One of the Best Places to Eat in the World is in Florence, Italy

Florence to me is such a beautiful city.  She has a marvelous and striking appearance – her natural beauty is apparent in the morning, but after putting on her “makeup” at night, she becomes radiant.

Notable famous people who were born in Florence included Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.  Things you have to visit include the Uffizi Gallery, Galleria dell’Accademia and the Florence Cathedral.

People have suggested that the word Florence is derived from the Latin word, florere, which means blooming, which is pretty close to the Italian word for flower which is fiore. Continue reading One of the Best Places to Eat in the World is in Florence, Italy

Artsy Venice

Before coming to Venice, you would have this romantic image of the city in your mind – gondolas with strong masculine men with baritone voices singing while the gondola tours around the city, buildings floating magically on water, and an abundant number of celebrities being spotted here and there.

Unfortunately, this blog post isn’t going to continue on with this illusion, but rather I will paint you the proper picture of what Venice is.

Despite its water canals that you see on its postcards, you get quite used to it within a couple hours while reaching there.  Instead, you’ll see these water canals very soon as similar to roads, whereby they are sort of “hurdles” you have to get through.  You get water taxis that bring you to different places.  Maybe it’s the murky weather I got when I was there, but Venice was definitely much more romantic hearing about it than actually seeing it. Continue reading Artsy Venice

Bravo to Anyone Who Has Driven the Amalfi Coast and Other Useful Tips For Italy

Seriously, bravo to anyone who has driven the Amalfi Coast.  That place is no easy drive and from the reviews I’ve read online, so many people have expressed the same sentiment.  I felt really horrible since I wasn’t the best driver in the world and I had a difficult time driving Amalfi Coast, only to realise that even people like an ex military pilot expressed their trouble when driving that route.

This post will allow me to share my tips and strategies that I’ve learned after my recent trip to Naples, Amalfi Coast and Milan.

Driving in Amalfi Coast

Continue reading Bravo to Anyone Who Has Driven the Amalfi Coast and Other Useful Tips For Italy

We’re Here Milan, Fashionably

Milan, the fashion capital of Italy, rightfully deserves its name.  With multiple shopping streets such as Via Montenapoleone and Corso Venezia rivalling that of Paris’ Champs Elysses, it’s no wonder everyone dresses so elegantly and differently in Milan, despite being in a country notable for being impeccably fashionable.

But fashion isn’t the only thing that makes the city stylish; it’s the entirety of its environment.  The architectural design, its presentation of food, and even Milanese mannerisms are all very classy.  Yes, Milan is a stark contrast from Naples, a city that is just one hour away by plane.

I love Milan.  This trip, I definitely put Milan and Capri Island as two of my favorite cities, no doubt.  Despite how people tell me how dismayed they are about how “old” Milan is, I don’t really agree.  Sure, it’s not Barcelona, but Milan has its own charm and beauty.  It sort of reminds me of New York, but without the hectic, hustle and bustle, and much cleaner.

Continue reading We’re Here Milan, Fashionably

Pompeii, the City Buried Under by Volcanic Ashes

On our return trip from Amalfi Coast to Naples, we were ahead of our itinerary and decided to stop by Pompeii since it was sort of along the path from Sorrento.  Pompeii is about a 30 minute drive away from Naples.

Pompeii is famous as it is a city that was decimated and buried due to a volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.  Many of the inhabitants living there were not able to escape this disastrous event.  Because of this history, it has been one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy to this day.

For your information, we went to park our car at Porta Marina in Pompeii since while researching, it said that it was a parking lot more likely to have spaces.  Once we stepped outside the parking lot, there was a local telling us to step inside their office to purchase admission tickets for €17 each and you get to skip the line.  Unfortunately, the line they meant wasn’t for the entrance; it was for queuing the line to BUY the ticket, which wasn’t even that long!  Again, we felt scammed in Italy.  Fortunately, the original admission ticket is €15 each, so we didn’t feel too ripped off. Continue reading Pompeii, the City Buried Under by Volcanic Ashes

Gloomy, Rainy, Ravello, and Minori, Maiori, Erchie, Cetara

It was a Sunday.

