life on pine

Italy

ball and groom: wedding day

Kate Parrish4 Comments


choosing words to explain how special and romantic this day was, is really hard.  intimate ... stunning ... dreamy ... loving ... cozy all come to mind, but certainly don't do it any justice. the morning-of was relaxed and pleasant. we had a typical italian breakfast and all the girls gathered in the villa to gossip and such before we started to get ready. we sipped more champagne, ate chocolate croissants [which seemed appropriate before putting on evening gowns], threw on robes, had our hair and make up crafted by some italian babes, listened to tunes, took more photos with magnus, laughed a lot and all of a sudden it was time for D & E to get HITCHED.   

it rained the entire day in the most romantic and moody way that i'll never forget. there is something so special about seeing a bride gathering up her dress underneath an umbrella, hopping into a vintage fiat with her dad and driving off to the chapel. i cried the entire way down the aisle and afterwards the sky opened up to give everyone a dry stroll to the reception. the rest of the evening was spent drinking delicious wine, swooning over the FOB and brotherOB's speeches, dancing a LOT,  watching the craziest fireworks show i've ever seen,  swimming in our gowns, packing into the sauna and tucking into bed at 4:30am. this bride and groom know how to party, and i can't wait to share some of the profesh photos...

opa!
 

^^ these last two are scenes from the day after. beers and rosé were the only things to help us get through the sadness of leaving. take me back! 


 

an italian wedding weekend at il borro toscana

Kate Parrish4 Comments


IL BORRO:
as i mentioned in this post, our main reason for visiting italy was for my BFF's wedding in tuscany. this was something we had been looking forward to for months and it exceeded my already very high expectations for an epic and beautiful experience. the whole weekend felt like a dream. after a relaxing week in the dolomites & florence, we were ready to party with friends and family at the insanely gorgeous il borro toscana. this place's beauty and coziness honestly cannot be put into words. set on a 1,000 year old castle estate, this 1800 acre farmstay has been owned by the ferragamo family since 1993, and consists of elegant villas, farmhouses and a small medieval village [which is where we stayed]. they have horseback riding, wine tasting, spa treatments, cooking classes, delicious food and and all around  good vibes. a true step back in time and we immediately dreaded leaving when we arrived, which is always a good sign.

the wedding crew consisted of about 65 people, all of which were staying on the property and were bus'ed in from florence & rome, where we sipped champagne and started the celebration early. 

PRE-WEDDING:
once we arrived we quickly found ourselves surrounding the bride & groom over more champagne and much needed catching up. the rest of our first couple days here were spent: getting acquainted at the welcome dinner right outside the village in one of the most beautiful settings i've ever seen. we ate pizza, drank spritz's, sang along to classical italian tunes, ate gelato and laughed until i cried [literally]. we watched the dudes play tennis, shot cool pre-wedding stuff with the oh-so-talented magnus, picnicked by the pool, rehearsal dinner'ed, danced [a lot], cried [some more], laughed and... well, so much more. 

i cannot believe this weekend already came and went, but i am so grateful to have been included to celebrate one of my favorite families. a few favorite photos from pre-wedding-day ...
 


 

exploring florence: a mini weekend travel guide

Kate ParrishComment


the last time i was in florence i was 20 years old visiting my best friend who was studying abroad [i was also studying at the time in paris]. of course, i did not appreciate the city as much as i should have at that age, and faintly remembered trattorias & osterias around every corner, twice as many gelato shops, museums, cathedrals, the raw beauty & size of the duomo, shops, bridges, sunset views ... and wine. lots of wine. 

i was so excited to return to florence with friends and family to refresh my memory on why it is such a special place to so many people. i was quickly reminded the second we drove in – the instant feeling of charm and rich culture mixed with modern developments carefully placed amongst deep history. we only had 3 nights / 2 days here, and the weather was beautiful. we decided to skip museums and spend most of our time exploring on foot. we ate delicious food, finished each meal with gelato, drank many spritzs & bottles of wine, walked and walked to burn off the pasta and wine, and tried to avoid anything that seemed touristy. some of our favorite moments:

EXPLORE:
penga drogheria this little shop filled with local italian goods and treats reminded me of the italian version of a vida portuguesa which i mention in this post | mercato centrale come hungry to this 2 story market, as they have any and every kind of vendor you can imagine [fresh fish, homemade pasta, vegetables, meat, pizza, salads, gelato, wine, beer, cooking classes....] |  this street sign artist | sunset with friends and champagne at michelangelo plazagelateria della passera & gelateria grom

EAT & DRINK
ditta artigianale cafe this bar and coffee shop has cool vibes and is popular for coffee or brunch [2 locations] we went here twice | osteria vini e vecchi sapori [lunch] traditional tuscan restaurant that is popular amongst locals – call ahead for reservations [lunch or dinner, no frills place and worth the planning ahead]. | lo sprone vinaino [dinner] down home Italian in a very small space with a cozy atmosphere. the dishes were traditional and standout delicious. del fagioli [dinner] famous for their steak florentine (huge chunk of meat!) and all of the pasta and other dishes we had were very good. | coquinarius [dinner] around the corner from penga drogheria, delicious food, deep wine menu and very friendly service .

