77 In Life

Italy… finally

Hello patient blog readers!



The new year has me thinking a lot of last year, of the resolutions I made, and other things that 2010 held! I’ve failed miserably at sharing my favorite week of 2010 and before I go back and recap the year {probably because it was followed by an illness that knocked me off my feet for an entire week!}, it’s only fair if I share about our trip to Italy in June. My very thoughtful and gracious sister sent me an email on May 5, 2010 and attached THIS to the blank email that was titled Happy Birthday! I was completely floored and thrilled and then I went on a mad search to secure my marriage certificate so I could get my passport as soon as possible!!

We had the most incredible week in Italy and it was all due in part to our very gracious, loving and helpful hosts: Erin & Pietro! Aren’t they so beautiful? I think they were going out to Bulgaria this night :)… we opted to stay home and recover from a day of exploring Rome!


We spent the first part of the week in Rome, exploring and recovering from jet lag and E had some sort of sore throat illness. Rome is INCREDIBLE, much larger than I thought, and the architecture and history are almost more than my little brain could handle. I could easily spend a week just in Rome, taking it all in. We did take a “touristy” bus ride which was well worth it and gave us a quick birds-eye view of Rome & Vatican City and we made a quick spin around The Colosseum! We spent a late afternoon at Hotel de Russie recapping the day over wine & tappas.  I think it was Thursday that we hopped on a SUPER FAST train {after missing our first one and wishing that we spoke Italian} to Florence for the day where we walked the streets, explored gardens, and had afternoon tea at JK Place. The following day we packed up and headed to the coast in Tuscany for a wonderful, relaxing weekend at the beach with a few little day trips out to the Tuscan countryside.



We ate the most incredible Italian food: pasta, gelato {above was an assortment of gelato packed in fresh fruit & nuts}, pizza {oh the pizza from a hot, firey pizza oven, with wonderful crust and fresh toppings!},  delicious fresh seafood while at the coast, and the most delightful, fresh local olive oil… oh, and the wine served at the perfect temperature, which I can’t remember what it is but my husband fell over when I came home and wanted my red wine slightly chilled.  I mean, if the Italian’s do it, you know there’s no other way to go! He’s still not convinced, I am! I’m afraid the food may have been my favorite part about the entire trip… pasta cooked al dente {like it should be} with the most simple of accompaniments {like Parmesan & cracked pepper}. And we learned, in Italy, they don’t cut their pasta… just twirl it up! I can’t tell you what a blessing it was  to have Erin’s suggestions and maps. We had not prepared at all for our trip at all and completely counted on her for recommendations of what to see, what to eat, what to do, where to go, and where not to go!



DPP_0047 (2)

Erin was our “mother hen” and always had a pot of tea for us whenever we needed it, vitamins, and sore throat aids! She is a precious friend of ours and went above and beyond to make sure we were comfortable not only in her home but also in Italy. I was so thankful to be able to see & spend time with their precious children too, because there’s no doubt I was missing the little rovers!


The entire week went by so fast, we packed SO much in and when it came time to leave, we weren’t quite ready {besides wanting to get back to the babies}. I took so many pictures that I can’t possibly post them all here so I’m going to embed a slide show below with some of my favorites. And the ones above are bothering me because they aren’t sharp, not sure what is going on with them… oh well! Below is the slide show of our entire trip {airport to airport} with camera phone shots mixed in too and if you’re not a slide show person you can look at the SET in Flickr! If you want to speed up the slide show you can click “FAST” under options at the top right hand corner.

Thank you, Sister, for taking me on the trip of a lifetime. Thank you, Erin, for making it the trip of a lifetime!!

You Might Also Like

  • Lauren Ahier
    January 6, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Wow! The photos are beautiful, the food looks delicious, and the note from your sister is so sweet! Thanks for sharing about your trip.

  • Janette
    January 6, 2011 at 9:17 am

    My favourite part about this post (besides the beautiful photos) is the fun & friendship you two obviously display! It encourages me to invest more in the life of my own sister. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jennifer
    January 6, 2011 at 9:26 am

    absolutely stunning photos! of the scenery and two beautiful sisters! what an amazing present; makes me want to hop on a plane and GO!

  • Courtney
    January 6, 2011 at 9:32 am

    They are SUCH a handsome family!

    I love the Ricola photo!

  • Amy
    January 6, 2011 at 9:40 am

    These are AMAZING pictures of your wonderful trip to Italy. My family use to live in Southern Spain and we traveled all over Europe when I was in my teens. I’d LOVE to go back as an adult. It’s such a beautiful place to be and take in. It really reveals so much of our soul in it’s beauty. I am so glad you and Erika were able to take this trip together last summer to celebrate such an important birthday. Thanks for sharing your time there with us.

