Hi friends! Long time, no talk. It feels very good to be back on the blog today! It’s been awhile. After an incredible trip celebrating our anniversary, Emmett & I came home only to get sick- I’m pretty sure we picked up you know what on our flight home. We’re finally on the up & up, and are easing back into our routine, although later than intended. While I know everyone is focused on all things fall at the moment, I did want to share our last summer adventure and a quick recap of our Italian getaway. I’ve got three rapid fire posts lined up for you (today, tomorrow, and Friday), where I’ll be sharing the three legs of our journey in a photo journal type format. I also tried to share some snippets in real time on my IG stories… if you missed them and want to see, I saved them to this highlight. Let’s dive in and catch up, shall we? Click through for a fun travel post! We began our trip in Venice, so that’s up first…
Despite everything we crammed into this trip, it was fast. Too fast. We were gone for a solid week, seven days, but that included our travel days & flights. Really we only had five days to enjoy. Having lived in Italy for a bit (I attended art school there), I’ve been fortunate to travel all over the beautiful country. This was Emmett’s first time and there were so many places I wanted to share with him, that we simply didn’t have the time for… which is why we’ll definitely be back! We crammed in three cities with good variety this time around: Venice, Florence, and the Amalfi Coast. We packed light- we each took only a carry-on, and had such a wonderful time moving city-to-city with ease. One bag is the way to do it- especially with all the luggage that is being lost lately. We snagged inexpensive flights in and out of Venice (check out this post on how to score deals), so we bookended our trip there… one day at the beginning and one day at the end.
Once we landed in Venice, we took a private water taxi from the airport to our first hotel of the trip… Palazzo Experimental, pictured in the gallery below. This place was stunning! I truly wish we had more time there. It’s what modern design dreams are made of, and no detail was spared. The thoughtful staff caught word of our anniversary and left a bottle of champagne in our room upon arrival. What a fun surprise!
We had less than 24 hours in Venice to make the most of, before catching a train to our next destination. We also happened to be in Venice during the film festival (which we didn’t realize overlapped with our time there), so it was a complete surprise to spot some celebrities and gawk at their mega yachts. Despite being totally jet lagged, we grabbed some gelato, a spritz, and began wandering around. The city was absolutely packed thanks to the festival, but we managed to find some pastries off the beaten path and duck into a few local shops. Of course, being Emmett’s first time in Venice, he also wanted to see the notable St Marks Basilica / Piazza San Marco. Throughout the duration of the week, he said he was most impressed or taken aback with the architecture throughout Italy. I can’t argue with that!
Wandering around Venice at night is arguably better than the daytime. It’s cool, not at all crowded, and the lights cast romantic reflections on the water. After all, it is the City of Bridges… like something out of a movie set. We ended the evening with dinner along the water, but the highlight of the night was cocktails at the award-winning bar at our hotel. We began sipping at a bistro table overlooking the water and ended up inside (per the recommendation of our waiter), after being eaten alive by mosquitos. He told us the bar atmosphere was worth sitting inside and proved to be correct. We made friends with the local bartender, who served up some seriously delicious drinks. The cocktails kept us from crashing and we stayed out until 11 or so before turning in for the evening… a great accomplishment for weary travelers.
My Italian professor once told me the key to beating jet lag is to immediately adopt the local time… eat when the locals eats, drink when the locals drink, and sleep when the locals sleep- and no napping! I also never check the time back at home. Whatever time zone I’m currently in, that’s the one I go by.
The next morning, we grabbed a quick delicious breakfast with incredible cappuccinos from the hotel restaurant before snagging another water taxi (not to be confused with the traditional gondoliers pictured above)– this time to the train station. The rail system in Europe is my favorite- it’s the easiest way to travel. We hopped on a high-speed train to Florence, and were there within a few hours, but that’s for tomorrow’s blog post! Instead of getting ahead of myself, let’s fast forward to the end of our trip… when we arrived back in Venice for the last leg of our journey.
