Posted in Travel Journal

Italy

Hello friends, I am here to tell you all about my wonderful and exciting trip to Italy! Our time in Italy was definitely not enough. We were only there for a week and I felt like a month would have been more appropriate to do the country justice. Alas, modern lives are busy and we made do with a week. Here is the basic breakdown of our trip:

  • Naples-Saturday
  • Pompeii-Sunday
  • Rome-Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
  • Florence-Thursday, Friday, part of Saturday

Naples

And yes the first picture I’m going to share is of this beautiful and delicious pizza. Because the first thing we did when we landed in Naples was check in to the hotel, but the second thing we did (and what we really wanted to do first) was search for pizza.

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I’m embarrassed to admit that I don’t even remember the name of this restaurant. I was just so happy to be eating real pizza (it’s not easy to find in Moscow) that it slipped my mind to make note of it. Luckily, Naples is simply bursting with amazing and charming restaurants. But don’t worry we did things other than just eat on our trip. We spent Saturday evening strolling around this adorable city and went to bed early, because the next day we were planning on starting early…

Pompeii

From Naples we took a bus to Pompeii, the ancient city that was destroyed by an eruption of Mt Vesuvius over 2,000 years ago. Part of what I loved most about this day was our tour guide, Rick Steve’s Audio Guides. Using these guides on our trip allowed us to move along at our own pace and stop and start when we needed to. Rick’s audio tours are entertaining and packed with information! We spent about 4.5 hours wandering around the ancient city and I’m convinced we could have spent at least twice that amount of time. There is just so much to see.

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This is a view of Mt. Vesuvius (I know there is way too much sky but I’m not the photographic genius that my fiance is. Sorry you’re stuck with me!)
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One of the main roads in Pompeii, just picture ancient people dressed in togas and riding in horse drawn carriages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rome

The first day in Rome was Monday, we checked into the hotel and planned out our next few days. Monday afternoon we did a walking tour (Heart of Rome Walking Tour) and stopped for some gelatto (apparently if you don’t pronounce gelatto with a hard T they can’t understand you).

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Obviously the highlights of this tour were the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. But just walking around the city was incredible. We were of course harassed by people trying to sell us selfie sticks and other things we did not want but that didn’t take away from the experience, just added a little touristy goodness.

Tuesday was a big day for sightseeing, we went to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Capitol Hill. The Colosseum was incredible and hearing an explanation of the importance and extravagance of this site made me feel like I was watching the gladiators battle right in front of me. It was the same with the Roman Forum. It’s really hard to believe that these places have survived all this time and now we get to walk around inside of them and get a glimpse of what ancient life in Rome was like. And just think, people actually live in these cities, like right now. Can you imagine waking up in the morning and having the Colosseum be the first thing you see when you look out your window? Pretty spectacular. Once again we used our beloved audio guides for The Colosseum and The Roman Forum. Did I mention that they are completely free? I know, amazing.

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The Colosseum
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The Arch of Constantine

Wednesday we went to the Vatican City and toured the museums in the morning. There were so many incredible things to see; the tapestries, the paintings and sculptures and of course the Sistine Chapel. Guys I hate to say it but it was smaller than I thought it would be. Not that it wasn’t spectacular and thanks to Rick Steve’s Vatican City audio tour and Sistine Chapel audio guide we got an excellent explanation of the history and magnificence of both! Unfortunately you’re not allowed to take pictures in the Sistine Chapel so I don’t have any photographic evidence, but we were there I swear!

Thursday  morning we hopped on the train to Florence!

Florence

I’m afraid Florence is a bit jumbled so I’m probably going to mix up what we did on which days, but you won’t know the difference will you?

Thursday afternoon we went to the Accademia and saw Michelangelo’s David. I stood in front of it for about 20 minutes just staring. It was truly magnificent. I see these things in movies and on TV so often that it was difficult to grasp that I was actually looking at the real thing. After the Accademia we went on the Renaissance Walking Tour, which took us to a bunch of the interesting sites around Florence. We stopped along the way for some gelatto and snacks, you know how hungry you get being all touristy and what not. Thursday evening we called it a night pretty early so we could get the most out of our last full day in Florence.

Friday morning we climbed the steps to the top of the Duomo, which was incredible and exhausting. I don’t remember exactly how many steps there were but it was A LOT. But the view was amazing:

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View from the top of the Duomo (my picture just doesn’t do it justice)

After lunch we spent Friday afternoon in the Uffizi gallery, probably the most impressive art gallery I have ever seen. There were so many incredible works of art, and famous pieces that I have heard so much about and seeing them up close was just spectacular. And thanks to Rick Steve’s Uffizi audio tour we were entertained and informed along the way.

Whew! I’m sure you are just overwhelmed right now after reading all of this so let me just leave you with one last thing. Saturday morning we rented a car (a tiny little smart car, so fun) and drove about an hour outside the city to Greve in Chianti. There were no grapes on the vines but we drove to the top of a hill and just enjoyed the views. Italy is definitely not lacking in scenic views, people.

Have you ever been to Italy? What was your favorite or least favorite thing? Leave your answer in the comments!

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