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Highlights and Not-To-Be-Missed Events from my Trip to Italy

Okay, if you are not planning a trip to Italy, skip this post, however I’m writing it because I have received a lot of requests for the details.

Here are some highlights of our trip to make a note of if you are travelling where we did:

Well first we went to Spain for a week and the hotel in Seville was here. It included breakfast in a lovely atrium in the middle of the hotel. This was the entry (below).

Real Alcazar de Sevilla, A castle and beautiful gardens to explore (below).

Historic hotel in Barcelona. Simply gorgeous breakfast room and outdoor dining area (below).

The best not-to-be-missed attraction in Barcelona is La Sagrada Familia

The story of how this fabulous building is being built is extraordinary. And it’s still not finished. They are projecting that it’ll be somewhere around 2026 which will be 200 years after they started!

The Air B&B in Capri

The interior was not nearly as fabulous as the view but still charming, and the downside was the location, which was a 10 minute drive from downtown Capri. If you don’t have a car it was relatively easy to flag down a taxi because there’s only one way to get up and down from the Marina Piccolo which was closer to this location.

Views from the Air B&B

Hotel Onda Verde

A lovely little hotel in Praiano that one of my readers suggested, thanks so much!

I was disappointed with the first room we were given, (I sometimes think hotels give you the worst rooms first just like restaurants will try to give you the worst table if you’ll take it) because it looked nothing like the photos online, but they graciously gave me another room when I asked.

There is not much to do in Praiano which is a 20 minute walk from the hotel so unless you plan on boating or hanging out by the beach, I wouldn’t stay here for more than one or two nights.

The most beautiful spot by the pool (above) did not have umbrellas which made no sense to me (the trees in this image on the website are long gone).

Covo Dei Saraceni in Positano

A lovely hotel right on the beach with another beautiful breakfast room (below). Great location if you don’t want to navigate stairs constantly, which is what a trip to the Amalfi Coast is all about!

Photo by Maria Killam

Il San Pietro di Positano

I received so many comments to go to this hotel, and of course it was totally sold out (and wow like $3000 euros per night anyway) so I made a dinner reservation for us and this is me (below) in the water taxi from our hotel.

Our reservation was for 8:00 pm and we arrived at 7:45 much to my chagrin because the outdoor cocktail lounge area was simply divine. Make sure you arrive by at least 7:00 pm so you can enjoy it before dinner.

When I asked to move to a better table once we were seated, the maitre’d told us that since they opened way back in the 70s, they have guests that return every year and want the same room and the exact same table as well. So that’s when I realized there was a ‘tourist’ section of the restaurant and we were in that category, haha.


La Conca Del Sogno

We went back to Capri (and cancelled our plans to stay somewhere in the Amalfi Coast because we were worried it would be as remote as Praiano was) after my Mom arrived and the next day we chartered a boat for the day which was amazing, we swam in the grottos and had lunch in this gorgeous location only accessible by boat (below). Definitely a once-in-lifetime kind of day.

It was sitting in this restaurant that I realized why anyone would buy an elaborate bathing suite cover up. Whenever I see them in stores I think to myself “Why? Just to walk down to the pool at a resort and then take it off? Seems excessive”.

Well, it’s called boating life. Every single woman in the restaurant was wearing a cover-up (below) because you basically get off the boat, have lunch and get right back on.

And maybe I haven’t stayed in enough high-end resorts where naturally, if you were having lunch while lounging by the pool you would do the same.


Villa SanPaulo in San Gimignano

Hey, remember the post I wrote about rain showers in Europe and how impractical they are if you don’t want to wash your hair? Well here I am at the Spa underneath a rain shower, and see how my hair is wet? That’s why it’s hard if you don’t want to get your hair wet, haha.

We booked this hotel last minute so we didn’t get a room with a full view but it was a lovely resort.

However it was remote, so again you need a car to go anywhere unless you hire a driver.

The view at breakfast (or lunch or dinner) was this (below) though so that was beautiful. Here is Terreeia and my Mom enjoying the view.

Terreeia Rauffman and Hellen Junttila


We loved this little town in Tuscany where they are known for making all kinds of gift items and jewelry out of Alabaster. These are some ruins of the theatre.

I bought some alabaster fruit and a few other items that cost 90 euros and then 85 euros to ship. But still highly worth it when you average out the cost per item.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

What you need to know about this very popular attraction is that there is no ancient village to explore beyond the Tower of Pisa. Just a bunch of touristy shops and tents.

My Mom insisted that I take a photo of her in front of the tower. “How would anyone know we had really been there?” she declared, haha.

Okay so that pretty much wraps up the highlights and best details of the trip to help you out in case you’re doing something similar.

If you have any other questions, post them in the comments and I’ll try my best to answer them!

I’m home for an entire month before I have to get on a plane and I’m pretty happy about it! Summer has kicked in here in the West Coast and it’s just gorgeous!

Hope you are enjoying your summer!

PS. The update on my luggage (cause people keep asking) is that it was never returned by the airline. It was lost when we arrived in Naples from Spain at the beginning of my 3 week trip.

Related posts:

Outdoor Vignette on my Patio; Before & After

Maria Killam’s White Garden Transformation; Before & After

Happy Outdoor Living Before & After






  • Diane says:

    A lot of hotel rooms in Italy have tub/showers and the hand held unit is mid way up the wall on the long side–at least that was my experience.

  • Lucy says:

    Wow Maria you sure lived the life of the rich and famous! I am sure that must be your goal and why not, you are already on the way! I followed you all the way on Insta gram and felt like I was there also. The building in LA Sagrada Familiar is interesting. I will have to look it up. Oh how we loved Capri! It is so beautiful. We would love to go back and stay there for a while. We also loved going through old ruins. I am somewhat of a history buff so seeing the ruins and imagining what life must have been like in the day was enchanting.

