Bella Italia: Creating Memories with my Mom and Brother

My mom has always dreamed of traveling to Tuscany, Italy, so in 2022 my brother and I devised a plan to gift her with a trip to Italy. We surprised her with this trip as her Christmas/Birthday present in 2022, and over the next several months we planned this amazing vacation with Stacee Adams of Becky Lamb Travel.

Amy Allmand Photography shares her trip to Italy including her favorite stops

Trip to Italy: Our Itinerary 

During our planning, we narrowed it down to Rome, Tuscany and the Italian Riviera. When we arrived in Rome, my brother had arranged for us to have a private day tour of the Vatican Museum and Colosseum. Our tour guide was amazing as he gave us an amazing history lesson of Rome and the Catholic Church. He even took us in some churches along the way that were breathtaking. I couldn’t help but want to photograph them all! 

As we were fighting the jet lag, we stopped at our hotel, Hotel Degli Artisti where we freshened up. We then had a toast of prosecco on the rooftop bar before enjoying our first official meal in Rome. I chose a Roman classic Cacio e Pepe of course! We then walked to the Trevi Fountain and up the Spanish Steps before retiring for the night.


We woke early the next day to take a car to the train station to our next destination of the Tuscan town of Arezzo. This town was such a pleasant surprise. We walked the cobblestone streets before finding the perfect location for lunch in the town square. We then drove to our amazing accommodation at Il Borro, an estate owned by Ferruccio Ferragamo. It was like a dream staying in the medieval village and truly one of the most amazing places I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying. We decided on dinner at their Pizza Party located by one of the many pools on the property. As they brought us many courses of appetizers and wood fired pizzas, we drank their Il Borro red wine as we took in a gorgeous Tuscan sunset.

Il Borro provided us with a five star buffet breakfast as we overlooked the bridge to the medieval town. We started our day as we drove outside of Florence to their luxury outlet mall where we shopped at Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Prada and more. I picked up a pink Gucci bag as my big Italian souvenir. After shopping we decided to drive about 45 minutes to the town of Cortona (which was made famous by the movie Under the Tuscan Sun). We arrived during their siesta and a brief rain shower, so we found a bar where we had a few Italian Spritzes. Once the rain lifted and our drinks were empty, we walked around the town and took in the most amazing views of the Tuscan countryside. We had an early dinner before driving back to Il Borro.

Florence, Italy 

The next day we took the train into Florence for a day full of adventure. We started off with a walking tour of the David, the Duomo where it ended at the Pointe Vecchio. As we were asking our guide for a recommendation, I thwarted a would-be pick pocket from trying to steal from my mom. With adrenaline rushing through my veins, we walked a bit before we found a pizzeria that looked out along the Arno River. We enjoyed a long lunch as we sipped more prosecco and talked about the amazing day so far. After lunch we walked around the Piazza del Mercato Nuovo, shopping for fine Italian leather goods. 

Our next activity was one I was really looking forward to, a pasta making class with Towns of Italy. We learned to make pasta from scratch without any machines. It was truly a fun experience. And we go to eat what we made. Our instructor was amazing and even made a special vegetarian pesto dish for me! After our meal of cheese ravioli, carbonara and gelato, we walked back to Piazza Signoria where Bart proposed to me in 2006. We made our way back to the train station to head back to Il Borro.


For our last day in Tuscany, we went to the winery town of Montepulciano. Thank goodness for my brother’s driving skills because I couldn’t have handled the narrow streets with the ease that he did! We walked around yet another dreamy Tuscan town before we stopped for another amazing lunch outside at the Gattavecchi winery. We sat looking out at the Tuscan hills, watching a storm roll in. Thankfully we finished before it did and made it to the car to head back to Il Borro. When we got back, we walked around the estate, visiting the horses, walking alongside the vineyards and olive trees. Afterwards, we enjoyed a limoncello spritz as we watched the sunset on our last night in Tuscany.

The Italian Riviera 

The next morning we loaded up the car as we drove towards the Italian Riviera. We planned a stop in the town of Lucca as I knew it was just adorable. It was definitely busy as we walked around the town and did some shopping. We found a cute spot in the town square for lunch as we sipped a lovely bottle of rose. We then made it to our seaside hotel, Grand Bristol Hotel in the town of Rapallo. After a long car ride, we decided to lay out by the pool for a little while before we changed for dinner in the hotel. We tried a dish local to the hotel called the Pasta alla Dorothy, which was so yummy!


The next day we drove to Portofino. We arrived before shops were open, which was fine because we walked the streets and walked around the marinas admiring the beautiful boats. As stores opened, we walked in them, doing some shopping. I think I regret not buying the Dior bag that is sold only in Portofino! We even got to see a small vintage car show, which was right up my alley. After that we decided to go back to the town of Rapallo and we were glad we made Portofino our first stop because the line of cars to get in this small town were lined up so far back that we’d still be waiting to visit! We walked around Rapallo and decided on a cute little restaurant for lunch. We then headed back to the hotel for a bit before going back out for our boat tour of the coast. It was the perfect way to end our day and trip to the Italian Riviera. We had one more dinner in Rapallo before retiring to our hotel for the night.

The next morning we knew we had to leave for Rome, but took the time to walk around the town of Santa Margherita Ligure. We got in the car for a 3 hour drive to Rome where we stayed near the airport for our flights the next morning. The drives between places were just as beautiful as the places themselves. 

I know we will all cherish the special memories made on this trip to Italy. I will forever be thankful that my brother and I were able to gift our mom with this trip of a lifetime! 











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February 21, 2024



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