As mentioned on Saturday on the Amalfi Coast Series: OG Amalfi, there were already no tobacco shops nearby us in Praiano to buy bus tickets from.  On Sunday, not only are there no tobacco shops open, there literally were no shops opened, and buses were so infrequent that we may as well not go out.

But that didn’t stop us since we had a car to drive around, but boy was it difficult to drive there.  Driving in Amalfi Coast is in itself an experience that I will dedicate a blog post on driving there along with other tips and strategies when traveling in Italy.

Anyway, so we’ve been to Sorrento, Positano, Capri Island, Amalfi, and now we still had some spare time to visit the smaller, less frequently traveled towns.  Thankfully we left the smaller, less interesting towns, for this particular Sunday, as it was rainy and foggy like no other.

Perhaps it was the weather and that all the shops were closed, but if you’re on a tight schedule, these small towns are definitely optional to visit. Continue reading Gloomy, Rainy, Ravello, and Minori, Maiori, Erchie, Cetara

Amalfi Coast Series: OG Amalfi

Ah Amalfi!  How we’ve finally reached the legendary town where the coast that surrounds it even borrows your name.  What beauty!  What excitement!  What extraordinary!

Amalfi begins even before you reach it.  Its “historicalness” can be felt when going along the roads from Positano all the way to Amalfi… the roads get super narrow, windy, and difficult, suggesting that Amalfi wasn’t a town to be traveled by cars to begin with.

When you arrive to Amalfi, you aren’t really overwhelmed by its beauty.  It’s something that gradually enchants you, and you slowly begin to realise what a marvel it is to be standing here.

From your arrival, the light calm colors of the houses already provide a calming, pleasant sort of mood.  The smell of salt from the sea and the sun overlooking the coast makes you feel as if you’re one with nature.

As you venture deeper into Amalfi, you discover a town, sort of old, but in a way that makes it more appealing due to its historical significance, as if you know it’s been here for a long time and that you’re sort of living how the Italians did centuries ago.

As if it’s saying, “Finally, you’ve reached Amalfi.  Benvenuto.” Continue reading Amalfi Coast Series: OG Amalfi

Amalfi Coast Series: Pretty Positano and Plain Praiano

Pretty Positano and Plain Praiano, welcome to Amalfi Coast.  We stayed in Praiano, thinking that it’d be easy to drive to places like Positano and Amalfi.  Situated centrally between the two areas, it turns out that even during an off season, going to either of these places can take 30-40 minutes despite a 13km drive due to the beginning of difficult roads to drive on, which will have its own special post as well.

That said, we did stay at Praiano, and perhaps it was the weather or the insufficient amount of time, so it’s pretty unfair for me to say how good Praiano was.  But given the number of things to do and my surroundings, I would say that Praiano is great to live residentially and away from all the touristy buzz in Amalfi and Positano, and it’s cheaper.  That said, it has its cons as well which I will discuss below.  We will first discuss Praiano and then Positano.

Continue reading Amalfi Coast Series: Pretty Positano and Plain Praiano

Amalfi Coast Series: Idyllic Capri Island

If one had to find an example for the word idyllic, Capri Island would be the perfect example.  It exudes every aspect of the definition of idyllic – extremely happy, peaceful, and picturesque.

Prior to arriving on this island, I had no expectations whatsoever on how Capri Island would look like.  Fast forward, and now I’m eager to return to Capri Island.

Unlike most other places on this trip, such as Naples, Positano, and Amalfi, Capri Island deserves a minimum of two days to fully appreciate the whole of the island leisurely.  For us, we were there early in the morning all the way till the afternoon of the next day.  For those that are making it just a day trip – don’t!  The time spent here is worth so much more, and here I will tell you what exactly to do to enjoy both the touristy and non touristy aspects of this gorgeous heaven.

First of, we were fortunate enough to have our accommodation host Fabio, who mentioned that he was some sort of President of Capri Island’s council or something like that.  He gave us a map and meticulously presented to us the best things to do on the island, and therefore we were able to venture into some sightseeing that often most tourists would ignore.

I must also say that we were very blessed as the weather on the first day we were in Capri Island was perfect, as you will see below in my many many photos.

By the way, a helpful tip is that most tourists actually arrive at the island around 11am in October.  We were awake and doing things by 9am, and we found that to be incredibly more time efficient as you will see later. Continue reading Amalfi Coast Series: Idyllic Capri Island