Saturday, September 29, 2012

'La dolce vita' in Italia: Florence, Venice, Verona and Milano

August 25
From Rome to Venice, J and I had decided we would stop by Florence on the way. J wasn't in the best shape: tired from our fabulous last night in Rome, theso night before, but I was determined to see the sights of Florence. We got the basics in the bag, though we unfortunately didn't have the time to see 'the David.' Since it was only a stopover, our train to Venice was at 4:30, so we had only about 4 hours to spare.

We first made our way through the centre of town towards the Santa Maria del Fiore or also known as Il Duomo, where we went inside to have a look at the ceiling of it's massive dome; with beautiful renaissance art decorating the inside of it. Continuing our quick look around town, we stopped along the way at Groms, a gelato franchise that J and I were told about the guy in Fabio's in Rome. I had a lemon while J had bluebery and raspberry - wow they tasted like the real fruit but more delicious. After our quick stop, we came to the Ponte Vecchio. A beautiful shop filled bridge that goes over the Arno river; the shops are mostly jewellery stores, coinciding with how the bridge originally started off.

After we wandered along the bridge we turned back around and headed to huge queue that had formed outside the Galleri degli Uffizi that hosts Boticelli's most famed piece; The Birth of Venus. So you can imagine the line-up to get in. The most interesting queue we have been in thus far, one, because some guy started a fight with another guy for pushing-in and two, because there was a sign at the front of the queue right near the entrance that read, "go through door one, make a reservation and skip the line."

Thank god J spotted it, or otherwise I'm not kidding, in the time it took us to go in and out of the gallery, double it, we would've waited that long. J went and asked at Door one and you just need to pay a few extra euros on top of the entry and you could skip the 45 minute line. And the extra euros were worth it, because I got to see a painting, a beautiful painting that I had read about in highschool and imagined seeing so close-up. And again I got to check something off my bucket list.

Then before we knew it we had to head back to the train station and were off to Venice.

August 25 - August 27
Arriving in the late afternoon to the dreamy city of Venice, we were able to check in straight away. Then due to being on a train all afternoon, we were starving! We instantly regretted finding the closest pizza place to our hotel as it was tourist central. That frozen pizza was worse than the homebrand you find back home.

Well the next day in Venice, redeemed itself, beginning with a ferry ride to the Rialto bridge. Getting off at the Rialto bridge, we then started walking past all the fancy looking gondolas. It didn't take us long from looking at them to deciding to hire one for a ride. Our gondola ridee took us under the Rialto bridge and past the house where Marco Polo once resided. J and I don't do romantic very well sometimes and for most of the ride we weren't sitting that close to each other, well, until we came to bridges. Where there tourists and photographers waiting there for a couple to go by on a gondola, the Kodak momement. Embarassingly we gave into them and cuddled and kissed for them to snap away at us.

After coming full circle on our gondola ride J and I walked to San Marco's Square, to have a look at the beautiful basilica and the surrounding buildings and of course to have a look at the many pidgeons that inhabit there. Funnily enought the 'flying rats' are thought of as good luck in Venice. We did find one pidgeon that might redeem these lucky qualities as he was a beautiful blue. And everyone in the square (including J and I) were trying to get a photo of this pretty pidgeon.

We then caught a ferry back towards our hotel and walked around and found somewhere for lunch. Then afterwards we walked up the main stretch passed our hotel and found a sports bar to relax in; have a pint and watch the football (soccer) in. Then we caught another ferry returning back to San Marco's Square, walking down past the grand canal, trying to find a restaurant that I ate at last time I came to Venice. Then a huge storm cloud started crossing over Venic and we decided to head to the hotel. We still needed to find somewhere to dinner (and I apologised to J profusely for the following), walking close to our hotel, I fell for the tourist trap (probably for the fourth time now). Though this place didn't have any nice views to go along with it. J had the worst lasagne I've ever seen on a plate. I felt bad for the rest of the evening.

August 28
 The next morning we boarded the train for Verona for a day trip on the way to Milan. Straight away we got organised: got our backpacks stored, bought a map, and found a taxi, asking the driver to take us to the centre of the town. We probably could of walked, but we were feeling lazy. As soon as we got out of the taxi, we were in a park right next to a Colosseum looking ruin, the 'Arena.' Turned out one of our favourite bands played there a few days later. Walking passed the Arena and straight down a main shopping street, we found ourselves in the courtyard of Casa di Guilietta, at the time there was a wedding party getting photos taken on the balcony, so we didn't go up. We did however buy our own padlock to scribe on, and lock it to a steel gate, 'for all eternity.' Then I touched the breast of a statue of Juliet, a pagan ritual that apparently gives good luck. I didn't know this, I was just following the mass of tourist that were taking photos of themselves with it. Then we wandered around the corner, and up a cobbled stone street, finding this little cafe/bistro and thoroughly enjoyed our meal; cheese and bacon tortellini and a couple glasses of house red. The meal may have been frozen, but it was probably one of the best meals we ate in Italy, a part from Al Duello in Rome (nothing ever will top that). Then we walked to have a look around the markets in the centre of the city, before deciding we were so tired and really didn't want to spoil our time in Verona, let's get the next train to Milan.

August 28 - 29
Unfortunately we didn't feel like heading out in Milan, we got in at about 7:00pm and once we got into a taxi from the train station, and found out we weren't even close to the centre of the city. We just found a nice steakhouse around the corner of our hotel and rested up, for we were off to France the very next morning. Please forgive us Milan, we'll return.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your journey I love hearing about it. The padlock is amazing very romantic your love is forever
    Love A xxxx