  • jen
    January 6, 2011 at 9:44 am

    so beautiful…reminds me of my European adventures with my sisters. I would love to know the location of the pic of toes with the pool in the background~maybe somewhere in tuscany?? I need to visit there asap:) thanks for sharing!

  • Carolyn
    January 6, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Is Erin joking me with her house? Wow. The fact that I live about 4 hours from the northern border of Italy and have not been yet is just downright ridic. These pictures are fabulous and now I’m dying to go. What a great b-day gift! Thanks for sharing.

  • Meg
    January 6, 2011 at 10:18 am

    These pictures are beautiful! This makes me miss my sisters. What a blessing that you got to spend such a fun time together! Thanks for sharing about it!

  • Laura
    January 6, 2011 at 10:20 am

    What an amazing trip! I hope you threw a coin into the Trevi Fountain 🙂 Your photos bring back fond memories of my trips to Italy. Maybe someday I can go back and share these memories with Derick.

  • Nelle
    January 6, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Erika’s letter brought tears to my eyes. Just love that you all are so close. What a fabulous trip. Thanks for sharing the photos. It was worth the wait. xoxo

  • Karen
    January 6, 2011 at 10:30 am

    What a wonderful birthday gift! It looks like you had an amazing time!

  • Grace
    January 6, 2011 at 10:39 am

    What a wonderful post! I was excited when I saw the title – I even broke out some chocolate to eat while I enjoyed your photos! 🙂 You both looked so happy – and oh my goodness do they really live in that beautiful place?! The scenery, the architecture, the food!! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Melanie Marsh
    January 6, 2011 at 10:47 am

    The note from Erika gave me chills! That is so sweet and SUCH a cool gift! The photos are amazing- as all of your photos are.
    War Eagle!

  • Sherry
    January 6, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Beautiful!!!! But, you two could make even Detroit look beautiful.
    I want to be a twin! Your relationship seems as beautiful as the scenery. So great that you experienced it together. I loved Italy. I can hardly wait to back and eat 🙂

  • Kelly
    January 6, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Breathtakingly beautiful pictures, trip of a lifetime for sure!

    Even better is seeing the two of you together, what a gift to have each other and such a loving relationship. I hope my two girls (17 months apart) will share a similar bond.

  • Beth
    January 6, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Yep, that’s awesome! 🙂

  • Julie
    January 6, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I was wondering if you’d ever post Italy pics – it seemed so sad to brush by the whole thing! We went last year (a trip to Italy and France) and I could go right back and spend another two weeks. So magical. glad you guys had such a blast – what a blessing to get away and spend time together!

  • debra
    January 6, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Darby…thank you for sharing! I went to Italy for two weeks ten years ago for my 30th birthday. I highly recommend it as the place to turn 30 and celebrate LIFE. Oh how I want to go back…

  • waldo
    January 6, 2011 at 11:53 am

    the yellow sweater, the cough drops, vitamins, and “biological” medications… so funny. what a blast. enjoyed my trip down memory lane!! love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!! when are we going back!??

  • Jenn
    January 6, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Darby, what a spectacular week! Your photos are amazing, and I am sure that your memories are even better. My husband and I are dying to go, but for now, I am still nursing baby #2…maybe someday! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Christine
    January 6, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    L.O.V.E. this. All of it. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Jess
    January 6, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Darby – I love, love, love your Italy photos! What a blessing from your sister. I did a week in Italy and a week in France in high school, and Rome was absolutely amazing! I would love to go back and experience it as an adult… maybe for my 30th birthday?

  • LeAnne
    January 6, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Darby – Thanks for sharing. It looks like your trip was absolutely amazing! Makes me want to go for my 30th birthday. 🙂

  • pam
    January 6, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    i was just thinking about this the other day…. that you had not posted about your trip. thanks for sharing! looks like an awesome trip. italy is on my places-to-see list. happy new year, darby! pam

  • MJ
    January 6, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Goegeous pictures!! I would love to go to Italy one day….

  • Christie
    January 6, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Wow! What a trip! It looks like y’all had a fabulous time, and your pictures are absolutely wonderful!

  • Lori
    January 6, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Oh my!! These are incredible photos! I’m inspired to plan a little trip of my own now! What an amazing place!

  • Anna
    January 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    It looks like you two had an incredible time! I hope that my sister and I always share the closeness you seem to have with your sister!

  • Lynn Campbell
    January 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Oh wow!! These are really beautiful pictures! I probably will never see the area in person so I really enjoyed the photo essay. Though the countryside was beautiful, the architecture was beautiful, the people were beautiful, the cobblestone streets were beautiful, the sisters were beautiful : ) – You had me at the food girl! LOL!!

    My oh my – Olive oil in Italy! : )
    I so enjoyed this post!
    Have a great ‘rest of the week.’

