Roma, Italy

I honestly didn’t know what to expect from Rome given the very mixed reviews I’d received about the city over the years from friends and colleagues that have visited. It was a fairly 50/50 split of those that either loved Rome or those that didn’t like it at all. I kept wondering why this city was so polarizing. I promised myself that I’d enter Rome with zero expectations and fully commit to forming my own opinions about the city. Spoiler alert: I loved every second of my time here!

I found Rome to be extraordinary. I also found the sheer size of the city to be a tad overwhelming at first, but only overwhelming in a way that I wanted to ensure I saw everything that I wanted to see – not actually overwhelming to navigate. There are seemingly endless ancient ruins to see and so many points of interest. We only had three days to explore and were kind of worried that wasn’t going to be enough time, but it ended up being a very good amount of time as a first introduction to the Eternal City. There is something for everyone here. A busy city center, tourist attractions, quiet neighborhoods, lots of green spaces, and don’t even get me started on the food. The food was beyond!

With a city of this size, you really need to come in with a plan though. For us that meant researching what landmarks, museums and neighborhoods we wanted to visit and what restaurants we wanted to make reservations at. Whenever we visit a new city we always plan ahead by grouping our interests by neighborhood. If you fail to do your research ahead of time you’re not setting yourself up for success and you’re likely going to be disappointed.

Where to Stay:

After a ton of research we landed on the Testaccio neighborhood and we can’t recommend it enough. We loved how it felt more peaceful and tucked away from the bustle of the city. We found an amazing AirBnb that was walking distance from the Roma Ostiense train station as well as several bus stops and a metro stop. Just around the corner from our place there was a dog that was always snoozing in the middle of the sidewalk. Everytime we took that route, we saw the snoozing dog. It was adorable and pictured below of course.

Another area that we would have loved to stay in was Trastevere. If we ever return to Rome, we’ll stay there.


The best rule of thumb when picking restaurants in any major European city is not to pick a spot near the tourist areas, as you’re more likely to pay more and get a sub-par meal. Venture into the side streets, go off the beaten path and visit the neighborhoods – cannot recommend this enough.

My food/beverage recommendations are a bit light because we only had a few days in Rome and for some meals we opted for takeaway sandwiches (think fresh focaccia, local meats and fresh mozzarella). 

  • Morning Cappuccinos: Grab yourself a takeaway cappuccino and pastry while you roam the streets. We always opted for a simple cappuccino and a pastry with either Nutella or pistachio cream (the local favorite).
  • Marigold: An adorable modern-rustic restaurant and micro bakery near the AirBnb we stayed at in Testaccio. The coffee was amazing, and the brunch was delicious.
  • Enoteca Trastevere: We had a leisurely lunch here while people watching in Trastevere and it was so good. The best Amatriciana I’ve had to date.
  • Roma Sparita: This place is legendary as Anthony Bourdain visited here years ago and raved about it. We made reservations ahead of time.
  • L’Antica Enoteca: We had dinner here one night at and it was so fun. We sat outside, split a bottle of wine – as we did with every dinner – and had incredible people watching. We sat right next to Henrikh Mkhitaryan and his family. Not going to lie, I had to google him to see who he was. Him and his family were so nice. (Also, this entire neighborhood is full of restaurants that are equally as good)
  • Tacito: We wanted to check out a different neighborhood, so we had dinner here one night and it felt like a fun and modern take on traditional Italian dishes.

What to Do:

  • Visit the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. There will likely be a very long line to get tickets if you don’t purchase them ahead of time. We got our tickets online weeks before our trip and walked right in with no wait. You can purchase “skip the line” tickets for most, if not all tourist attractions in the city. Here are the tickets we got.
  • Take in the sights of the Colosseum: We walked all around the outside and snapped pictures but didn’t purchase tickets for a tour inside – although I hear it’s amazing – we were just short on time so we skipped it.
  • Explore Piazza Navona and surrounding areas: This square of Rome was so charming with all the picturesque restaurants, shops and a gorgeous fountain. Luke and I proceeded to take one million photos here because we couldn’t get enough of its cuteness.
  • See the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps: I’m not going to lie, the fountain is downright awe-inspiring but the amount of tourists all standing shoulder to shoulder at any given moment feels a bit chaotic and claustrophobic. It’s a definite must-see but just remember to be aware of your surroundings here. Not far away is another must-see, the Spanish Steps. Interesting fact: you cannot sit on the steps. 
  • Check out the Pantheon: Entry is free, the line moves quick and it’s beautiful. Plus, all the marble that was used in construction is just incredible and beautiful. 
  • Walk along the Tiber River: The river runs right through the middle of the city and offers some beautiful views! We walked along the river a few days and it was such a peaceful break from the hustle and bustle of busy Rome.
  • Spend some time strolling around Trastevere: This neighborhood is a vibe. Spend some time getting lost amongst the beautiful cobblestone streets and take in all the beautiful sights. There are many wonderful bars and restaurants here. We had lunch here one day and dinner another.
  • Explore the neighborhood just south of the Piazza del Popolo: Wander the narrow streets that are packed full of shops, restaurants, and bars. It’s the busy side of Rome at its best. 

