Italy 2017: Best Trip Ever

Italy 2017: Introduction
Alitalia Business Class Chicago to Rome
Hotel Lungarno (Florence)
Around Florence
Dining in Florence
Il Falconerie (Cortona)
Around Cortona
Dining in Cortona
Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria
Around Rome
Dining in Rome
Alitalia Lounge Rome (FCO)
Lufthansa Business Class Rome to Munich
Lufthansa First Class Lounge Munich
Lufthansa First Class Munich to Chicago

Italy 2017: Introduction

Wow! My wife, baby and I just returned from an amazing vacation to Italy. I am excited to share the details of the trip and explain how everything played out!

The day before we were scheduled to leave we realized something wasn’t right with our toddler son (we still call him “the baby”). I realized he had developed some spots on his hands and he was drooling quite a bit.  Quickly I was able to make a same-day appointment to see his pediatrician who confirmed our fears of hand/foot/mouth virus (he had been exposed to it the week prior at a birthday party)! We told her about our 10 day trip to Italy coming up the next day and asked her advise if we should still go.  She said he is fine to go just keep him hydrated (gelato, seriously) and take it easy the first few days.  There was no medicine to prescribe as it was a virus.  We felt bad taking him but with the doctors blessing we finished packing our bags that evening.

We started off as per normal, heading down to O’Hare Airport.  This time we decided to just drive the roughly 1hr and 15minutes and pay $12/day at a park in ride (as opposed to taking a coach bus).   I had booked two business class tickets on Alitalia using our Delta SkyMiles around October 2016.  Several months later I called Delta and booked our son’s lap infant ticket separately. I will of course detail the total breakdown in my review of Alitalia’s business class.

We arrived to O’Hare International Terminal 5 to a mob of people!  UGH!  The lines were all over the place and several flights were scheduled to board around the same time.  The priority line for Etihad/Alitalia was hard to even get to. Eventually after about a 30 minute wait we were at the counter and ticketed.  We were given lounge tickets for the KLM Lounge which was almost completely packed!  We simply walked out and grabbed a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants.

Our seats on Alitalia business class

After our nice overnight flight in Alitalia business class we arrived in Rome and scheduled a (awesome) driver name Florine to pick us up and take us to the Rome main terminal train station where we were to catch a train to Florence.

My wife and son on the train to Florence

We booked first class tickets on the train and it was very comfortable for the almost two hour ride to Florence. Very wide seats that offered good recline. Once on arrival in Florence we were met by another pre-booked driver and whisked off to our absolutely amazing hotel-Hotel Lungarno!

Our room at Hotel Lungarno

We stayed three nights in Florence and I absolutely fell in love with the city.  I can say to date, it is my favorite city in the world. The hotel was simply perfect and cannot wait to share my full review.  I want to go back already but my wife and I are trying not to repeat destinations so quickly.

Views of Florence from the San Miniato al Monte Bascillica

The weather was hot our entire time in Italy.  Everyday had a high temperature in the mid or low 90’s.  We loved strolling down the streets in Florence and stopping in the shops and bakeries and trying tons of wines! After only our second day we were relieved to see our son was back to normal and shook his virus and was back to being a mostly happy baby!

After an amazing three nights we hopped a train from Florence to Cortona. We actually missed our stop and got off at the next one-Terentola.  Thank God there was an amazing Italian women in the station that spoke English and let me dial our resort with her cell phone to direct our driver to pick us up at the next stop which was only five minutes down the track.

Our driver drove us the ten or so minutes to our resort in the Tuscan countryside named    Il Falconiere.  It is hard to imagine a more pristine and beautiful countryside setting.  The city of Cortona is perched up on a mountaintop and viewable from Il Falconiere. Then surrounding Il Falconiere are the Vineyards of grapes and many many olive trees.

Il Falconiere’s outdoor pool

We spent a relaxing three nights at Il Falconiere and I must say we had the most amazing meals at this resort ever!  My full write-up of this gem will be coming up soon.

Tuscany countrside and vineyards at Il Falconeire

After eating like pigs and drinking like lushes we took our final train ride from Cortona to Rome. Our driver delivered us to our final hotel of the trip: Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria.

Rome Cavalieri entrance

We stayed our final three nights in Italy at Rome Cavalieri and thoroughly enjoyed it. A great way to enjoy Rome but be just a short ride away from all the madness. I was happy to finally redeem some points for this stay and save some money at the end of the trip. This is a very family friendly resort and I will share why in my full review.

My wife and I inside the Colosseum 

We had a great time seeing and enjoying the sites of Rome. We packed in a bunch of sites in our last few days in Italy.

We were all very sad to leave Italy! The baby was even starting to speak Italian! But we flew back home in style in Lufthansa first class connecting in Munich.  I redeemed our Lufthansa Miles-N-More points for our two tickets online and then called in later to add our son’s lap infant ticket.  SUPER comfortable way to travel to and from Europe.  We were very impressed by the flight and the new First Class Lounge in Munich might be my wife’s favorite.

The family in Lufthansa first class

Please stay tuned for future installments of this amazing trip’s trip report.  I hope to have all the reviews and information up in the coming days and weeks! Thank you for reading and as always let me know if you have any questions or comments as I am happy to assist.




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