April 19, 2012

Good News

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelos

I am so, so thrilled to share some exciting news with you guys today. :) Over Christmas Kevin and I found out that we would have the amazing opportunity to travel to Italy for 16 days this spring. We are traveling with the fabulous Michael Angelo’s brand on a culinary tour across Italy. I am so thrilled and honored to be working with this amazing family and brand.

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelos

This is them! They are right on the back of the box. This is Mike (he’s the Michael Angelo) and his mom Sara. And they are going to take us all over Italy and show us some of their favorite places to get fresh ingredients for their meals.

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelos

Have you heard of Michael Angelo’s? They do frozen meals — family and single sized — and you can find them in the freezer section of the grocery store right next to all the other frozen lasagnas. But when you turn the back of a Michael Angelo’s box over, you can pronounce every single thing in the ingredients list — and you know exactly what it is. No chemicals, no preservatives, and no guessing. Just simple, fresh, delicious ingredients. I definitely always have a frozen meal or two in the back of my freezer for those nights when I just don’t feel like cooking or can’t seem to get dinner on the table in time, and Michael Angelo’s is a brand I can feel good about eating. Plus they’re actually really good! :) We love their Baked Ziti and Meatballs.

Trip to Italy with Michael Angelos

We leave on Saturday!! Here’s where all we’re going. We fly into Bologna, go on an olive oil taste testing tour in Verona, spend three days in Venice, and three days seeing all the sights in Rome — then Kevin and I are spending a few extra days on our own. We’ll head to gorgeous Cinque Terre, Florence, Siena, and back to Rome for our flight home. We’re renting a car in Siena to take some scenic sunrise drives through Tuscany. If you have any advice for me, I would love to hear it! I have never traveled outside of North America. I go back and forth from being so nervous I can hardly stand it to so excited I can hardly stand it. :)

I’ve got a few posts scheduled for when I’ll be gone, but follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram these next two weeks for live updates and photos from Italy! :) I’ll be keeping in touch and sharing from Italy throughout the trip, anywhere I can find wifi :) Instagram is now available on Android, so go download it ASAP!! :)

Thanks so much for reading, guys. Ya’ll are the best. See you around soon!! :)

 



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109 Comments





1
Mary Brown April 19, 2012 at 2:08 am

Amanda how awesome you ( and Kevin) are going to Italy. I live in Germany ( hubby is in the Army) and you will never be the same. Europe is lovely , my advice just stay excited and enjoy the people and culture most of all. You will fall in love. Safe travels and many blessings.

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2
Mindy April 19, 2012 at 3:08 am

WOW! Amazing Amanda! You have never been out of N. America? What a fabulous adventure then! Advice…hmmm….take lots of pictures, take lots of pictures, oh and induldge in every yummy treat and meal over there. I have never been to Italy, but I have been to France. You will feel like you want to see everything, but there won’t be enough time :( Just don’t stress, and try to see as much as you can. Most of all, relax and have a wonderful vaca with Kevin :) Thanks for sharing!!! –Mindy

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3
Rita April 19, 2012 at 4:07 am

My husband & I w/2 kids in tow (8 yr & 2 yr old at the time) in mid July 2001 on a 10 day European trip all by rent a car w/a total of 2900 miles and drove the near full circumference of France, then to Italy, Austria, Germany & Luxembourg. It was a great trip. My husband was going to Med school in Beer Sheva, Israel (his 2nd yr) & we flew into Paris. Our entire trip with roundtrip airline tickets, lodging, fuel, meals, rental car, museums, etc & even Euro Disney cost us just under $1500.00. I truly loved France (Strasbourg was the best), but when we went to Italy, Venezia was beautiful. Wasnt able to take the gondolas (a bit pricey) but took the water taxis & it was fun. If you can, I can shoot myself…buy a leather handbag. There was one I loved for only $40 (at the time for me it was expensive) but in the US it easily could of cost $125. When you get to Florence….oh my gosh, it was gorgeous, the architecture & detailings are amazing. You most definitely will need to bring at least 10 camera cards (w/big gigs). Dont expect people there to be courteous or helpful (unless you’re in a real touristy place) but for the majority they are what we would consider rude. The common courtesies we have here really dont apply, but dont take it personal as they do it with their own countrymen and thats just how it is…so you may have to be aggressive otherwise you may not get served. We learned that just from living in Israel for 3 yrs. I definitely want to go back & now we’re possibly considering moving there. Looking at Trento (northern Italy) just south of Austria with the Swiss Alps as the backdrop of this quaint valley. Anyhow, you should enjoy the trip, hopefully the weather will be good. I look forward to seeing your photos when you return. Just a quick note….our family just went on vaca to Southern Calif (we now live in Northern Calif) and we took the kids (now 4 of them) to Wonderland Bakery. …yummy cookies & cupcakes for sure…I mentioned you to them & she appreciated it & gave all 6 of us their bottled water for our trip as we headed to San Diego Zoo. ENJOY and GOD SPEED !!!!!