Getting Around:

We arrived in Rome via train. We purchased one way tickets from Naples to Rome on Trenitalia for 26/person. We arrived in Roma Termini (the main train station) and for 1 extra we hoped on a quick transfer to Roma Ostiense as that train station was across the parking lot from our AirBnb in Testaccio. The entire trip was seamless and effortless to navigate. Gosh I love train travel in Europe. We also purchased our journey to the airport on our last day via Trenitalia.

Metro: As far as getting around Rome, we were excited to try out their metro system but were admittedly very underwhelmed. To be clear we didn’t have a terrible experience, the lines were just rather limited. Since we were staying in a mostly central location, there were only two lines that could be utilized and the metro stops weren’t always located in the most convenient locations for us. If you do choose to take the metro, tickets can be purchased at the train stations prior to boarding.

Bus: We found far more success riding the local bus. For the most efficient bus route, just open Google Maps, type in your starting point and destination, select the transit option and you’ll receive the most efficient route(s) and directions. It really makes navigation sooooo easy. Or if you’re feeling adventurous you can just hop on the first bus you come across and see where it takes you. We did this a few times just for fun 🙂 You can purchase tickets in advance from vending machines at metro stations, major bus stops and most tobacco shops.

Capri, Italy

Capri was one place I knew I wanted to visit on our trip and I’m so glad that we did. We opted for a day trip and I’m wishing we could have extended that day trip to a 2-3 day trip. This little island is packed full of so much to see.

When we arrived on Capri the weather was a bit chilly and overcast – which actually ended up being perfect for walking around. Towards the end of lunch the clouds started clearing the way for sunny skies.

What I loved most about Capri was the natural beauty. There are flowers everywhere and the entire island smells so sweet, like perfume. Everything just looks more beautiful here. We spent a good amount of time just wandering around the streets to see what we’d stumble upon. We were continuously in awe of the meticulously manicured villas with stunning gardens and picture perfect sea views. What a luxurious little island.

What to Do:

  • Explore the Marina Grande area before taking the funicular to Capri town
  • People-watching and window shopping in Capri town
  • Walk along Via Tragara to Belvedere Tragara for beautiful views of the Faraglioni Rocks
  • Another beautiful viewpoint to check out is Scala Fenicia
  • Take a bus to Anacapri to experience the slower side of Capri
  • Grab a takeaway gelato and wader around the streets on Anacapri
  • Visit the Blue Grotto
  • Spend the day at La Fontelina – this is my dream for my next visit to Capri!
  • Sample limoncello and chocolates from the local shops

Getting Around:

The only way to reach Capri is by sea. Since we were already on the Amalfi Coast, we took a ferry from Positano to Capri. I can’t remember how much we paid, but I do remember thinking it was more money than I would have liked to have spent, yikes. I want to say that for 2 people it was around €80 round trip. The trip there and back was roughly 40 minutes each way and was quite a pleasant trip.

Funicular: The funicular (cable car) runs between the port in Marina Grande and the Piazzetta in Capri town and costs €2/per person each way. It runs every 15 minutes and the trip up the island lasts only 4 minutes. You need to purchase tickets at the ticket office prior to boarding the funicular. Keep in mind that the ticket office is not located at the entrance to the funicular. It’s located at the end of the arrival pier to the right [facing the island], right near the high speed ferry ticket offices. 

Local Bus: There are public buses on Capri that are more like mini buses. We took a public bus over to Anacapri and back. If my memory is correct we just purchased tickets as we boarded and it was under €3/per person each way. Please keep in mind that the lines tend to get rather long for the buses because they don’t accommodate a lot of passengers.

Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy

“Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.”

— John Steinbeck

Positano was a dream. It’s one of the more unique and fascinating towns we’ve visited with colorful buildings that are seemingly built straight from the sea and into a ravine that shoots right up the steep cliffside.

We took the local bus from Praiano to Positano and hopped off at the La Sponda bus stop. Immediately off the bus you’re greeted with beautiful views, both of the sea and the town. As you walk towards town take notice of the wrought iron fence with built-in benches. They’re absolutely adorable. There are a few spots on the walk into town to get your “money shot” photo with the sprawling hillside full of colorful houses, shops and restaurants in the background. I don’t think you can take a bad photo in Positano, it’s just not possible.

