Postcards from Italy

31 July 2013
Taormina Ocean Violet

It’s been three days since I returned home from my epic Italian adventure.  I think I’ve finally kicked the last lingering bits of jet-lag.  Waking up at 6AM did  have its perks but it’s holding my eyelids open with toothpicks at 9PM that’s the ass kicker.

Our travels took us first to Rome then to the little island at the end of the boot, Sicily.  I’d say we covered incredible ground beginning on the eastern coast of Sicily in a little beachside town called Taormina, headed south to Realmonte in Agrigento then ended in the Sicilian capital of Palermo for my dear friend’s wedding.

Here are a few of my favorite shots and a few tips/observations:

  • Get lost on the side streets of every Piazza (Public squares in each neighborhood, my favorite was Piazza Navona.)
  • Have a coffee at Café San Eustache, recommended to me by Carol Cofone (expert in all things Italiano.) Pro-tip: Be sure to sip at the counter (it’s more expensive if you sit.). The Pantheon is just around the corner.
  • Eat here: Taverna Trilussa and order the house red wine.  e-mail me after + tell me I didn’t change your life.
  • Do not mention “gluten-free” unless you’re willing to get punched in the face.

pizza and wine

The Vatican Museum

Fun fact: This is the staircase where the corrupt Bishop got thrown over to his death by Michael Corleone’s assassin in Godfather III. Thank you Uncle Robert.

  • At the Vatican: Even in the middle of summer you still have to wear pants and cover your shoulders. Otherwise you can purchase paper pants outside for a couple of euros while simultaneously embarrassing everyone you’re with.
  • Send a postcard. I also used the app Ink from Sincerely to send photos I had taken along the way.  Although, there’s something very special about a foreign stamp and handwriting that can’t be replaced.
  • Skip the inside of the Colosseum, it’s equally as impressive from the outside.  You saw Gladiator, right?
caught this little family portrait outside of the Colosseum. Priceless.

caught this precious family moment outside the Colosseum. Priceless.

  • Give yourself an entire day to see the Vatican Museum & the Sistine Chapel.  I only saw a few wings and was there for almost three hours. Buy your tickets in advance or prepare to wait in line for eons.
  • Charming yet hazardous: The cobblestone streets in Rome. Think Meatpacking District in New York but with steep hills and replace the drunk Herve Leger clad girls with dudes on Vespas whizzing around every corner. Ladies, wear wedges.

Meanwhile, in Sicily:

scala dei turci

Just outside of Realmonte in Agrigento, a natural wonder: The Scala dei Turci.

scala dei turchi

luckily this is limestone + not snow.

flowered balconies

apparently everyone has a green thumb in Sicily.

eat here

Followed the NYTimes article almost exactly on Taormina. Making our way to Osteria Nero D’Avola for dinner.  I was so touched when our waiter pulled out a book on “The Fish of Sicily.” They pride themselves on only local + sustainable seafood.  Warmed my little fish-loving heart.  The owner, Turi Siligato, also tells it like it is with his wine list.  Amazing meal, incredible atmosphere and lovely people.

sant andrea in

The pool at the Villa Sant’Andrea in Taormina. Wear sunscreen

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Last but not least: Eat + drink well.  It’s Italy!

Featured image taken at the Greek Theatre in Taormina.  More photos from the trip on Instagram, follow along: @jessarb 

Categories: food, Lifestyle, travel | 1 Comment
  • Carol

    The word for sidewalk in Italian is marciapiedi–which sounds like something that involves cobblestones. Yet Italian shoes are so beautiful! How can they stand up to such punishment?