Italian Honeymoon Part 2

Last week I shared with you some photos from the first half of our Italian honeymoon. I promised you some more, and here they are.

With long days that started early and ended late, there was little time or energy for romance. I hoped that would change with our Friday trip to Venice, my favorite Italian city. Aside from the smell of salt water and the sea food, I have a love affair with hand-blown glass. I couldn’t wait to add a piece of Venician glass to my collection.

Romance, however, went to shit. Literally.

While eating mediocre gelato (and even it being “meh” it was still amazing), Chuck became a toilet for a pesky pigeon. I’ll never forget the sound this poop made when it hit his arm. I thought the entire day was over.

Done. Finito.

Thankfully, after wiping him down with some handy wipes given to us by a very nice woman, washing up in the bathroom, buying a shirt with an anatomically correct Vetruvian Man and drinking half a liter of wine, a crisis of crankiness was averted.

While I still loved Venice, the crowds made it almost hard to enjoy. It was probably no more crowded than any other city we visited, but with it being even more compact than the rest, it was hard to get around without bumping into anyone.

Saturday, after a ride in the Tuscan countryside, we arrived in Siena. Walking through the gates of Siena was like stepping back in time.

While Italy’s ancient history is visible throughout the country, there was something about Sienna that really reminded you how old the country really is. It also made America’s history seem so unhistoric. I love the historic districts in Raleigh, but after seeing buildings that are 500 years old, a home built in 1904 doesn’t have the same affect.

Telling you we ate well in Sienna doesn’t even describe it. Our guides, my cousin and her boyfriend, picked an amazing restaurant, with an ancient wine cellar that was hand-chipped into the natural stone foundation. While only 10 feet underground, the temperature dropped 20 degrees after only a few steps, making it the perfect temperature and condition for the storage of wine and cheese.


My cousin and her boyfriend help my aunt walk up a hill in Siena. Once again, I'd like to point out why Italian women are so skinny.

Less than a week after our wedding, we watch a bride wait for another bride to exit the church in Siena's main piazza.

Our trip came to a close on Sunday with some shopping in Florence and a party at my aunt’s in our honor. After a week of using my menial Italian to get around, my brain was tired and frustrated with my inability to communicate.

It was made worse by my inability to communicate with my family, particularly my cousins. I understood enough to know that they were talking about how my mother didn’t teach us Italian because my father didn’t know Italian, but that she should have taught it to us because we are Italian.

I began to feel ashamed for letting my own embarrassment keep me from learning it despite having a  mother who is a native speaker, a grandmother who lived with us for years without speaking any English and five years of high school instruction.

“I have no excuses,” I told my cousin who is in the process of learning English.

I’m not one of those Jersey Shore kids, who are sad and sorry examples of Italian Americans (and unfortunately in Florence when we were and we had the even more unfortunate experience of bumping into them TWICE). I AM Italian. I hold Italian citizenship, I can vote in the elections, my immediate family – not distant second cousins – calls Florence home, I grew up with real Italian traditions and customs, but I could not express my sincere gratitude without a translator.

It’s a feeling that most people don’t have when they return from their honeymoon, but then again, most people don’t spend their honeymoon with family.

Though, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It was an amazing experience and I already want to go back. I want to explore all the smaller Tuscan cities and towns that aren’t overrun with tourists and that only the locals have heard of.

It was a wonderful vacation, but a honeymoon it was not.

If I could offer any advice, it would be to make your honeymoon as relaxing as possible. After a year of planning followed by the actual event, you are mentally and physically exhausted. While I was so happy that we saw all that we did, I feel like we missed out on the romance and the relaxation that generally comes with a honeymoon.

The day after we arrived in New York, we packed up the car and headed back to North Carolina and all I wanted was a vacation from my vacation.


6 thoughts on “Italian Honeymoon Part 2

  1. wow, those pictures take me back, thanks!! I spent a semester in Florence only a few blocks from the Galleria Uffizi and the Duomo and loved every minute of it. It was great to see your pics and think “aaaw I was there!” lol.
    I understand what you mean though about making your honeymoon relaxing…I wanted to do a busy trip but Rob was so set on doing a relaxing trip. Ultimately, he won and I’m glad he did. After all the wedding planning stress, spending a week in the carribean doing nothing was awesome…yet I still look at your pics and feel jealous haha.
    You really should learn Italian and stick with it. It is a beautiful language, and like you said you ARE ITALIAN…how amazing would it be to teach that to your children one day and take them to Italy to meet your family. When I was in Florence for school I spoke Italian fairly well even though I flew there not knowing a single word. You pick it up fast when you are forced to, but I wish I kept up with it when I got home. When you don’t use it, you lose it so sadly I don’t remember much. It makes me sad…and I’m not even Italian (I’m a wannabe Italian lol)
    Also, Sienna was one of my favorite cities too! It really was like stepping back in time and really seeing how Italians live today. It’s not as touristy as the other big cities and you really get immersed in the culture. I’m glad you made it there.
    And lastly, I was also excited about going to Venice, but had a miserable time there. Though just so you know, having a bird poop on you in Italy is considered good luck! But Venice really is an over crowded and confusing city…where streets just end out of nowhere and you could just fall into the canal if you continue. The tourist maps don’t make sense since it shows streets that don’t exist anymore and stop sooner than it shows on the map. My favorite city is Florence. Maybe because I lived there and really got to explore every inch of it, but I like the feel of it being a smaller and less crowded city than Rome, Venice or Naples with a small town feel, but also has all the big city convienences. If I can go back anywhere right now it would be Florence and Tuscany so I can take Rob to the area where his family is from and show him why I fell in love with Italy all those years ago.
    Anyway, I’ve rambled too much – this is what happens when I don’t have a job lol and spend too much time on the PC haha..Anyway Areilla thanks for sharing your pictures and experiences, it really took me back!!!

    • You’re welcome, Jess! I’m glad you enjoyed them!

      I really should just suck it up and practice. I have this problem where I open my mouth and the words don’t come out. It was easier to get over that fear while in Italy because I was forced to use it. It’s never too late, right?

      I would definitely love to go back and visit the smaller towns and villages. Had Chuck been to Italy prior to our trip, that’s what we would have done. It was nice to see the country again, this time without being dragged around by my parents, but I’m ready to take a look at all of the unknown spots.

  2. Your photos are amazing. Hold on while I go eat some pasta… Ok seriously though, good advice about not planning too much for the honeymoon. I intend to take that advice to the extreme. The most effort I want to expend on our honeymoon is reaching for the phone to call for room service. Kidding! Well not really.

    • Thanks, girl!

      Seriously, that’s all the energy you should want to expend on your honeymoon. I almost feel like we were cheated because we didn’t have that “romantic” honeymoon that everyone else envisions.

      We decided that our next big trip will be a babymoon. And by babymoon I mean, go on your last vacation and try to make a baby instead of go on your last vacation after you already get knocked up and your miserable.

    • Haha, I think it’s just us. While I look at Florence and see this amazingly beautiful and romantic city, my cousins just see it as home. I guess it’s how I generally feel about Manhattan. Movies like Under the Tuscan Sun definitely help feed the romance though!

      Oh…and the wine. Everything is more romantic when you’re drinking a liter of wine with every meal!

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