No Reservations – First Stop : Pienza, Italy

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This was going to be our first major trip flying standby through a friends and family program. Some people know these perks as buddy passes, where you can park your butt in unoccupied seats for a steep discount.  You have to be strategic about it all. Pick a time when tourists aren’t flocking to the destination (Italy in October, what what!) and research which flights look more open. We had banked on flying into Milan since it didn’t seem to be a popular airport of entry, but we decided to fly into Rome the day before our flight because it actually had more available seats.

Also…confession. I lied. Contrary to my post title, we DID make one reservation. Although we had no guaranteed planet tickets and had no secured accommodations, we did make car rental reservations. We plotted out a very general route from Rome to Amalfi Coast to Sicily (via a ferry carrying our car). The car was dirt cheap using a Hertz coupon for a third off, and there was no fee for one-way rental. We were planning on ditching the car in Sicily and then flying back to NYC via Milan. And guess what is magical about car reservations? You can find ones that allow last minute cancellations with no penalty. :)

The gamble paid off. We made it on the flight to Rome! We even got a whole row to ourselves through the “upgrade yo’self to better empty seats after takeoff” move.

Picking up the car was a breeze. And the 2.5-hour car drive was full of views like this. I know, what an eyesore, right?

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We got denied at the first hotel we scoped out. No vacancy. Whomp whomp. But we literally drove down the street and came upon the cutest Bed & Breakfast RIGHT in town. Even better location for a better price. B & B Camera La Vite was also awesome because the windows opened out onto the adorable streets and a CHEESE SHOP. I got to stare lovingly at cheese every day.

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View outside our window. Me hovering near the cheese.

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Me getting my fitness on in our romantic room. There were angels painted on the walls. Drinking wine while working out = 0 calories, right? Those packets of almonds from Trader Joe’s are perfect for trips. And yes, we are very neat people.

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For my husband Andrew, this was a very nostalgic trip. His Italian grandmother and he flew to Italy from New York throughout his college years, and she introduced him to Pienza and other towns in Tuscany.  One of the restaurants they used to go to was Trattoria Latte di Luna. It is hidden behind that canopy of leaves in the photo above.

HOLY CRAP, was the pasta good. Also, I felt really fancy getting shaved truffles on my tagliatelle. I don’t think I’ve ever ordered shaved truffles at a restaurant before. My eyes probably skim subconsciously over anything with shaved truffles because l just assume sprinkling that stuff equals a huge bill. Well, this dish was $12.  Go here for some inexpensive comfort food.

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Andrew and I did learn a trick while in Italy. When you’re looking for restaurants, change the language to Italian on Trip Advisor so you get reviews by locals. There is an option to translate it to English, so don’t you fret.  La Buca di Enea got pretty good reviews, but we got Cheesecake Factory-sized portions of overcooked pasta. With a side of attitude.  I get enough of that at home in NYC so no thanks. 😉

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Pienza is known for their delicious Pecorino cheese. We ducked into this shop to see a variety of options: Truffle Pecorino, Red Wine Pecorino, aged Pecorino, Pecorino with black pepper, etc. We bought and demolished a Truffle Pecorino- perfect to snack on with red wine back in our room.

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Every corner you turn in this town brings such beautiful surprises, whether it’s a terrace overlooking the lush hills or a courtyard with a gorgeous church.  It was so much fun to explore the area and not be overwhelmed by a gaggle of tourists.

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IMG_0201My husband running away from me.

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This was a late-night meal for us at the restaurant attached to the B&B.  The best part of vacations is connecting with whoever you are with on the trip.  And an added bonus is the ridiculously cheap wine in Italy.  Sharing moments while tipsy. Pienza was my favorite town in Tuscany.  It has a certain charm that you must experience yourself.  If you visit, don’t forget to get you some of that Pecorino! Taking a really bad shadoobie will be well worth it, my lactose intolerant friends!

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