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4
Janice May 9, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Rita, how in the world did you do that trip for $1500.00? unbelievable.

5
Giuli April 19, 2012 at 4:20 am

Hello Amanda,
here Giuliana from Italy, I live near Venice and let me tell you you’ve choosen a best tour!
Have a nice trip and enjoy the fly from Venice to Rome. I think this will be a best experience to see Venice in miniature.
When you’re on the plane, look under you and click! Take lots of pictures.
I’ll be there to see your pics! :D
ps: enjoy our food too!!! :D

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6
Giuli April 19, 2012 at 4:23 am

I forgotten to tell you I live in Trento, the city mentioned in the Rita’s comment.
Here lot of mountains!
Ops… bring with you an umbrella… here 2 weeks is raining… =(
Bring us a little bit of your sun!

7
Blog is the New Black April 19, 2012 at 4:24 am

I am so jelly! You are so lucky! :)

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8
Karen April 19, 2012 at 4:25 am

Amanda you are going to LOVE Italy. I have been to Venice several times and it feels like you are in another realm. truelly out of this World. It is the only place on the Planet I say I could visit over and over again. I once flew there for the day from the UK. It was Valentines Day and the masked Carnival was on in Venice. We took loads of pictures that day, only to discover that the film had stuck in the camera and we didn’t have one photo of our amazing day. People doubted we had even been !
Rome is history where ever you look. All the Cities are expensive, so be warned.
Have an amazing time. i know you will. X

http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2009/jan/21/cheap-restaurants-venice-food-italy
http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2008/feb/23/travelfoodanddrink.italy

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9
Stephanie C April 19, 2012 at 4:37 am

How exciting! I get to travel through Italy vicariously through you and Kevin. Can’t wait for all your fabulous posts and tweets!

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10
Brenda (Kookt!) April 19, 2012 at 4:50 am

Hi Kevin and Amanda, I am from the Netherlands. Great to hear that you go to Italy! We went there 2 years ago by lagio del Garda and totally fell in love with Italy! (been to Verona and Venice!)
We will definitely visit Italy again! I have no tips related to food, all the food in Italy is delicious! In Verona you can go to Castel San Pietro, great view over the city. Casa di Giulietta (Romeo and Juliet!) and the arena on Piazza Bra are also great places (but I bet in Rome there will be more arena’s!) Enjoy your trip!!

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11
Caroline @ chocolate & carrots April 19, 2012 at 5:09 am

Amanda, I hope you and Kevin have an absolutely wonderful time! I can’t wait to see and read all about it! Relax and enjoy the entire thing. :D Weee!

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12
Jane Crawford April 19, 2012 at 5:26 am

Amanda-I’m so happy that you and Kevin are getting this experience. Being able to travel is such a gift! I visited Rome many years ago when I was a TWA flight attendant, and I was in awe the entire time I was there. I’m sure your group will take you to all of the important places: Sistine Chapel, Colloseum, etc. I will be retiring in a few years and Italy will be the first place I go! Have a wonderful time!

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13
Bridget =) April 19, 2012 at 5:32 am

WOW! What an amazing opportunity! Congrats and have a BLAST!!!!!

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14
Maureen April 19, 2012 at 5:41 am

Oh honey I am so happy for you guys! I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more. My only advice is enjoy yourself! Don’t worry or stress, stay in the moment and take in everything!

I plan to look for these products in my local supermarket. I am chronically ill and I live with, and care for, my elderly Mom. I try to feed us as well as possible, but there are night when a healthy dinner isn’t happening. It would be so nice to have a frozen alternative that isn’t full of chemicals and preservatives. Thanks for letting me know about this!

Have a wonderful trip and we will “see” you when you return!

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15
my honest answer April 19, 2012 at 5:47 am

What an amazing trip! So excited for you, have a great time. My only tips would be to pack layers – Italy can be hot in the day and cold in the evenings, wear flat comfy shoes, and eat lots!

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16
Jen April 19, 2012 at 5:55 am

While in Florence you must eat at Acqua Al 2. It has the most amazing food. There may be a long wait for a table, but it is well worth the wait. Definitely order the pasta tris, which is a tasting of three types of pasta. While in Rome, look into getting what is called the Rome Pass. It is for three days and it literally lets you into a seperate line for all the sight seeing. What would normally be a three hour wait at the Colloseum, you may wait maybe 30 min. And the pass lets you have transportation for free. I loved my time in Italy and have a wonderful time.

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17
Jennifer April 19, 2012 at 6:08 am

Oh my goodness! So jealous. I only spent 5 days in Italy on my spring break last year, but it’s wonderful. I hit all the major sites when I was there. I actually posted pics of some of my eats, just to get you excited: http://nextupwithj.blogspot.com/2012/03/next-up-pizza-pasta-and-pastry-in-italy.html
Also, gelato from La Carraia in Florence is delicious…and really popular!