 


 

a very remote mountain getaway: hotel briol & val di funes

Kate ParrishComment


after our time in the eastern dolomites we moved west [to the more german/austrian region] and met up with two besties for a remote getaway at hotel briol near val di funes. we had read about this hotel in a few various write ups [like here and here] and were intrigued by the design & unique location tucked in the mountains. 

HOTEL BRIOL:
is actually way more remote that we realized. when you arrive, you park your car at the bottom of the mountain and are then taxi'ed up in a 4x4 mountain mobile by a true legend of a driver. this means you're likely not leaving the property during your visit which is definitely not a bad thing. the rooms are extremely cozy, nature surrounds you and there are a ton of hikes that leave right from the property. tyrolean breakfast & lunch are included with your stay, and dinner is served each night in the rustic-y dining area. if you plan on drinking multiple bottles of wine during your visit like us, i would recommend packing a few of your own to save $.
rooms start at about $69/night/person. 

THE EXPERIENCE:
our room was simple and chic with a beautiful view. that being said, we were a 10 minute up-hill walk away from the main dining area/common room of the hotel [where they had all the food & drinks]. but it actually made for a hilarious memory of trekking uphill together each day [and one night in the pouring rain]. if i were to do it again though i would make sure that i booked a room in the main house. if you're looking for a place to just getaway and be one with nature – this is truly the spot. no one will ever find you here. 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM OUR VISIT:
we stayed for 2 nights and spent our one full day hiking to unterhorn rifugio. the hike was absolutely stunning and a great workout, which of course made us happy to see schnitzel and beer [and grapa] when we finally arrived. italy's trails are very well marked, however we found a way to got lost on the way back to briol which made for a borderline scary, but funny experience. later we soaked warmed up in the sauna and drank entirely too much wine with dinner, and actually ended up sleeping 4 wide in a king bed together. here are a few favorite photos from our visit...
 

 

^^ VAL DI FUNES:
is a must see during your visit to the western dolomites, [about a 45 minute drive from bolzano]. we followed the map to the church of st. magdalena and had to climb into some private property to get the photo you see here, but i'm sure there are non illegal ways to get the same shot ;). 


 

adventure in italy: 4 hikes you need to do in the dolomites

Kate ParrishComment


HIKE #1: CHIESETTA DI SAN DIONISIO
closest town: pozzale di cadore
hiking time & distance: 6 – 7 hours [12 miles & 1,200 meters of elevation gain] round trip
along the way: stop @ forc. antracisa and then head on to andelao refugio – if you hit the season/timing right, you can have a beer and some pasta while enjoying the incredible views on their patio. leaving the refugio, hike up to the church [chiesetta di san dionisio] – from up here there are stunning 360 degree views over the mountains and valleys.
tips: there are plenty of water fill ups and picnic tables along the way
 


HIKE #2: LAKE MISURINA & TRE CIME DI LAVEREDO
closest town: misurina  
hiking time & distance: 3.5 hours round trip, see trail guide
along the way: go east to start the loop, and make sure to look out for the tiny horses! during the season, you can also stop at one of the refugios for a snack or drink.
tips: it's 25 euro to get into the park where this hike is. you can park outside the gate and bus in for cheaper, or alternatively we hitchhiked with other hikers that were driving in to avoid paying the fee. 
 


HIKE #3: LAGO DI SORAPISS
closest town: cortina d'ampezzo
hiking time & distance: 4 hours round trip, about 8 miles total [trail guide
along the way: start at tre croci pass & take trail 215 the entire time, it's easy to follow. there is a little bit of traversing along a cliff, but there is sturdy metal wires keeping you away and it’s extremely safe. this hike is not for anyone who is afraid of heights! 
tips: bring lunch for your arrival at the lake! there are a ton of little nooks for private picnics, and it's a very peaceful place to relax after a long uphill hike. plus, the whole way home is easy. we brought 2 beers that we chilled in the ice cold lake.

HIKE #4: LAGO DI BRAIES: “pearl of the dolomites” 
hiking time & distance: trail guide (1.5 hour easy hike) leaves from the hotel
along the way: this lake is very beautiful and worth seeing – however, it is likely one of the most touristy things in the dolomites, expect to see a lot of other people here. we decided to skip the hike to make more time for lago di sorapiss – however if you're looking for a more casual stroll that is still beautiful – this is the perfect place. don't leave without popping your head into the vintage hotel pragser wildsee.
 



my hiking gear: top | long sleeve | shell | puffy [kids XL] | | leggings | pants | backpack | hiking boots | sports bra 
kyle's hiking gear: tshirt | shorts | jacket

more of what's in my pack can be found here