Staying in Italy like a local #legitaly

Have you ever said on a vacation “Wow, I would love to really get into the culture here; just stay for a couple weeks not doing touristy stuff.” Italy has been just that! I caught a ride with my BFF to her grandma’s house in central Italy. Grandma lives in a very small town, literally nestled in the mountains.

The drive up was full of twists and turns, olive trees and aggressive Italian drivers ūüėā


As I was scribbling down my thoughts of my legitaly trip, I realized how amazing it really was. Here’s an excerpt from my notes.

Cooking lessons, grandma {and really, everyone} yelling at me in Italian, driving a 5 speed down the mountains¬†to Sulmona, eating gelato, walking around all the cobblestone roads.¬† Warm milk …. still not sure about that one.¬† Looking through Magi’s family photos.¬† Eating steak dinner from a wood fireplace, staying in a home that was over 100 years old with gorgeous Italian tile and a view to die for.

Yet it was still “just grandmas old house“.

Castle in the sky: Rocca Calascio 

A castle off the beaten path, sitting above multiple mountains.¬† Picture yourself walking an old path alone up to a beautiful castle. You can imagine yourself a princess who just got back from picking wildflowers in the spring, looking out at the 5 or 6 snow peaked mountains. The air is fresh and brisk, it’s cold yet so inviting. This castle is a moment in time, a memory I will never forget.

Click on your favorite photo to zoom in.

Sulmona: Still a small town, but the biggest around. 

Farmers Market.  Gelato.  Churches.  Beautiful Streets.

This is truly a beautiful town to just simply walk around in. While making your way through the main part of town, peek down back allies to see the mountains in the background, look for the fountains that will give you fresh water straight from those same mountains.

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The Colosseum, The Catacombs, The Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps…. The Crowds¬†

We did do some tourist things right before I left Italy! We headed over to Rome to see the sights. But really all I felt I saw were the crowds. Don’t get me wrong, it was awesome seeing all the history that we did, but crowds really get me anxious. And this was slow season!

Anxiety plays hard ball when it comes to crowds and groups of people, does anyone else have this battle also?

The Boutique Style Hotel we stayed in was just plain adorable AND affordable. It was within walking distance from the trevi fountain, spanish steps and these peaceful gardens I randomly found while on a walk on my last afternoon. Look up Hotel Villa Pinciana

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The Villa Borghese Gardens: Rome

I found these gardens while on a solo walk in Rome. I needed rejuvenating, it had been an adventurous day and a half in Rome and a little calm was what I needed. A couple mile walk from the hotel lead me to a gorgeous lake and garden area. Locals walked their dogs, sat on benches snuggling and chatting. When I come back to Italy with my husband, I will take him here. So romantic in a simple way.


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And finally, the best parts of the legitaly trip; Grandma’s¬†house in the mountains

There’s really something to be said about blind hospitality. To be greeted into their home with instant love….. and food …. was an experience I will cherish forever.

The view from my room at grandma’s house.

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If you ever find yourself in Italy, make sure to stop and inhale the views outside the city, get to know the culture as best you can in the time you are there, take a cooking lesson and lastly, I hope you can find yourself wandering the back streets, tripping over the cobblestone in search for that off the beaten path gelateria… for the most amazing gelato.

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