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18
Theresa April 19, 2012 at 6:22 am

That is awesome…..I hope you have a wonderful time. I have been to Italy twice for work but never got to venture outside of Milan. I have also been to a few other European cities and I can say that the food in Italy is by far the best! Looking forward to seeing your fabulous photography.

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19
Jessica April 19, 2012 at 6:28 am

yes but are Miley and Howie going too? :)

seriously that sounds like the trip of a lifetime.. I am so envious! Safe travels… I hope you have a wonderful trip and I look forward to seeing all of your amazing photography.

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20
Southern Gal April 19, 2012 at 6:30 am

Oh, Amanda, this is so exciting! Italy is my dream destination. I’m going to take notes on your reviews of the areas for my “one day” list.

The product looks amazing, by the way.

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21
Urban Wife April 19, 2012 at 6:32 am

You guys are SOOO lucky!! I can’t wait to read all about your adventures abroad. Eek! :) Italy is definitely on the top of our travel list. Safe travels!

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22
nancyeileen April 19, 2012 at 6:44 am

WAY. COOL!! <3e
Lots of photos please!
One item on my bucket list is to travel to dreamy Italy and see the Pantheon with my own eyes and with my own lens <3

If you decide you need someone to haul your luggage or shoot yor photo op's, PLEASE let me know!! :)

Y'all enjoy!!

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23
Rachael P April 19, 2012 at 7:00 am

I am positively green with envy! I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a total of about 2 months in Italy over the course of several years. Believe me, you can’t bet it for the food, the history, but most of all, the people. They still love Americans there and they won’t hesitate to go out of their way to make you feel welcome.

As to the food, you would have to try really hard to find a bad meal. Trust the locals and ask for the advice – you will probably find some out-of-the-way places you’d never have discovered on your own.

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24
Sandy_in_MD April 19, 2012 at 7:03 am

That’s fantastic news! Have a wonderful trip – I can’t wait to see your photos of all of these wonderful destinations.

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25
Pam April 19, 2012 at 7:03 am

Italy is awesome! Just put your helmets on and be ready for the drivers!!! Fast and furious and craaaaazzzzyy!!

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26
shelly (cookies and cups) April 19, 2012 at 7:05 am

I can’t believe it’s already here!! Have a great time and eat a cannoli or five for me :)

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27
The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh April 19, 2012 at 7:08 am

I’m SO happy for you guys! I know you will have an amazing time and bring back lots of good tips for those of us that have Italy on the bucket list. (And of course screen licking good pics)

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28
Kayla April 19, 2012 at 7:10 am

Have a awesome time Amanda! I know you’re so excited, I’ve always wanted to go to Italy!! I can’t wait to see all the pictures!

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29
Mona April 19, 2012 at 7:10 am

Good news? More like AHHH-MAZING NEWS! I’m so happy for you. I would check out travel advisor to see about the sites around the areas ya’ll are going to be at. Also try onthewayapp.com. Hope it helps. Hope ya’ll have a great time! I know you will.

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30
Litsa Jackson April 19, 2012 at 7:12 am

You are going to thoroughly enjoy yourself! Love, love, love Cinque Terra! You are just across the sea to Greece——-swim across this summer and come to our village in Greece! We’d love to have you! It’s a village of only 1,000 or so residents but the beauty is breathtaking! When you don’t have your fill this time as you travel to Europe, you can come back! We travel from TN to Greece each summer. My parent’s family home is there. https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Bakery-of-The-Village-Zitsa/135788169829758 If you love bread, check out the link above. It is small but yummy delights can be found in the village———–and obviously great conversation with me! I would love to meet you and show you around!

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31
Heather @ Mrs. Southern Bride April 19, 2012 at 7:13 am

Sounds like an amazing trip! My husband lived in Italy for four months and it is still his favorite place on earth. We plan on going next year! Can’t wait to see your pictures and hear about the details. :)

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32
Leslie Mac April 19, 2012 at 7:16 am

We were in Italy last year – loved Siena – try to get to Bagno Vignoni and Montepulciano – both beautiful. Bagno Vignoni has an amazing hot water spring & spa and it so quaint, you might think you are the only person on earth. They filmed the “Volturi – Edwards going to get himself killed scene” in Montepulciano – you know where Bella is running through the streets trying to save him. The top of the hill there you can see the square where she “saved” him. Have a great time!

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33
Shawna April 19, 2012 at 7:39 am

I sure hope you’ll share lots of travel ideas with us! I am meeting my daughter in Italy in October (Rome – then who knows where?) Would love ideas!!!

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34
Elaine April 19, 2012 at 7:50 am

Who’s gonna take care of Miley and Howie???
Hope you have a wonderful trip and I know there will be lots of photos.

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35
Chere Mortensen April 19, 2012 at 7:55 am

To see the most the quickest, hire a private guide. They will get you in places and avoid lines. We travel to Italy often and will be there during the same time as you and Kevin. The Italian people are so wonderful. Do not worry about anything you will have a great time. Have fun. Venice is such a beautiful city. Hold hands and kiss often. Have fun.

