I’m back from a sunny, salty, lazy week in Italy with my mom, @dportale. We spent some time in Rome + then a remote little beach club on the Amalfi Coast. I realize this sounds like a very...I don’t know, romantic trip—but don’t worry, before we left my mom and I discussed that she will play the role of my Instagram boyfriend (thx for the pics mom!). We decided to take a trip together because 1. We love Italy! My mom is Italian, and 2. Like me—Donnamarie rarely goes on vacations. It was the perfect moment to join forces for a mother-daughter journey in the name of Aperol spritzes, rocky beaches, and cheaper-than-in-the-U.S. Santa Maria Novella.
First thing we had to agree upon: fitting both of our things in just one suitcase. Norwegian Airlines has strict baggage policies (read: expensive unless you have a single backpack)—so we opted to check one bag for the two of us. That meant one to two bags of toiletries, total. In my pink pouch: Clarins self tanner drops, Priming Moisturizer, Milky Jelly Mini, Agent Nateur deodorant, this sunscreen, Tan Luxe drops, Tahiti Monoi oil + things to brush my teeth. In my little white train case: travel sized Carnal Flower, Chanel Tan de Soleil, La Prairie Lip Liner in Nude, Cloud Paint in Dawn, and a few lipsticks. I don’t consider myself a minimalist in any aspect of my life, but the lighter baggage was a surprisingly welcome change.
In Rome, we stayed at the charming Hotel Locarno—where the bathrooms are gorgeous, the breakfast is free, and the courtyard is the most peaceful place in the city (though watch out for the pigeons—they are ruthless!). The #1 thing I wanted to do in this city was go to the Galleria Borghese. What was once a grand family home now houses some of the most beautiful art I’ve ever seen in my life; Bernini, Bassano, Caravaggio, DaVinci—heaven. Seeing Apollo e Daphne by Bernini in person was a special moment for us both.
Our last stop in Rome—the Santa Maria Novella store near the Piazza Navono. A tiny ancient-feeling apothecary filled with beautiful products. In my cart: burning papers, Orange Blossom Toner, Nostalgia Profumo, and a little soap dish. I regret not picking up the Sun Oil—which I later found out is only available in Italy. Next time! Also in great Italian beauty shops--Kiko Milano stores, which are all over Rome. Their formulas have an incredible quality but are pretty cheap. I picked up the eyeshadow sticks in pinks and blues to wear when I go out—they’re creamy, stay put, and have a beautiful glitter-flecked payoff.
After a windy, cliffside journey, we arrived in the charming fishing village of Nerano. Our own miniature paradise in a pretty seaside room, with a balcony overlooking the hotel restaurant and beach. The place is Conca del Sogno, which translates to “little bay of dreams.” Swimming in that tiny bay, I felt like I was safe inside a seashell—full of translucent turquoise water.
Every morning we woke up late to the sound of ocean waves and headed downstairs for colazione. Usually a basket of pastries and a cappuccino with milk. Like milk-milk… not almond or oat. Everything is so pure there! After changing into my bathing suit, I’d coat myself in Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch SPF 50 (it smells like the Banana Boat memories of youth), to which I added drops of self tanner. Tan and protect at the same time! Then I swam far out in the water—my mom doesn’t swim, so she’d watch me from the shore.
After lunch, a shower, and a nap, my mom and I packed up our things and headed out for a 25-minute cliffside journey to the next town over, Marina del Cantone. It was full of little shops and a few small restaurants. We stumbled upon the only alimentari in a many mile radius. There we picked up a block of cheese and some ham, along with apples, cherries, sparkling water, roasted hazelnuts, and mini bottles of wine. The shop had a wall full of brightly colored hair accessories, so I brought a bunch back to my friends and co-workers. Then we drove back to our hotel room to enjoy everything out on our balcony.
A decaf cappuccino as the sun went down and then lights out. I honestly don’t think I’ve slept better in my life than I did when I was there, in that “little bay of dreams.” A four day salty-prosciutto-sweet-melon-ice-cream-saltwater-sunscreen-smell blur.
Photos via the author.