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italy florence travel mademoiselle asos pinstripe midi dress ONA capri tote
italy florence travel mademoiselle asos pinstripe midi dress ONA capri tote
italy florence travel mademoiselle asos pinstripe midi dress ONA capri tote
italy florence travel mademoiselle asos pinstripe midi dress ONA capri tote

ASOS pinstripe midi dress, Charlotte Olympia kitty flats, ONA Capri Tote (similar)

There’s nothing more classic than a simple stripe – which is why I packed them in spades for this trip – though what really gets me about this dress is the crossover cutout back. Perfect for wandering the cobblestoned streets of Florence…!

Florence Photo Diary

mademoiselle florence firenze photo diary italy travel
mademoiselle florence firenze photo diary italy travel
mademoiselle florence firenze photo diary italy travel
mademoiselle florence firenze photo diary italy travel
mademoiselle florence firenze photo diary italy travel
mademoiselle florence firenze photo diary italy travel
mademoiselle florence firenze photo diary italy travel
mademoiselle florence firenze photo diary italy travel
mademoiselle florence firenze photo diary italy travel
mademoiselle florence firenze photo diary italy travel

outfit 1; ASOS pinstripe midi dress, Charlotte Olympia kitty flats, ONA Capri Tote (similar)
outfit 2; RUBY dress (coming out next month), Givenchy sequin heels (similar), Teddy Blake rachel mini bag (I also love this style)

Following the Cinque Terre – a tough act to follow, I might add… – we had four nights in the ancient city of Firenze. Surprisingly, we found ourselves situated extremely centrally in the Piazza del Republicca, a stones throw from the Duomo and a short walk to the Ponte Vecchio and Piazza Del Michaelangelo.

We spent a lot of time wandering the cobblestone streets, and always, always, looking up. Given we were there for Luke’s brothers wedding (which was nothing short of magical – how could it not have been!), we spent a lot of time catching up with family and friends, and exploring the city by foot.

For me, it was all about getting out of the city, into the rolling hills of Tuscany, where the wine is plentiful and the roads are quiet. We set out to the castle of Vicchiomaggio for a wine tasting and explored the nearby village of Greve in Chianti, and for the wedding, there couldn’t have been a more sublime setting that the castle of Vincigliata. Firenze for ever.

I left my heart in Cinque Terre

mademoiselle travel cinque terre italy monterosso al mare
mademoiselle travel cinque terre italy monterosso al mare
mademoiselle travel cinque terre italy monterosso al mare
mademoiselle travel cinque terre italy monterosso al mare
mademoiselle travel cinque terre italy riomaggiore
mademoiselle travel cinque terre italy vernazza
mademoiselle travel cinque terre italy vernazza
mademoiselle travel cinque terre italy manarola
mademoiselle travel cinque terre italy manarola
mademoiselle travel cinque terre italy manarola night

ASOS peplum frill top, Madewell denim shorts, Madewell neck tie, ASOS sunglasses, Olympus PEN E-PL7 Camera

Cinque Terre has my heart, completely and utterly. For a place that I’ve dreamed of going to for years, it really did live up to all my expectations, and then some.

We stayed in a cute little airbnb in La Spezia, a short 6 minute train ride to Riomaggiore, the first of the five towns in the Cinque Terre. For us, this gave us the best of both worlds; easy access to the Cinque Terre while acting as a quiet respite in the evenings.

Arriving in La Spezia on Friday afternoon, our first port of call was Riomaggiore for a light meal. This is the smallest of the four towns – there’s just one main street – and it gave us our first taste of the Cinque Terre, and a hint at what we could expect the following day. If there’s one thing that there isn’t a shortage of, in any of the five towns, it’s a breathtaking view; we spent our afternoon gazing out at the Med while enjoying some much needed Prosecco. During the evening, we headed back to La Spezia to head out for dinner and to wander the streets of this quiet seaside town. We ended up in a very unassuming taverna tucked away in a maze of streets within the town centre – Pizzeria Marechiaro, Via Persio, 75, La Spezia – eating what was one of the most delicious meals that we’ve had during our time in Italy so far.

On our second day, we high tailed it to Monterosso al Mare, the largest of the five towns in the Cinque Terre. The narrow beaches which front the village are lined with colourful umbrellas to rest under after a day in the sun, and the imperfectly perfect pastel coloured houses dot the landscape in every direction. Instead of opting for a proper breakfast, we grabbed some fresh fruit and focaccia from a local grocer to eat on the go, as we wound our way up into the hills to really take in the view. We then picked up a couple of towels and went for a dip in the water, the best way to cool off after hiking the steep streets of Monterosso.

