Italia Adventure 2015

12 Oct

Back in January I went to a destination wedding expo and the very first vendor I saw was from Tuscany. I took this as a sign that a destination wedding in Italy was exactly my cup of tea. It was slightly harder to convince my fiancé and our families and friends that this is a fantastic idea. Fortunately, people are starting to come around, especially considering that we live in Northeastern United States where weddings are on average $50-75,000…ahhh! While hunting for marriage requirements in Italy… and St. John USVI ….and the Maldives (sometimes eloping sounds like a great idea)… I discovered the Italian Wedding Event who plan weddings in Italy and decided to inquire for weddings on the Amalfi Coast. What they sent back was a plethora of information and a whole website of potential wedding locations all over the Amalfi coastline. After many site visits and inquiries to locations in NY, NJ, CT, RI and Long Island, we decided to book a trip to Positano and perform a site inspection with the Italian Wedding event. In addition, they arranged for us to get our engagement photos while we were there.

We landed on a Monday in Rome on the Delta direct from JFK. From there we took the Leonardo Express from the airport to Rome Termini station. Once at Termini we took the fast train to Naples. We almost got on, what looked like, a regional train, but fortunately we got off in time, grabbed a prosciutto e crudo panini and waited for the fast train which was 30 min late. We arrived at Naples where we were greeted by Claude, our driver from Naples to Hotel Conca D’Oro in Positano. Lots of, what I call “creative driving,” is required in Naples and all along the Amalfi coast. The roads are tight plus there are pedestrians and no real sidewalks. There were many times in downtown Positano where a bus went by and we both jumped a little bit. When we first got to the hotel a porter was waiting for us and promptly strung a rope around our bag handles, hoisted them over his shoulder and continued up the stairs to reception. Shortly after being shown to our room a bottle of prosecco arrived which we promptly enjoyed on the balcony. Being beat from the plane and the train journey, we ate a low key dinner at the hotel with fresh fish and spaghetti bolognese.

The next day we met one of our planners, Valentina, on Via Mulino in the downtown area of Positano. Our first stop was the church on the beach followed by Rada restaurant which has a great balcony overlooking the beach as well as a club inside of a cave on the side of the mountain called music on the rocks. Right above Rada is Hotel Marincanto which has gorgeous views and spacious rooms. From there we looked at two villas which both overlooked all of Positano. After seeing these great locals how could we not get married here?!

The following day we met our photographer, Massimo, for our engagement shots. While holding two cameras, my purse and with a cigarette in his mouth, he artfully took our photos all over Positano. While it seemed strange to have everyone stare at us while Massimo clicked away, it got us used to posing and smiling.

With the “work” part of our trip out of the way we booked excursions to Pompeii, Mt Vesuvius, and Capri. The bus to Pompeii picked us up from the hotel at 7am and drove the entire coast line before getting on the highway. Of course among the last people we picked up was an 18 month old! For the rest of the bus ride we listened to crying and the adventures of Peter rabbit. Once in Pompeii we explored the ruins including brothels, a miraculously preserved bath house, amphitheaters, and the main forum. After a quick lunch at a relatively cheap tourist restaurant, Da Andrea, we went on to climb Mt. Vesuvius. We had never climbed a volcano before, let alone the most dangerous volcano in Europe. The thought was a bit daunting. Once we got to the top I half expected to see liquid magma boiling and steam rising all around us, this was definitely not the case. The center of the volcano was surprisingly tame with trees even growing inside. Once we made our way back down the volcano and back onto the bus, and to Positano for dinner. James picked a restaurant with controversial reviews, and was pretty busy, but it was one of the best meals we had. Our waiter at Da Vincenzo was also a great sales person. While it was a bit pricey, we always order the house wine which came out to 7€ for a carafe or something ridiculously reasonable.

The following day we walked down to the main beach in Positano to catch our boat to Capri. Our captain was a one man show named X and he was kind enough to break out the prosseco promptly at 10am. He brought us to the different grottos but unfortunately not the blue grotto due to rough waters / high tide. Apparently it’s only passable once every 4 days. Our next stop was the marina and a taxi ride to ana capri to take the chair lift to the top of the island. On the boat we met a really nice couple from Omaha on their honeymoon. We traveled with them from the porto to Anacapri and took the advise of the captain by buying panini’s at the bottom of the hill (and some adult beverages at the top). We had lunch with a view of Naples and the Amalfi coast and then walked through old town before getting back on the boat to Positano. More prosseco was had by all, James fell asleep starboard and we rolled into port reluctantly. After a failed attempt at souvenir shopping, James surprised me and picked another restaurant winner, da Gabrisa Ristorante & Wine Bar! Instead of walking into town we walked up the hill to a wine bar attached to a hotel with (of course) great wine and a risotto served In a lemon larger than James’ fist. The meal was bittersweet as the next day we had a scheduled fast train back to Rome.

James and I were last in Rome in 2012 after taking a Costa Cruise. Somehow we managed to do most of main attractions in Rome in one day. This time, I booked us advance tickets to the Sistine chapel in order to skip the ticket que. it was well worth it, although I do suggest taking a tour and skipping the audio guide. The last time I was In the Sistine chapel my mom was chastised by the guards for taking a picture and threatened to have her film taken away. Digital photography has made it much more difficult for the guards to catch picture takers if you are stealth. Also remember to whisper. The Sistine chapel is one of the most utilized rooms and while its recently been restored, relatively nothing has fallen from the ceiling in years which means you never know! After James took a few illegal photos we walked on to the square at St. Peter’s before heading back to the hotel. Little did we know that Saturday nights in May really require reservations as many places turned us away. We ended up at a restaurant that’s a favorite of my parents and somewhat hidden, Ristorante La Grotta Amatriciana.

For our last day in Rome, we took it easy and went to a restaurant recommended to us by the Omaha newlyweds we met in Capri, La Prosciutteria. The place is small, but we were there at about 11am so we had no trouble finding a seat. Not only was this place reasonable, but it had great music and ambiance. We went with a mixed wood platter and a couple different types of bruschetta. We then walked to the Trevi Fountain (which was under construction!), the Pantheon, and on to the Spanish steps. For our last evening in Rome we went to the roof of the hotel across the way for one last look at Rome. We walked down the street to Caffeteria Ristorante Diadema. It was one of the few restaurants that was open on Sunday and the waiter/owner was so nice, (after all we were the youngest people in the place) he brought us the bottle of lemoncello after dinner.

Every trip to Italy seems more magical than the one before. Next year we can’t wait to return to Italy for our wedding!

Positano Engagement Photo

   
 
The Pantheon

   
La prosciutteria

 
St. Peter’s 

   
Lemon risotto

 
View from Anacapri

   
Anacapri

 
The boat to Capri 

   
Capri

 
Mt. Vesuvius

   
Pompeii

 
Marina grande

  
Hiking up to the hotel with our luggage

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2 Responses to “Italia Adventure 2015”

  1. Nadine October 12, 2015 at 5:42 PM #

    Love the description of Massimo….:)

  2. kwright411 October 13, 2015 at 12:25 AM #

    If this trip is any indication, your wedding in Italy is going to be AMAZING!!!

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