travel: rome & venice, italy
We are back dudes! Dave and I are home from our European vacation extravaganza and we had an absolutely fantastic time. We ate SO much, we saw SO much, and we had SO much freaking fun, it’s like I’m funned out for the year. No more fun left…until Ribfest, of course.
We planned this trip to celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary, even though it’s not until September – you can celebrate the whole year, right? I’ve always wanted to go to Italy and since our best friends moved to Hungary last year (remember the farewell?) – visiting these two countries seemed like a no-brainer. I’m going to break the trip up into two parts because we saw and did so damn much it’s hard to squeeze it all in to one post. So on with it, hey?
One of my favorite things about visiting Rome was hitting up a bunch of little cafes where we grabbed an afternoon beer (holler, vacation!) and a delicious, fresh plate of meat and cheese. This plate of prosciutto and mozzarella with rosemary bread was the first thing we ate in Rome and it was perfection.
We saw so many sites while we were in Rome, and they were all just jaw-dropping. Since I had never been out of the country before, I was pretty much in awe of everything we saw. The Colosseum was astonishing to see in person.
My favorite monument that we visited was Trevi fountain. We walked by the fountain early in the day, and while it was breathtaking – the view at night, all lit up, was so beautiful. I could have sat there all night.
Alright, onto more food! We went to Restorante Casa Coppelle as Dave read it was a place locals liked. We grabbed a drink at the beautiful bar where the bartender was really friendly and made us a delicious pink cocktail.
For dinner I ordered the carbonara and the filet. It’s not a vacation until you have pasta AND meat. The carbonara was some of the best pasta I’ve ever eaten. The pasta was cooked perfectly, the sauce was creamy and flavorful, and that thick cut bacon…oh, that bacon.
The next day we visited Vatican City, which was just overwhelming in size and grandeur. There was so much beautiful art and architecture everywhere, it was almost impossible to take it all in. The Sistine Chapel (that you can’t take pictures of) was epic.
After visiting the Vatican, my friend Justin who knows good food and all things Rome suggested we visit Pizzeria Amalfi, so of course we did! We sat outside and scarfed up two pizzas, one with salami, and one with anchovies – they were ridiculously good. Now I want a brick oven pizza installed in my kitchen please and thank you.
While at Amalfi I ordered a glass (okay maybe two) of Prosecco. If you read this blog you know I’m a Bud Light gal through and through – but there sure is something to a crisp, cold glass of this magical nectar. It’s my new jam.
Justin also said Oldbridge Gelato was a must-try, so off we went. I had caramel and pistachio and Sir Dave had pistachio and nutella flavored, which I couldn’t get a picture of because he literally ate every last bite in minutes. He said it was the best ice cream he’s ever eaten!
Another awesome dinner we had was at Roma Sparita, which was a recommendation from our pals Jackie and Eric (and Anthony Bourdain digs it too). Roma Sparita is in Trastavere, which is a must-visit area of Rome. It’s a much less touristy neighborhood (until we showed up!) and there are some great craft beer bars, so Sir Dave was in heaven.
To get into Trastavere, you have to cross the oldest bridge in Rome, so it was selfie time.
We got to sit outside at Roma Sparita which was lovely. We ordered the Caccio e Pepe, which is served in a Parmesan bowl – did you catch that? A freaking delicious bowl made of cheese. Hell YES.
Dave ordered the special, which we should have written down, but it had fava beans (which was new to me in pasta) and bacon – we both loved it.
After dinner we got some road beers (yes you can walk around with beer – why do we have so many rules in ‘merica?!) and we explored the charming little alleyways and bars along the way.
The next day we woke up late because we made an Italian friend and stayed up way too late drinking wine and chatting into the wee hours. Since we had a tour to catch we grabbed a quick caprese sandwich that was SO good. I could have eaten three of them. I need to learn how to make Italian bread stat.
For our last dinner, we asked our tour guide where we could grab a quick good pizza and he pointed us to Carlo’s Pizzeria. We saw mussels were on the menu and had been told that Rome had great mussels so we ordered a heaping bowl of ’em and ate every last one. YUM.
For the main course, Dave had a pizza with dried beef and arugula and I had spaghetti with bolognese sauce. It was the perfect end to our last full day in Rome. Also, these bloopers from dinner still have me laughing.
One more quick bite to share from Rome. Before we hopped a train to Venice, we grabbed breakfast at our hotel. The fresh pastries, especially the nutella filled croissants were ah-mazing. I now know I need more nutella in my life.
Then, onto Venice we went!
It is such a beautiful city, of course unlike anywhere else I’d ever been. Water here, water there, water everywhere!
LOOK AT HOW CUTE!!! Ah!
For our one dinner in Venice we ended up a little off the beaten path at Osteria Ai Do Farai, which is known for great seafood. We started with the seafood risotto which was out of this world. Super tender risotto, with big plump pieces of shrimp and clams.
Then the best part. We ordered grilled sea bass that was expertly filleted at our table and then doused in fresh lemon. I’d go back to Venice just to have it again.
After dinner we took a stroll by the water and the full moon was out over Venice. It was simply a perfect way to end our time in Italy. What a magical place. We’re already dreaming about going back…
Alright all, next up…Budapest!