Our next stop was Vernazza, one of the two towns I was most excited to see and also one of the most iconic. If you have the time, hiking between Monterosso and Vernazza is an absolute must. It’s about a two hour hike along what basically constitutes a goat track, laden with steep and winding staircases, but the views are spectacular and I wouldn’t want to have missed them for a thing.

Our final stop of the day was in Manarola, which is where I truly fell in love with the Cinque Terre. Nissan Dorma, a sweet little wine and tapas bar that overlooks the town is the p-e-r-f-e-c-t place to spend the afternoon, drinking, eating, and soaking up that view. Rather than head back to La Spezia for dinner, we decided to spend the evening in Manarola and catch one of the later trains back. We had dinner at Ristorante Da Aristede, which I can’t recommend enough. The fried calamari is excellent, as is the tagliatelle with prawns, eggplant and tomato, with the panacotta to finish.

We ended our time in Cinque Terre on a high note, watching as the sun went down over Manarola, and scattered lights began to flick on in the houses which line the coast.

For the romantic in all of us, these towns will capture moments and feelings that are bound to make your heart swell.

An afternoon in Vernazza

italy cinque terre vernazza travel

The Cinque Terre are definitely a tough act to follow; I’ve never been to a place that is both magical and fills me with such a sense of wonder as these five colourful towns along the Italian coastline. I took this photo just as we were reaching the town of Vernazza, which is possibly one of the most iconic of the five towns, along with Manarola (which is equally, if not more, spectacular). Let’s just say that this view is one of many reasons why I wish we never had to leave…

24 Hours in Rome

mademoiselle travels rome italy
mademoiselle travels rome italy colosseum
mademoiselle travels rome italy streets alleyway
mademoiselle travels rome italy madewell lover the label asos outfit
mademoiselle travels rome italy streets houses
mademoiselle travels rome italy ponte palatino
mademoiselle travels rome italy trevi fountain
mademoiselle travels rome italy doorway

Madewell oversized shirt, Lover skirt (similar), ASOS slides, ONA Capri tote, ASOS sunglasses

If there’s one thing that I do know, 24 hours is definitely not enough time to explore this beautiful city, strewn with pastel-hued buildings and stunning architecture in every direction, that is bound to leave you filled with a sense of wonder and awe.

I first visited the Italian capital in 2009; I was 21 and eager to explore Europe, though Rome had never quite ranked high on the list of places that I wanted to revisit. My how a lot can change in seven years, as if you asked me now, I’d go back in a heartbeat, and I’ve only just left…

Luke and I only managed to fit a day in Rome into our itinerary, though if we had our time over, I’d stretch it out to at least two, and even then I feel you’d only just be scratching the surface of what the city has to offer.

DO: VISIT THE COLOSSEUM
Tourist traps aren’t really my thing, but if there’s one thing that you must do while in Rome, it’s to stop by the Colosseum. The structure itself makes a big impact on the landscape, and it’s so incredibly well preserved given that it was constructed almost 2,000 years ago. We didn’t opt for a guide – Classics was a major of mine at school and Luke has always had an interest in ancient Rome – but it does add to the experience and help to tell a story. Audio guides are available at the counter where you purchase tickets for a small fee.

MAKE A WISH AT THE TREVI FOUNTAIN
Aside from the Colosseum, there isn’t a place in Rome that is buzzing with more people than the Trevi Fountain, and if you’ve ever been there, it’s not hard to see why. You’ll get the best view if you stand by the stone walls which flank the fountain, as well as an unobstructed photo if that’s what you’re after. If you have a coin in your pocket, it’s worth wading your way through all the tourists so your can turn your back to the fountain, throw a coin over your shoulder and make a wish. One thing to keep in mind though is that you should be extremely wary of pickpockets in this area. With so many people in close quarters it’s a prime location for thieves though if you keep your bag close to you and zipped up at all times you should be fine!

MARVEL IN THE BEAUTY THAT IS THE VATICAN
If you have a good three hours spare, the Vatican is an absolute must. It’s a few stops away from central Rome by train, though if you do plan on going, get in early as the lines can be incredibly long. The detail inside of the building, from the floors, to the walls, and to the ceilings is ornate to say the least, and the artworks are absolutely majestic. Keep in mind that your shoulders need to be covered and you should be wearing something longer than your knees on your bottom half – you won’t be let in otherwise!