Where to Stay:

While we opted to stay in Praiano on this trip, I would love to come back one day and stay somewhere luxurious. My dream would be to rent a place with sweeping views, like Le Sirenuse. Sadly we don’t have the disposable income for a hotel bill that Le Sirenuse would run us. A girl can dream though.


  • La Zagara: We had a lovely breakfast here one morning in their outdoor garden with beautiful views of the cliffside town. On another morning we had takeaway cappuccinos and pastries before sailing to Capri for the day.
  • Casa e Bottega: We had lunch here one day and it was one of my favorite meals of our entire trip. The space is gorgeous and the owners were delightful. We were lucky enough to grab a table with a view. Not only is Casa e Bottega a great place for breakfast or lunch, it’s also a design store with beautiful housewares that you can purchase.
  • Chez Black: A famous restaurant on the promenade and a place to be seen. We found the food to be just “meh” though.
  • Blu Bar: One afternoon we sat under an umbrella on the Marina Grande and ordered drinks for a few hours while we enjoyed the view. Another afternoon we sipped drinks from their bar, which was great for people watching.

What to Do:

  • Follow along with Rick Steves on his Positano Stroll to learn about the towns history and landmarks not to be missed
  • Wander around the winding streets and bop in and out of the shops
  • Purchase ceramics from a local shop to take home as a souvenier
  • Make your way down to the beach promenade and take in the views of Spiaggia Grande
  • Take a fiat or vespa tour around town
  • Take a boat tour
  • Take a ferry to Capri
  • If the weather is warm, rent a sun bed and bask in the sun or spend some time at a beach club
The local bus dropped us off at the La Sponda stop where we were met with this first view of the town.

We had breakfast one morning at La Zagara in their beautiful open air garden with cliffside views.

Spiaggia Grande views

A limencello spritz

Praiano, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Because of its obscure location, the Amalfi Coast can be a difficult destination to reach. You have options though! Depending on where you are starting your journey, you can take a bus, ferry, taxi or private transfer. We started our journey from Napoli and opted for the more affordable route of the local express train (€38/two people RT) to Sorrento and then the local SITA bus (€8/two people RT) as opposed to roughly €150 for a private transfer one way. The route we chose only ended up taking about an hour longer than a private transfer so it was worth it for us to save the extra money. The logistics were seamless and quite easy. While researching for this trip so many people said to avoid the hassle of public transportation and just hire a private transfer. That’s not really our jam though. We always prefer public transportation when traveling in Europe. We always find it efficient, easy to navigate and more affordable.

Where to Stay:

When we started looking for accommodations on the Amalfi Coast we started our search in Positano but because we wanted something with a view, but we quickly started looking elsewhere as everything we came across was well over €400/night. We ended up staying in the town next door, Praiano, because we wanted something in a quieter area that wasn’t going to break the bank. We found this AirBnb with an incredible patio that overlooked the sea and was shocked to see that it came in around €100/night. Luke and I are travelers on a budget, always.

If you’ve never been to the Amalfi Coast, something to keep in mind is that a lot of the properties and hotels aren’t very modern, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you’re likely to pay a lot more.

Another benefit to choosing Praiano as your home base is that it doesn’t take as much time to travel between towns for day-tips. We chose to visit Positano on a few different days and Amalfi on another day.


We loved every meal we had in Praiano! There are a few things I do want to mention about the food situation in this town though. While there are not a ton of restaurants in town, the places below were so good, I’d recommend them all. All dinners were accompanied by a bottle of wine and had a view of the sea, because every meal should be enjoyed this way when you’re on the Amalfi Coast. For the few times that we did not dine out, we picked up fresh ingredients from the local markets tucked into the winding hillsides and made meals at our AirBnb. I’m really missing those €1.50 packages of fresh mozzarella and €4.00 packages of prosciutto right about now.

  • Il Pirata: We ventured down to the water for a leisurely lunch here on our first day. It was a bit on the pricier side, but the location was just lovely and the views cannot be beat.
  • La Moressa: We had dinner here one evening on the patio and it was delicious. We especially loved their version of tiramisu for dessert.
  • Kasai: Probably the most memorable meal of the trip. We made a reservation a few days in advance and dined outside to take advantage of the views. The food was so unique and the lemon dessert blew our minds!
  • Ristorante Il Pino: An amazing restaurant in the middle of Praiano serving Italian dishes with a modern twist. On a few different occasions during our meal the waiters would sing traditional Italian songs and get the entire restaurant to follow along – it was beyond delightful. When we were finishing up and paying for our meal our waiter informed us that the restaurant owner provides transpiration back to your hotel – it was a dream come true to hear this as we were staying at the top of the hill, lol.
  • Che Bontà: We stopped here for snacks and drinks on a rainy day. Grab a spot on the stairs outside for some good people watching.
  • Cafe Novantaquattro: We grabbed a few takeaway cappuccinos here in the mornings.
  • Open Gate: We stopped here for lunch when we were out exploring. Our waiter sold us on their lasagna as it’s an old family recipe. It was incredible!

