Happy Friday! I’m back to blog about some Italy details. Aditya and I did over a week in Italy for our 2nd wedding anniversary. Italy was amazing. You could feel the richness in history, the depth of the Italian culture, and the beauty of the ancient gems. Italian food is really bold and flavorful! Since I’m not quite into meat other than chicken and fish, I didn’t have many options other than pizza and pasta. Italians are more into seafood and cured meats. The wine, however, is exceptional and strong. The people are kind, but since it is Europe, we found ourselves often frustrated with poor service (snooty Americans!). Every now and then we would have to speak Spanish since some Italians didn’t understand English. We took a sigh of relief when we took refuge in a Pakistani cafe (how ironic, huh!) late at night, where Aditya lovingly spoke Urdu and got us some Pakistani rice to ease our otherwise cheese/carb/tomato palettes.
I must add that in several tourist spots it felt a bit strange to see armed guards with huge guns. That’s also something we don’t really see around here. Anyways, coming through with some deets…
We flew Alitalia non-stop Boston to Rome and traveled by the high speed Italo in club level seats so that we were assured no pick-pocketers (a common threat in Italian trains). Flights were purchased through Priceline, train tickets were purchased on raileurope.com, hotels were purchased on various sites (I scooped out the best deals). We took Viator tours and ItalyOnABudgetTours, and we loved them! These we actually booked last minute so that we could really feel what we wanted to see and do once we landed in Italy (if you know me, waiting until the last minute is usually blasphemous! But worked out so well).
Here’s a breakdown of our itinerary and major highlights:
- Venice – 2 nights
- Grand Canal
- Doge’s Palace
- St Mark’s square and basicila
- Florence – 3 nights
- Uffizi Gallery Museum
- Tower of Pisa and Cinque Terre
- Galileo Museum
- Piazzele Michelangelo
- Naples -2 nights
- Castell del Ovo – Fort
- Mt Vesuvius
- Rome – 3 nights
- St Peter’s Basilica
- Castle Santa Angelo
- Sistine Chapel
- Roman Forum
- Monti (Nightlife)
- Trevi fountain
Daytimes were filled with touring, waking up at 5a.m. and running around exploring.In the daytime I really felt the Mediterranean sun! At night we relaxed to some date nights and nightlife. Nightlife was mostly quiet, nothing overly crazy.
Venice was a quaint city. The city is entirely on water so you travel through the canals on a waterbus (vaporetto). It was really pretty and cute. We only had two days there since there’s not too much to see other than the overall city.
I had a hunch I would love Tuscany and I did enjoy Florence a lot. Here we checked out the Uffizi and saw some Da Vincis. We got a panoramic view of Tuscany from Piazzele Michelangelo. My favorite part of our trip was Cinque Terre, which was a few hours away from Florence. Cinque Terre was heavenly!
Next stop was Naples. Naples was not such a great city (lots of crime) but we stayed near a Fort, so we were near tourist sites and we had a beautiful view of Mt Vesuvius. We absolutely had to check out the Amalfi coast. We took a tour that drove us all the way up the Amalfi and a boat cruise as well. It was beautiful! We also checked out Pompeii.
Lastly, we ended our trip in Rome. Aditya and I love natural beauty but also enjoy city life and it’s wonders. Rome was a breathe of fresh air and was reminiscent of NYC but with an ancient vibe. Here we checked out the Colosseum, Vatican, and Sistine Chapel. The famous Michelangelo painting of God and Adam was nice to see, but I was unimpressed (not sure why just that piece was famous). The entire Sistine chapel overall was impressive, however, so Michelangelo’s other work seems to be underrated. Italy had such great and talented artists, including Michelangelo, Raphael (The School of Athens), and da Vinci ( some pieces in Uffizi, Florence). An appreciation for good art is a must when visiting Italia!
The ancient sites in Rome were magnificent. We loved the Colosseum. It felt magical and was such a wonder. Nightlife in Monti was nice, with some cute bars, restaurants, and live music. The Trevi fountain was beautiful at night.
Overall, Italy was beautiful! Since we successfully left our mark on Italia, we are on to our next conquests…