GET LOST IN THE CITY
Perhaps the memory that I think I will treasure the most, is wandering down little lane ways and quiet streets that give you a sense of the real Rome. Cobblestoned streets, houses in varying shades of peach, pink, lemon and tangerine, that just seem to hold a charm like no other.

WATCH THE SUNSET OVER ROMA FROM PINCIO
I’d say you’d be hard pressed to find a bad location to watch the sunset in Rome, but Pincio was a spot that I was recommended the day before flying out, from an Italian that I’d started chatting to when buying my morning coffee. The gardens sit just above the Piazza del Popolo and are a quick ten minute walk from the Spanish Steps. The view is absolutely resplendent and definitely worth visiting, if you have the time.

EAT & DRINK: Da Enzo; Via dei Vascellari, 29, Roma RM
If there’s one place that I can’t recommend enough, it’s Da Enzo. Think real, authentic, Italian food, that’ll have you wanting to go back for more. Unless you want to wait around for a table (waits are typically 40-60 minutes), I’d highly recommend calling a few days ahead to make a reservation – it’s worth it. Admittedly, we were a little surprised to find that seating is limited… so do keep in mind that unless you’re dining in a group of four, you’ll find yourself seated next to a couple of strangers – though this didn’t really bother us! I ordered the pasta al sugo di coda; a rigatoni pasta served with an oxtail sauce, which I highly recommend, followed up with tiramisu for dessert.

GROM; Via della maddalena 30 A 00186 Roma
A hop, skip and a jump away from the Pantheon is GROM which is basically my idea of gelato heaven. There’s definitely no shortage of gelato in Rome and the Italians sure do gelato well. GROM was recommended to me and I can see why, the gelato there is rich and creamy, and you’ll walk away with a very generously-sized scoop. Even though you won’t want to, go with one scoop, not two, as it’ll start melting very quickly, the second you step foot out the door.

STAY: Hotel Regina Giovanna; 230 Via Nazionale
Conveniently located 7 minutes walk from Roma Termini Station, and about 15 minutes walk to the Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum (in different directions!), this was a great option given we planned to explore the city entirely by foot. We just opted for a standard room and it was very spacious with a queen-sized bed and an additional single for good measure, with the added bonus of being very quiet, even though it was located on an extremely busy street.

One thing to note is that there is an added city tax in Italy that is required to be paid on check in; this is usually cited on the hotel website. As most hotels don’t typically carry cash, the easiest way to take care of this is with a credit card, alternatively you can bring the correct change with you.

If the thought of staying so centrally doesn’t appeal, Trastevere is a great option. It’s just across the Tiber RiverLINK so it won’t take you too long to get to all the main sites, and it is charming as anything.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
Even with only one day to spare in the Roman capital, trust me when I say it’s enough to make a lasting impression on you. If you’re visiting in the height of summer, make sure that you carry a bottle of water with you, even if it’s empty, as there are plenty of fountains in the central city (and at the Colosseum) where you can refill it.

If you’re like me, and didn’t quite manage to fit a map of the city in your bag, most hotels tend to have these available in the lobby, and trust me when I say that it will definitely come in handy, particularly if you plan to explore the city by foot, with no particular destination in mind.

Trust me when I say that you won’t be able to avoid queues at the Colosseum and the Vatican, so if these are on your itinerary, the earlier you can get to one or the other, the better. Of the two, I recommend heading to the Vatican first as visually, there’s a lot to take in, and you’ll want to dedicate at least a couple of hours to it.

Learn the basics of the language, even if it’s just to ask someone if they speak english (Parle inglese? if you were wondering!). One thing that I’ve often found when travelling is that people tend to be a lot more receptive if they see that you’ve made some effort to learn a couple phrases in the local language. Thankfully, most Italian phrases that you will likely use are short and relatively easy to pronounce!

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in Italy, it’s that the most unassuming places typically tend to have the best food. Get of the beaten path a little bit and avoid eating anywhere that is too close to any of the main tourist hot spots – I learnt my lesson after spending 8 euros on a coca cola at a restaurant across the road from the Colosseum during my first visit!

Finally, don’t forget to look up! Perhaps one of the most magical parts of the city are the sorbet coloured buildings, which are everywhere that you turn. Already wishing that I could go back! x