It was so surreal to see Michelangelo paintings in the Sistine Chapel, I've never seen artworks so beautiful and grand. They don't allow pictures or talking really, and there's lots of guards. I snuck a picture because I HAD to, sorry Rome. This room was very crowded, I'm glad it wasn't summer!
The line moved really quickly when we went, and the Vatican is huge! It's cool though, you see it in pictures so much you can't believe you're seeing it in person. You feel kind of tiny and out of place standing in it.
The Spanish Steps:
We hung out on every level for a little bit, just soaking in the atmosphere. This is where Gregory Peck convinces Audrey Hepburn to try gelato in Roman Holiday :)
The Trevi Fountain:
Just Beautiful. One of the most memorable places of the trip. On our way home one night, we walked by the Trevi Fountain, and just stopped and sat their for a little chatting. There were only a few other people there, and it was very quiet. Everything was still, it was nice :)
Delicious gummy snacks on the way...we have an obsession, and an ideal place for my panorama setting on my camera.
You just walk inside and take a peak at the skylight, it's not super exciting. The outsides cool though... We thought we found the Pantheon the previous day, but we were really underwhelmed by it, and still handed our camera to a passerby and stood there smiling, then continued on....turns out it wasn't the Panthenon, but some random building that looked historical, classic American tourist moment.
For lunch we grabbed a slice of potato pizza #yum and gelato at Blue Ice. I gave up all forms of ice cream for lent, but when in Rome...It was Sunday, and with the Vatican under my belt i figured just once would be okay. I tried coffee gelato....it was as expected, out of this world
Went to this amazing park at sunset, it was so beautiful.
Rome was a pretty big city, we decided to walk everywhere so we definitely were tired at the end of the day. I couldn't have gone at a better time, the beginning of march isn't tourist season yet, and it's not super hot. We had the most perfect weather 60-65 and sunny. It was like a dream. The Sistine chapel cost 8 euros with a student discount. The Coliseum cost 12 euros (no student discount). The pantheon and the Vatican did not charge. Rome is such a a beautiful city, the layout is crazy though, streets just jet out everywhere and then there's a landmark everywhere you turn. We casually walked by the Trevi fountain like 10 times, life didn't seem real. I never payed more than 20 euros for a meal in Rome, so I think if your cautious Rome can be affordable. Walking around is so magical, but because of the zillion side streets, it was definitely a little tricky to navigate. Let's be honest, I didn't contribute to our sense of direction at all. We began to refer to the leaders (Addi and Michelle) as Lewis and Clark.....they started calling me Sacajawea. I was the only one who could seem to open any of the doors with the 3 keys required to get into our hostile, so at last I like to think I was useful :) These nick names all started when
Paige called someone navigating John Cabot, and none of us knew who that was including Paige so we laughed and obviously related this back to American history. The next day we googled who John Cabot was and apparently he was an Italian Navigator credited for finding parts of North America. The only part funnier than the fact that he was an Italian navigator of all places, is that when meeting up with Addi's friend, she said she went to John Cabot University. We thought this was pretty hilarious, but after putting this into words I'm realising it was definitely a nerdy study abroad moment. We had such a blast in Rome, we wish we had one more day! My only regret, I didn't see the mouth of truth, Roman Holiday movie reference :( I totally could of squeezed it in when I was by the collesium but I didn't plan accordingly. I can't wait to go back some day :)
Going to Florence after Rome is funny because it's SO much smaller. You walk through the central part of the city in like 10 minutes. The first day we walked around, we met up with friends and just soaked up the atmosphere. The grocery store next to our bed & breakfast was great! We picked up fresh parmesan, rolls, peppers, chicken, and salad to cook dinner with our friends that night, it was really nice. We decided to do the tourist stuff on Wednesday and took a day trip to Cinque Terre on Tuesday to go hiking. It was gorgeous out, I swear the Italian Gods were on our side because it had to be 70 degrees out sitting on a small coastal village 2 hours from Florence. We hiked around the area and took in all the sunshine we possibly could, I definitely missed the beach. I can't imagine I'll ever feel this care free in my life again, but at least I can say I am fully appreciating this time. If I wasn't already in love with Italy, and shocked that me and Addi were on time for all 4 trains that we had to take during the day, I was blown away when Addi apparently left her iPhone at one of the train stations and they turned it into the police. She is the luckiest girl in ALL of Europe.
On Wednesday we went to see Michelangelo's David and see the Duomo. Then we climbed all 414 steps to overlook the city. We got a nice lunch siting outside, pasta, veggies, bread, and wine for just 12€. I would no doubt be very large if I studied abroad in Italy. I met up with my friends from URI Kristen and Sam later on and we caught up, it was nice not feeling rushed in Italy. They took me to Gusta Pizza and they made my pizza heat shaped! It was so delicious, they made it in a brick stove oven with thick doughy crust...mmmm :)
On Thursday we went on a bike tour in Tuscany, I think it was my favourite day in Italy. They drove us up out of Florence and up into the hills of Tuscany to a vineyard. We tasted wine and delicious bread and olive oil. Then we biked our way to lunch. It was beautiful biking down the hills overlooking Tuscany. After lunch we weren't biking down hill anymore so it was a little tricky, and we were a bit over ambitious trying to go up a monstrous hill. It resulted in our bikes being thrown on the back of a van and us hiking up hill with our helmets. From there on it was a beautiful ride, and the perfect day.
On Friday we went to one more museum and then made our way to Pisa. Our only real reason for a stop there was that was the best priced flight from Italy to Dublin for St. Patty's. It's true, there's nothing in Pisa besides the leaning tower of Pisa. We made the most of it though :)