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Weekend in Ischia and Procida













Ischia and Procida are two unspoiled islands in the Bay of Naples. Unlike their better-known sister island Capri, these two little gems are affordable, more local, and full of character -- what they lack in million-dollar yachts and designer shopping, they more than make up for in natural beauty and charm.

Since it was the end of the September neither Ischia nor Procida were crowded and my hotel for two nights was a steal (I stayed at the Hotel Parco Conte in Casamicciola on Ischia). I hopped on the high-speed train from Florence to Naples after work Friday, and from Naples both Ischia and Procida are just a ferry ride away (this website is a wonderful resource on the islands and transport).

I spent my first day in Ischia exploring the entire island… and I mean all of it. I was a bit overzealous and ended up walking more than 12km. In my defense it was a gorgeous day and there was just more to see on foot! I started at the exquisite Mortella Botanical Gardens (which has more species of plants than I knew existed) before heading to the town of Forio. From Forio, I took the bus halfway to the quaint (and traffic-free) town of Sant’Angelo. Neither Forio nor Sant’Angelo have attractions or major sites, per se, they are mostly just adorable little towns perfect for exploring, shopping, relaxing on the beach, or enjoying a meal while people watching in the main square.

In the afternoon I headed to Ischia Porto (which is the main town on the island) to explore the Aragon Castle. This castle was definitely the highlight of my trip (#historynerd). After the fall of the Roman Empire, the inhabitants of Ischia, which was an important trading city, protected themselves from invasion and pirates by fortifying an even smaller island just off the port that offered natural protection and was easily defensible. Throughout the Middle Ages this complex grew and the entire population of island took refuge within its walls when necessary. In 1441 Alfonso of Aragon (the King of Aragon) built the castle we see today. Under Alfonso the castle and its court grew substantially. Although the castle is now partly in ruins, it retains its royal grandeur – with vines and flowers growing over and around old castle walls and a roof-less church overlooking the bay. It is definitely a must-see!

The next day I hopped on the ferry to explore the neighboring island of Procida. Procida is even more untouched by tourism and modernity than Ischia. It is a charming and very colorful fishing village.

After a quick hike around Procida I was back on the ferry and heading towards Naples to return to Florence. It was a quick trip, but I am so glad I finally got to explore these amazing islands!

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Outfit: Comfy Caftan








caftan // sunnies // bracelets // purse (old) // sandals (from Positano)


When it comes to tropical or Mediterranean travel, there is nothing better than a stylish and comfortable caftan. I snagged this Lilly Pulitzer caftan during the After Party Sale in August (thank goodness I was home for that!). 

Not only was it a steal, but I also knew it would be perfect for my travels to Santorini and Ischia (sadly my plans for Croatia fell through, but the islands of Ischia and Procida proved to be a wonderful substitute).

What I love most about a great caftan when travelling is how versatile it is. It can be worn as a tunic, cover-up, or dressed up for dinner or an evening out. Yet, it is still comfy, flowy, and easy to wear in warm climates. Basically it is effortless chic. 

Not only was I super comfortable exploring Santorini in my caftan (although I am sure it was a funny site on my four-wheeler), I also loved the way the pink and blue design went with the overall aesthetic of the island. Santorini is basically a sea of blue and white with the occasional splash of pink. I wore it on my second day on the island to explore the cities of Oia and Fira. You definitely want to be comfortable when exploring Santorini because there are a ton of stairs and lots of little alleyways to be investigated.

Don’t worry; if you missed snagging this Lilly caftan, there are some new versions in stock. I have also linked some more great caftan options below. 

What is your go-to piece for warm weather travel?


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Grape Picking in Tuscany: Podere Il Carnasciale











I have never been much of a wine snob. I didn’t buy into the idea that expensive wine equalled better wine. I simply drank what I liked. Well, thanks to Podere Il Carnasciale (an amazing boutique winery in the Tuscan countryside) I am now a complete wine snob! Last week I had the pleasure of tasting the most incredible wine I have ever had. I am not sure how I am going to go back to the cheap stuff!

But let’s back up for a minute. Last week, a friend of mine who lives in the countryside invited me to go grape picking (which has always been a bucket list item for me) at his friend’s winery. I had no idea he was taking me to the “haute couture” of wineries.

We arrived at Carnasciale and were immediately welcomed by members of this family-run operation -- the fabulous and stunning matriarch Bettina, her worldly son Moritz, and their spirited enologist and winemaker Peter. They showed us around the estate and explained exactly how their incredible wines are crafted. I now understand exactly why some wines are pricey, you wouldn’t believe the care and attention to detail that goes into producing this wine -- the grapes are completely harvest by hand and carefully selected, no chemicals are used, and the grapes are methodically processed and fermented.

Before heading into the cellar, they let us help with the harvest. We learned how to pick and carefully inspect each bunch. The rule of thumb is, “what you would not put into your mouth, does not go into the wine.” Even the grapes are special. The particular variety, or biotype, of grape grown at Carnasciale was discovered (or rather rediscovered) in an abandoned vineyard near Padua in the late 1960’s. No where else in Italy is this grape grown and used in winemaking; it is truly unique!

After getting our hands dirty with the harvest, we headed into the cellar to taste the wine! Obviously this was my favorite part and Peter was more than willing to let us try it all! At Carnasciale, the grapes are fermented separately according to the plot of land from where they were grown and harvested. I have always heard people talk about how the composition of various minerals in the soil effected the flavors of the wine, but this was the first time I was actually able to compare and taste the difference. The exact same grapes, fermented through the exact same process, all tasted different because of their varying soils. If you ever want to sound fancy, you can use the technical term “terroir.”