    This trip will be something to look back on and cherish for the rest of your life. So glad that you had the experience in spite of your luggage.

  • Kim says:

    What gorgeous photos of your once-in-a-lifetime trip! My favorite is the one showing the view from Villa SanPaulo in San Gimignano. Stunning countryside. Italy is certainly on my bucket list. So sorry that your luggage has still not shown up!

  • Soili Puranen says:

    Ciao! Grazie mille – I´m going to Sorrento-, Capri-, Amalfi-, Positano -region in the beginning of September with my best friend and that´s why I´ve been so interested in your vacation. We got a lot of wonderful tips! I wish you all the best!

    Greetings from Finland 🙂

  • Susan says:

    Italy looks like such a lovely country. My friends and I want to rent an air b &b for a month in Italy and take day trips. Which area would you suggest? Thank you so much for sharing with all of us!

    • Maria Killam says:

      Three years ago we stayed in Castellini in Chianti area which was perfect for day trips and a much better location (we found out on this trip) then San Gimignano was. Other than the town of San Gimignano (which was 10 minutes away) EVERY other town was over an hours drive away! So take my advice and stay somewhere more central for sure! Maria

    • Julie says:

      I went to Tuscany with 5 other women and we rented an agri-tourismo. That’s like a farmhouse. It was in Vagliagli (say vally ali). Easy day trips all over Tuscany, florence, pisa, lucca etc. We were there a week.

  • Sylvia says:

    Thanks for sharing. So kind of you to do so. I love reading and seeing your pictures. I’d love to go to Italy again. You are blessed but you do so much for others. You share your knowledge from the heart and it shows.

  • Keira says:

    I would love to hear a comparison/contrast of the various Italian coastal hill towns/destinations, such as where you went Maria and beyond…Capri, Amalfi, Positano, Cinque Terra, etc.

    • Maria Killam says:

      We loved Capri but it was definitely expensive. That town is like Rodeo Drive with all the pricy shops (not the best place to replace basic clothing when I lost my luggage 🙂 Positano was definitely amazing also. We did not go to Amalfi but Terreeia has been to Cinque Terra which she said had even more stairs than anywhere else. She stayed somewhere, where she had to schlep 4 flights of stairs to use the bathroom in the middle of the night – eeek. Praiano was small and as I mentioned in my post, not a town to see unless you stay at that resort we stayed at. Hope that helps! Maria

  • Angela Cremins says:

    Thank you for sharing your amazing trip! I’m going to Venice, Florence, Bari, and Rome next month. I’ve never carried on a change of clothes but will now. So sorry you never got your luggage back.

  • Becky Lopp says:

    So glad you had the opportunity to visit Gaudi’s de la Sagrada Família! I fell in love with Gaudi in BCN. If you get to return and have more time….he has a home he designed and it is truly fabulous (Caso Ballto)…no straight lines ANYWHERE in the home …from doors and stairs to molding, tiles, and windows. And the public park (Parc Guell)…so special. Then after a few days you could go on to the French Riveria & Monaco. Keep Traveling!

  • Ellen Shook says:

    It does not surprise me about WHERE your luggage disappeared. Naples is the armpit of Europe. We were forewarned, and still were crime victims. We were just fortunate that it was not worse. My son loves Italy, but I don’t think I will ever go back.

  • judy says:

    What a wonderful privilege to see the beauty of other lands. Would you happen to know the brand name of your Mothers’ sandals? I am 78 with problem feet and your Mothers’ sandals look very comfortable. Would she recommend them? Thanks, love your writing.

  • Ellen says:

    Maria, your photos are absolutely exquisite. I love your point of view. And the color!!! What do you use to take these shots?

  • Cecilia says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us, and that picture of one of the ceilings in La Sagrada Família is just breathtakingly beautiful! I don’t think 200 years can be correct though, the first stone was laid 1882 and in 2026 it will be 100 years since Gaudí died after working on the cathedral for 43 years . . . Maybe you could also add Spain somewhere in the text so new readers won’t get the impression that if they travel to Italy they will find Seville and Barcelona there ;). Thank you also for your amazing blog and so generously sharing your passion for understanding colour. I’m living in Sweden so the specific colour names/brands or your large samples can’t be used here, and I will probably never take one of your courses, but I have learned SO much from just reading your blog!

  • Helen says:

    Amazing photos, my passions are homes, color, architecture and color. You provided me with fantastic eye candy. Thank you!

  • Cynthia Montgomery says:

    Hi Maria, what an amazing trip you had! I’m was in Italy some years ago, and stayed with my daughter’s then-fiancé when he was stationed at the Air Force base in Aviano. We explored towns around there, and of course, Venice was a special treat! I didn’t want to leave.

    By the by, have you ever heard of Unclaimed Baggage, in Scottsboro, Alabama? They purchase loads of unclaimed luggage and items from airlines and then sell the contents in their (rather large) store. Oprah did a story on then years ago. I imagine all your lovely things will end up there one day. I live about 40 minutes away from the store. It turns out it is easier for them to just pay out the insurance claims on most luggage than to get it to the owner.? Most disappointing.

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

    • Maria Killam says:

      OMG that makes so much sense since they are offering like $1200 which is a drop in the bucket compared to what was in there 🙁 That is very disappointing to hear. Thanks for your comment! Maria

  • What sandals did your mom end up with? I have wide feet, and am always looking for something comfortable. I sometimes get frustrated, and buy men’s. Not everyone has long, thin feet.

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