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  • Writer's pictureMichael Gioia

Take Me Back to Italy...

Updated: Aug 23, 2019

That was my view the day before I had to pack my bags and leave Venice behind. To say that I miss my time in Italy is an understatement. It was, by far, the best trip I've ever taken. Everyone who I tell about the trip, however, thinks I spent an absolute fortune to spent 10 days wandering around Rome, Florence, Tuscany and Venice. Well, I'm about to let you in on a little secret... GROUPON, BABY.

For about $1,100/person, my friend Ashley and I got round-trip airfare, hotels, a rental cal and travel insurance. It was a pretty sick deal. However (now being experts at this kind of stuff), make sure you do your research on exactly where you'll be staying. For a couple hundred dollars more, we picked out different hotels not included in our deal to stay in the heart of the action. Sure, the view on the left was scenic, but we were in the middle of the Tuscan hills during off-season and it gets REALLY dark at night...

Outside our hotel in Tuscany

so we upgraded to this pic on the right. Ah, civilization!

Outside our hotel in Florence

What was our favorite part? Besides, well, everything... I'm going to give you the epic highlights:

ROME. We loved Rome so gosh darn much. The wine was super cheap, the Colosseum was breathtaking, the history was incredible, the culture was top-notch, the food was amazing. We ate our way around Rome with a local on a personalized food tour. We made wishes in the Trevi Fountain. We stumbled into SO many random (and always amazing!) wine bars. We ate SO much cheese. And, for goodness sake, we had wine outside of the friggin' Pantheon. (Scroll through the pics!)

COOKING CLASS. This was one of our favorite meals — and we made it ourselves! While in Florence, we took a cooking class with someone who lived in town. After we finally found her house, we were invited up to her kitchen with a small group of other tourists (no shame in my game!) to make our own pasta from scratch. She was hilarious, the food was delicious. LOOK WHAT WE DID.

HOT SPRINGS?! Through Airbnb Experiences, we found a trip to an Italian hot springs (with a wine tasting included!). Sure, our host may have just taken us to some glorified pool in the middle of Italy, but whatever! After DAYS of strictly eating and drinking, we relaxed in the pool and sauna, made a new friend and learned about where the trendiest spots in Venice were. Which brings me to...

UNDERGROUND CLUB?! Of course, Ashley and I made friends. In fact, as soon as we approached a couple of girls, they immediately offered us a glass of their champs. (Score! New besties!) Well, those ladies led us to a couple of guys, one of which hardly spoke ANY English (but by the end of the night, he was calling me his "brother"). Somehow, we ended up at a club until about 5 o'clock in the morning. I can't really tell you where it was, how we got in or what it was called, but there were pool tables, a lounge with a ton of smokers, music was BLASTING and people were dancing. We were living.

Of course, the whole time was just epic all around...

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