Thursday, March 26, 2015

Italy... Venice & Rome

 So... the first leg of our Italian Vacation was actually a short stop in Venice.
After Our international flight to Germany, a short morning flight to Venice, and navigating the bus system to our hotel, we actually weren't settled in until late afternoon.

Leaving us with one full day in this beautiful place.

 We bought bus passes first thing and were able to travel via land or water with the passes.
WE LOVED the water buses in Venice (although this was our absolute coldest day in Italy).
It made navigating the city so much easier.

These buildings were along the boat ride to the Island of Murano... which is famous for glass blowing. 
Again... we experienced ZERO crowds here and even got our own private glass blowing exercise for a total of 4 euro.

We knew we MUST see the Piazza San Marco and the Basilica so started the day (after Murano) looking for the basilica.  
Little did we know, we took photos of the side of the basilica early that morning.

After these we proceeded to "get lost" in Venice for the next hour or so (which in Venice is totally easy to do)

Finally found it.....again
Piazza San Marco

The rest of the day was spent exploring, eating gelato, and Lawrence drank his first (and most likely last) espresso.

This was my absolute favorite spot in all of Venice. 
We explored some back alleys where little to no people could be found..... 

Fun fact:
Venice CHARGES for bathrooms. And they are not the easiest places to find.
We spent over 10 euro alone that day in paying for public toilets

And our last portion of the trip was Rome. 
We had the most time in Rome which was perfect because:
#1. We were at this point Exhausted
#2. Rome is HUGE! and spread out.  We took all 3 days to the fullest to see all of the sites possible and STILL didn't get to everything.

Rome was also extremely most busy and crowded than the other cities and we had to take the always crowded metro to get around the city. So I really only took my "fancy" camera along for the first afternoon in see the Colosseum.

No kidding:  this is the view you get upon stepping off of the Metro

The Arch of Constantine


We actually decided to pay for a tour of the Colosseum and the ancient Roman Forum....

which became a giant bummer as we got our tour of the Colosseum, but didn't get to do the Roman Forum because of time constraints.


It was especially cool to come to Rome with Lawrence, who LOVES Roman history.
I learned a ton just listening to my own personal historian.



And thats that.
I'd go back tomorrow if I could.
We had the best trip, took 1 million photos, and genuinely just enjoyed exploring together.


My incredibly thoughtful, sweet, graciously loving husband (He's awesome guys) surprised me back in MAY with the Italian Vacation we've talked about since we've known each other.

We FINALLY made it to Italy in January and spent 9 days, just the 2 of us, traveling, exploring, and eating So.Much.Food. 

It was incredible.
Florence was actually our 2nd Stop on the Italian tour, but It was my favorite so those are the shots you'll see first.

And keep in mind. This is simply the highlights...there was so much more that we saw (and took photos of)

The Square outside of Santa Croce

We will forever travel internationally in Winter when possible..... to see this square empty is unheard of.  In addition to less crowds, prices were cheaper, waits for major sites were NON-EXISTANT, and you aren't sweating to death walking miles and miles each day through the city.

Santa Croce

Detail at the entrance to Santa Croce

This church is home to the tombs of Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Galileo, and holds the empty tomb of Dante (among countless other tombs)

The Duomo
(Remains the 4th Largest church in Europe)

My man buying street art
(we try to buy a little bit of art from each place we visit)

:) The "Gate of Paradise" by Ghiberti

Of all of the 3 cities we visited, Florence had the MOST beautiful landscape and architecture.

He was quite the photographer on this trip.
I actually think he took more photos than I did

Midday on our last day in Florence we decided to make the hike up to Piazzale Michelangelo
It started COLD raining about 10 mins in, but we ventured up to the top for the most famous views of the city. 

Favorite Day of Italy by far.

There you have it..... a taste of Florence from my eyes.