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36
Cookbook Queen April 19, 2012 at 8:05 am

SOOOOOOOOO exciting!! I’m so happy for you both, I know you’ll have a blast!! what an amazing opportunity!!!

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37
Lynne Moeller April 19, 2012 at 8:10 am

I’ve been to Italy a few times and it’s my favorite country out of all the places I’ve visited. My husband and I rented a car in Florence and drove through Tuscany. It’s gorgeous. I hope your husband is brave. Driving is definitely an experience there :) As long as he’s not driving in Rome, he’ll do fine. In Tuscany, you must stop at a winery of course. In Florence, eat gelato and shop. In Rome, tour as many sites as possible – so much to see. The food is incredibly expensive there, though. We still talk about a lunch we had of salad and a diet coke that cost $80. It’s worth it. You are going to have the best time EVER!! P.S. Wear comfortable shoes everywhere you go.

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38
Maria April 19, 2012 at 8:12 am

You are going to LOVE Italy! My favorite place! Cinque Terre is the best too! Well, I loved all of Italy! Can’t wait to follow along! xo

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39
Amy April 19, 2012 at 8:12 am

Woohoo! Can’t wait to see all the beautiful pictures I know you will take. Have fun and enjoy it!

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40
Catherine April 19, 2012 at 8:15 am

If you haven’t already, try and buy tickets online in advance for tha places you want to see! Many popular sites in Venice and Rome have extremely long wait times…not only to get in but also to buy the tickets! Many times if you buy the tickets in advance (often for only a few euro extra), you can skip the lines. There are different types to buy and you would have to decide which is best for you depending on what you are planning to see, but you might look into these!
http://www.tickitaly.com/galleries/museums-venice-italy.php
http://www.romapass.it/

Europe is amazing! Venture off the main roads (more authentic food!), remember the plugs are different, look up a few helpful phrases in Italian to carry around (such as, my Italian is not good, do you speak English?), and HAVE FUN! :-)

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41
Wombatish April 19, 2012 at 8:15 am

Wow, what an opportunity! I hope you guys have an amazing trip, and enjoy all the delicious sites and food. Yes, delicious! In a country like that it’s way the most apt adjective for everrrything. My friend was raving about every scrap of food he ate, from street food to high priced dinners in the most recommended restaurants. I think at one point he may have even insinuated that the air tasted good!

Also, it’s things like this that make me wish I had the patience and dedication to become a (real) blogger! You deserve it.

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42
Onease April 19, 2012 at 8:26 am

Congratulations! So exciting……………….Have a wonderful trip!

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43
mattie April 19, 2012 at 8:26 am

We just did a tour of Tuscany in November. Rome, while I loved the major site, was a bit of a let down for me. LOVED FLORENCE!!! Do not cut your time short there. Siena was nice as well. Take the time to climb the Torre del Mangia. They only let 15? people up at a time in 30 minute intervals, but the view is SO worth the climb…..and it IS a climb. Believe it or not Assisi was one of our favorite stops. Small and way cute!

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44
mattie April 19, 2012 at 8:28 am

major sites in Rome…thinking faster than my fingers.

45
Kristen@PrettySweet April 19, 2012 at 8:29 am

Oh, how fun is that??! I would love to go back! Be sure to get some Venetian glass jewelry as souvenirs. I was in Venice almost 15 years ago and I still have happy memories of my summer abroad when I wear my ring and pendant. They’re great to bring back as gifts, too. Another fun souvenir gift is a little jar of nutmeg, with a tiny grater included – look for Noce Moscata. A friend brought that back to me a couple of years ago after an Italy trip and I have so enjoyed using it!

Cinque Terre is so charming – it was one of my favorite places! And Rome was so grand. And Florence so beautiful. Be sure to schedule time to do nothing but explore and relax. And it’s hard to put your camera down when you’re in ITALY!, so go ahead and take lots of pictures, but have time to enjoy just sitting and relaxing with your husband, too. =)

Also – this is not specific to Italy, but my mom and I love to buy Christmas ornaments from our travels. It’s always so much fun to unwrap all of the ornaments from faraway places to decorate the tree. =)

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46
SteffiWeffi April 19, 2012 at 8:30 am

OMG how awesome!!!!!!!!

Your travel itinerary reminds me of “We Open In Venice” from “Kiss Me Kate”…

We open in Venice,
We next play Verona,
Then on to Cremona.
Lotsa laughs in Cremona.
Our next jump is Parma,
That stingy, dingy menace,
Then Mantua, then Padua,
Then we open again, where?

