The morning of my flight, I woke up early to visit the Vatican (an entirely new country!) and was met with this amazing sky. I didn't go into the church, or pay for any tourist attractions, just sat in the main square (St. Peter's Square) and wrote letters. It was a lovely last day!
After leaving Potentino, I had 24 hours in Rome before my flight back to the States. Instead of paying to spend hours at each tourist attraction, I did my own walking tour of the city - past the Colosseum, many Roman ruins, the Spanish steps, and the Trevi Fountain.
The final extensive leg of my summer travels was spent at Castello di Potentino, an ancient Etruscan castle in a valley in Tuscany. I spent almost three weeks at Potentino as a volunteer, helping out in the vineyard, kitchen, and bottling room. I learned so much about wine - and about a ton of other things too (I got through almost 10 audiobooks).
At Potentino, time stood still. Mornings were spent working early out in the vines, afternoons were spent eating lunch and siesta-ing, and evenings were spent listening to the piano or Italian singers under the stars. The closest town is a 30 minute walk away, and has a total of 2 restaurants (no grocery store), so it felt like a little bubble. There's no better place to be caught in a little bubble than Tuscany.
Erik, Nina, and I were only in Cinque Terre for one night, but we packed miles of hiking in. Cinque Terre is on the western coast of Italy and is made up of five towns. The draw for tourists? You can hike in between each of the five towns over the course of - you guessed it - two days. If you're less into the whole hiking thing, there are trains that cut through the rocky terrain to take you to each town. We stayed in the second town, Vernazzo, and on the first day hiked from there to the third town, Corniglia. That night, we went to dinner in the first town, Monterosso. The next day, we hiked from Corniglia to the fourth town, Manarola, and then to the fifth town, Riomaggiore. My legs are still recovering.
On our third day in Florence, we daytripped out to the vineyard Vecchie Terre di Montefili, which was about an hour south of Florence. The vineyard is owned by a UVA alum who sits on the College Board, and Erik knew him well, so we got a personal tour and tasting! The wine, bread, and olive oil were to die for.
Who Am I?
I'm Rory; University of Virginia grad, writer, photographer, wannabe world traveler.
What is EU and Me?
A collection of photographs and musings from travels abroad.