Venice, Italy

My love for boats and embracing Italian music started on our trip to Venice, Italy.

We arrived on a beautiful afternoon to the Venice airport and took a direct boat from Alilaguna to Fondamenta Nuove boat station (30 minutes) where our AirBNB host met us. We started the trip off by crossing off one bucket list item; riding a gondola in Venice with a singing gondolier 🙂 Prior to going, I read a lot of mixed reviews about riding a gondola and that it may not be worth it. WRONG. It was absolutely worth every penny. We cruised the grand canal as well as the smaller canals and this can only be done on the gondola ride.

Venice is probably one of the most unique cities I have ever visited. Cars are strictly banned. There are no roads, just footpaths and canals. Without my ‘mapquest’ husband, I would have been completely lost in this city. The next morning we decided to do the Rick Steves self-guided Grand Canal Cruise. If you have not heard of Rick Steves, I highly recommend looking at his travel resources; they are great!

The Grand Canal Cruise ended at St. Mark’s Square, where we saw two of Venice’s most iconic buildings, St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s palace. We also saw the Correr Museum and toured the Accademia.
We then took a boat ride to see a session of Glass Making in Murano. We concluded the evening with dinner and enjoyed the orchestra in Mark’s Square.

Florence, Italy

We then took the train from Station-Venezia S. Lucia in Venice To Station-Firenze S.M.N to Florence. We stayed at an Airbnb here as well. My love for Florentine steak and appreciation of monuments and architecture all begin on our trip to Florence.

We had dinner at Trattoria La Casalinga, which was a local Tuscan restaurant in Florence. So good and would highly recommend!

The next day, we went to Accademia and visited the famous David statue and many of Michelangelo’s most famous works of art. Next, we visited the Duomo, which is simply known in Florence as the jewel of the city. This dome can be seen from miles away and it is just one of the most beautiful medieval buildings I’ve ever seen.

We went to the Basilica of Santa Croce and visited Florence Nightingale’s statue, which was a special moment for me as a nurse. There were several tombs of some artists like Galileo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli.

Florence is full of medieval buildings and the architecture is stunning, but a famous and old bridge, Ponte Vecchio is something that is worth seeing. Aside from all of the beautiful buildings, there are so many shops, restaurants and cafes too. We also got the opportunity to check out Eataly in Italy 🙂

My 30th birthday was celebrated in Florence, Italy where we had dinner at Trattoria Roberto, and had the famous Florentine steak made to perfection.

The next morning, we hiked up to get a spectacular view of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo. It was a workout that was well worth it 🙂

Being a ‘car’ guy, my husband couldn’t leave Italy without renting a Ferrari to test out the winding roads of Florence. It was a great experience (for him mostly) 🙂

Pisa, Italy

We then took the Train from Station-Firenze S.M.N from Florence, Italy Arriving Station-Pisa Centrale to Pisa, Italy

We visited the world famous medieval structure in Pisa, the leaning tower. My uncle is a priest who lives in Pisa, so we got the opportunity to stay with him for one night during our stay and visited some churches.

Rome, Italy

My love for pizza, pasta, and embracing history grew further on our trip to Rome!

The next day, we took a train to Rome from Station- Pisa Centrale arriving at station-Roma Termini. Our first stop was the Colosseum, which is the oval amphitheater in the center of the city of Rome. It’s built of travertine limestone, tuff, and brick-faced concrete. Literally the icon of Rome.

We then went to the Victor Emmanuel Monument viewpoint, which was beautiful.

Next, to the Capitolium or Capitoline Hill.

Followed by the famous Pantheon which is the most preserved and influential building of ancient Rome. This roman temple was just absolutely stunning. We then walked over to Fontana die Quattro Fiumi which is one of the many famous fountains in Rome, and this one is in Piazza Navona.

We ended our walking tour at the Roman Forum, where we could feel the ancient history by just stepping through the grounds.

The next day, we woke up early to see Pope Francis at the St. Peter’s Square and visit St. Peter’s Basilica, as well as The Vatican. This was such a beautiful service and blessed to have experienced the touching vibes and huge crowds.

We spent the early evening shopping and enjoying the sweet life of Rome by doing the “Dolce Vita Stroll”, which takes place from 5pm-7pm every evening. We walked through the crowd and took in the Roman culture on our last night before heading back home.

Tips & Tricks: Italy

  • Take the train service when going from one city to the next, cheap and convenient. 
  • Hotels are very pricey, so try considering staying at AirBnB’s. 
  • Bring comfortable walking shoes 
  • You can’t visit everything, but set expectations on what your priorities are.
  • Beware of pickpockets.