Photos and Stories From My Trip to Italy

This is gonna be a long post. TL:DR, here’s some photos I liked from my trip to Italy in September 2022, with links to google maps to restaurants and areas. The ideal reader of this is a) us, to remember what we did, and b) anyone curious about stuff we did. It’s not really a guide, because I have no idea what I’m doing.

I’ll probably gush about some things, but just because I don’t gush at a certain thing doesn’t mean I didn’t love it. There was just so much.

I had a great time.

September 10, 2022

Our first stop was just outside of Serrento at Casa Setaro Winery for lunch and a wine tasting.

Before landing in Sorrento, our driver stopped at a lookout and encouraged us to take photos of this view 🤯

After unpacking in our AirBNB, we found our way to Antica Salumeria, a cute bar/wine shop/deli, where we drank enormous glasses of local red while watching people promenade.

September 11, 2022

After breakfast at Bar Veneruso, we walked around Sorrento.

We found the Parco di Villa Fiorentino, where they were showcasing photos from Sofia Loren films and old cameras.

Porto di Sorrento is incredible. We descended the cliff stairs and thought, that’s not so bad. Maybe stairs in Italy are fine!

We had lunch at Naima Lounge, visited the Cathedral of Saints Philip and James and shopped around downtown. There were Limoncello shops everywhere, but Limonoro Fabbrica Liquori Di D’Esposito Ciro was our favourite.

We ate dinner at Ristorante Pizzeria L’Abate, and late-night drinks at Bar Ercolano SNC di Ercolano Luigi. Excellent people-watching.

September 12, 2022

Our driver took us through serveral spots the Amalfi Coast. Windy driving through cliffside highways is always a great opportunity for vista photos:

First stop: Positano, a really cute little town full of tight streets and shops:

Then onto Ravello, where we had lunch at Villa Cimbrone and drank great wine.

After, we walked down the mountain to the coast. This walk was pretty hard! Stairs in Italy are not fine! We were all a little toast afterward. Pictures of the stairs don’t really do justice to how steep each step was.

I can’t complain about the vistas, though. Really stunning.

At around 4:30 I treated myself to dunking my head in the town fountain, then a drink at Bistrot F.lli Pansa, where we watched a wedding party effortlessly march straight back up steep Amalfi steps towards a giant church.

Back in Sorrento, we had dinner at Ristorante La Basilica, a recommended pizza place. I loved it.

September 13, 2022

After breakfast at La Villa again, we took a ferry to Capri.

Shopping highlights included Carthusia I Profumi di Capri (a perfume shop), Harmont & Blaine (cool tshirts and jackets), Golden Goose Capri (super cool shoes), Boutique Sensation (I bought a linen jacket here), and La Capannina Più Enoteca (rare liquor, candies, and homeware).

We had lunch down at the pier at Lo Smeraldo before heading back to Sorrento, where we sat near the bow of the ferry and took some stunning shots.

We found Bollicine Wine Bar and enjoyed a glass before dinner at Blu Water, our last dinner in Sorrento. The owner suggested we check out his sister restaurant in north Toronto sometime :)

I hadn’t actually bookmarked the gelato places I frequented in Sorrento, but my last one, at Raki gelato, was noteworthy in how rich it was. (I had gelato every day of this trip and was not good at bookmarking all of them 🍨)

September 14, 2022

On our way to Rome, we toured the Royal Palace of Caserta. It was massive, beautiful, and full of classic and modern art.

Lunch was at the impressive Le Colonne Marziale.

Afterwards, we drove onto Rome. Dropping off our bags, we walked around a bit and found dinner at the nearby Vitti dal 1898, a cute place out in a big square.

September 15, 2022

Breakfast first morning at Ciampini Roma in the same square as last night. My breakfast was a cream croissant and espresso, which would be pretty much my breakfast the whole trip.

It was a shopping and exploring day. We stumbled upon a Superdry of all things.

We stumbled upon EnOsteria Capolecase for lunch. Had a Carbonara again!

In the early evening, I went out on my own and took part in a Leica Camera Italia tour. They handed me a Leica Q2 and a Q2 Monochrom and walked me around town, allowing me to take photos with these incredible cameras. It was a thrilling tour, and I took some of the best photos of my life.