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47
Allison April 19, 2012 at 8:31 am

I have studied abroad in Europe and my boyfriend has studied abroad in Israel. I used a pre-paid rented international cell phone for emergency purposes only, and used the internet cafes that were around every corner! My boyfriend used his Verizon phone and changed his plan to an international plan with Verizon because he would be there for a much longer time period. Long story short, he wrote down exactly who he spoke with regarding his cell phone bills and what exactly it should cost. Despite what he thought to be the case, when he got the bill…we were all in tears. The bill was reduced only because we called their bluff. My BEST advice is to keep your phone turned off and use the internet cafes that can be found everywhere, I can even remember the location of the internet cafe down the street from the Duomo in Florence. I just read this article about international cell phone charges in the Wall Street Journal just yesterday, I highly recommend reading it!

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304331204577351824213467562.html?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_Lifestyle_5

Enjoy your trip! And War Eagle :)

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48
Beverly April 19, 2012 at 8:32 am

Hi Amanda, I read your blog religiously. I am a friend of Erin Cobb who is the across the street neighbor from my son and daughter-in-law. You are going to be near the place of my birth when you fly into Italy. I lived in Italy until I was four! I absolutely love traveling to Europe, or anywhere for that matter and I just know you will have a fabulous time! I also just came back from Albuquerque and loved seeing some of the places you posted about when you went there! Have a marvelous time and I will look forward to your posted picture…and be jealous at the same time.

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49
Jenn April 19, 2012 at 8:33 am

You are going to have such an amazing time! Can’t wait to hear about your trip and see the pictures you take.

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50
Carol April 19, 2012 at 8:37 am

Wow! What a fantastic opportunity. Iam happy for you (and a little jealous.) Please take tons of pictures. We want to live vicariously through you. Have a wonderful and safe trip!

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51
Mary Anne Tomlinson April 19, 2012 at 8:38 am

Hey Amanda,

Gratzi for the recipe for the penne pasta dish with sausage. My husband and I made and we love it. It’s a definite “keeper” recipe. It made so much that we had leftovers and the second night, we added a can of whole kernel corn. Yum!

Have a wonderful trip to Italy.

Mary Anne

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52
Lara April 19, 2012 at 8:39 am

What an awesome experience!! Italy is beautiful……I visited Florence and could not stop eating the Gelato..make sure you get some..it is the delicious! I don’t have to tell you to take lots of pictures! Enjoy

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53
Melissa April 19, 2012 at 8:43 am

Um, how do I get your life? It is awesome. I am clearly doing something wrong.

Have a fabulous trip!

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54
Meg @ Sweet Twist April 19, 2012 at 8:47 am

You will have an amazing time. Italy is beautiful, eat lots of Gelato and Pizza. I went last year and had pizza almost every day. It’s so thin and light and fresh!

Can’t wait to see your photos.

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Amanda Carson April 19, 2012 at 8:53 am

CIAO! I live in a place called Vicenza right in between Verona and Venice. If driving on the autostrada you will probably drive right through on your way to Venice. All I can say is you are in for a treat! The weather has been kind of rainy the last week but 60′s. You will love Verona and Venice thats for sure. Go put your hand on Juliets breast in Verona and bring a sharpie to write your name on the wall. If $100.00 euro is too expensive for you for a gondola ride in Venice, there is a .50 cent ride that crosses the canal at Rialto bridge I believe. HAVE FUN! Feel free to write if you have any questions!

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56
Debra April 19, 2012 at 8:54 am

I am so jealous but can’t wait to live vicariously through all your gorgeous pictures that I hope you will post. Have fun.

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57
Carly Mae April 19, 2012 at 8:55 am

Cinque Terre is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. Enjoy!

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58
Jaime P. April 19, 2012 at 9:03 am

Oh I can’t wait to see your pictures. Seriously. I might not even have to go to Italy ever now!!!

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59
Melody April 19, 2012 at 9:03 am

Buon viaggio! My sisters, daughter and I spent last May in Italy, Austria, Germany and Britain…what a wonderful time you are about to have! I blogged about our trip at http://wilmp.blogspot.com/ So, in your spare time, :) check out my blog.
We also visited Rome, Venice and Florence; of the three, I wish we’d spent more time in Florence. Unlike others of your readers, I was NOT impressed with Venice. We spent 3 days there, and I would have been happy with one. But, to each their own. Our favorite activity in Rome was the Underground tour of the Colosseum; you go down into the “basement,” where they stored props, etc, and where the gladiators entered the arena. You also go up to the uppermost levels for a breathtaking view of the Eternal City. I was NOT impressed with the Sistine Chapel, but that was just timing. We were in Rome the same week Pope John Paul II was beatified, and there was a definite circus-type atmosphere! When in Florence/Tuscany, try to have some Parma ham, just for me. I tried to get some in a deli, but the proprietor was not impressed with my Italian skills. When I got back to our room with our meats, I found he had substituted a cheaper type! I was so mad, but it was too late to do anything about it. Lesson learned; pay better attention at the deli, and apologize more for my poor Italian! However, I don’t have to tell you to enjoy! You will have the time of your life!

