Venice and Milan, or maybe even Sicily. If you’ve been to Italy, I’d love to hear all your tips! For example: Is it culturally acceptable to eat gelato for every meal of the day?

We’re going to Italy!

Oh, and did I mention WE’RE GOING TO PARIS, TOO?

42 thoughts on “We’re Going to Italy! (And Paris, too)

  1. Tip: Yes it is but you’ll be hard pushed as there’s too many other tasty delights to devour too – hams, cheese, pasta, olives, tomatoes, wine, bread…. you get the idea!

    It’s also culturally acceptable to spend all day on the terrace people watching and drinking coffee and eating pastries. Remember to don your sunglasses and designer gear!

    Done Tuscany and Rome and Venice and I have to say that Italy is one of my top three countries, higher than France… quelle horreur!! Beautiful scenery, friendly peeps and chi-chi and verrrry laid back. We were seriously thinking of getting married there. You’ll have a blast.

    Always fancied Sicily x

    1. Oh my god. I could exist on tomatoes and mozzarella with good olive oil. And don’t even get me started on pasta! I am in for a real culinary treat with this trip, I can just tell. I’m excited to have a slower pace this trip and just soak up the sights (maybe from one of those terraces you mentioned :). I’m so excited! You’ve talked it up so well. Everyone has been saying it is a contender to knock Paris from my #1 position, haha (though to be honest, Santorini came really, really close!). xo

    1. I mean I would take a 13 month vacation any day, let’s be honest. I am very, very excited for this trip! It feels indulgently long. xo

  2. Amazing! I have some suggestions from when we were there a few years ago. We need to put a brunch date on the calendar!

    1. Yes please!! I’ll see you this Saturday, in the meantime, and I can pick your brain about sights and shops and food. xoxo

    1. It is certainly long, and I have no doubt it will be completely fabulous! Let’s start the countdown. xo

  3. What great news! Italy is a beautiful country, so worth many visits. I´ve been several times to Rome (last time a year ago) and that´s of course a must see! Venice and Florence/Firenze are real pearls too, so go there if you can! And how wonderful isn´t the surprise with an extra stay in Paris. Great husband!
    In two weeks my husband and I are going to Spain, the Malaga area, for one month´s stay. It´s Cold and dark in Sweden this time of the year, so that will be nice while waiting for Summer and Paris again ;-)

    1. I would love to see Venice for the canals and the history but I don’t think it is going to happen this trip! Next time, for sure. Florence is definitely on the agenda, though, and it’s good to hear such good things about it.

      Have an amazing time in Spain! It sounds like the perfect antidote to all that Swedish winter darkness. Wasn’t Picasso from Malaga? xo

      1. Yes, he was and we are absolutly going to visit the Picasso- museum.(And also Granada, Sevilla, Cordoba, Gibraltar… Lots of beautiful architecture to look forward to. As for you in Florence. It´s marvellous…)

  4. Marsha said you should cancel Paris and come to England instead, since Jamal has never been. You could talk to Natalie. She has family there and has been there many times.

    1. I haven’t heard from or about/seen/talked to Natalie in probably 15 years, haha. I think I’m better off getting information from a Rick Steves’ guidebook! And tell Marsha that we will come to England together at some point! Promise. xo

  5. i’m with sam… italy out-pips france in my book… la dolce vita! you can’t really go wrong… pasta, pasta, pasta, gelati, pasta, pizza, gelati… washed down with copious coffees & vino… our last trip was to puglia which was divine! enjoy!

    1. God damn do I love pasta, too. It’s a weakness (carbs!). I am going to be in heaven, I just know it! One of our favorite Italian BYOBs here in Philly is owned by two brothers from Puglia, so we’ve been itching to go! Maybe this trip, maybe the next one. xo

  6. I can’t believe you didn’t bring this up over meatballs OR strawberry syrup!!!! So pumped for you, that’s incredible!!! What an amazing trip, Italy is incredible! Literally no matter where you go you’ll eat the most incredible food and see the most gorgeous of scenery. I promise you’re going to feel like you’re cheating on Paris ☺️

    1. I had more pressing matters to attend to at those lunches! IKEA! Pancakes!! My brain can only process one amazing thing at a time, haha. But yes! I’ll have to hit you up for suggestions. Next MNDC! xo

  7. What a Lucky girl you are ! Je suis allée deux fois à Rome ! On veut retourner encore et encore, c’est tellement beau! La beauté est dans chaque coins de rue..et oui, j’aime Rome plus que Paris, désolée il faut que je te le dis ! On a mangé tellement bien…J’adore flâné dans ces petites ruelles, à chaque coin de rue, il y a des petits places plaisantes. C’est n’est pas étonnante qu’ Audrey Hepburn choisis cette ville pour habiter pendant des années !
    On a été aussi en Florence et on est adoré, les florentins sont très accueillants, la nourriture est exceptionnel et Florence est magnifique !
    Ps: si vous avez un petit place dans les valises, je peux vous accompagner ;)xo

    1. Merci, Eva! Je suis chanceuse, c’est vrai. Je suis sûr que j’aimera Italy beaucoup beaucoup! Plus que Paris? Nous verrons ;) Mais tous les photos que j’ai vu d’Italy, et Rome et Florence, me dit qu’elle est un pays fantastique! J’aime bien la nourriture Italienne, bien sûr. Fromage! Pâtes! Tomates! Et une verre (ou trois) de Prosecco? Ca marche pour moi :)
      Un jour nous irons a Bordeaux! xo

  8. Oh lovely! Anyone would be lucky to go to Italy; it’s stunningly beautiful and welcoming. I’m definitely looking forward to exploring more than the corner we saw someday. You’ll have fun.

