Italy, La Bella Vita

Please pass the Brunello!

When were we there
23 days, August 16 – September 7

Where did we go
✈️ Flight from Buffalo to Milan
🏨 NH Collection Milano President
🚄 Train from Milan to Monterosso al Mare (Cinque Terre)
🏨 Hotel Margherita
🚗 Drove from Monterosso to Modena
🏡 Airbnb in Modena
🚗 Drove from Modena to Florence
🏡 Airbnb in Florence
🚗 Drove from Florence to Montalcino
🏡 Airbnb in Montalcino
Awesome Airbnb! Hard to find (especially the first time) down many small narrow streets, but amazing. Managed by very knowledgeable and friendly woman.
🚗 Drove from Montalcino to Rome
🏡 Airbnb in Rome
Great spot near the Colosseum!

Highlights

  • The Last Supper
  • Lake Como (didn’t see Clooney)
  • Hike in Monterosso
  • Lunch at Osteria Francescana in Modena
  • Ferrari and Lamborghini museums
  • Florence museums
  • Wine tasting in Tuscany – Brunello de Montalcino!
  • Food and general vibe of Montalcino
  • Civita di Bagnoregio, cool town that you can only get to across a small walking bridge
  • Colosseum
  • St Peters Cathedral
  • Pantheon
  • Pompeii
  • Food and general vibe in Rome!

We had been to Italy before, but never together. We were excited to visit Rome, Florence, and Milan to see the incredible sites and museums there. But what we *really* had our hearts set on was to spend time in the country, eating great food and drinking lots of wine.

In the cities: we started in Milan because our flight landed there, but we weren’t very impressed. We saw The Last Supper, which was great, and saw the Duomo, which is impressive, but otherwise the city didn’t have a ton going on. We took a day trip to Lake Como which was beautiful, but no Clooney sightings.

Cinque Terre is a cool seaside area with lots of locals, great beaches, and amazing hiking Modena was amazing. A small town with the best restaurant in the world. We had a spectacular four hour meal there. Wow. Everyone loves Florence, for good reason. It’s a beautiful city with a ton of great museums and culture. Rome has less of a good reputation but we loved it. Very young, high energy. We thought Rome had the best food of all the cities. We also did a day trip to Pompeii from Rome.

But again, it was the countryside that wow’d us. We drove from Modena to Florence, Florence to Montalcino, and Montalcino to Rome. Along the way we could stop at small towns and see the local culture. Go to Parma for parmesan cheese, Bologna for pasta bolognese, etc. Each town has it’s own speciality and claim to fame.

Driving in Italy is the way to go. Yes, drivers are aggressive, but if you ignore them and drive your own speed you will be fine. The roads are incredible, beautiful and fun.

We stayed in Montalcino for a few days, a town we picked somewhat randomly among a list of 10 in the region. We loved it. Our airbnb was an amazing cottage in the hills. Montalcino is the region that makes Brunello, the wine that is now our favorite Italian wine. From Montalcino we could easily visit other towns like Montepulciano.

Even after 3 weeks in Italy, I was ready for more.