A journey through Italy is a treat in every sense of the word. It may be the best place to visit on Earth because you get so much for your experience. The food alone is worth the price of the trip. From Michelangelo’s David to the endless amounts of pasta, pizza, gelati, cannolis, bread and anything else you can fit down your throat, Italy is a true delight. The history of Rome and scenery of Tuscany are amazing. When you’re in Italy, you never want to leave and you don’t want to think about anything else. This is why I haven’t blogged much lately (along with a lack of wifi as Italy tends to operate like a third world country) and I am doing this as a condensed entry (albeit with a bunch of pictures) to summarize our trip down through all of Italy.
Venice is in a word, magnificent. This was my second time there and my opinion has skyrocketed off the charts about how good Venice is. The scenery, the food, the walking, the gelati and just the feel of the romantic city is wonderful. The beauty of the water-filled streets and the canals is unique and cannot be duplicated anywhere in the world. There are no canals like the ones in Venice.
You can see by the pictures how amazing it is and everyone knows about Venice so there’s not much more for me to say. I think that everyone should see Venice in their lives. But take my advice and go when the weather is nice and with someone you care about because it makes it much better.
The little University town of Pisa is a great place to spend a few hours as a daytrip from Florence or on the way to or from. The Leaning Tower is one of the worlds great sites and a really cool place to chill out and take some funny pictures, holding it up or leaning on it. The tower really does lean as you can see and it was neat for me to be back. The first time I was there, I had to jump the fence because in 1998, my friends and I got there at like 11pm when the park was closed. Lets just say, this time was much more pleasant and way better. Also, most of the work on the tower itself has been completed and is scheduled for full completion next year.
Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and the heart of Tuscany. The views from atop the Duomo are unfathomably gorgeous and the Tuscan countryside surrounding the great city is divine. This was my third time in Florence and the first time as an adult so to speak where I wasn’t just partying. I really appreciated it more this time than any other because along with the history is the brilliance of the architecture and the way the Duomo is encapsulated within the city and leads to awesome strolls and quirky views down obscure streets that are distinctly Florence.
I also highly recommend the hotel I stayed at in Florence, called Hotel Nizza. It was a five minute walk from the train station and was very cheap, clean and central to all of the sites. It was apparently also a favorite of many Italian models as the hotel owner who loves to collect their pictures and autographs told us. Also, Pizzeria Nuti is particularly good on Via Borgo San Lorenzo with excellent service and food to match. We ate there twice in two days.
Finally, as I alluded to before, the Tuscan countryside is not to be missed because it is as good as everyone says. It is imperative to see it during the Spring or summer as it is captivating. Whether it is by train or by car, Tuscany and its awesome little villages and small towns are a sight to behold.
My fifth time in Rome was as good as the first. It was a two day March around Rome with plenty of stops for awesome food and gelati. We stayed at a little pension right near Termini which was perfectly situated to get to and from the train station with minimum hassles. I have always been a fan of waiting until you get to the train station and finding someone offering accommodation and bargaining right there on the spot as I can usually do pretty good on the negotiations.
Rome itself is awesome as you all know. However, I was pleased to see that the tourist hordes were not out in full effect as they were when I showed my friend Jake around just two months ago. I don’t know why but it was very nice to have a little room to breathe and see the city without being run into every second, especially in the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican which never get old. I forgot how amazing Michelangelo’s mural in the Sistine Chapel was…as you can see here.
One thing I really recommend for those who have never been or haven’t been in years as was my case is to go into the Colosseum. I had forgotten how cool anmd transfixing it is inside. I think they did a lot of work on it too because of its status as a new wonder of the world. But you really get some perspective on what used to happen in the Colosseum during the time of the Caesars.
Nobody likes Naples, its ugly, its rude, its fast paced and its really really dirty. These things are all true and the only people who actually like Naples are Napolitanos. The rest of us use it for two things; as a gateway to the Amalfi Coast, and for some of the best pizza on the planet.
I have to say as a pizza connoisseur and a veteran of New York City and New Haven storied pizzerias that Naples had some of the best pies I’ve ever had and one in particular is making me drool as I type this post, Da Michelle. They only serve one thing and that’s margherita pizza and they do it so good it makes a grown man want to cry. Seriously-that’s how good it is-I think I may have, I mean look at it.
Other than that though, pass on Naples or better yet pass through Naples as it’s unavoidable to get to some of the best parts of Italy.
My second time in Pompeii was also much better than the first time and I highly recommend it as well. The ruins have all been restored and are as good as they can be and the circuit was a lot bigger than I remember. The amphitheater and the long roads with different rooms and scenes show a people that were far more advanced than their time. It’s a shame that the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79ad destroyed such a brilliant and advanced people but the ruins have given us a glimpse into their lives and their ways from nearly two millennia ago.
As this is just a quick glimpse into my trip in down through mainland Italy, make no mistake; Italy is as good as everyone says it is. It is everything that a destination should be and more. Everyone will have their own favorite city and spots to eat and sit and view the splendor of this timeless place. You may have to go back time and time again and it will never be the same twice. Each town seemingly is amazing and unique in its own way and will provide great pictures and years of great memories.