Two of my friends from San Diego (ciao Patti Brava and Tomasso!) just moved to Rome, so it was the perfect excuse to have a weekend getaway with Fra.
First Stop: Salerno
I fell in love with Salerno years ago. In fact, I considered moving there earlier this year, but then I fell in love with a boy and with Calabria. I 100% made the right decision in staying.
Still, I'm always happy to visit this sweet little city just south of Napoli. During the holidays, the centro storico lights up with holiday luminaria. It was magic.
We arrived late, but we had a nice stroll around the old town. We stopped at a bar where, to my surprise, I found an assortment of stout beers! They're hard to find in Italy! Francesco was not a fan. Beer should be blonde, he says!
The community park had animal luminaries. Fra had no luck getting the polar bear to eat.
By far, my favorite scene was the under-the-sea section, where medusa (jellyfish) lazily swam through a sea of stars.
I like Rome more and more every time I visit, despite the hordes of tourists. And yes, there were hordes, even Rome in winter.
I finally got to see the inside of the Coliseum! It helped to go with a tour guide (Francesco), as we got some insights we wouldn't have otherwise gotten.
Our friends have an apartment in Monti, a very cool and quiet neighborhood in the center of everything. We had fantastic pasta at their new favorite local restaurant, and I got my Indian food fix too.
We explored a market hall and visited the Christmas market at Piazza Navona. I was disappointed that there was so much mass-produced junk for sale rather than artisanal crafts.
We had a fantastic time laughing and sharing stories all weekend. Patti and Tom are new in their expat adventures, and it's so nice to have people who understand what it is to be uprooted from all that you know and to be excited about the new world around you!
I love Calabria, but the energy of a big city like Rome, especially when it's got a holiday glow, reenergizes me.