Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ahh Sweet Italy!!


Back from a fabulous trip with lots of inspiration and a bit of travel info to share!

Villa Cimbrone

The Almafi Coast was spectacular and a favorite excursion was to the lovely hilltop village of Ravello. We had an extraordinary time exploring the two main villas in town, Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone. (above)

Villa Cimbrone Infintiy

As you can see the gardens and the views were breathtaking!

Rome Forum

First, I want to let you know that I have been to Rome three times. Above is a photo of Ancient Roman Forum. The history is overwhelming - so this trip we decided to finally hire a private guide to take us around. What a difference a guide makes!! We all learned so much and really the cost was very reasonable. David Lown is an art historian and he was fabulous! If you are heading to Rome this summer do contact him HERE and enjoy learning all about this fabulous city.

Uffico Scavi

The greatest highlight of our trip to Rome was our excursion 35 feet UNDER St. Peter’s Basilica called “The Ufficio Scavi Tour” (Tour by Office of Excavations). Only a lucky 120 people are taken down each day, an incredible privilege, as St. Peters has over 20,000 visitors per day! We were taken down in small groups of 12, two levels below St. Peter’s to what was Vatican Hill over 1900 years ago. We saw St. Peters final resting place (and bones) as well as the tombs of the previous Popes. I could go on and on but click this link HERE to learn more and the link HERE to make a request for a tour. You will not be disappointed!!


A special area of Rome which enchanted us was the Villa Borghese Park. The first photo of this post and this photo are just a small sampling of what you will see. We spent a wonderful Sunday touring the Villa Borghese (filled with gorgeous Bernini sculptures) and the surrounding gardens. Do not miss this!


Another highlight was Pompeii – Words just can’t describe how we felt walking along the streets of this ancient buried city. I was incredibly taken by the Frescos, like this one above, that are still intact. We also decided to hire a personal guide in Pompeii. Lucia was wonderful and again I couldn’t recommend her more highly. You can contact her HERE.

Domenic Minchilli torre-gentile-16

Finally, remember my previous post about the fabulous Villa Torre Gentile? You can read about it HERE. The owner was kind enough to contact me and let me know that her spectacular villa is available for rent. So if you want to stay in an extraordinary, gorgeous stone villa in Italy do give her call. You can find out more about Villa Torre Gentile, also known as Villanova HERE

Wall fountain rome

I have been so inspired by the architecture, beauty, color and gardens – well I could go on and on. My mind has been reeling since I’ve been back. I am not sure where it will take me, but I am excited to share my journey with you.

(If you do happen to contact our tour guides, do tell them Gina and her family said Hi! I am always so thrilled to pass on a good a contact!!)

(all post copyrighted by Willow Décor and not to be published with out permission)


  1. Ahhhh, you went back to the place I dream about. There's something amazing about the one-two punch of Rome and the Amalfi Coast, isn't there. I'm heading back there again in October and I'm already counting down the days. Great post!

  2. Hi Gina~
    So happy to see back home... so we can see pictures! :)
    I cannot believe you were actually one of the people chosen to go under St. Peter's!!! What an amazing adventure. Loved all your pictures, and look so forward to seeing/hearing more.

  3. What a breathtaking post!!!!! Have been to Italy twice but never to the Amalfi coast and this is definitely on my bucket list....these pictures make me wish I was going tomorrow!

  4. Wow! The pictures are so beautiful and to think it was even more spectacular in person. You are lucky to have been able to explore the under world at St Peter's.
    Hopefully you will share more about your trip. I look forward to it.

  5. Wow! How beautiful, I hope to visit one day myself~Cheers Kim

  6. I want to go and I need a vacation too! At least for a moment your pictures transported me...thank you!

  7. I love all of your fabulous photos. We have been to Roma several times and visited all the sites your sharing today. The Almafi coast was spectacular but oh my, that cliff road. Yikes! We only made it as far as Positano. We have toured the ancient forum, but only with the guide book. I think next time we'll take your advise and hire a guide. I'm still sharing photos on France on my blog. Soon I'll have Italy to share....

    The French Hutch

  8. Wow. Love those trees. Italy is rated I belive in top 5 places int eh world to visit. I have yet to go but it is on my bucket list.

  9. Oh my goodness!! Gina! You made me dreaming!! What a gorgeous pictures!!!!!!I might think you had a wonderful time there!! Oh I could pack immediately!!! I will... in my dreams tonight! Thank you so much for these beautiful pictures!!!
    Warm hugs,

  10. The amalfi coast in one of my next trip . Thank you for sharing, everything looks so gorgeous

  11. Oh, the beauty of it all! I know so well how you must feel. Italy is so breathtakingly beautiful! Great pictures!
    You will have memories forever!

  12. Your photos are amazing. I love Swedish decor and I see some influence from Italian. Without the darker Italian colors of course. But elegant simplicity they both share.

  13. Thank you Gina...we are leaving for Italy on September 30th! Your photos are wonderful and I appreciate your tips! :)

  14. You must have had such a good trip...our stay on the Almafi Coast was truly a highlight of vacations. My hope is to, one day, stay several months to truly soak up area. franki p.s. You are so thoughtful to pass on your contacts!!


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