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Brittney April 19, 2012 at 9:06 am

We did a road trip through Tuscany February 2011. Siena is a precious jewel which is often overlooked since it’s so close to Florence, so plan on spending some time there shopping. Try to stop in some of the hill towns during your road trip. We loved Montepulciano and Montalcino. Tons of little hill towns if these aren’t on your way. In Rome, I always recommend Il Boom in Rome for dinner. It’s a secret little place in the Trastevere which has a vintage 50s Via Veneto decor. It’s full of locals and the servers are amazingly gracious. Can’t wait to hear about it. Cin cin!!

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61
Lori Mc April 19, 2012 at 9:09 am

How deliciously fun for you and Kevin!! WOW, never been over their either, but pictures, pictures, pictures and enjoy the food! Most of all HAVE FUN!!!

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Anne April 19, 2012 at 9:21 am

Wow am I jealous. Italy is my favourite place. Cinque Terre is one of the prettiest places I have ever been to. Please do the hike between the villages. The one between Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare is gorgeous and if you are lucky there is a little old man selling fresh picked lemons for .50 euros and they are to die for! Plus once you get to Monterosso al Mare you can take a dip in the ocean. And please don’t forget to eat the pesto or anything at Resorante Belforte in Vernazza. DELICIOUS!
And when in Rome pizza from anywhere is delicious. Seriously anywhere.
Have a great time!

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63
Emily April 19, 2012 at 9:30 am

Have so much fun, Amanda! I cannot wait to hear all about the trip and see the fabulous pictures I know you will be sharing with us:)

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Renee April 19, 2012 at 9:34 am

You are so lucky! Their lasagna and baked ziti are the absolute best! Have fun and post lots of pictures!

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Erika P April 19, 2012 at 9:36 am

Definitely visit Florence and head to the market! It’s a major culinary experience!!! You can purchase cheeses and dried mushrooms (and I bought many boxes of Sea Salt, which was before it was so popular in the States).

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bonnie April 19, 2012 at 9:43 am

I recently tried Michael Angelo’s Eggplant Parmesan for the first time, and can I just say, it is GREAT. It only takes about 40-45 and it tastes delicious!

I love Italy and Italian food!! Have a great time and bring back some recipes for us, too!

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67
Angela Howell April 19, 2012 at 9:58 am

I am officially JEALOUS! I can’t give any travel advice (I am terrified of flying), just stay safe and have a FABULOUS time! I am just so happy that KEVIN is going with you, please take lots of happy couple pics. You guys are just too cute. :-)

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Shaina April 19, 2012 at 10:04 am

AHHH! I am so excited for you and Kevin. Have an amazing trip!

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Glenda April 19, 2012 at 10:05 am

I’ve liked their eggplant parm for years! So great that you are going to Italy!! Anyone that loves food should go. We never ate a bad meal the entire time we were there, from a great restaurant to a tiny sidewalk cafe! Enjoy and “Buon Viaggio!!”

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Sarah April 19, 2012 at 10:08 am

Congrats on this awesome opportunity! I hope you love it and I can’t wait to see your pics!

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Kelly April 19, 2012 at 10:32 am

I am so jealous – I’ve been to Italy twice and want to (NEED to) go back so badly I can’t even talk about it.

The only advice I have is to let Italy lead you. I realize you have a very busy itinerary, but if you have any moment to do some exploring on your own, you won’t regret it. There are wonderful culinary, architectural, and cultural surprises around every corner. For me it was life changing.

Have fun! Buon viaggio!

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Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking April 19, 2012 at 10:38 am

Have a WONDERFUL and safe trip!!! Italy is definitely on my bucket list! Can’t wait to follow along on your adventure!

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Katie @decoratemylife April 19, 2012 at 11:13 am

I would love to hear sometime about how you get hooked up with these amazing opportunities! I’d love to hear how you use blogging to network and how you get such great advertising partnerships!

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Lu April 19, 2012 at 11:19 am

In Florence in the Piazza della Signora you have to try the icecream from the Gellato Artigianale place (in the opposite corner of the Uffizi, where the fake David is), it’s the best icecream!!

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April April 19, 2012 at 11:23 am

I am going to Italy in August. Can’t wait to hear all your adventures. :)
A

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~*kristi*~ April 19, 2012 at 11:25 am

Congratulations, and have an AMAZING time!! You are so lucky to have an opportunity like this :) It’s my dream to get to Italy one day.

My brother and sister in law got married in Cinque Terre, in Riomaggiore. Their pictures are truly magical, and I can’t wait to see yours!!

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Omi April 19, 2012 at 11:28 am

Be prepared to fall in love with Rome. I’ve never felt anything like it. The food is spectacular – even something as simple as lasagna. You will never be the same. I only had 10 days in Italy, and 10 weeks wouldn’t have been enough. I’m going back some day to take my husband so he can finally see why I feel about Rome as I do. The people are not polite according to American standards, but don’t take it personally. They treat everybody the same. The drivers are fatalistic. They drive madly, madly, madly. While in Venice, take the water taxi over to Merona to the glass blowing factory – absolutely amazing!! I know you will have an amazing time, expecially with Kevin along. Safe travels and don’t forget to “write home.”

