Venice was our last city in Italy and the last stop of the trip for M and N! We arrived in Venice in the late afternoon after driving from Montefollonico. It was a nice end to our road trip getting to drive all the way to Venice. After dropping the car off we took a taxi to the water shuttles, and then a water shuttle to our hotel. The water shuttle was quite the adventure. Our hotel was located on the far end of the island so we got to see quite a bit of the city on the way. Venice was beautiful – besides Nice it was the prettiest city of my trip. The architecture was incredible and the water made everything that much more beautiful. I practically grew up on a boat so I definitely enjoyed the boat aspect of the city. It’s still a little crazy to me that there are no cars in the city but after spending a couple days there I’ve seen how impossible it would be to have cars there – the city just isn’t designed for it. After getting dropped off by the water shuttle it was quite the adventure trying to find our hotel. We ended up taking the long way which included dragging out luggage over four extra bridges (luckily people saw us struggling and offered help) before we found our hotel.
After leaving Rome, I only had about a week left of my time in Europe – a few days each in Tuscany, Venice, and Paris. M, N, and I actually rented a car from Rome to go on a mini road trip through Tuscany (3 quick days). Let’s just saying driving in Rome was quite an adventure! We had discussed our mini road trip with our tour manager, who is Italian, and he told us to be careful! This should have been a sign for what we had in store. Getting out of Rome was probably the craziest part of the drive – everyone just seems to go whenever/wherever and the streets aren’t in a grid system so it’s a little more confusing than what we are used to. Once we made it to the highway towards Greve in Chianti, the driving calmed down except for the speed – everyone drives crazy fast there! We were even almost run over by a police office – he was driving so fast and there was a semi truck next to us so we couldn’t get over right away! Probably the scariest part of the drive. Once we got into the Tuscan region, we drove through the country roads and had quite a view of the countryside. The whole Tuscan region was so beautiful! Rolling hills, trees, and vineyards everywhere.
My second day in Rome was spent visiting the Colosseum and Vatican City, and eating lots of Italian food (pizza, pasta, and gelato all in the same day)! The morning started out with a trip to tour the Colosseum. The Colosseum was massive in person. It’s incredible to think it was built so long ago and is still standing! Walking up the stairs to the top was definitely a workout – the stairs were quite steep and weren’t evenly spaced. Once at the top, you could see the whole stadium and what it must have been like to be there for the gladiator battles. Visiting the Colosseum was one of the highlights of the trip!
After a jam packed two days in Florence we set out for our last few days of the tour in Rome! I was super excited to be going to Rome – because of all the history, to see the Colosseum, and make a wish in the Trevi Fountain! Rome was quite the city and definitely didn’t disappoint!
Upon arriving in Rome, we went directly to the city center to check out some of the main attractions. During the drive through the city, I spotted my company’s Rome office, which was pretty cool to see! We were then dropped off in the city and our tour manager took us on a mini walking tour – first stop was the Spanish steps, followed by the Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon. The Spanish steps were quite a sight – they were located right at the end of a street with all the high fashion stores – and they were pretty massive. It started to sprinkle when we got there so I didn’t climb up the stairs at that time (we later went back on our third night in Rome and climbed to the top).
After a quick stop in Pisa we headed straight to Florence, Italy to spend the rest of the day! We only had two days in Florence but they were jam packed! We headed straight to the hotel to check in and then were dropped off right in the heart of the city in Piazza della Signoria, which is one of the main squares in the town. The Fountain of Neptude, Loggia dei Lanzi, Palazzo Vecchio, a copy of the David Statue, and the Uffizi Gallery are all located in this main square. Our tour manager gave us a few details about some of the churches and the main square and then set us free for the remaining afternoon. First on our list was finding some gelato to snack on. Enzo had given us a recommendation for his favorite gelato place so we decided to check it out. I was looking forward to having my first authentic Italian gelato. The shop we were sent to was tucked back in a side street and was pretty cozy but they had quite the selection of flavors. I ultimately decided on a cone with Nutella, cannoli, and mocha. I wasn’t quite sure about the mocha because I’m not the biggest coffee fan but the lady taking my order said it was one of their most popular flavors so I went with it. The gelato was sooo good! I’m pretty sure I had gelato everyday in Italy!
After our adventure in Cinque Terra we headed to Pisa for a quick trip – we stayed just one night and left by noon the next day. Even though it was such a short stop in Pisa it was enough time to see the city and of course check out the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
We arrived at our hotel early evening the first night. About two thirds of the group walked to a nearby pizza restaurant to grab a bite while the rest of us decided to head into the city to explore and have a quick dinner. We were only staying about a 10 minute taxi ride out of the city. That taxi ride was my first experience with Italian drivers – lets just say it was a crazy ride and just the beginning! The little I saw of Pisa was quite pretty. There was a river that seemed to run right through town and added to the beauty of the city. Once we were dropped off, the group, about 10 of us, started to wander through the town in search of a restaurant for dinner. We ended up in a little square that had a few different restaurants with tons of outdoor seating. Even though it was close to 10 pm the square was so lively and filled with people. The restaurant we ended up at only had a few outdoor seats available so the group had to split up – half went inside to eat and the other half stayed outside. I stayed with the group outside which made for some fun people watching.