We arrived via train into Venice early in the afternoon, sad that our much awaited vacation was quickly coming to an end. They always go too fast! Typically I’m ready to come home, but that’s never the case with Italy. Maybe that’s a sign we should consider a home there someday? Who knows what the future holds.
We snagged another private water taxi, from the train station this time, that took us to our last hotel in Venice… Baglioni Hotel Luna. This hotel was actually one we were really looking forward to (we got a free stay in an upgraded suite, thanks to points), which is why I booked it for the end of our trip- a real treat before the long trek home. I have to say, it ended up being our least favorite accommodation. Our suite looked nothing like the gorgeous images we had seen online, and despite the popularity and luxury vibe of the hotel, the appearance felt tired, worn, and bit pretentious. I did enjoy marble bathroom though, pictured below. We weren’t going to let the lackluster room ruin our last night. Maybe I would have had different feelings if we had paid for it. We weren’t planning to spend time at the hotel anyway, just a quick sleep before our departure… we dropped our bags and left for drinks & treats.
We found the most amazing local (off the beaten path) pastry shop, Panifici Crosera, and after quickly devouring some deletable baked goods, Emmett somehow stumbled upon the only “brewery” in Venice that sells craft beer. Ha! Leave it to him. How very American of us. After that we headed to our tattoo appointment at Inkae, with visiting artist, Tobia from Milan. We learned that he used to be a shoe designer for Dolce & Gabbana before breaking into the more rebellious art form of tattooing. I’ve shared this before, but we have a tradition of collecting little travel tats… usually something quick & easy on the last day of our trip. For inquiring minds, this was mine and Emmett’s first matching tattoo- we both got a roman numeral 10, I designed beforehand.
After getting some fresh ink to take home with us, we meandered to dinner. We spontaneously found a busy local joint, and while the wait was long, the food was good and our waiter offered us free homemade limoncello on the house for being so patient… an offer we couldn’t refuse. After dinner, we stopped by Gelatoteca Suso for one last gelato as our trip was coming to a close. We took one last night walk around sleepy Venice back to our hotel, before heading out via water taxi the next morning to catch our early morning flight.
It was a fun-filled and super fast trip… I always like to plan more time for international travel, but we crammed in as much as we could. We had a splendid time, indulged in all the good food, and made memories to last a lifetime, all while celebrating our 10-year anniversary. It was certainly one for the books, despite contracting C on our flight home. Our plan was to get right back to work, but since sickness came home with us, we tried to rest, take it easy, and stayed put at home this past week. Monday was my first official day back to work and I’m feeling all sorts of behind, but if there is any lesson I bought home with me from Italy- it’s to give the important things more space. I certainly wish the pace here in America moved more slowly, but I’m learning to be more intentional with my time, stress less, and focus on what’s truly important. All of that to say, thanks for showing up to read & connect when I share, and for giving me grace when things don’t quite go as planned.
I hope you enjoyed a peek into our Venice travels! Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing a similar post of our time spent in Florence, followed by the Amalfi Coast on Friday. I received so many messages from many of you planning your own trips to Italy. It’s a beautiful country and one we’ll continue to visit. Our last big trip of the year is coming up rather quickly… we’re headed to Bali for our annual diving trip in October! Emmett & I have been joking this is our Eat Pray Love year, but sadly we have no vacation time or budget left to visit India during the calendar year. Ha! Maybe I missed my calling to be a travel blogger? A girl can dream. As always, if you have any questions- leave them for me in the comment section below. I’ll happily share additional information or elaborate. As for blog things… I’ve got plenty of fall, hosting, and holiday posts lined up for next week and the months ahead. We left for Italy with 100+ degree temperatures here in Salt Lake and came home to 60-70 degree weather (and snow in the mountains!)… fall has made its arrival, indeed. Check back tomorrow for Florence- it’s one you won’t want to miss! Emmett & I both agreed it was our favorite days of the trip. Cheers to being back! I hope you’re having a good week.
