From Rome to Venice – 17 Days of Italian Joy
I know what you’re going to say…a blog post about Italy of all places … why now? Well, in a year or so borders will have reopened, travel will be encouraged, and tourism is going to need a major boost. Especially in hard hit places like Italy. Did you know that 14% of all the money the country of Italy makes is from tourism? Think about if we just quit going.
You’d be missing out on one of the greatest, most historic, timeless, romantic, elegant countries in the world. Venice is so romantic, Rome historic, and everything in between just adds to the magic.
Of the many wonders in Rome we were able to spend time at the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Four Rivers, The Roman Forum, and the Colosseum. We also saw the catacombs of tombs from the 14th century and indulged daily in Aperol Spritz, a delicious drink which helped squelch the mid-day heat.
We also made it into the Vatican Museums, spending ample time in the Sistine Chapel, and finishing in St. Peter’s Basilica and Square. Embalmed popes were displayed throughout the Basilica, freaking me out quite a bit.
After Rome, we drove south to the city of Pompeii. At this point, I didn’t think anything else could be as impressive as the marble fountains and cobblestone streets of magnificent Rome. I was wrong.
The enormity of Pompeii is incomprehensible. I learned quite a bit about the explosion of Mt. Vesuvius as well. Many of the residents of Pompeii had already left because there was a warning of an impending eruption, so the majority of those people who died were servants and poorer residents.
We left Pompeii and drove the short way to the Amalfi Coast. As you round a corner, you come down the side of a mountain to see the Mediterranean Sea stretched out before you, the small coastal towns speckle the edge of the sea.
We spent the night swimming in the warm waters, before heading out by boat to the island of Capri.
Capri is an island similar to St. Bart’s. The rich and famous go there to relax and restore, and to visit the Blue Grotto. The blue waters sparkle off the edge of the white cliffs creating hues of turquoise and royal blue. The best place to take in Capri is from the water.
When we arrived in Florence, our first adventure was to climb the Duomo. After the first section of stairs, we were all worn out, but the best was yet to come.
When we walked out into the dome of the Duomo, our breaths were taken away. Painted by Giorgio Vasari, the dome depicts images from the Last Judgement.
The top of the Cupola looks out over all of Florence, the red tile roofs glistening pristinely in the mid afternoon sun. We spent a good amount of time on top, simply taking in the view before our dinner of Florentine steak, mushroom risotto, and sage gnocchi.
We found the food and drink in the Tuscany region to be of higher quality than elsewhere in Italy and relished any time we had the chance to eat 🙂 Our last night in Florence we went to the Michelangelo Square and watched a gorgeous sunset over the city.
The next week consisted of time in the Tuscan towns of San Gimignano, Volterra, Montepulciano, and Pisa, we visited vineyards, were blessed by an infamous coppersmith, ate world famous gelato, toured one of the largest Etruscan museums in the world, took a cooking class from Il Vicario (a local agriturismo), ate all the food, and definitely enjoyed a bottle (or twenty) of wine.
From there we headed north to Cinque Terre, the historic five cities by the sea. Taking an evening cruise, we celebrated our friends seventh wedding anniversary, eventually watching our guide spear the fish we would eat for dinner.
The next two days consisted of visiting the various cities and relaxing by the Mediterranean. Our last night we were privy to the local saint’s celebration, getting to take in parades, flower decor on the streets and an epic fireworks display to Nessum Dorma. There were literal tears from how beautiful it was.
Our last stop was Venice. Talk about romance!!! We arrived at night, so we immediately hopped onto a Vaparetto, essentially a water taxi. The next two days we traveled to the Rialto Bridge, through Doge’s Palace, past the Bridge of Sighs, toured the Golden Altar of St. Mark’s Basilica, and went out to the islands of Murano and Burano.
Capping off an incredible adventure, we took a private Gondola ride through the canals of Venice, capped off with a sunset on the Grand Canal.
Each day was hotter than the next, but we couldn’t have cared less, since this trip was phenomenal in every way.
Center of Arts