What to Do:

  • Go on a self-guided walking tour of the sleepy little town
  • Visit La Bacheca ceramics studio for the most beautiful pottery (we picked up a few pieces for our moms)
  • Visit the tiny Bob Art studio – when we were walking around town we saw so many Bob Art pieces built into the walls
  • Visit the tiny markets tucked into the hillside for fresh produce, cheese and wine and unbelievably affordable prices
  • Hike the Path of the Gods

Getting Around:

We utilized a few different buses during our stay.

Mobility Bus: Our AirBnb host let us know about the local bus that operates specifically between Praiano, Positano and Nocelle. You can purchase tickets in advance at most markets in town and they run €1.30/person each way. You can also purchase tickets on the bus, it will just cost a little more. The local bus operates between 8am to 10pm with frequent pick ups and drop offs. We also very conveniently had a bus stop located right at the base of the stairs to our AirBnb.

SITA Bus: For the day that we spent in Amalfi, we hoped on the SITA bus. There are a few bus stops along the main road through Praiano. You need to purchase tickets ahead of your bus journey and you can do so at most newsstands, bars and tobacco shops.

Bus Tip: When purchasing tickets for either the Mobility or SITA buses, make sure to let the cashier know your starting and end city as fares vary depending on how far you’re traveling. Fares can run €1.30 to €4.00.

Beep beep, the cutest Fiats

A very special dinner at Kasai

I spy some Bob Art ceramics built into the wall

We loved making dinners at the AirBnb with fresh ingredients from the market

The patio of our AirBnb, I will forever miss this special spot. We spent many mornings and evenings relaxing out here.

Napoli, Italy

Back in May of this year Luke and I took our first trip to Italy. We mulled over different cities to visit and ultimately landed on splitting our time between the Amalfi Coast and Rome. Because we chose the Amalfi Coast, we flew into Napoli and spent some time there before making our way south.

We flew into the Naples International Airport in the late afternoon and had the whole evening to explore as well as the entire next day. Napoli and the surrounding area is quite large, but we felt like we saw what we wanted to see in that short amount of time.

We booked this AirBnb in the Centro Storico neighborhood. The Centro Storico neighborhood is known for its ornate churches and is jam-packed with trattorias, bars and local shops. The area felt very local and everyone we encountered was nice and helpful. Upon arrival to our Airbnb we were having difficulties with our door key and an old man appeared out of nowhere with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, house slippers and a robe that was barely covering his body, to help us out. He was quite the sight, lol. After he helped us out, he disappeared back into the winding alleyways never to be seen again. I would like to think that experience sums up the vibe of the neighborhood quite well.

One convenient aspect to the AirBnb we booked was that it was walking distance to the central train station, Napoli Garibaldi. We strategically planned this so we could easily get to the train station the morning of our departure to the Amalfi Coast. We purchased tickets ahead of time here for the Campania Express local train from Napoli Garibaldi to Sorrento and our total cost was €38 for two passengers, round trip. When we arrived at the train station there was some confusion on what platform we were departing from as nothing was listed for our train number. A quick check-in at the ticket counter confirmed that we’d be escorted by an employee to the correct platform with other travelers going in our same direction directly before departure. I don’t know if this is because we were taking the local express, or some other reason, but this should serve as a good reminder to always ask when in question.

Where to Stay:

I really shouldn’t be giving advice on where to stay in Napoli because of our short visit, lol. Had we been planning on spending more time in Napoli we probably would have booked a place in either the Quartieri Spagnoli or Chiaia neighborhoods as those areas were very charming, full of character and right near the water.

What to Do:

Due to the fact that we only had a day and a half of exploring, this section is going to be on the lighter side.

  • Visit Castel Sant’Elmo for sweeping views of the city
  • Wander around Via San Gregorio Armeno and get lost in the alleyways
  • Wander around the Napoli Harbor
  • Eat lunch in the Vomero neighborhood, we found a great street with a lot of restaurants and shops
  • There’s a famous pizza joint that was featured in Eat. Pray. Love. but there were so.many.people waiting it would have been hours before it was our turn.