Ciao amici! Long time no blog post ;)
2022 was certainly an unforgettable summer. In addition to having two WONDERFUL group retreats in both Castiglion Fiorentino and Lucca, my now husband and I got married in Castiglion Fiorentino two days after I wrapped up the Lucca Retreat! It was a whirlwind but an absolutely magical whirlwind.
I'll be writing more in-depth journal posts about each individual retreat but I just wanted to put together a little highlight post of some of my favorite moments from possibly my favorite summer in Italy since the very first one in 2009.
Read on for more!
The 50 Hour Journey to Get to Italy...
50 hours to get to Italy as a highlight? Yes, absolutely. It became such an insane scenario that my mom and I ended up taking 50 hours to travel to Italy when it should have been done in a day that in the end it felt comical!
We left our hotel by LAX around 5:30 Wednesday morning and didn't get to our Airbnb in Cortona until sunset (aperitivo time!) on Friday evening, the night before I was to start hosting the Villa Retreat. Our original plan was to get to Italy Thursday and immediately head to our Airbnb in Spello. Then get the rental car on Friday and stay in Cortona before starting the next day.
Instead our connecting flight to Rome from JFK was delayed from 5:30 pm until after midnight due to thunderstorms. By the time we got on the plane and were taxiing on the runway, the pilot came on and said the crew timed out... 4 minutes shy of take off. We spent 2:00-5:45 am waiting in line to talk to someone since the flight was cancelled. By 7:30 am we finally had a new flight, leaving Thursday evening from JFK to Amsterdam and then on to Florence so I would at least not miss my rental car reservation!
The icing on top of the whole wild adventure was that I only had my wedding dress in my carry-on and my mom had 5 pairs of shoes and enough extra clothes in hers to keep us clothed for the first few days while we waiting a full week for our luggage to find us! I was taking little snippets of video during our entire travels there and they made it such a silly misadventure in hindsight, you can watch the video here on Tik Tok. We were greeted by this epic sunset in Cortona and immediately headed to Enoteca Enotria for spritz and antipasti before passing out in our adorable Airbnb.
The Day of Magic Sparkly Rings...
Now that we had made it to Italy, the jetlag and trauma from the 50 hour ordeal had subsided, and some supplemental clothing and toiletries were purchased, we ventured back for our daytrip to Cortona for the Wanderful Retreat! All my guests this week were previous retreat guests so it felt like bringing everyone back to our favorite haunts to say hello to all our friends.
One of our stops, of course, was in to Del Brenna Jewelry to see Meghan and Sebastian. I needed to chat with them about some custom jewelry for my wedding and the gals wanted some new pieces and to get their previous purchases cleaned up. Little did we know that two gals would both be leaving with rings straight out of the cases, including my mom! Both of them spotted these stunning rings that were perfect for them and, magically, NEITHER ring needed any adjustments or resizing and could be worn out right on the spot! It was pretty wild and they were such beautiful purchases.
The Accidental Pisa Day...
Friends, I don't know if you heard about the weather Europe encountered this past summer but it was HOT to say the least. Hotter than I've experience in a long time, especially so early into June.
We were very lucky that our apartments in Lucca both had air conditioning (thanks Vanessa!) and we were lucky that everyone was flexible with switching times around during the week.
On what was supposed to be a day trip to Florence, we decided the afternoon before to switch things up and head towards the coast instead! Rather than having a day marching across Florence in mid 90s all day, we went to Pisa for some 80s instead.
It was the first time I've ever brought a group to Pisa (and my first time back in almost 10 years) and it was absolutely delightful! We took a quick train and headed straight to the tower. After taking a peek inside, we sketched while we waited for our time to climb the tower, another first for me! It was such an unexpectedly lovely day that I'm going to incorporate a Pisa day into all future Lucca Retreats.
The Wild Bouquet...
We wrapped up the Lucca Retreat and my mom and I immediately headed back towards Castiglion Fiorentino, grabbing another rental car and picking up a couple of friends in Florence on the way!
The day between was nice and relaxing and lazy for me, which was perfect! I went back to Cortona to pick up my custom jewelry... spoiler, the necklace and matching earrings were STUNNING! Sebastian is just so talented.
And then it was the wedding day! Louie and I hung around the villa all day, I went swimming in the morning and we just lazed and cooked. After lunch, I drove down into the valley where I spotted a couple wild sunflowers the day before. With a pair of scissors in hand, I snipped a handful of wild sunflowers to use in my wedding bouquet! Combined with some dried purple flowers I picked up from the grocery store the day before and a ribbon from my Del Brenna gift bag, it was the most perfect foraged bouquet I could ever want. Bonus was that my shoes were the perfect shade of sunflower yellow.
2022 was truly one of my favorite summers of all time. I can't wait to share more about each individual week and even some peeks at our very handmade Tuscany wedding in one of my most favorite places in the world. Stay tuned amici!