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Jody April 19, 2012 at 11:54 am

That is so amazing! You and Kevin are gonna have such a good time. If you find yourselves in this region check out The Fattoria Bosconi Estate: located about 5 miles North-East of Florence, in the heart of Tuscany
http://underthetuscangun.com/our-tuscany/
My husband and I were just watching this show on Food Network the other night. This couple (Gabriele Corcos & Debi Mazar) looks like they would be a blast to meet.
Hope you have a wonderful time!

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Rachel Cooks (formerly Not Rachael Ray) April 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm

How exciting! Have fun!

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Erin @ Texanerin Baking April 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Wow! That is going to be an amazing trip! We went to Italy for two weeks last May (bring allergy medicine if you have allergies because it was incredibly terrible in some areas) and did four of those stops. Our favorite thing, other than the gelato, was driving around the countryside. The town of Pienza is really nice, but only good for maybe two hours. But of very favorite thing was exploring the hills on roads that were meant for tractors. As you leave Pienza, look out for other cars on your right that are taking pictures. You get a great view from there, but this is also where the fun road through the hills start (at least I think so).

San Gimignano is nice for a few hours but I really recommend going there in the evening or really really early before tourists show up. This was our favorite ice cream place in all of Italy (and I tried several every day!)

Gelataria di Piazza
Piazza della Cisterna, 4
53037 San Gimignano Sienna (main square, you can’t miss it because there will be a line and it’s really worth it)

In Siena you absolutely must visit the inside of the cathedral. It’s totally ruined all other churches for me. It’s amazing. I was there once when I was 19 and it was just as amazing the second time.

And do the hill towns. That’s all we basically did. Hill town after hill town. But you won’t possibly get sick of them within only a few days.

Don’t forget that all the grocery stores will be closed on Sunday! I guess since you have Provolone in the US, this isn’t a big deal for you, but I got some Coop grocery store brand dolce Provolone (the prepackaged ones) every other day and it was amazing. I don’t know if it’s just because it’s been so long since I had that cheese or what, but all we ate was gelato and Provolone for two weeks. Amazing!

I wish I would have known about your trip earlier. I would have sent you all the “insider tips” I compiled over a year while I was planning the trip. I just can’t seem to find it right now. Oh well. You’ll find enough to do!

Have an amazing time and I’m really impressed by that ingredient list! If I lived in the US, I would most definitely go out and buy one. And don’t forget that the lasagna in Italy is usually made with Bechamel sauce and not ricotta. I was always disappointed with the lasagna I got there. :(

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Cheryl Ann The Boho Chick April 19, 2012 at 12:24 pm

That’s so awesome! Hope you have a wonderful trip and make lots of sweet memories. And most of all, have lot of FUN!!

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Diane Davies April 19, 2012 at 12:33 pm

How exciting!! I just bought one of their lasagnas yesterday.

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Erin @ Texanerin Baking April 19, 2012 at 12:34 pm

OH MY GOD! I forgot pici. It’s a fat type of spaghetti with a tiny hole through the middle. It’s a specialty of the Siena area. I just went into my husband’s office to tell him about your trip (I’m really, really jealous and begged him to go back there with me) and as I was leaving, I saw some bags of pici that we brought back.

And you have to try lemon gelato! Unless you hate lemons or something. Lemon gelato is consistently good, the other flavors… not so much.

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Kayle (The Cooking Actress) April 19, 2012 at 1:19 pm

The food looks so great! And I am SO SO SO JEALOUS! I want to go to Italy!!! You’re even landing in the city with the same name as meee (Bologna–although in immigration the first “o” was removed for my family, so my last name is Blogna).

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Jann Schott April 19, 2012 at 1:33 pm

In the immortal words of the Landrover commercial, “TAKE ME WITH YOU!” ;-) I hope you two have a fabulous time in Italy!

I love that the ingredients have *NO* MSG in the list!! I’m allergic to MSG (along with some other items) so seeing it NOT in the list is awesome!! I’ll be sure to look for it in our local stores!

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Devon April 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm

COOL! Longtime reader, but never a commenter :) But – just got back from Italy last Monday… it was amazing. You’ll have a great time!

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Misjody April 19, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Sooo happy for Kevin & you! You’ll have a great time (Florence is a favorite) and all of a sudden the world will seem much smaller than it was before.

Ciao Bella!

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Elizabeth April 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm

That’s so exciting!!! Have fun on your trip!

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Maria April 19, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Ciao dalla bella Italia :)
I am sure you will love Italy, and espacially the food! If you have never been to Italy before, you will see that all you had in the US is NOT Italian at all. ;D
Firenze (Florence) is an amazing place, there is art everywhere. BTW, try a piece of panforte while there.
Venezia (Venice) is cool too, but quite chaotic. The Cinque Terre are breathtaking, but alas after the bad flood of last year most villages are still a mess :( so sad!
While there try focaccia and farinata. So yummy! And pasta al pesto genovese is a must too! :D
All my American friends love gelato (all the fruits flavors), pizza margherita, and all the yummy seafood dishes.
Have fun!