  • elizabeth@kentuckymama
    January 6, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    what a wonderful way to celebrate turning 30! your sister is so generous. I got teary eyed reading what she sent you. You must have been so excited when you got that!!! thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures.

  • Jessica @ These Are The Days
    January 6, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    OH gee’s! So jealous, you’ll get it once you read my latest post. I love all your pics. Beautiful.

  • kristen
    January 6, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Oh, if I could go anywhere in the world it would be Italy!! What an awesome sister you have. This makes me want to take a fun trip with my sister when she turns 30 in a few years!:)

  • Minnesotamom
    January 6, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    I was wondering if you were ever going to post this. So fun! And we must be in the same grade, too…class of ’98?

  • HannahJ
    January 6, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    What an amazing experience- amazing friends- amazing sister! You are so blessed (as I’m sure you are very aware)- what a beautiful trip!

  • Liz
    January 6, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Beautiful pictures! What a fun place to celebrate with your sister! You two are adorable!

  • Melissa
    January 6, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Lovely photos and looks like you guys had an amazing time. What fun neat place and experience. Thanks for sharing.

    Hey what happened to the Bama Bells show do you know? I have been watching for it but never see it on TLC anymore?

  • Kate from Party Resources
    January 6, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Such a great post! I have been to Italy multiple times and it is one of my most favorite spots -especially Tuscany!

  • Ryan
    January 6, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Just recognized some adorable little models in the BBTN catalog that arrived in my mailbox today!!

  • Michelle
    January 6, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    You and Erika are absolutely beautiful! Your pictures are amazing and I’m so happy that you both had such a wonderful time. Your relationship with you sister makes me long for one so much!

  • Leslie
    January 6, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    What amazing pictures! I am jealous! Hopefully one day I’ll get to go back to Europe. Maybe in 15 years when my 3 boys are in college! And I love my red wine chilled a tiny bit – I had no idea it was what the Italian’s do. And I am now craving that pasta and pizza!!

  • Suzette
    January 6, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Wow! Wow! Wow! My husband + I are in the midst of planning a trip…we’ve never been. Is there any way you could share the list of where to go and where not to go? Lovely photos!

  • Regina
    January 6, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Looks amazing- I must go there some day. What fabulous pictures!

  • Sandy Toe
    January 6, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Looks like a wonderful trip…you are very blessed:).

    sandy toe

  • The Monogrammed Mrs.
    January 6, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    LOVE the photos. Looks like you had a great trip. Do you happen to know where the black book case came from? Possibly not a chain place we have in the US but I’m in desperate need of one that’s similar and just wanted to check.

  • Melise
    January 6, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    I’m drooling…..I.want.to.go.so.bad! When (I’m going to go ahead and say when because it makes me commit in my mind) 🙂 I go, I’m going to email you for tips K? GREAT album! 🙂

  • Tiffany
    January 6, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Loved the note from your sis! I’ve traveled through Europe many times with my sister and they are some of my most cherished memories. I couldn’t imagine life without her!

  • Abby Maddox
    January 6, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Worth the wait! Such beautiful pictures and beautiful ladies. There’s nothing like a sister 🙂

  • Meredith
    January 6, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Looks like a great trip! I love Europe! My husband and I go to Germany every couple of years to visit his family and we love it!

  • Michele
    January 6, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    I was hoping you would post photos from your trip to Italy. It was worth the wait. The photos are amazing and I know they don’t begin to capture the beauty of what you saw and experienced. It looks like you had a fantastic trip and made some wonderful memories.

  • kat
    January 6, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Wow, it looks like you had an amazing time! I was fortunate enough to travel to France and Italy back in 2002. I spent six days in Rome, our hotel was right around the corner from the Vatican. Loved every minute!

  • Sara
    January 7, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Love the pictures! I am planning a trip to Italy for my little sister’s 21st in 2 years… I will have to consult with you lots when it gets closer!! I’ve been reading your blog for forever and finally got around to starting one. Check out my second post. I think you will have a new appreciation for the Darby Doll (her hair could be way worse).

  • Perfecting Pru
    January 7, 2011 at 8:19 am

    What beautiful photos Darby. This brought back so many memories of my two trips to Italy – once to Venice for my 21st birthday and to Florence ten years back for a wedding. Thanks for stirring up my memories!

  • Katharina
    January 7, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Thank you for the beautiful pictures! You even make the -what we would call- the “slightly 70th touched beaches” look awesome!
    It really looks like you had an awesome time…so much to see in so little time!

    I just got back from skiing in Swizerland and “Ricola” are one of the products the swiz are proud of and famous for 😉

    You left me with one question…how do you drink your red wine normally?
    Thank you for sharing everything!

