Last night I slept for twelve hours. It sounds like a lot, but it will sound like less when I tell you that earlier yesterday I spent almost nine hours on an airplane, on my way back from a trip to Italy with my mom. Between jetlag and just genuine exhaustion after about ten days of traveling, those twelve hours of sleep were well-earned. I worked from home today and am headed back to work tomorrow, hoping not too yawn my way through the rest of the week!

But enough about sleeping! ITALY! We’d been trying to plan a trip for years, but this summer my mom and I finally got serious and booked some flights and from there came up with an itinerary of hotels and trains and museums and churches.  I brushed up on my Italian and we flew off to the country all of my mother’s grandparents came from for ten days. I hope to write a few in-depth looks at each of the places we visited (Rome, Assisi, Florence, Lucca for an afternoon, and Venice) but for now, some quick highlights.

A trip to the Vatican was of course in order, but alongside a stellar art historian-led tour of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s, we also saw – the Pope! Pope Francis comes to a window every Sunday at noon to address the crowds in St. Peter’s Square. We were there as he spoke about a two-week meeting on the family (from which came some really interesting news this week!), some of which I even understood despite the fact that it was in Italian. After he spoke, a new translation of the Bible was given out in the Square and we managed to get two copies – a pretty neat souvenir! We’ll see if my skills are up to actually reading it.

Pope Francis! ...I didn't say we aw him UP CLOSE, guys.

Pope Francis! …I didn’t say we saw him UP CLOSE, guys.

In Assisi, the star was the view from our hotel balcony (pictured at the top of this post). Do I need to say more?

In Florence, I got to see two dear friends from college, one of whom I hadn’t seen since graduation! Definitely my favorite part of visiting Florence – though this random deer sculpture on the Arno is clearly a close second.


We were only in Lucca for a few hours, but it was neat to walk around and window-shop. I was disappointed that this chocolate shop was closed – but since I’d just had a Laduree macaroon, it’s probably for the best.


And in Venice, the star of the show was our evening vaporetto ride. Most of my pictures were pretty blurry, but this one gives you an idea of how beautiful it was!


We had a lovely time, and I can’t wait to share more! Have you been to Italy, and if so, what’s your favorite memory?