Is there anything more gratifying for a travel planner than to have a client come back from an anniversary trip and say “we have no idea how we’ll possibly top this next year“?? Dana and Kevin clearly loved their anniversary “escape” to Rome and the Amalfi Coast, and I better start thinking NOW about what to suggest next 🙂
Thanks, Ann! We had the most INCREDIBLE trip and definitely feel like we’re having Italy withdrawals now that we’re back at home. We absolutely loved the country, the culture and the scenery, and our itinerary was amazing. All of our transfers, trains, hotel check-ins, etc, went perfectly to plan and helped to make our trip care-free.
When we arrived in Rome the first morning, we were excited but exhausted. Neither of us can really sleep on planes, so we had tried to wake up really early the day of our flight so we’d be tired on the plane. Turns out, we still couldn’t sleep no matter how tired we were. So now we know when we take our next trip to Europe that we’ll just get as good a night of sleep before we leave as possible! We took your advice, though, and powered through / caffeinated ourselves so we could stay up and get on the time zone. We were very happy to not have any specific tours or plans that day so we could just explore and get a feel for the city.
The River Palace was such a great hotel! The rooms and elevators were very small, but we were prepared for that. Everything was beautifully appointed, classy and comfortable. We really liked that our hotel felt like a Roman hotel, and not just any hotel we’d find at home. The complimentary breakfast put those we’re used to at American hotels to shame! It was delicious. They had all sorts of pastries, cheeses, meats, eggs and fruits, made us delicious cappuccinos, and even had a juice bar with complimentary make-your-own mimosas. Definitely a great way to start the day! We found the breakfast at our other hotels to be equally as impressive.
We did TONS of walking and exploring in Rome. We explored the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza del Popolo, shops, side streets, countless churches and monuments, and of course ate as often as we possibly could. The food and wine were beyond amazing – definitely lived up to and surpassed the hype. I was just in disbelief that we were actually experiencing such a beautiful city that I’d only seen in pictures before. The only downside to Rome were the flower guys who were overly aggressive in trying to get you to take a flower and popping up from everywhere. But we learned to deal with them and certainly didn’t let them put a damper on our fun 🙂
The Colosseum and Roman Forum tour we took was so amazing! Before the tour, we sat at a little cafe overlooking the Colosseum to enjoy cheese and wine. It was unreal! Our tour guide was interesting, entertaining and funny, and the 3 hours flew by. Going in through the Gladiator Gate was a really cool experience, and I would definitely recommend it! The Vatican and Sistine Chapel tour we took the following morning wasn’t our favorite, although the city, museums and churches were absolutely breathtaking! We found the 3 hour tour here to be longer than we would have preferred, just because there was such an overwhelming number of people at the Vatican, and the tour dove more into Art History than we were really interested in. That said, we are still really glad we got to experience it! If we did it again, we would probably want to do either fully private (so we could customize the tour more), or self-guided.
After the Vatican tour, we headed for the train station to begin the Amalfi Coast portion of our trip. We completely fell in love with the region; so much so that we started looking up real estate! The Hotel Mediterraneo Sorrento was the perfect hotel, and the sea view room was 100% worth it. The hotel itself was gorgeous, the staff was the best I’ve ever seen, and the room was amazing. We had panoramic views of the sea without even having to get out of bed! We really enjoyed the pool, hot tub and pool bar, and the Vesuvio Roof Restaurant was delicious and absolutely perfect for dinner on our anniversary evening. While in Sorrento, we explored the downtown area, which was probably the most charming city I’ve ever seen. The shopping, restaurants and cafes kept us entertained for hours. Our third day there, we took the Circumvesviano Train to Pompeii, where we did a self-guided tour. The city was incredible, and we really enjoyed the self-guided aspect here as everything was really well labeled, so we got to go at our own pace & avoid the largest crowds of the tours while not feeling like we missed out on information.
For the day of our actual anniversary, we decided to have the hotel book us on a semi-private day trip to Capri. This ended up being one of our favorite days on our trip (which is saying something!). We were on a gorgeous, mid-sized boat with 8 people and a captain. We went to the Blue Grotto first which, even though the cost was steep (28 euro for the 2 of us for about 10 minutes total), we are so happy we got to experience it! We got off our boat and into a small rowboat which held 4 of us and a captain. The entrance into the grotto is only about a meter high, so we had to lay in the bottom of the boat while the captain guided us safely into the grotto. Once inside, the height and characteristics of the rocks and the unreal, glowing blue of the water was absolutely breathtaking. Once back on our boat, we were taken on a tour of Capri, which included the Green Grotto, White Grotto, sailing under the Faraglioni arch, and the most amazing coastline we’ve ever seen. We had about 4 hours to explore Capri, which involved a LOT of stairs and a workout, but the views were beyond worth it. The island itself is beautiful, but also unassuming in its own way while being mega glamorous. On the designer shop-lined streets, it felt like we were on a more exclusive Rodeo Drive that, at the same time, managed to be more welcoming and down to earth. Back on the boat, we enjoyed wine and limoncello while we got a tour of the Sorrentine Peninsula, and got back to port around 6:15 pm – just in time to enjoy happy hour and dinner at our hotel. I’m not sure how we’re going to out-do that day for our 5th anniversary!
Back in Rome for our last day, it was fun staying in a different part of town than our first stint in Rome. The Hotel Britannia was lovely and very charming, and was located super close to the train station. The room itself unfortunately didn’t have very good A/C, but the windows opened so it worked out. The room was tiny, but the bathroom was HUGE, so it balanced out and we had all the space we needed for just a one night stay. We spent the last day seeing some more sites, doing some great shopping, and eating as much as possible before we would have to leave the delicious Italian food behind.
All in all, it felt like we were living a dream on our trip. It’s always been #1 on my travel bucket list, and it didn’t disappoint! We can’t wait to go back and explore more of this incredible country. Thank you so much for planning our dream trip! Can’t wait to see what you help us with next!