    1. I’m sure we will! I’m just hoping it isn’t as hot as it was when you guys were there last. We’re going for the last two weeks of May, which in Paris last year still meant jackets and scarves and cool breezes at night. But your trip last June when Rome was the hottest on record or something equally as crazy? Break out the sun hats now! xo

  9. how fantastic! jamal at the very least should have a place in the running for “husband of the year” after not only those hard-earned miles, but the christmas day suprise.
    my two older siters lived a year in umbria – peruggia, specifically – and i visited years ago, but the details are vague now. as a whole, i remember being completely enchanted with the country, from the people + history to the culture + food (and i wasn’t even drikning wine OR coffee then!) you will love it, i am sure. how excitiing! i will yet again have to live vicareously through your beautiful photography and stories. le sigh!

    1. Is there such an award? I like to think every wife would nominate their husband, if so! :)
      Okay, so I didn’t know you had older sisters, just your twin! That’s so amazing that they got to live in Italy, and even more amazing that you got to visit, too. The history is so powerful, I really felt that in Greece, too. While I love Paris (ha, understatement), all of the real history was wiped away with the Haussmann reconstruction era. I am excited to see another city that, like Athens, has old, original streets and winding alleys, dotted with old houses and buildings. And the art! My god, the art in Florence is worth the trip alone. xo

  10. wow, that sounds amazing. I hope we have time to catch up, even though I would understand if you’d be too busy eating around and running into everything along your path. or was it the other way around? xoxo

    1. Oh I’d love to catch up! I’m sure there will at least be time for a nice glass of wine (though maybe this time we go somewhere where the waiters will bring us more water when we ask!). I apologize in advance if when you see me next I am stuffing my face and my purse full of goodies :) xo

  11. yaaaay! this is so very exciting!!! i hope to squeeze italy in this year, but with a bunch of other trips, i’m not sure how soon this year we’ll get to go. :( but i can live vicariously through you! and paris! again! jamal is a catch. he totally knows what a good gift will be for you. xo

    1. Oooh, what other trips?! You’re such a tease. ;) I’d love to hear about your travel plans for this year!! xo

  12. Love Italy! My husband lived there for about 3 years and speaks Italian fluently so he was a great tour guide to have for my first trip a few years ago. If you’re going to be in Florence, you can easily take the train to Lucca or Siena. Both are very cool places to visit and Lucca is close enough for a day-trip if you don’t feel like spending the night there. Buon viaggio!!

    1. Oh, that is so romantic! A husband who speaks fluent Italian, you lucky thing. We were definitely eyeing Sienna as a possibility, but figured we’d have to drive there. That’s good to hear about the train! I might have to hit you up for more info as it gets closer. :) xo

  13. Honestly, there’s not a whole lot that’s NOT culturally acceptable in Italy (I’m Italian-American so that is said with love). It’s a beautiful country but save room for more than gelato because the food – particularly in Rome & Tuscany – is amazing.

    1. Haha, that is good to know! I’m going to bring all of my stretchiest pants on this trip in preparation of all the eating I am sure to do. xo

  14. You will love Italy- I have been a few times. My only tip is find out what each city is known for.. All the food is incredible but every city has something a little extra special- like Firenze it was the pizza and Rome was the carbanara or at least it used to be.

    1. That’s a good tip, Erika. I do love me some carbonara, but I wouldn’t have had a clue it was better in Rome than other cities. Now I’ll be sure to eat a bowl (or sixteen). xo

    1. Right? I’ve only been raving about their carrot cake for the past seven months. I can’t wait for our rendezvous ensemble. That’s as close as I can mentally translate “double date”! xo

  15. Hooray! I would like to recommend a book, it’s not exactly a travel guide, but more a coffee table book that my parents have been using as a reference in planning their trip to Italy. It’s titled The Great Book of Italty*. The pictures and text within are wonderful. Although, I take no responsibility if it makes you want to visit every single town in Italy.

    I think you won the jackpot in husbands!

    *If my memory serves correctly, it was recently on sale at B&N.

  16. I’ve only been to Venice, and that was beautiful! I think I posted a few photos of it back in the day. I’d love to explore more of Italy though! And what a pleasant (and appropriate) surprise on Jamal’s part! He’s a keeper ;)

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