Italy has my heart. I used to think that it’s been this way since I set foot there for a beautiful three months of travel in 2011, but when I really stopped and thought about it, I realized that I had fallen in love with Italy long before my passport was stamped. Italy is synonymous with my husband. It was in the stories he told me of his grandfather, whose family was from a small town near Naples. It was in the way our house smelled as he cooked another incredible Italian dish from some region I had never heard of. It was in the pride I felt for him as I listened to him speak Italian in our neighborhood filled with immigrants, long before I learned to say more than “ciao.” The passion my husband has for Italy is one of the many reasons I so easily fell in love with him.

That seems like a lifetime ago, perhaps because in that time, I have fallen in love again. This time, it was with Italy. After our three-month stint in Central Italy, we turned around and went back that next summer for a beautiful month in Puglia and Southern Italy. We seem to always be planning another trip to Italy, even when we are on other trips. To put it plainly, we just can’t stay away. And I’m OK with that.

Our first trip to Liguria, when we stayed in a town called Levanto for three weeks back in 2011, is something I have been meaning to blog about for the last two years. Finally, as I sit in my house and am typing to the aromas of Ryan cooking Umbrian lentils, I am inspired to blog a bit about this beautiful time. Our friend John, a concierge at a hotel in Santa Margherita and a long-time friend of Ryan’s family, was the most perfect guide  as we explored the region. When Americans hear of Liguria they often think of “Santa Margherita” and “Portofino” and “Cinque Terre,” and while these areas are beautiful, I found myself falling just as hard for the places tourists DON”T go, like Porto Venere, Levanto, Bonassola, and Camogli. In Liguria, little towns full of beautiful buildings, delicious foods, and wonderful people are tucked into every hill of this region and waiting to be explored.

Enjoy a few of our photos of our first trip to Liguria. And thank  you to our Ligurian friends for your hospitality during our trips. We love you so, and can’t wait to see you soon!

Love, Amanda, Ryan, and Bella