PeggiSeptember 21, 2022 at 5:37 am
Good morning and welcome back! Following your trip on IG was dreamy! Italy remains at the top of my must-visit list, and your stories certainly didn’t change my mind. I can hardly believe that you packed in three different locales in such a short time. I’d be interested to know how/why you chose these cities. Were they favorites from your time living there, the best travel deals, or were you trying to give Emmett a well-rounded first visit? I love the idea of traveling around the country by train! You get to relax, talk, nap and watch the scenery while someone else does the driving. Yes, please. I absolutely adored the images from Palazzo Experimental! So beautiful. All that stunning marble and the killer palette. Amazing. What a bummer that your second hotel was not as advertised. Still, a lackluster hotel in Venice is a hardship I’d gladly endure. Ha. Sigh. A total bummer that you came home to be sick! I hope that you two are getting enough rest. As you mention, our pace here leaves a lot to be desired. I’ll eagerly await tomorrow’s installment! In the meantime, enjoy some fresh air and fall vibes! (We’re still in the 80s, but I’m a-okay with that!) 💜
SarahSeptember 21, 2022 at 7:42 pm
Thank you, Peggi! We had such a wonderful time- I feel so lucky that we got to experience it together. We probably crammed in too much for such a short time period, ha. I don’t know what I was thinking planning all of that. It was a whirlwind, but very fun. We did a lot of sleeping on the trains. We landed on Venice because of the cheap flights (it’s honestly low on my list, when it comes to favorite Italian cities). I wanted to go back to Florence because that’s where I lived during school, and Amalfi is another favorite of mine- I knew Emmett would like the water aspect of the coast… and being on boats. Next time, we’re like to do some of my favorite smaller cities and villages. All three of these destinations just require a train ride, and we didn’t have to worry about a rental car. The Palazzo Experimental was incredibly. The design was so inspiring! I really can’t complain about the last hotel… mostly because who can complain when in Italy, and we didn’t pay a penny for it. I thought it would be the show stopper (in terms of design) and my favorite one to photograph and share. In place of herringbone hardwoods and marble floors was old carpet (same for the bedding). It was just interesting to see the photos online and walk into our room to realize it was nothing like advertised. We were only there for sleeping though, so it really didn’t matter. We definitely caught Covid on our flight home. Emmett is pretty much back to 100 and I’m finally feeling more like myself. America could definitely take some lessons from Europe on certain things… I do wish our pace wasn’t as go, go, go. Hey- 80 degree doesn’t sound so bad! I’ll take it over 100s. Haha! I hope you’re having an awesome week! xo
Jennifer LauraSeptember 21, 2022 at 7:44 am
Looks like you had an amazing time!
SarahSeptember 21, 2022 at 7:34 pm
We most certainly did :)
LaurenSeptember 21, 2022 at 8:14 am
Welcome home Gibsons! Seeing the snippets of your trip on stories was so fun and Italy looks exactly how I imagined. Italy is a bucket list destination for me, and living vicariously through you did not disappoint. Haha! Water taxis and trains sound like such a sweet way to get around, and a bonus that no one has to drive. I’m assuming that means the places you visited are highly walkable? The images of your first hotel had me drooling. The sweet marble pedestal tables and arched bistro chairs steal the show for me, and I love all the use of color. It’s refreshing to see hotel design from other countries as I’m not particularly a fan of many American hotels. I look forward to seeing the rest of your travel journal and hope both of you are quickly healing. Lots of rest friend. Have a lovely day!
