Last week, I did something sort of insane. I went to Italy for a week in the middle of wedding season… completely alone. I know, crazy. In fact, I turned down THREE weddings in order to take this trip. For weeks beforehand, I debated whether or not to even go. Truth be told, I was exhausted before leaving for Florence. I run 2 independent businesses, have 19 weddings booked in 2017 and 20 already booked for 2018. After debating staying in bed for a full week instead, I grabbed my passport and decided to head for Europe.
I am extremely glad that I took this journey and, even beyond that, I am glad I did it alone. All my life I have been running from myself. When I was younger, I hated being alone and went to great lengths to avoid it. My life has taken me in a direction where I am forced to be by myself and I have grown to appreciate it. I can actually think, listen to the same song on repeat and make decisions without consulting a host of outside emotions.
That being said, on this trip, I met amazing people that really taught me some important life lessons. I was able to capture two amazing couples in love and traveled to nearly a dozen small Italian towns. I shot film, I read two books cover to cover and felt the presence of my grandmother in almost every city.
Here is my travel itinerary organized by Heather Christopher Travel alongside some of my personal work shot mostly on 35mm film and some digital.
I landed in Florence and headed straight for Sorrento. I took the train to Naples and a car to Sorrento. All my life I have wanted to see those amazing colorful buildings along the cliffs of the Italian coast. I had heard of Positano and Amalfi but never Sorrento. When Heather suggested I stay here, I was a bit confused… until I looked at prices in Positano. I stayed at Seven Hostel and had some lovely roommates in my all female dorm. Honestly, I am not that big into swanky rooms because I never spend any time in them! I did have 2 days wandering the main little town of Sorrento but I spent most of my time on Capri and on the Amalfi Coast! There is a bus from Sorrento to Positano for 6 euros that only takes about 45 minutes!
Capri is amazing. Heather arranged a day tour for me here and I LOVED it. It was super easy to get to Capri by ferry. I took a sky lift to the top of AnnaCapri and then rode a boat around the whole island. I was surprised to find how much it looked like Greece! I would say one day here is perfect.
Positano, Amalfi & Ravello
This is where I would spend most of my time if I could. Honestly, I didn’t love Positano as much as I thought I would. There are HEAPS of tourists, it is very expensive and the beach is relatively small. Same with Amalfi. HOWEVER, Ravello is my favorite place on earth. I feel like I made it up in my head. There were 3 weddings as I sat sipping amazingly affordable champagne (on a MONDAY no less). There were really adorable, clean looking kitties wandering about and old Italian women who looked like my Nana. The cliffside is incredible, the lighting and weather is ideal and I can;t wait to go back.
Siena & San Gimignano
After a few days down south, I hopped a train back up to Florence. Heather arranged a day tour for me to see Siena and San Gimignano which included a wine tasting in Chianti. I will be honest, I MUCH prefer the aesthetic on the coast of Italy. Little old story book towns don’t do it for me as much as colorful doors and tropical blooms. That being said, it was a lovely day with the wine!
This may have been the best surprise of my trip! People kept telling me that I wouldn’t be impressed with this area after seeing Amalfi and they were wrong. Oh man did I find these towns charming! Cinque Terre is actually comprised of 5 little towns all close together on the coast: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. I loved all 5! The towns are TINY and feel like they’re just one street! You can get to each one by train, car or boat!
I have to be honest again here: Florence is not my favorite city. This is likely why I debated staying home! I have been to Florence before when I did my Eurotrip right out of college and I wasn’t in love then either. Italian food doesn’t impress me (my mom’s side of the family is all Italian and I grew up on amazing carbs my whole life) and I much prefer bright, seaside inspired colors to brick. HOWEVER, shooting film has really changed the way I travel. When I go abroad, it can feel overwhelming coming home with thousands of images to edit. It feels like a job. With film, I really have to slow down and decide ‘hmmmm, yup, I will pay to have this developed; it’s worth the photo’. This has helped me view my surroundings in a totally new way and I feel way more intentional about composition and shooting in general! The photos of the Duomo were on the roof of my Airbnb!
There you have it folks… my ‘Eat Pray Love’ trip to Italy. I left feeling rejuvenated and introspective thanks to this little vacation. Let me know if you have any questions!! Ciao!