May 1, 2015

We have survived our 1st family vacation! I'd say that overall, it was a success. We had lots of highs and plenty of low points, but all in all, it was a great vacation. This is the first post of 3 about our time in Italy. You can find Post 2 here and Post 3 here.


The start of our trip was a little rocky. Erin actually developed a cold right before our trip and was showing signs of fever. Thankfully, her fever was gone the day of our flight. We were fearing the plane ride because we weren't sure how Erin would behave. We flew Lufthansa going there, which I would highly recommend if you are flying with children. Non-American Airlines are just so much nicer. You're able to reserve a bassinet for kids under a certain weight and height, so make sure you call way ahead of time so you can reserve one (they will seat you in the bulkhead row). Erin was just small enough to fit in the bassinet and it really was helpful. She took 2 naps in it, totaling about 4 hours of sleep. Oh and we got lucky because it turned out that Erin had no trouble with ear pressure while flying. She didn't seem bothered at all. We even gave her her first lollipop just in case, but I don't think it was even necessary. She enjoyed the lollipop though. Our flight had a 4 hour layover in Frankfurt and that was probably the roughest part. Erin wasn't able to sleep properly during that time so that's when she started to show signs of fever again. Fortunately, the flight from Frankfurt to Rome was only 1 1/2 hours. We passed out as soon as we got to our apartment in Rome.

We flew United Airlines returning home. Our flight to DC was great. We got bulkhead seating (way more space than Lufthansa) and we reserved a bassinet (UA bassinets are much smaller and Erin didn't end up fitting in it, but we used it to store some of our stuff. They are also not as nice as Lufthansa's). We were lucky to be seated in a 3 seat row with the middle seat left free. Erin ended up sitting in the middle and took her naps lying down on the seats. I was able to watch 2 1/2 movies! It was glorious...oh how I've missed watching movies. Unfortunately, our connecting flight from DC to LA was terrible. It was a completely booked flight and the seats in that domestic flight were tiny! I seriously felt like I wasn't getting enough oxygen and it didn't help that Erin was sitting on our laps. At this point of our trip, we were all exhausted and tired, so the 5 hour flight felt like forever. We were SO happy when we finally landed. 

Traveling internationally, especially with layovers, is pretty dang exhausting..especially with a kid. If you can book flights it! It will make traveling easier and you'll have less grouchy travelers.


The food in Italy was meh (you probably think I'm crazy). It probably didn't help that we were traveling with a kid so we were a little restricted and didn't have the ability to eat anywhere and/or at anytime.  Lots of places that were recommended to us were more of a fine dining type of place and most restaurants in Italy opened for dinner at 7pm (way past our usual dinner time). We tried our best to eat at yummy places, but in general, I wasn't all too impressed.

We ate A LOT of pizza. I'd say I was pizza'd out after only a few days being there. 

My favorite pizza places were:

  1. Mondo Arancina: Ken got this big bread ball with meat and veggies inside. Not sure what it's called, but it was so yummy. The pizza was real tasty and the bread was perfectly crispy and chewy.
  2. Alice: We tried several of their pizzas and their arancinas. Pizzas were seasoned well and the crust was yummy. 
  3. Pizzarium/ Bonci: I guess this place was recommended by several people so we had high expectations. The pizza was decent, but I'd say it wasn't all too flavorful. 
*Pizza by weight tasted much better than getting a whole pizza somewhere. 
*I loved the pastries in Italy. I was able to get a big 'ol bag of goodies for less than 8 euros (buy by weight). 

In terms of pasta, I'd say the best pasta we had was at That's Amore in Rome. It's more of a fine dining restaurant and of course Erin turned out to be a total pain while we were there (I seriously wanted to just kick her). Their frutti de mare was really yummy. I ordered the gnocchi, which was just ok. Erin ate nothing but their bread. Haha.


Honestly, one of my favorite things about traveling to Italy was eating their gelato. It's seriously AMAZING there. We probably ate at a dozen different places, but I've come up with my top 6.

  1. Alberto Gelateria in Corniglia: Hands down the best gelato. Their pistachio was SO good, and I don't even like pistachio. The gelato was creamy and light...just perfect.
  2. Midi Bar in Monterosso Al Mare:  This place is a bar, but they sell gelato there too. Their lemon was so tasty. It wasn't too tart and it was so refreshing. good.
  3. San Crispino: The honey here is delicious! Highly recommend.
  4. Valentino: Their gelato is more on the fluffy side. The texture was a little different from the other gelato places in Italy, but it was still yummy. I liked their chocolate chip.
  5. Gracchi: This was the first gelato place we went to in Italy. I wish I did some research beforehand because there were some flavors that are highly recommended that I didn't end up getting. I got the chocolate chip and Ken had the strawberry. They were both decent.
  6. Giolitti:This place was crowded as heck, so of course I had high expectations. It really wasn't all that fantastic. We tried the pistachio, nocciola (hazelnut) and chocolate chip. I'd say the hazelnut was the best. Highly overrated in my opinion, but it's still better than anything here in the U.S. 
*Overall, Cinque Terre had the best gelato in my opinion. So if you ever visit CT, make sure to stop by all the gelato places in each town!



Instead of staying in hotels, we rented apartments through Airbnb. We had a very positive experience with all 3 apartments while in Italy.

1. Our first apartment was located a few minutes from the Trevi fountain. The location was great because it was in the center of all the popular attractions, but that also meant there would be a lot of people and noise. The apartment was more like a studio, perfect for a couple or a family of 3, but it would be too small for any more than that. 
2. Our second apartment was in Vernazza (Cinque Terre). This was my favorite out of the 3. It was in a great location, excellent water pressure, lots of room, etc. I highly recommend this place if you're ever traveling to CT.
3.   Our last apartment was near the Vatican. This apartment was the biggest, but the location was a bit of an inconvenience. It took a little while getting to places, but it was doable. 

If you're traveling with kid(s), I highly recommend renting out vacation homes. There's just so much more space and it really is convenient having a kitchen in case you might want to cook. We were very grateful for the kitchens on our trip!

To conclude this post, here's the to-do list I prepared before our trip. I crossed off the ones we actually got to do. We did everything except number 12, so I'd consider this trip a success!
  1. Colosseum
  2. Vatican City - Sistine Chapel. St. Peter’s Basilica
  3. Trevi Fountain (I hear it's still under renovation)
  4. Pantheon
  5. Eat Gelato at least once a day
  6. Roman Forum
  7. Spanish Steps
  8. Campo dei fiori
  9. Explora Kids museum
  10. Bioparco in Rome
  11. Hike through Cinque Terre
  12. Visit Jewish ghetto

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