SarahSeptember 21, 2022 at 7:34 pm
Thanks Lauren!! Italy is so wonderful… definitely one of my favorite countries to visit- they certainly win for best food. Ha! Emmett was all about the water taxis. Trains are also fun, and it was fun to pay a little more for the fast train this time around. When I used to live there, I always took the slow one to save money. All of the cities we visited were very walkable this time around. Despite eating our weight in food everyday, we did so much walking that it canceled out. Ha! At least that’s what I was telling myself. Emmett is back to 100 (minus a lingering cough), and I’m nearly there. I finally have energy today and was able to get a good night of sleep. This was our first time having it, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I hope the kids are settled back into their routine and you all are enjoying the beginning of fall! I missed chatting with you :) xo
colleenSeptember 21, 2022 at 9:47 am
Welcome Back! I’m suddenly craving gelato and pizza in a big way. Haha! So happy you had a fantastic trip. Yay! But, getting sick on the way home, super bummer. Glad you are on the mend and feeling well enough to share your whirlwind of an adventure. Italy is on the bucket list but the reality is we won’t make it there anytime soon, so I will live vicariously through you two ;) The pictures are beautiful and looked like Emmett was having a blast. You both deserve it! I’m anxious to hear more……Exciting! Have a beautiful day! xoxo
colleenSeptember 21, 2022 at 10:37 am
BTW love your latest Tuesday Made collaboration with Marynn. An awesome pairing of minds, talent and gorgeous decor. Brilliant! I love Marynn’s home, she has exquisite taste and is also a wonderful inspiration, not to mention so talented on the DIY front too! Fabulous to hear and see you two have worked together on a beautiful new line at the shop! Just lovely :)
SarahSeptember 21, 2022 at 7:28 pm
Thanks so much, Colleen! It was really fun to work with Marynn. She’s so talented!
SarahSeptember 21, 2022 at 7:29 pm
Thank you!! I’m also craving gelato and pizza in a big way. Ha! We’ve definitely made homemade pasta and pizza more than once since being home (despite having Covid, ha). I’m finally getting my energy back. Is it cooling down at your house? I hope your fall season is off to an amazing start! Any plans to head back to the cottage? I can’t wait to hear about your progress! xo
CassieSeptember 21, 2022 at 12:50 pm
Beautiful! I’m sorry your last hotel was lackluster but had to be better than our hostel stay outside Venice! Can’t wait to read about Florence and the coast!
SarahSeptember 21, 2022 at 7:27 pm
Ohhh yes! Ha! If your ears were burning, I was reliving our glory days, telling Emmett all about it along the way. I was tempted to grab a big bag of those chips you loved and mail them to you :)
Danna FSeptember 22, 2022 at 11:35 am
Glad you both had a wonderful trip! Your Instagram pictures were beautiful! Oh, the food and architecture there looks divine! I may never come home from a place as beautiful, ha!
Am I the only one who is curious as to what your tattoos look like? If you designed them, I am sure it is unique.
Such a romantic and memorable trip. Can’t wait to read more. I am excited more for our daughter to go next month. By the way, did you send me an email and I missed it? If not, no worries. The single suitcase sounds like the best idea but I don’t think I can talk her into it since they will be gone 2 weeks with very different weather (Ireland/Italy).
Hope your feeling better. Happy Fall!
SarahSeptember 22, 2022 at 6:55 pm
Thank you, Danna! I’ll have to share a photo of our tattoo once they’re healed. It was definitely a romantic and memorable trip. I can’t wait for your daughter to experience it! I’ve got it on my list to email you :) I’ll try to get that drafted tomorrow. Packing light is really the best if you’re moving around a lot… and with all the luggage being lost, we didn’t have to worry. If she is going to check bags, make sure she drops an airbag into it! Ireland is a country I have yet to visit- I’m envious! When does she leave? Let me know where she is stopping in Italy and I’ll be sure to send specific recommendations! xo
Danna FSeptember 23, 2022 at 11:18 am
Hey Sarah. Really appreciate your input on places in Italy. Great idea on putting airtags in their luggage. They are going to the following cities: Florence, Rome, Naples, & Amalfi coast. I read your post about how the roads are winding and my daughter does get car sick so will let her know about sitting in the front or taking something before travel that day. Again, no rush but very appreciative to your suggestions.
SarahSeptember 23, 2022 at 11:27 am
I’ll send you an email by the end of the day today, for sure! I’m SO excited for her. I’d recommend she take Bonine along for motion sickness (it’s better than Dramamine and non drowsy). Even sitting up front, I’ve watched many people get sick on those roads. Check your inbox soon :) Happy Friday!!