December 15, 2017♥♥♥
Buongiorno! After a whirlwind week of wedding events in Croatia, me, my new husband, and 9 of our best friends took off for an Italian Buddymoon on the Amalfi Coast!
When Dave and I were planning our “mini moon” we knew we wanted to involve our closest friends. Weddings can be fairly chaotic and after being away from our LA friends in NYC for the last 2.5 years, we wanted to get some extra quality time with them.
Plus, who else will listen to you rehash your wedding over and over again besides your girlfriends?!?!
DAY 1: Dubrovnik, Croatia to Positano, Italy
Stay: Villa Fiorentino
We flew from Dubrovnik to Rome (a 50 min flight) and arrived with a pre-hired very Italian driver waiting for us at Rome Airport. On our 3-4 hour ride to Positano, our driver played tour guide for us while we passed beautiful rolling green farmlands. Our only stop was at a gas station where we dined on the most mouth watering pizza. Continuing on, we even got to glance at the magnificent sight of Pompei all with a historical narrative from our driver.
Around nightfall, we pulled into the twisty romantic streets of Positano, our home base for the next 4 days. Five of us were staying at Villa Fiorentino, an ancient luxury boutique villa built into the mountain. When we arrived, we all took one look at the 500 million stairs ahead of us (I’m exaggerating) and nearly went into shock.
Quick note: Positano is the town of stairs. Positano, due to it’s natural morphology, is vertical, so stairs are part of this beautiful town, while elevators are generally not. (Translation for my brain: I can eat as much pizza and gelato as I want because I will naturally burn it all off through walking around. I was in heaven.) And the higher up you stay, the more stairs you have to descend to the beach, restaurants, shops. But, the upside is (no pun intended) you get an AMAZING view to make it all worth it. We dropped our bags off, quickly freshened up, threw on some flats and headed out to our first Italian dinner at Le Sirenuse.
Le Sirenuse is one of the most popular hotels truly set in the heart of Positano. It’s views are incredible, location is perfectly central, and the interiors are SO chic (definitely recommend booking ahead of time). We sat outside at their Champagne and Oyster bar, and toasted to a successful wedding and the beginning of our amazing Buddymoon with our best friends! It was a perfect way to kick off our adventure…and it was pretty great to be relieved of hosting duties too! I think I melted into my chair that night after a week of being ON. But the joy and high that I was on post wedding was completely and utterly so worth it.
DAY 2: Hike to Heaven (Path of the Gods)
Arriving at night didn’t allow us to fully appreciate the views from our villa’s terrace, but wow did it allow for a brilliant surprise the next morning! Italy, I love you times ten!
After breakfast on the terrace at our villa, we set off for a hike called Path of the Gods. A good friend recommended this hike to Dave claiming it had breathtaking views of the Amalfi Coast and Capri. He failed to mention (or Dave tricked us- we don’t really know to this day) that it would become an 8 hour, all day hike, with a million stairs, rocks and boulders involved. I know, I know….we should have known from it’s name!
Needless to say, this group worked hard for their pasta! And quite frankly to begin a trip with that challenging of a hike oddly bonded everyone, and somehow it became our favorite memory! We still laugh and make fun of Dave about it to this day.
Our hike ended (or so we thought) at a town called Nocelle. We were SO relieved when we found a cafe with a great view. To celebrate our victory of surviving, we dined on homemade pasta, coco-cola’s and limoncello! We congratulated ourselves at how amazing we all were for working out on vacation, we’re so fit, bla bla, made more fun of Dave etc. But wait…no…it wasn’t done. We still had to get to Positano from there. What?! How?! Noooo!
After lunch, we followed a village path which led to a hundred million MORE stairs. Granted it’s all downhill but that’s a total workout too! It’s almost laughable (almost) on how our first day ended up in Positano. All we initially wanted to do was relax and unwind and do nothing. But the truth is… the hike was even better. It made us all closer since we had so much time to talk while walking which allowed my friends and Dave’s friends to get to know each other even better.
So if you’re looking to bond hard with friends while enjoying some spectacular views, I highly suggest this hike!
