2017 summer vacation to London, Paris & Italy was a much awaited one. The family spent a few days in London & Paris before heading to Italy.
Our first stop was to the enchanting city of Venice. My second visit to the ‘City of love’ and I was able to soak it in better this time.
Fortunately the 57th Venice Biennale event was ongoing during our visit, an event I wanted to go for a while. There were fabulous art installations that surprised us all over the town. The Biennale features 120 artists from 51 countries, 2017’s theme is described as “an exclamation, a passionate outcry for art and the state of the artist”, according to Christine Macel who is the chief curator.
One of the main talking points in this year’s Biennale is Support by Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn who highlights Venice’s vulnerability amid climate change and rising sea levels. The installation comprises a pair of monumental hands surging out of the canal waters to seemingly brace the Ca’Sagredo hotel, a stark visual reminder of the dangers of global warming.
My girls were amused to say the least with the gondola rides at the Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge at Piazza San Marco, the monuments at Saint Marks square and lunch at the fabulous Caffe Florian. We walked the cobbled & narrow streets of Venice, consuming copious amounts of Gelato and coffee (which I dearly miss!). The Murano glass making and stores never fails to impress. I loved shopping in the stores for my home back in Austin and was vastly impressed by The Murano glass making.
After making sure we checked off the must see and off the beaten places, we were ready for the much awaited Amalfi at the southernmost tip of Italy.
The first stop from Naples was Positano, Hotel Eden Roc. This stunning ivy-fronted hotel overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea is 10 km from the Emerald Grotto and 15 km from the Amalfi Cathedral. It is centrally located and within minutes of walk to the best of restaurants and shopping. The roof top pool, bar & restaurant overlooking the ocean had a fabulous view. Ideal setting to enjoy our family dinners and breakfast at this beautiful property.
We started our day one with a private boat ride to Capri. The island of Capri is gorgeous with dramatic cove studded coastline. I loved the shops with designer fashions, limoncello at every corner and great food. The next day, we covered the famous blue grotto, Furore and Ravello. I loved swimming in the Tyrrhenian Sea and kids had a blast enjoying the boat ride soaking in the coasts beauty.
During our stop at Amalfi, we visited Villa Rufolo at Ravello a town in the province of Salerno. The best way to get here is by taking a boat to this coast and a ferry bus takes tourists up the mountain to Ravello. The 14th century villa has been host to many concerts, banquets in its impeccably manicured gardens. One needs to come and discover how enchanting Villa Rufolo really is. Amalfi coast offers panoramic views, great beaches, shopping, best food and options to explore the coast. It is easily one of our best vacation ever and would be back for sure!
To get the full experience of the coast, we had booked a day at Hotel Bellevue Serene at Sorrento, which was a 30mins ride from our hotel at Positano. Bellevue Syrene rose up on the splendid remains of a majestic villa, a home destined to one of the highest Roman aristocracy. It is the efforts of the English collector William Waldorf Astor who decided to bring the place back to its ancient splendor of the Roman Age.
The property was something straight out of a fairy tale, it was simply out of the world. Nesting atop a mountain cliff overlooking the Gulf of Naples, we got to experience what a true Italian luxury hospitality is. The town of Sorrento had a different vibe compared to Amalfi/ Positano, nevertheless fabulous. From the views to the décor and food, our stay at Bellevue Serene is one for the books.
Our Italian journey would have been incomplete without a visit to Rome. My second time to this city as well, we landed from Naples and checked in to the Rome Times Hotel, a boutique stay from the Mood hotels group. After staying at classics like Eden Roc & Bellevue Serene, I was surprised how modern and city like this stay was. Located at the heart of the city, 10mins walk from Trevi fountain, the Spanish steps and Colosseum this hotel was in the center of everything with great restaurants around. Musing over Michelangelo’s sculptures, the scenes from the genesis on the ceiling of Sistine Chapel and throwing the customary coins into the Trevi fountain it was renaissance at its best. After covering most of the historical spots, we preferred spending our evenings at our hotel and eating long dinners at nearby restaurants. Rome was a fabulous wrap to our Italian summer and with hopes of being back to this beautiful country we were ready to head home to Texas.
It was life as usual back home, taking a few days to get back into routine. It gives me great happiness as I write about our experience to reminisce our travel to Italy. And with those thoughts fresh in mind, Italian Summer was Born.