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Buffalo, Ruins, and Beaches, oh my!

Admittedly, my Italy bucket list is not small. So when we finally had our first long weekend where I could start checking some locations off my list, I was super excited. I decided for our first trip we’d take a drive down to Paestum. This small town in the Campagnia region is home to some of the country’s best buffalo mozzarella farms, Greek ruins and big sandy beaches.

When I planned our trip the weather was amazing. High 70’s and sunny… perfect for an off-season beach trip. Of course I had planned to spend our whole first day on the beach, but when we arrived in Paestum (which is a quick and easy drive from Naples) the weather was cloudy, windy and chilly. After checking into our gorgeous hotel which I highly recommend, The Oleandi Resort, we decided to venture out to grab some lunch and find a buffalo mozzarella farm. Thankfully there are a few amazing travel Facebook groups that had posts raving about Tenuta Vannulo. It took a bit for us to find it but it was a fun little visit with the girls. Tenuta Vannulo is an organic farm that tries to make life more natural and less stressful on the animals. Our girls were so excited to check out the adorable buffalo that make the delicious products sold on property and watch them eat some lunch and get buffalo massages. The property is absolutely gorgeous and offers tours, an on-site restaurant, dessert shop and caseificio (cheese store). We all enjoyed some decadent gelato after exploring but I didn’t take any photos of that because I was too busy stuffing my face with a giant cone of pistachio ice cream.

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Day two meant a trip to the Paestum ruins. This was the major reason for our trip. It was supposed to be the last day of the hot air balloon festival and I was hoping to grab some shots of the balloons launching around the ruins but the event was pretty much over. We only saw one balloon grounded while we were there. Oh well, it was still amazing. The Greek ruins at Paestum are some of the most well-preserved Greek ruins in the world. Our entrance ticket included a visit to the National Archeological Museum of Pasteum, but based on some reviews we had read and the fact that we have two kids under 5 we decided, to skip that. The girls were completely happy walking around the ruins and picking dandelions. The ruins are another one of those goosebump inducing sights and when the light hits them just right, they illuminate with the most gorgeous golden glow that stop you in your tracks. I wish we could have visited at sunrise, but toddlers. haha. My absolute favorite part of this trip was that my hubby was able to capture what may be my favorite photograph of me and my girls ever taken in front of the gorgeous Temple of Hera. This one will definitely be printed and framed on the wall.

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Day three meant it was time to wrap up and start heading home. After another amazing breakfast at the hotel which included pastries, cold cuts, local cheeses, a cereal bar, fruit, fresh breads, etc. we headed back to the room to pack up. We had to take a trip over to the beach before we left. The beach at the Oleandi Resort is located after a walk through a pine forest. The kids got a kick out of walking through the “spooky trail.” Once the kids saw the sand that was it! They were so excited to be moving to the city on the coast but are not digging the rocky beaches. This giant sandy beach was more than perfect for them. The beach features a full service restaurant, lounge chairs and was absolutely dead on this Monday morning. The hubby and I enjoyed a few hours of relaxation with some local beer and stunning Mediterranean views while the girls played in the sand. The water was a bit too cold for swimming, but that didn’t bother them one bit. They were just happy to dig and build sand castles. I think my oldest finding a snail under the table was the highlight of the whole trip for her. She spent an hour watching that little guy.

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Overall, our trip to Paestum was our favorite thus far in Italy! It was super kid friendly and everything exceeded our expectations from our gorgeous beach resort to our tourist excursions. Definitely add Paesteum to your bucket list if you haven’t been yet. If you’ve already been I’d love to hear about your experience… make sure to comment below!

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