Insider Italy

Air, City Travel, Food & Wine, Hotels & Resorts, Italy, Shopping & Style, Tours & Attractions, Train — By on May 5, 2009 at 10:29 am

The Lost Girls believe that one of the best resources for planning a trip is other travelers. So we asked Yelena Galstyan, an 18-year old freshman at Syracuse University, to share her experiences about visiting her boyfriend in Italy. Check out her day-by-day account on where to eat when in Rome, which street is best for window shopping, and how to find on a villa on the coast.Amalfi Coast Campania Italy

Thursday, March 26th

Considering my tight college budget, I was lucky to find a roundtrip United Airways flight from Syracuse to Rome, with a layover in Philly for only $575. I guess the down turned economy has some pluses!

After a long-awaited reunion with my boyfriend Scott, who is studying in Rome, I had my own personal tour guide in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. We checked out the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and the Vittorio Emmanuel. Although natural landscapes are usually my thing, the beauty of the Trevi Fountain was absolutely captivating.

Rome ParthenonFrolicking through the city, one thing I couldn’t wrap my mind around was the ridiculous traffic. I was surprised people don’t get hit left and right with those crazy drivers speeding through the clogged streets of Rome. Just walking seemed like an obstacle course and I definitely had a couple close calls. We went shopping (mostly window) on a street called Via del Corso, the prominent street running through the historical center of Rome, with designer stores rivaling Rodeo Drive. Instead of breaking the bank, I stocked up on Italian scarves for 4 euro each at a little kiosk.

We ate dinner at a hidden gem-Carlo Menta Talevi Luigi e Luciano on Via Della Lungaretta 101. Just off a main street Trastevere, it was a place we couldn’t help but come back to later on. Finally, a real taste of Italian food. Prices were cheap, and ranged from 20 to 25 euro for dinner for two. Our favorite were the “Roman Style Artichokes”, delicately marinated in olive oil and God knows what, with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. And no doubt, at every meal we created our own “concoctions” as we like to call them- fresh bread dipped in a mixture of olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and cheese. I could probably eat that every day of my life and be happy.

Tomorrow, Amalfi. Can’t wait.

Friday, March 27th

We woke up early to catch the tram, train #1, train # 2, and a bus to our final destination -The Amalfi Coast. The train we took went from Termini to Salerno and took us right to the bus station. The two trains there came to a total of about 30 euro. At the station we purchased a SITA ticket and began our ride up the most narrow and windy coastal road ever. With the much-needed help of the bus driver, we finally got dropped off at a small town called Minori. The public transportation in Europe is so efficient it amazes me.

Amalfi CoastUpon arrival, we immediately fell in love with our honeymoon-like private villa overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. I just browsed through Google, and we ended up renting the “Suite Principessa” villa through AmalfiVacation for only 310 euro/ 3 nights (including the cleaning fee)! Not bad if you split it down the middle. It was exactly what we had hoped for. Nice big bed, immediate view of the ocean, large private outdoor patio area, fully equipped kitten, a polished bathroom.

Even though it was way too cold to swim, we enjoyed sitting by the ocean, and I thought about how far I was from Syracuse and my normal busy routine. It’s great when your only concerns in life are what beautiful sites to see next or what your next meal will be. I’ve never had so many panini in my life. At breakfast we discussed what was for lunch, at lunch we chatted about dinner, and at dinner we overlooked the ocean, wondering what food we’d be enjoying the next day. What a life!

Saturday, March 28th

Amalfi Coast Italy We were perfectly content with the realization that this small town had no nightlife. We preferred wandering through the streets gathering groceries from one tiny “mercado” to another, cooking ourselves, and watching the waves get rocky as the sun went down. The mercados were far from luxurious, but sold the basics with a strong concentration in meats and cheeses. They definitely had all the essentials for us to put our Italian recipes to the test. Our main goal was stress-free relaxation, something we definitely mastered in this peaceful part of Italy.

The weather wasn’t perfect, but we didn’t mind. Cloudy at times, with temperatures ranging in the mid-60’s. We caught the sun’s rays when we could, but when we couldn’t we ventured out into the town and sat by the beach, admiring everything around us. Being off-season and all, surprisingly Mother Nature was on our side and we made the best out our limited time together in this wonderland. No doubt, the Amalfi coast blossoms even more in the high season (May-June).

Amalfi Coast Italy I let Scott do most of the cooking, after my failed attempt to make breakfast in bed when I accidentally sprinkled salt on our fruit salad. We were probably better off that way. Mostly we killed time by sipping on vodka tonics with fresh-picked lemons, listening to Dave Matthews, and talking about how lucky we are to be on the Amalfi Coast. I could stay here forever…”

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