I’ve had four full days of recovery since my trip to Italy, so I suppose I can’t put this blog off any longer. Get ready for Rome, Florence, and Venice!
I met my parents at the station in Rome after a long night on the train from Paris. We spent the afternoon exploring the area around our hotel, throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain and making it all the way to the edge of the Forum before we decided to turn back. One siesta and gelato cone later, we ventured back out to eat a massive dinner at one of Rome’s many delicious restaurants.
The next two days followed the same format: morning exploration and structured sight-seeing, afternoon siesta, and evening meal and strolling. We visited the Spanish Steps and people-watched for ages, saw Bernini’s famous Fountain of the Four Rivers at the Piazza Navona, walked through the Pantheon, Palatine Hill, and the Forum, stood in the ruins of the Colosseum, gaped at the Sistine Chapel, and ate our weight in gelato and pizza. We were also shocked by the excess of the Vatican. We walked through rooms filled with priceless artifacts that I’m pretty sure could feed a third-world country for many years. Why are they collecting dust in the Pope’s house? Alas, a rant for another day. Remind me to get back to that.
Next, we hopped a train to Florence, and immediately continued on our quest to eat our way through Italy. Mother and I found the best soup in the entire world-ribollita-which is a sort of bean/veggie/bread/oatmeal magical treat that I will try to make as soon as I return home. We spent most of the rest of our time in Italy trying to find ribollita on every restaurant menu. Of course, we also did the usual sight-seeing and visited the Uffizi and Academia museums to see a lifetime’s worth of statues and Madonnas. Michelangelo’s David stands at the Academia, and I could have spent all day just staring up at that perfect work. To simply see pictures in a book is not enough to comprehend the absolute beauty that is this statue. You must go see it! Florence was also our main place for major purchases-the gorgeous leather and Florentine metal work were too unique to pass up. Shopping is always more fun when my mother’s around to enable me.
After three days in Florence, the crew headed toward Venice, where we started the trip with a boat ride to our hotel. I knew Venice was the city of canals, but I never realized that there really is no other form of transportation there! Cars are banned on Venetian streets, and I never saw any sort of scooter or bike, either. So, you walk through cramped little alleyways and over countless bridges to get anywhere. It feels a little claustrophobic sometimes, until you pop out onto a grand piazza and feel a sudden gust of wind off the water. In Venice, we visited the Doge’s (mayor’s) palace, crossed the Rialto Bridge, watched traditional Murano glass blowers fine tune their crafts, and listened to quartets play to a full moon on the Piazza San Marco. Glorious, romantic, and expensive.
While Italy was beautiful, colorful, and held so many famous things to see and do, it was made even better by the fact that I was with my parents. Yes, traveling with family can be a little frustrating, but five months away from home is a long time, and it was nice to see them again. Tomorrow’s post will detail our return to Tours!