Carnasciale produces only two wines - “Il Caberlot” and “Carnasciale.” Il Caberlot is their signature wine and the Carnasciale is considered a second wine (from the barrels that didn’t make the cut for the Caberlot, but that are still delicious and thus bottled second). Not only does this incredible and unique wine take some time to age, but it is also incredibly rare -- Carnasciale only produces about 3,000 hand-numbered bottles of Il Caberlot each year and is only sold in 27 countries (we sampled the barrels from 2014, which will be ready for the market in 2018).

Visiting Podere Carnasciale and partaking in their harvest was truly a once in a lifetime experience, as was, sadly, drinking this amazing wine (for me at least). I learned so much about the process and science of winemaking and I have a new appreciation for quality wines.
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Postcards from Santorini: Day 4













Tired of Santorini pics yet? No? Ok, good because here are some more! Sadly, however, this is the last round. These are from my last day on the island, which I spent hiking the incredible trail from Fira to Oia. The trail is easy to find, it starts at the archeology museum and Fira and the trail is well marked by signs along the way.

The full hike takes just over three hours and is about 9 kilometers long... and it is completely worth it! The views are incredible and it is not a necessarily difficult trek. The hike takes you through stunning towns of Firostefani and Imerovigli on your way around the rim of the caldera and finally finishing in Oia.

Not only is the hike not difficult, but it is incredibly peaceful, just a handful of tourists along the way. I recommend getting an early start to beat the heat (I also recommend filling up on delicious fresh crepes with fruit in Fira at the Corner Cafe before starting). I was fortunate that it was a bit cloudy and windy the day I went.

About half way through the hike you come across this little church perched high on one of the hills (it’s actually called the black hill). The little church is whitewashed and serene with a bell archway that perfectly frames the town of Oia below. If I ever am lucky enough to return to Santorini, this little archway will be my next sunset shot!

The hike ends in, where else, Oia. One can never get to much of Oia and I was excited to return once more. The hike works up quite an appetite, so I indulged in some traditional dishes before taking more, you guessed it, pictures of blue domes lol. I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering and shopping in Oia. I wanted to stay and catch a shot of that magical sunset everyone one is always raving about. It did not disappoint and was certainly worth the wait.

But instead of heading to the crowded castle for the standard sunset over the ocean shot (which, in my opinion, looks the same everywhere), I stayed in my favorite blue-dome-spot so I could get a shot of the sun setting over the city (here are the gps coordinates if you want to find it - 36.46092, 25.37622). Where ever you pick for your shot, make sure you get there about an hour before sunset to stake out a spot.

Of course, leaving Santorini was bittersweet, but I am always happy to return to Florence, and happy to mark another incredible adventure off my bucket list!

You can read more of my Santorini recaps here:
Postcards from Santorini Day 1
Postcards from Santorini Day 2
Postcards from Santorini Day 3
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Postcards from Santorini: Day 3












For my third day in Santorini, I forced myself out of Oia and headed to the southern part of the island to explore. Of course, I started my day in the neighboring town of Pyrgos. I really grew to love Pyrgos, especially in the mornings when it was quiet and deserted (it also had the best little cafes for breakfast and coffee). On this particular morning, I was there especially early and I swear I had the entire town to myself. So charming, so blue, and so serene. I definitely think if I return to Santorini I want to stay in Pyrgos.

After my morning in Pyrgos, I hopped back on my four-wheeler and headed south to Akrotiri and the famous Red Beach. The southern part of the island is far less inhabited and has a completely different feel from the huddled and colorful cliff-side villages in the north. It was interesting to explore this more rugged side of the island. 

Akrotiri, like Pygros, also has an old castle-fort (built by the Venetians) that you an explore. But the most interesting site in this area is the Minoan Bronze-Age city of Akrotiri (which is just slightly southeast of the current city). This almost-3,000-year-old city was destroyed in a volcanic eruption and rediscovered in the nineteenth century (FYI the entire island is a former volcano that collapsed into the sea, creating the semi-circular caldera as it is called today). For a couple euros you can explore the excavations of this historic city.

My final stop for the day was Red Beach, one of the best beaches on the island and famous for its red hues. Apparently it is the high iron in the rocks that makes it red. It is definitely gorgeous against the bright blue Aegean sea and a wonderful place to relax and take a dip in the cool, clear water.

Don’t worry, I have one more set of photos to share Thursday!

Postcards from Santorini Day 1
Postcards from Santorini Day 2
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Outfit: Santorini Dresscode







dress // hat (Florentine purchase, last seen here) // purse (old, but obsessed with this one for fall) // sandals (purchased in Capri, but love these) // sunglasses


Packing for Santorini wasn’t difficult, I just threw some shades of blue and pink with a touch of white into my suitcase, and I matched the island perfectly. Since navy has long been my go-to color for travel (and in life), I was set.

I actually picked up this Rebecca Minkoff dress while home in Tampa specifically for my trip to Santorini. It has everything I want in a dress - navy eyelet, ruffles, and it’s easy to wear yet still flattering. Sold! I love this dress so much, I am really contemplating purchasing the white version and the top version (which comes in navy and white as well).

You can wear the dress (and top I suppose) either on or off the shoulder. I personally prefer on, but I imagine it is just as cute off. I also like that as it gets cooler, I can throw a denim jacket over it. It won’t exactly work with tights when fall truly arrives to Florence, but in Florida, this is a year-round dress lol. And unfortunately, I will at some point have to return to Florida.

Check back tomorrow for more pictures of Santorini and my day-three recap! And you can read my first two posts on Santorini here:
Postcards from Santorini Day 1
Postcards from Santorini Day 2


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