Our incredible honeymoon began October 26, 2012 and we returned to the States on November 6. We had gotten married nearly five months earlier on April 7. When we began planning our honeymoon, we never thought a European destination could be possible until we came across Traveler’s Joy and realized our guests could help plan our honeymoon and giving us a tactful way of asking for money to put towards what we really wanted, our dream honeymoon.
We thought long and hard about our perfect destination. Andrea is obsessed with everything food and Nate is passionate about all things history. So what better place to offer the perfect pairing of those two vital components than Italy?! We decided to name the honeymoon our "Eat, Pray, Love" tour.
Leading up to our departure, we had so much fun planning our day trips and our evening meals. We had booked our airfare and hotel accommodations through European Destinations and we got a great deal. We had booked a few of our day trips through Viator and What a Life Tours and Andrea found an amazing Italian food app that gave us insight into all of the amazing restaurants.
We began our great adventure with a very long and exhausting flight across the Atlantic to Rome. We checked into the hotel Des Artistes with ease and were so happy with the hotel and their breakfast every morning. With barely a few hours of sleep, we were up and going ready to find our first taste of Italian food. Oh my! The pasta!
After enjoying our first meal, we then ventured on the metro system to begin a night walk from the gorgeous Spanish Steps to the Trevi fountain. Along the way we saw so much history. The Keats Museum, the Pantheon under moonlight, and the many churches all took our breath away.
Next, we reached the famous Piazza Novana and enjoyed our first taste of Italian Gelato! It was truly amazing to sit and eat our gelato in a Piazza that is over 2,000 years old. The best of both worlds, enjoying the rich flavors of the gelato while soaking up the sites of the culture and history around us. From that night on, we just kept walking and walking and it was truly amazing.
The next day was a gorgeous sunny day and we got to experience the Pantheon in the daylight. We were both speechless when we entered this grand church. Nate soaked up every detail from the ceiling to the original tiles on the floor. Nothing went unnoticed in this majestic place. We were awestruck to think about everything that had gone on in the Pantheon in the last 2000 years. It was truly an astonishing experience! And of course no day trip in Rome is complete without pizza for lunch. Sitting outside sipping cappuccino and eating pizza with fresh buffalo mozzarella was simply perfection.
Our next great adventure consisted of the Roman Forum, Palentine Hill and the gargantuan Coliseum. Nate was in pure heaven. Soaking up every element from the guided audio tour, I don’t think he blinked once, for fear of missing some precious detail. Andrea made sure that everything was captured in the 1,700 pictures she took, including pictures of all of the food we ate! And the Panini from the street vendor was better than anything we could have ordered in the States. Who knew, bread, salami, mozzarella, and kale could taste so good together. Only in Rome!
That evening we ventured on the metro system to Testaccio where we were told the best Carbonara existed at Perelli’s. We were certainly not steered wrong. Our mouths watered as we enjoyed fresh balls of buffalo mozzarella and prosciutto, carbonara with crusted pig jowls, and tiramisu. Now Andrea was in heaven!
Rome would not be complete without a tour of Vatican City. We chose a semi-private tour and it was worth every penny. We were able to be in the Sistine Chapel with a handful of other tourists and got to soak up the rich history. To this day we still get goosebumps thinking about it. We were simply captivated.
We then had a guided tour through the Vatican museum, and thank goodness we did. The tour guide said if we looked at each piece of art for one minute, we would be there for four months. Next we entered St. Peter’s Basillica. The sheer size of this grand church was simply dumbfounding. That night, Andrea’s Italian Foodie iPod App did not steer us wrong and we found ourselves in a quaint little family owned establishment and we ate ourselves into an Italian food coma, and we couldn’t have been more happy and content at that moment.
The next day it was off to Napoli. We stayed at the Hotel Neapolis and were so impressed by the accommodations. We had heard so many things about Napoli so were a bit nervous, but as soon as we stepped out onto the raw streets of the city, we knew we had made the right choice by finishing our honeymoon there.
The National Archaeological Museum was our first stop once we got checked in. But before that we enjoyed a steaming slice of pizza heaven. Meanwhile, Nate was so impressed by the museum, especially as it was tucked away in Napoli. Statues from ancient Roma and Italy in general and artifacts from Pompei lined the floors and covered the wall and in the cases. It was truly a history enthusiast’s dream come true.
It was the next day that we were picked at our hotel by our own chauffeur, who was driving a pristine Mercedes to guide us down the infamous Amalfi Coast. Andrea had found this tour on Viator.com and it was well worth the money. Words cannot describe the Amalfi Coast. Thank goodness we have several pictures to show off to friends and family.
Our guide took us high up into the cliffs of Positano where we dined at a local restaurant that had a view of the grand Mediterranean Sea with the sun reflecting off of the waves like magic. The meal we enjoyed was pure perfection and included mozzarella balls with prosciutto, pasta with clams and shrimp, veal with lemon and capers, and to top it all off, limoncello. Our stomach could not have been more content. After lunch, we continued our way along the Amalfi Coast stopping in little towns to explore and shop. We got to explore the town of Amalfi and their historic St. Andrew Church, where, St. Andrew’s actual remains lie to this day under an incredible tomb.
Our travels then led us to the archeological site of Pompeii where some of most well preserved display of ancient life still remains. Again, Nate was lost to the world of the present as he was taken back thousands of years by our tour guide. We then ventured up to the top of Mt. Vesuvius. Andrea thought she was going to die midway, but we both made it and we were so glad we did because the view from the top of the mountain of the Bay of Naples was nothing like you will ever see in the States.
On our last day we took a hydrofoil across the sea to the Island of Capri. The weather was perfect, a sunny 80-degree day. We walked and walked around the island and we found a quote on a cliff side by one of our favorite poets, Pablo Neruda. A poem of his was actually read at our wedding and we were so thrilled to find out he had actually stayed on the island with a friend and wrote some of his now famous poems. Who wouldn’t be inspired by the coast line, the clear blue water, and the sea stacks that surround this beautiful island? We had lunch at an outdoor restaurant and had the most amazing view of the sea! Again, we had the most amazing pasta with fresh seafood. That evening we set afoot in Napoli to find the oldest pizzeria in Naples called Pizzeria de Michele and the pizza just melted in our mouths. Truly a perfect ending to a perfect day!
We set out on a mission to eat, pray, and love our way through Italy and we did just that. We ate incredible food, fell in love with each other over and over again every day and we got to pray in some of the oldest churches in history. When we got home, we also found out we had done more than just that, we had made our own little bambino while we were in Italy and we are due in July.
Our entire trip was about $7,000 and our hotel and airfare was $3,900 of that. All of this would not have been possible if we hadn’t found Traveler’s Joy. We would without a doubt recommend our trip to anyone who is in love with history and food like we are. It was the most amazing thing that both of us were able to experience so far, and we got to do it together. We created memories and a permanent souvenir that will be with us forever. The best part is now we get to share this wonderful story with our child.