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Cinque Terre

I want to share my plans for my upcoming trip to Italy. Partially because it’s consuming a large portion of my brain right now. 

I’m flying into Naples via London on British Airways (hoping to see Rick while on my long layover, but also hoping to have a real British lunch in a real British pub, conundrum). My friend Cody is marrying an amazing woman named Ombretta. Her name is as lyrical and beautiful as she. I will admit Italy has been low on my list of places to visit, because its not on the endangered-of-not-existing-anytime-soon-so-must-visit-now list like Antarctica. If not for the wedding of two adorable and brilliantly fun people, I would have probably gone to Antarctica this year. Instead, we’ll be exploring Ricky’s number one spot, Italy!

After the, what I’m sure will be beautiful, wedding, we are hanging around Naples for a couple days before heading to Rome, where we will be staying at the Hotel Eden. A Starwood property, the Hotel Eden look absolutely amazing from its website and seems to be literally steps from most of the attractions. Most importantly, it has a newly built 24-hour Wellness Corner with some snazzy treadmills for my marathon training. We have booked a Borghese reservation and a guided tour of the Vatican and the Catacombs.

Then off to the Venice area. I want to eat in Italy. From Ombri’s promised “the only good food in Italy is in Naples” to the last drop of balsamic vinegar, I want to eat. My culinary adventure truly begins in Padua at Le Calandre. We are booked into a suite at the Hotel Il Maccaroni, which is part of the Alajmo family. The Three Michelin Starred Le Calandre first caught my eye with a simple photo of squid ink pasta and has captivated me for a long while. My mouth is watering just thinking about the upcoming meal.

From our base in Rubano, we will visit Venice, see a canal or two and cram as much as the Biennale as we can into our short visit.

From Veneto (see how I’m already getting more Italian just writing about the trip), we will head to Florence. A room at the Hotel Cerretani Firenze awaits. Tickets have been reserved for the Accademy and a guided tour booked for the Uffizi and the Vasarian Corridor. I also have a few wine and cheese tastings and tour operator meetings while in Florence. One of the perks of being a travel agent.

My special dinner in the Florence area takes place at Osteria Francescana in Modena. The restaurant, which looks more like an art gallery than an eatery, promises a visually stimulating as well as flavor packed meal. Known for highly experimental and interactive food, Massimo Bottura will hopefully surprise me.

From Florence, we jumped in our hired Mercedes to head to Sienna, where we are detouring simply for dinner at Il Canto. Stripped of its Michelin star due to flagrant egotism or some such drivel, Il Canto is still considered one of the top ten resturants in the world. Reviews online suggest Chef Paolo Lopriore is more akin to your nutty uncle with a chemistry set than a world class chef–tales of woe abound from his “guinea pigs.” I say, experiment away. Flagrantly disregard convention and even good taste. I want to experience each bite of his food and be shocked. I want to talk about this meal for years to come. We will be enjoying our night at the Certosa Di Maggiano, which houses the restaurant.

After our eccentric dinner, we head, without reservations, north. Perhaps we’ll see the Cinque Terre or perhaps we’ll head back toward Florence or Modena. We’re throwing caution and my meticulous planning to the wind.

After our, hopefully, successful, adventure, we head to Milan and Antares Hotel Accademi. We are only in town for a quick rest before our plane ride and I wanted an economical, but central room. No reason to splurge on a palace when we won’t be around long enough to enjoy it. Most importantly, I was looking for free easily accessible parking for our rental car with easy access to the airport! Rumor is that this hotel is close to the AC Milan stadium as well, which I may just hop on over to tour.

With that, we head, a few pounds heavier, home from Cody and Ombretta’s 22-day wedding adventure. Who ever said only the bride and groom can honeymoon?

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