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Chrissy April 19, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Wow, Amanda! How awesome! Enjoy your trip, you’ve come so far. I’m very happy for you! :)

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Christina April 19, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Congratulations!!! Andrew and I absolutely loved Italy!! You will have such a wonderful trip!

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Melissa April 19, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Spent a couple of weeks in Greece/Rome with two teenager girls-one word.
Fabulous!
You will find international travel ADDICTIVE!
Blessings on your trip.

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Diane@InMyOwnStyle April 19, 2012 at 9:47 pm

I love Michael Angelos frozen meals – they are my favorite. Nice to know that are the real deal. The only tip I can give you for your trip since I have never been to Italy is – to have fun and enjoy the yourself! I am looking forward to following you and reading all about the trip when you return.
My best – Diane

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Heather April 19, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Wow! That’s flippin’ amazing! Have fun and I can’t wait to hear all about it on your blog=)

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Jennifer April 20, 2012 at 1:43 am

What a wonderful opportunity! My husband & I had a similar itinerary on our honeymoon. We have two Boston’s (Max & Brinkley) they stayed with my in-laws while we were gone. You’ll miss them even more once you arrive & see all the sweet dogs along the shops & cafe’s ( we even spotted a few BT’s in Venice ) What are you going to do with your two babies while you’re away?

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Kailen April 20, 2012 at 9:18 am

Congrats on your opportunity to go to Italy! While you’re in the Cinque Terre be sure to hike between the towns if you have time (sometimes you’ll find a darling old man selling grapes right off the vine along the trail, they are delicious!). Also, make sure you go to Monterosso, it’s the furthest town in the Cinque Terre from La Spezia. There’s a gelato shop near the water (possibly at the base of a clock tower in town, but it’s been quite a while since I was there so my memory is spotty), it’s the only place I’ve ever found grapefruit gelato and it’s AMAZING!

Cheers!!!

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Jenni H. April 20, 2012 at 9:34 am

Wow, so excited ya’ll are going to Italy!!! My sister recently went on a trip there with her AP class. She had a blast. Gelato…. that’s the one word that came back with her along with all her pics. She fell in love with Gelato. Says there’s nothing in America that comes close to Italian Gelato! Haha. Have fun you two (Mangia!).
~ Ciao, Jenni :)

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Chelsie @ A Little Peanut April 20, 2012 at 10:01 am

I am so so jealous! Have a great time! Can’t wait to see all the pictures when you get back!

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Kelly April 20, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Have a great time! Don’t freak out you’ll be fine :-p
My advice, watch out for opportunist pickpockets in Rome and expensive restaurants in Venice and Rome that cater to ripping off tourists (they serve spaghetti from a can {seriously}). Look up places ahead in those cities.

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CHristine April 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm

lucky you! I have done that trip and recommend San Gimignano. It’s a little villiage in Tuscany where leather prices are awesome. A must STOP on your trip!!!! Also agree that those meals are always in my freeze for go to days when I need a quick meal and I am to beat to cook! Have an awesome trip!

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Debbie April 20, 2012 at 11:07 pm

What an awesome experience you are getting ready to have! I went to Italy for the first time last fall. Two friends & I spent a week at a villa in Tuscany at a Mediterranean cooking school (Tuscookany.com). We stayed at Casa Ombuto near Poppi in the Arezzo province. Prior to our arrival to Tuscany, we spent a few days in Rome where we flew in & out. We also spent a day in Florence where I recommend that you must try to eat a meal at Quattro Leoni (TRATTORIA 4 LEONI) which is near the Ponte Vecchio bridge. They have the BEST pear ravioli! While in Rome venture to the Trastevere area for some great restaurants & stop by Gelateria Della Palma for gelato if you are near the Pantheon (stunning piece of history!). Beware of the taxi drivers in Rome–they are like crazy race car drivers in a video game you have no control of! Also, be careful of the ZTL zones in the smaller towns in Tuscany. You don’t want to mistakenly drive into those zones because you will receive a ticket in excess of $250 six or more months after your trip. A photo of your rental car’s license plate is taken, the rental company is then sent a ticket & you will then see a large charge on the credit card used to secure your rental car. We were fortunate enough to avoid the ZTL areas in the Tuscan towns we visited, but a friend of mine wasn’t as lucky. They received a credit card charge months after their trip to Italy. If you are in the vicinity, making a stop in Cortona is worth your time. Above all, soak in the moments of just sitting in a trattoria drinking wine & watching the locals–it will be a trip you will treasure for a lifetime!

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joan April 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm

When you get gelato, ask for it “con panna.” They will give you a big dollop of unsweetened whipped cream on top. YUM!

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naomi April 22, 2012 at 3:02 pm

wow-exciting! Sounds like it is going to be not ony fun, but full of information you can share with us. I can’t wait to read the resulting posts.

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