  • Katie
    January 7, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Hi. I’m new to your blog (and the whole blogging world for that matter). My friend, Kelli, sent it to me. She knows that my husband & I are going to Italy for 2 weeks this coming June and we are having a hard time deciding if we should stay in Italy for the whole 2 weeks or go back to France for the 2nd week. I’ve written a post on my site about the trip and how we were able to get our tickets for only $59!! Any advice you could share would be greatly appreciated! BTW, I loved your pictures. Thanks! ~Katie

  • Shannon
    January 7, 2011 at 9:31 am

    It looks like such a fun trip! And what a great surprise for your birthday. Thanks for sharing all the photos with us blog stalkers!

  • Catherine
    January 7, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Your pictures were beautiful and brought back many sweet memories from my trip to Italy this past September. Loved your pictures!

  • Lori
    January 7, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Totally unrelated -but how does Rover like his trains???

  • Darlene
    January 7, 2011 at 10:35 am

    a dream!!!!!!!!!!
    {the word ‘jealous’ does not even cover it.. in a nice way, of course!}
    Italy is just magic. I am so glad you got to go!

  • Barbara
    January 7, 2011 at 11:12 am

    GREAT pictures! Thank you for sharing. We recently bought a small home in southern Italy and are blogging about it at nostracasadelsole.wordpress.com. I’ve done a post on your post 🙂 https://nostracasadelsole.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/buon-giorno/

    Thanks for sharing your trip!

  • Marianne
    January 7, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Italy is on my list of places I hope to visit soon. So thrilled you got to share it with your lovely sister! What a gift! Thanks for sharing your photos with us. Such a dream to look at on a very cold and rainy day today!

  • Emily
    January 7, 2011 at 4:19 pm


  • Martina
    January 7, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Oh, thank you for posting these beautiful pictures! My husband and I went to Italy on our honeymoon, 10 years ago, and these pictures brought back memories I hadn’t thought about in years…

  • Kelly.H
    January 7, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Looks like such a great time. What a memorable experience to have with your sister! Thanks for sharing your photos.

  • Lisa
    January 7, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Thanks for sharing!! I have a twin sister as well…can’t imagine my life without her!!

  • Katie
    January 7, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Okay, so I’ve looked at this post about 5 times today and have cried at your sister’s letter every time. 🙂 I have two sisters and got to take a trip to Italy with them, too. SUCH fun memories … if I’d only had you there to take our picture! 😉 Love love love your post and thank you for reminding us (always) of the importance of family. <3

  • emily
    January 8, 2011 at 7:11 am

    looks like an amazing trip! i teared up at your sister’s sweet email — soooo sweet! loved all the pictures (now dying for an italian getaway), and the food looked absolutely divine. mouth is watering, especially for that gelato and the pizza!
    thanks for sharing!

  • Taylor@WiseFamilyLiving
    January 8, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    I like Erin’s shorts. Particularly the gold ones. And the pictures are lovely.

  • Angelina
    January 8, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    I just discovered your blog, and I absolutely love this post. Your pictures are incredibly beautiful, and it looks like you had a wonderful trip.

  • sherene
    January 9, 2011 at 1:21 am

    wow! breathtaking pictures.:))

  • eringianni
    January 9, 2011 at 4:46 am

    darby! thoes pics are beautiful!!! it’s so fun to see parts of my life through your lens. these made me so nostalgic… seems like forever ago. so i know we already laughed about the yellow sweater but do we want to talk about why i am always wearing shorts??!! what is that all about?! miss you girls loads.

  • Misha
    January 9, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    HOW awesome! I am totally in love with traveling but having little ones makes it hard in every way…so glad you got to go somewhere and thoroughly enjoy yourself.

  • Amber
    January 10, 2011 at 2:00 am

    I studied abroad in Greece this summer and really enjoying snapping shots of the Mediterranean beauty! Your picture of the gelato packed into fresh fruit made my cheeks hurt it looked so good! Thanks for sharing your photography Darby. I always look forward to your blog posts!

  • Amanda
    January 10, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Lovely pictures! I was in Italy this past June, as well! It was soooo beautiful. We went to Rome, Florence, Venice, and Naples/Pompeii.

  • Snekcip
    January 10, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Beautiful! I can live vicariously thru you guys!!!

  • Tori
    January 26, 2011 at 12:08 am

    Amazing! Thanks for sharing. If your friend Erin would be willing, I’m sure a ton of us would appreciate a guest blog post from her with her recommendations on what to see/do/eat/etc. 🙂 I’m planning a trip in May for the first time and would love to hear about it!

  • Cheryl
    March 15, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Beautiful post! Makes me want to surprise my sister with a trip of a lifetime.

    Love the purple necklace! Where did you get it??

  • kelsey
    April 22, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I love your style. I think you belong in a J.Crew catalog! 🙂