Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Trip Recap: Italy

The majority of my trip was spent in Italy. I traveled with my little sister and three of her friends who are studying abroad with her. We started our trip by flying from Athens to Milan. We got to Milan in the evening and left the next morning, so we didn't have much time there. Our hostel was a little tiny place, definitely the worst we stayed in for the trip. But hey, it was pretty clean and we all got hot showers, so not too much to complain about! After we settled in to our hostel, we went across the street and had dinner at Due Chef, where I ate the best pizza I have ever had in my life!
Here's my prosciutto pizza....yum!

In the morning, we had a couple of hours to site see before we took a train to Venice. We started at the eastern side of the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, which is a major shopping strip in Milan. Here's a view down the street to the Duomo.
A fun window display at Furla on Corso Vittorio Emanuele II
And at the end of the shopping strip, the Duomo! This was one of the most beautiful buildings I saw in all of Italy.

The arch at the entrance to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in the Piazza del Duomo
A beautiful little flower shop on the street with some old Milano architecture in the background
We continued walking down Corso Vittorio Emanuele II until we got to the Sforza Castle.
And that wraps up our whirlwind tour of Milan! We didn't get to see much since we had an 11:30 train to Venice. We saw some beautiful scenery out the windows of the train and I'm sad I didn't catch any good pictures! Just imagine the Italian countryside with snow capped mountains in the background...gorgeous!

After 3.5 hours on the train, we arrived in Venice! Here's the view we saw when we exited the train station.
There are tons of little bridges in Venice that had amazing views! We got a girls' picture overlooking the buildings along the riverbank. On the left is my sister's best friend Lauren, and my sister Rachel on the right. Check us out in our backpacking gear! :)

Venice is full of winding streets, some with the canal in between, and of course, gondolas! We decided not to ride one because it was a little pricey.
After making our way through the winding streets and taking in the scenery, we make our way to St Mark's Square. Here's a look at the Campanile (bell tower) in the square.
And here is St Mark's Basilica.

We spent some time checking out the square and then decided to make our way back to the train station so we could get to our hostel. It was cold! Walking around with our backpacks all day had us exhausted. This was the moment on my trip when I realized 1) I am out of shape compared to 20 year olds (I couldn't keep up!) and 2) my riding boots which I thought were comfortable, were not at all! Walking on cobblestone streets in boots with no arch support does nothing for your feet- oww!

After an hour walk back to the train station, sneaking on a train, getting off at the wrong stop and getting freaked out, we finally made it to our hostel! We had to be up at 5 am the next morning for our flight to Rome, so we went to bed early.

We got into Rome around 11:00 the next day and decided to head straight to our hostel to set our backpacks down before we started exploring. We were on the third floor of the building and had a pretty nice street view outside our window.
I had a nice lunch at the Merulana Cafe around the corner from our hostel- gnocchi! This was really good.

After lunch, we stopped by the Pope's Cathedral which was very close to our hostel. This was a gorgeous church inside and out!
We headed towards the Colosseum next- AMAZING! This is one of those landmarks that you've seen pictures of your whole life, and it is incredible to see in person.
The Arch of Constantine next to the Colosseum
We called it a day after tons more site seeing- the Forum, Vittoriano Monument and the Piazza Venezia. We grabbed dinner and of course gelato near our hostel before heading in for the night.

The next day, which was Saturday, we went to Vatican City. Our biggest dissapointment of the trip was that the Sistene Chapel was closed the day we were there because of the recent conclave. Such a bummer! We still got to see St Peter's Square and Basilica.
 From the front entrance of the Basilica
 The details are so intricate and the paintings on the walls and ceiling were beautiful.
Since the Sistene Chapel was closed, we decided against going to the Vatican Museum and ventured on to see the Castle of Angels, Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish steps. Here's a view from the bridge outside the Castle of Angels.
 The gorgeous Trevi Fountain!
 Throwing our coins in! (She's 5 years younger and 5 inches taller than me!)
Our last day in Rome was spent in the Villa Borghese Gardens in early afternoon, and then I split from the group to do some shopping on Via del Corso. Here's a gorgeous view of Rome from the Pincio in Villa Borghese.
On Monday morning, the Harding group left to fly back to Athens, and I ventured on to Florence by train. The Florence Duomo was the first place I went, and boy was it gorgeous!

I continued walking through Florence to experience all the piazzas and wonderful architecture the city has to offer. I tried to ignore the fact that I had 30 pounds on my back and it was raining! To get out of the rain for a bit, I stopped on Ponte Vecchio, a bridge that is full of jewelry stores down the whole length of it.

Check out my jewelry haul post on Friday to see the beauties I spoiled myself with :) Here's a view of the bridge from the opposite side.
After several hours of walking around Florence in the rain, I came to the realization that not only were my boots not very comfortable, but they weren't waterproof either! I spent my last hour in Florence checking out a couple shoe stores for some comfy tennis shoes. I then proceeded to throw my boots away in a trash can on the side of the road! Oh well, they were old and scuffed up anyway. I'll invest in some new ones next fall :)

Sorry this was so long- It was hard to edit down my pictures! Congrats to those of you who made it through it, and I hope you at least enjoyed the pictures! Tomorrow's post will conclude my trip recap with Paris and London!

<3 Katie

10 comments:

  1. Wow, what an adventure! Italy is a dream, no? All of your amazing pictures are giving me the travel bug. :)

    -Ashley
    http://lestylorouge.com

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    1. Italy was gorgeous! I loved it so much :)

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  2. HAHHAA I told you would need to buy tennis shoes!! haha :) I felt SO uncool walking around in mine, but MAN my feet were bruised after only like 2 days of walking on boots that I THOUGHT were comfortable. Beautiful sites- reminds me of my trip...loves Florence the most :)

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    1. I should've listened! I felt European in mine, though the slightly resembled little boys shoes... haha

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  3. Oh those pictures are fabulous. I have never been to Italy but will definitely go one day. I plan to eat my way through it!!! Don't forget my link up this thursday March 28.

    Agi:)

    vodkainfusedlemonade.com

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    1. Thanks Agi! And the food in Italy is wonderful...especially the gelato!

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  4. Man, that Vittorio Emanuele sure was important, huh? :) Loved seeing all of your pics!

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  5. I would totally have an Eat, Pray, Love moment with the pizza and gnocchi! How good was the food?! Better than you expected?! All the architecture is so amazing! You captured all the beautiful moments on your trip!

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    1. I am a lover of Italian food in general, so I really liked everything I ate, with the pizza being my favorite!

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Thanks for your sweet comments!