Italy 2015 Brainstorming

I had a brief three or four days in Rome back in 2009 and that has been the extent of my interaction with Italy. To be v. honest, even though Italy is a major hotspot for travelers, it's never been high on my list. Despite my love of pasta, I've always been a bit nervous about traveling in a country where I don't speak the language.

But, as I have mentioned here and again on my blog, I like trying new things and as much as I'd love to revisit the places I've fallen in love with again and again, I want to see what else is out there in the world and step out of my comfort zone once in a while. So, my favorite travel partner (baby sister) and I are headed to Italy in April.

I had no idea that Milano Malpensa (MXP) was such a happenin' airport. I say that because the flights there were extremely reasonable. Out of JFK, I managed to find direct flights for $650. Can you even believe that? So deliciously affordable, I can barely stand it. Ultimately though, I ended up forking over an extra $75 to fly out of Newark (EWR). I live so much closer to Newark Airport; it's just a 25 minute drive from my house. JFK, on the other hand, takes an hour and a half to get to even when there's no traffic and it's just hassle to be picked up there as well. That's $75 well spent, I'd say. And in other good news, the euro and the dollar are a little more equally matched these days, so any of the flights we book through Easyjet and/or Ryanair right now will have a friendlier exchange rate.

I haven't figured out exactly what we're going to do while we're in Italy for nine, almost ten days. When we went to France earlier this year, we really enjoyed city hopping via train and plane and I think I want to do something similar with this trip. Again, I'm quite nervous because of the language barrier and also because I really don't know that much about Italy, but I'm excited nonetheless and of course, I'm incredibly willing to learn more. I even bought a little phrasebook to get myself acquainted with the language. I have to brush off my French and Spanish hats and don my Italian one. A fedora, perhaps? If you're wondering, I picked up this little book from Anthropologie during the Black Friday weekend. It's really cute and compact and I know it's going to come in quite handy.
Here's where I'd really love to go (which I have to narrow down to a list of just three, maybe four):
  • Positano (or anywhere on the Amalfi Coast)
  • Vernazza (or any of the five cities in Cinque Terre)
  • Alberobello (Puglia)
  • Corinaldo
  • Isola Bella
  • Anywhere in Sardinia
  • Bergamo
  • Bosa
  • Atrani
  • Monte Isola
The thing is, I need to pick great locations that form an easy, doable loop via plane and/or train. This is going to take some coordination. I think that we're going to go from Milano to Vernazza (via train), maybe spend a day in Genova (Genoa), then fly to Bari and spend a day in Alberobello and a second day in Polignano a Mare and then fly back to Milano and finish off our trip with a few days there. That's the tentative plan for now. I was whining to my sister about how I really wanted to go to too many places and she said, "You know, we can always go back to Italy." So true, and yet, it depresses me because there are just so many places I'd love to travel to, it seems like my bucket list will never be completely crossed off. Perhaps one day, I will be brave and quit my job and devote a few years to a nomadic existence. Until then, I will just look forward to the handful of holidays that I get to plan each year.

Anyway, once I set things in stone (which might not happen until the new year), I'll share the plans and prices here!