Afterwards, I was late meeting back up, so I rented a scooter and zoomed through downtown Rome at night. I think I may have received a very romantic idea of how scooters work and Toronto needs these services immediately.

I found them at the Otherwise Bookshop, where we had a pint in their basement bar. So cool. Across the street, I bought two books at Altroquando They had so much Italian manga!

For dinner, I had a big salad at Vitti dal 1898. Yes, it was 1130. What do you want from me? I’m on vacation.

September 16, 2022

Breakfast again at Ciampini Roma, before being picked up for a day of tours. First, the Colosseum. I thought this would be small, and disappointing. It was not! We had an amazing tour guide that put it over hard. One of the most surprisingly awesome parts of the trip.

Just as cool was what was right next to it, the Palatine Stadium, which, maybe this is glib, but felt like a Zelda Dungeon in the best way. Stunning, beautiful ruins worth exploring.

At the halfway point of the day, we had lunch and wine at Divinostilia food&winebar. It was cute!

After lunch, we drove to the Vatican and walked through it. The meat of the tour is this long corridor filled with maps and art:

We did walk through the Sistine Chapel, and it was incredible, but it also contained something else of note: a beleaguered security guard droning in monotone on the loudspeaker about respect, silence, and above all, no photos.

I was told St. Peter’s Basilica would make me cry. It did! But not really because of any religious significance so much as the sheer amount of eye-watering stuff that they’ve packed into the room. A few times before this, we’d pass by a church. Want to go in, I’d say. No, that’s fine. That’s a church, and we’re about to go to the church. I got what she meant here.

On our way back into downtown Rome, we passed by Bukowski’s Bar, a cute hipster joint. Rose all day. Tapas.

Our one and only meh” dinner occured at Ristorante Pizzeria Pummarola. It was fine! Just a step down from what we’d been doing, and what we were headed towards. My fault on that one, a rare impulse pick that didn’t work out. The very good gelato nearby at Fiocco di neve made up for it a bit.

September 17, 2022

Our last day in Rome. Breakfast at Ciampini Roma. It was a good spot!

It was a shopping day with a few photo opportunities, like the Piazza del Popolo and the Tiber River:

We had lunch at Jazz Cafè. Peroni and charcuterie. Good!

Shopping highlights included Manufactus Made In Italy for leather books, ikat izink bazar for scarves, Nancy et Marianela Tesla for a dress, and Kolby - Via del Governo Vecchio for dress shirts.

My favourite tiramisu on the trip was from Casa & Bottega, and it was in a shot glass.

For our last night in Rome, I wanted to see if we could find a rooftop bar. We lucked out at Cielo Terrace, an obviously ritzy joint overlooking the city. We drank a bottle of sancerre and watched the sunset. It was one of the good ones.

We descended the Spanish Steps, walked through the crowds, and tried to drink it in before moving on.

After a quick aviation cocktail at VyTA Enoteca Regionale del Lazio, we found our way to Ciro Trattoria Pizzeria for dinner. This place felt like a real gem. Busy, authentic, only tangentially interested in tourists. Great stuff.

September 18, 2022

Last breakfast in rome. Danish and espresso at the bar at Vitti dal 1898 before being picked up for a drive to a few stops in between Rome and Florence.

First stop, Civita di Bagnoregio, a very small village only accessible by a walking bridge. It was unique and spooky.

We stopped at Talosa - Cantina Storica for a wine tasting after a very pretty drive. Tried four wines. I could smell them! This was rare for me with my very weak sense of smell.

We arrived in Florence around 730 and found A BOTTEGA DI VIA MAGGIO for dinner. Had lasagna, so so good. Drank campo al mare bolgheri.

Florence had a bit of a hipster bar scene. Our first one was Rasputin, a secret” bar with rules about staying in your seat and being pretty quiet. We had one before calling it a night.

September 19, 2022

I grabbed some quick breakfast at the charming Bar Pitti before hitting the road. First stop, a lookout spot just above Florence, starring one of the Davids.

We visited Volpaia and did an awesome wine tasting 🍷 at Castello di Volpaia and a lunch at Osteria Volpaia Smoked pork. Cheese in leaves. Cool stuff.

Our guide took us to this lookout point in Radda in Chianti for some stunning photo views:

I shopped at VIA ROMA for cyclists, visited a pretty cool church at Badia di Passignano and stopped for a coffee at Caffè San Niccolo before driving on to Greve. We visited a cool butchershop (Antica Macelleria Falorni before driving back to Florence.

