pizza, pasta, paninis, gelato, coffee, football (soccer), roman stuff and a tower that leans...
05.06.2008 - 21.06.2008 28 °C
Ah the land of amazing food! Italy was everything we thought it would be when it came to delicious pizza, pasta, paninis, gelati and coffee! Its been a packed two weeks, Ill try keep it brief, but this may be a long one....
Our first stop was beautiful Venice with its 117 islands and plenty of little bridges. It was here where we got to savour our first real italian coffee - about a million times better than eastern european coffee! Venice didn't smell, and St Marco's square really was breathtaking, especially at night when they had live classical acts dotted around the restaurants on the perimeter. We did a day trip by ferry to Murano where they make world famous glass things and saw a demo - amazing that they can create a horse in less than 5 minutes...
A mask shop
Pizza in Venice
There wasn't much here except a provocative fountain of a muscular neptune (and women with breasts that could squirt water in 6 directions). But lets be honest, we only stopped here to sample Bolognese from its origins (but they only call it ragu here), and it was even better than nicks and my mums! This place had the hardest to find, dingiest hostel ever... just catch this bus to this stop they say... 20 mins later we find ourselves outside what looked like commission housing in the middle of nowhere with no signs... the directions said just a 10 min walk from the stop... but in which direction?! Fortunately for us, we harrassed a family who called the hostel, and ultimatley the dad abandoned his family and drove us there, even getting lost a couple of times himself. So lucky for us, we would never have found it otherwise!
We stayed in an awesome hostel in Firenze (Archi rossi hostel). They ran 2 free three hour tours daily which gave us a much better appreciation of the history of the place and the significance of all the buildings. The duomo was amazing, both from the outside and inside, as was the beautiful view from Michaelangelos hill in the evening. We also loved the Ponte Vecchio the only bridge to survive the WW2 bombings, which had only jewelery stores along it after an order from a Medici ruler, because he had a mezzanine passageway above it connecting his palaces, and he didn't like the smell of the old butchers that were once there. Sacreligiously we didn't actually visit the real David, Nick was satisfied by the two replicas around town and we didn't want to spend our valuable time in a three hour queue... We had a wonderful time here, it really is a beautiful town.
David at night in Michaelangelo´s Plaza
Rome was just as unbelievable as I remembered it from last time. Here we met up with Jane and Kate again and stayed in a camping village out of town which had a pool...luxury!
A lifetime isn't enough in Rome, we ended up staying for 5 days and would have been happy to stay longer, but we managed all the sights - Colosseum and Palatine hill, Pantheon, Sistene Chapel, St Peters Basilica and Square... A perfect time to be reading Angels and Demons by Dan Brown... And the girls actually saw Tom Hanks near the pantheon filming it!!
- History and ruins around Palatine Hill and the Forum - the best ruins we have seen.
- Finally seeing the Trevi Fountain (it was completely covered in scaffolding when I was here last time)
- Hanging out in Piazza Navona and Trastevere - great for people watching
- Fashion! No more double denim of Eastern Europe, but making me crave a new wardrobe.
- The Gelati near the pantheon - so many flavours! 12 flavours of chocolate alone! The best is my opinion - meringue... hmmmmm
- the vatican museum - you could easily spend over 4 hours here and not even realise
- climbing the vatican cuppola - the view from the top the best we have seen anywhere
- sending postcards from the smallest country in the world
- Riding bikes along the Appian Antica (an ancient cobbled road) seeing the ruins either side
- toga party
- Not falling for any scams and not having anything stolen!
The home of the mafia and the birthplace of pizza. We weren't sure what to expect here, but it was a really cool place - so different to the rest of Italy - heaps of modern art around the place. And despite Nick being cynical that pizza could taste better from here - it really did! The best being the "Vesuvio" a flat calzone - ie it looked like a margerita, but it had fillings inside the crust! Amazing! Our hostel was great, and organised a big screen to watch the Italy v France soccer match, and it was packed full of their Italian mates - the atmosphere was electric! And the next night was "Brazilian night" where they invited there mates to do capoera which is a kind of martial art/dance with singing and drums - very cool!
From Naples we did a day trip to Pompeii (and Ewan McGregor was there) which is so amazingly preserved - I couldn't believe the condition of the frescoes etc. And we saw the plaster casts of the people who got buried in the ash... creepy.
Day trip to Capri - a beautiful island off the coast, with designer shops galore and designer people... And convertable taxis! It's also the home of the blue grotto, which was.... CLOSED!!! Ripped off!!! The water was too rough to go there, but we did a boat tour of the other grottos on the other coast instead which was fun anyway. Then we soaked up the sun on the beach.
It really leans! We did the obligatory pics of holding it up, pushing it over etc. It really is the only thing there though.
Our plan was to head to the cinque terre from pisa, but unfortunately there was no affordable accom (being a weekend) so we have powered on up the med and are chilling out in Nice France!
Next blog - France then Spain!