At night, we all got dolled up and headed out to the holy grail of all hotels on the Amalfi Coast- Hotel Il San Pietro. Also known as: heaven. I had the best frothy pink bellini- I didn’t even think I liked bellini’s until this hotel. They’ve converted me.
It’s lemon designed benches line the terrace making every spot picture-perfect. The garden, the bougainvilleas, the view, the interiors, the fashionable clientele….it’s just amazing. It’s pretty pricey so no worries if you can’t stay there- just go for the bellini’s!
DAY 3: A Day in Capri
Stay: Villa Fiorentino
We have some very generous friends. One of my bridesmaids Laura and her husband Michael rented a boat to take us all to Capri for the day (I know…we’re so lucky!!). As we took off from a dock in Positano and the town disappeared from our view I couldn’t help but think that we were officially in paradise. The smell of the water, the view of villas artfully built into the cliffside, our best friends laughter, the sun shining on us…it was just so dreamy. We spent the day swimming through caves, sipping rose, and lunching at the famous La Fontelina. It just doesn’t get any better.
That night we went casual in Positano. Us girls shopped, the boys grabbed drinks and we convened at a random restaurant. It’s always good to have one night unplanned on vacation. It gives you flexibility to explore. And buy cute dresses.
DAY 4: An evening in Ravello
Stay: Villa Fiorentino
Our last day on our Buddymoon began with a leisurely breakfast on our terrace. We spent the day exploring more of Positano’s hidden alleyways and cute (albeit lavish) boutique stores (keep scrolling to see what I bought!). For lunch Dave and I embraced our true passion in life: coffee and pizza.
Mid-afternoon we headed out for our last adventure together to Ravello, a resort town set high above the Amalfi Coast. We had been told from friends that Mama’s, an authentic Italian dining experience in Ravello, was not to be missed. Mama herself walks around the restaurant greeting guests as if it were her own home. This was all true, although it could have been an actress playing the part of Mama as far as we knew. Great tourist trap to be perfectly honest!
But the food was good, and so was the wine (which the waiter told us was very special and vintage and then we all found it on Amazon later–hmmm). The real highlight of going to Ravello was Ravello itself. I had no idea what an escape that little hilltop town was. It’s gorgeous, less crowded than Positano and has some of the best views in Italy hands down. Dave and I said the next time we come back to Italy, we’d definitely add some days there. If you do explore, don’t miss having a drink at Palazzo Avino!
That dinner was so special and not because it was Italy, or the infamous and cozy Mama’s. It was because we were soooo grateful to be with our friends at Mama’s in Italy. If you’re planning a Buddymoon, I would suggest you keep it small. Everyone became best friends that week. Dinners were easy to talk to people (I normally hate large dinner groups- I can never hear anyone!), and a smaller number is easier for dinner reservations.
After a long yet marvelous day in Ravello, we headed back to our villa in Positano (about a 45 minute drive) and crashed hard. The next day was a new journey for Dave and I and we had LOTS to think about.
DAY 5: Amalfi Coast to Florence (Firenze)
Stay: Grand Hotel Baglioni
What I didn’t mention earlier is that on Day 3 of our Buddymoon, Dave got an offer for a job in Cape Town. We knew it was coming, but weren’t expecting it until after we returned home. Now it was real. There was an actual offer on the table for us to move from NYC to Africa and we were really considering it. Was this happening? Were we dreaming?
I promptly told Dave we couldn’t think about it right then. We needed to just soak in every moment of being with our friends. We’d talk about it on the train, after we say our goodbyes, and as we stroll the streets of Florence. As soon as we got on the train to Florence, we both passed out. So much for that.
We woke up to an amazing city! Our hotel Grand Hotel Baglioni was located in the heart of Firenze making it easily walkable to almost all sights. It’s design was old school Italian, very regal and classic, as I think one hopes for in Florence.
The next 2 nights were spent admiring the city’s architecture, drinking and eating the most amazing wine and pasta, and talking- lots and lots and lots of talking. We just came off of a perfect 10 days with loved ones. Were we really going to leave them and move to literally the farthest point of the world?
By the time we got to Rome, our answer was clear. The debates weren’t really necessary. Our dream was to live abroad and the travel gods had granted our wish.