Dinner at Ristorante Oliviero 1962. Fancy! One fun moment: as we were finishing up, a server walked by with the largest steak we’d ever seen and whispered still hungry”? before delivering it to a table. I found most servers to have excellent timing and humour throughout the trip.

September 20, 2022

This was a shopping day 🛍️.

Breakfast at Ditta Artigianale, Firenze. Second coffee at Caffè Canto Alla Mela

Among other things, I Bought a folio at Fabriano Boutique to kick myself in the butt to start writing more. My partner found a designer she loved in Wendykei Flagship Store Firenze. And we bought perfumes at the famous Officina Profumo - Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella.

Lunch at Osteria Pastella So great. Made my pasta with truffles in front of me.

We lucked out and found ourselves in a short line for Gelateria Della Passera. It’s worth the hype.

In the afternoon, we toured the Uffizi Gallery. Our guide was tremendous and showed us the highlights. This is one of the many places where I felt I could spend 2-3 days instead of 2-3 hours.

We had dinner at Osteria Vecchio Vicolo We ate a gigantic T-bone steak. 1.268kg! Stupidly huge. And excellent.

Afterwards, our friend found Love Craft, a hipster whiskey bar filled with Cthulhu figurines. This is where my partner had that single malt yoichi we need to find a bottle of sometime.

September 21, 2022

Breakfast at Caffè Condotta, then more walking around and shopping. I Bought a new carryon suitcase at Rinascente Firenze, which was a cool department store. We got a light charcuterie board lunch at Gustapizza before some jewelry shopping on the Ponte Vecchio.

A quick Prosecco at Bulli & Balene before getting in the car. That night, we had a really special dinner at La Bugia Ristorante. I didn’t bring my camera.

September 22, 2022

Breakfast at Florence’s Central Market. Bought some salami piccante.

Florence was great for shopping. AquaFlor was a cool perfume shop/antique house. Our friend found a leather jacket at Roberto Pelle Ed Accessori, and my partner found one at La Pelle Firenze.

Got a last glass of red wine in Florence at Procacci, and visited Move On, a very cool record store. We’d go back later after convincing myself I could totally fit a record into my suitcase just fine.

Last lunch in Florence at Bar Pitti, a cute enough place that sold massive sandwiches and glasses of Aperol Spritz. I bought a few cigars at Castellana and another gelator at Caffé Fiorenza, eventually meeting up for rooftop bar drinks at La Scaletta.

For our last dinner in Florence, we went back to Osteria Vecchio Vicolo and ordered the giant steak again. But this time, at least we split it three ways.

September 23, 2022

We took the train to Venice. We weren’t there ten minutes before we saw a woman walking around in amazing cosplay. There were costume shops everywhere, and it was nice to see some of them get put to use:

I’m not surprising anyone by saying that Venice was gorgeous 😳.

We had a late lunch, shopped a bit, found a great 3D printed jewelry store in Maison 203 VE, then found dinner at Ostaria al Garanghelo. Loved it, so many unique takes on seafood.

September 24, 2022

Breakfast at Calle de la Verona, 1916, a cute breakfast place. I wish it existed one minute outside my condo at home.

We met our guide and took a powerboat out to a Glass blowing exhibition by the Massimiliano Schiavon Art Team on Murano. I need to remember to actually buy some of the glassware later.

We toured the beautiful small island of Burano. Our guide bought us cookies at Dolcezze Palmisano di Fabio e Federica (so good, we bought a bag and took it home. We only just finished it). She showed us a few cool shops, including a lacemaker Dalla Lidia Merletti D’Arte.

Lunch at Venissa, an amazing vineyard. We took the ferry back to venice, strolled around, had some ciccheti at Un Mondo Divino.

Dinner at Tavernetta San Maurizio. I think we were all a little exhausted after the day, but still managed to have an after dinner wine at Vino Vino, where we met a server who talked to us about some mythical expensive” wine that took two days to decant and cost near a thousand dollars a bottle. Crazy.

September 25, 2022

Breakfast at Calle de la Verona, 1916. If there’s one thing I learned about myself, it’s that I like to find one breakfast place and stick with it. Everything else can change.

Our friend had his first (and maybe only) espresso at Bar Ai Artisti, completing at least one check on his travel list. It sat right next to the church they used in an Indiana Jones movie.

Of course, we hit a few landmarks, like the Bridge of Sighs. Tourism!

We had Beef tartare with cheesecake at Hostaria Sant’Aponal for lunch, anmd an afternoon cocktail at AMO. I mean, look at this bar:

We didn’t buy any Venetian masks, but we poked through a few fun shops anyway, like Ca’ Macana Oiginal. The Merchant Of Sand was a cool jewelry shop. Here’s a reminder to myself to buy some cups online from Danghyra.

Early evening, we sat at Caffè Florian for Promenading, cocktails, and sunset.

We made our way over to Sestante - Osteria di Mare for our last dinner. Tasting menu. Great wine. A stellar cap-off to the trip.

Conclusion

So yeah, Italy. It’s stunningly pretty. We booked tours and drivers in advance with a very talented and professional contact, who made the whole trip a breeze. We had very little downtime, but nothing felt rushed, and the moments of stress were brief. It was everything I want from a vacation, from great food to sights. Italy might be good at this.

Google Maps was absolutely necessary in order to make this blog. Anytime I stopped somewhere, I’d bookmark it in maps, and copy the share” link to Drafts on my iphone, where I had a template set up to have the date. Then, I exported them all as a single .txt file. It still took a while to write this and organize all the photos (860 in total(!)), which is why it’s going up almost a month after we returned.

Now, to save up for the next trip. 🍙

October 16, 2022 vacations Italy

How I rate songs

I like to use a 5-point rating system. What the points mean differs slightly from medium to medium, so here’s what it means for songs.

A few rules.

  • No half or quarter points. We’re not splitting hairs here. We’re categorizing.
  • Every song starts with no ⭐.
  • In Apple Music, all songs rated ⭐⭐⭐ or above get a ❤️. Every song rated ⭐⭐ or below gets a 💔.

1 ⭐ - poorly recorded, out of tune, not even a song

2 ⭐⭐ - a song I don’t like

3 ⭐⭐⭐ - a song that’s fine

4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - a pretty good song

5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - a song that causes an involuntary emotional reaction

October 14, 2022 music star ratings

Here Are Some Smells That I Miss

Drew Magary for Defector:

Occasionally, I can still catch a whiff of something. I had to mix up some dipping sauce for frozen dumplings a week or two ago, and that I could smell clearly when I sniffed it up close. I can also smell snuffed out candle flames, liquid smoke, and a paucity of other scents that only share a robustness in common. I don’t cry when these scents make a cameo, and I don’t ruminate over what I’ve lost. I just smile, take a second whiff, and then get back to my life.

My sense of smell is pretty weak. Every now and then, I’ll read about people who’ve either lost their sense of smell or never had it, and their experience resonates.

September 25, 2022 links

We could all use a This is Fine’ Focus mode

Victoria Song for the Verge:

In all seriousness, it kinda blows that I felt the need to set this up in the first place. That said, it’s been incredibly good for my brain whenever life decides to hurl curveballs my way.

iOS 16 makes focus modes way easier/more fun to make/fiddle with, and I’m going to try to contextualize my phone based on the kinds of feelings I need it to support.

September 17, 2022 links

The Age of Algorithmic Anxiety

Kyle Chayka for the New Yorker:

…[s]ocial networks have always purported to show us things that we like—things that we might have organically gravitated to ourselves. Why, then, can it feel as though the entire ecosystem of content that we interact with online has been engineered to influence us in ways that we can’t quite parse, and that have only a distant relationship to our own authentic preferences?

I think there was a period of time where there was an algorithm trying to figure out things you might like and showing them to you. But these days? The algorithm” is whoever pays Instagram.”

I think there used to be a period of time where clicking I don’t like this” might have done something. But I’m not sure that button presses anything anymore.

September 13, 2022 links

The Thread Is Dead

Angelina Chapin for the Cut:

For many, the group chat has shifted from a necessity to a nuisance since we’ve resumed boarding planes and meeting at bars. People told me they’ve been tapping that mute button, ghosting threads like they are bad dates, and, in the most brazen of cases, breaking up with their group chats altogether.

Seconded. One on one chats remain, but big groups? Fell of a cliff.

September 6, 2022 links