Adventures in Italy

We spent 8 days in Italy.  We divided the trip up into 2 nights Rome, 2 nights Venice, 2 nights Florence and 1 last night back in Rome before the flight back home.  We took the chance while in Florence to take the one hour train ride to have lunch in Pisa, just so that we can get the famous pictures of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  It was a great trip and I would have to say that Rome is one of the nicest foreign cities with wonderful sights and history, good food, and of course great gelato.  This is one of those places that I would go back to visit again.

Adventures in Rome

As I state above, Rome is one of the best cities we have visited.  The history and old world charm left you with a good feeling while walking around the city.  We found the best little restaurant around the corner from our hotel (Star Hotel) that had the best pizza. So light that you can eat a large by yourself.  We also stopped in some of the restaurants that have the outside seating just for the ambiance and people watching. Of course visiting the historical sites and the Vatican made the trip to Rome.  The best gelato  in the world is found in Rome!  Love that place.

We stayed in the Star Hotel one block from Saint Peters Basilica and Vatican City.  It was a great location with a metro on the other side of the Basilica.  The area outside of the Basilica, Saint Peters Square and Piazza Pio XII is fantastic night and day. We were lucky to be there during a Mass for Palm Sunday. We toured inside Saint Peters Basilica and it is very very impressive. We have toured churches all over the world and this one is awesome.  Inside it is so massive with amazing art and sculptures. The Basilica centers around the Papal Altar where only the Pope celebrates Mass. It was consecrated by Clement VIII, June 5, 1594, on top of several other older altars. Rising above the altar is the baldacchino (95ft. canopy), Bernini’s masterpiece and first work in St. Peter’s. The ancient tomb of St. Peter lies directly below the altar.  We went below into the grottoes but they only let you take a picture of one of the papal sarcophagus. Overall this is a must see for anyone travelling to Rome.

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The Unique Pontifical Swiss Guard of Vatican City. Stp-sisteenchap

The actual Sistine Chapel inside the Vatican is fairly small. When you go in, they are adamant about no pictures. I sneaked this one by holding my camera near my side and just kept clicking upward to Michelangelo’s masterpiece.

Other Roman areas we found interesting:

The Pyramid of Cestius

The Pyramid of Cestius (in Italian, Piramide di Caio Cestio or Piramide Cestia) is an ancient pyramid in Rome, Italy, near the Porta San Paolo and the Protestant Cemetery.Due to its incorporation into the city’s fortifications, it is today one of the best-preserved ancient buildings in Rome.  The pyramid was built about 18 BC-12 BC as a tomb for Gaius Cestius, a magistrate and member of one of the four great religious corporations in Rome, the Septemviri Epulonum. It is of brick-faced concrete covered with slabs of white marble standing on a travertine foundation.


Castel Sant’Angelo

The Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as the Castel Sant’Angelo (English: Castle of the Holy Angel), is a towering cylindrical building in Parco Adriano, Rome, Italy. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum.

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No trip to Rome is complete without a trip to the Colosseum.  We took the metro from The Vatican. The metro stops directly in front of the Colosseum. Based on research, we decided to buy tour tickets so that we can get right in, but then walked away from the tour guide to do our own self guided tour. Tours go in through a different gate and get in faster then individual tourist.

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A quick trip on the metro with the best travel mate in the world!

colo3The present-day exterior of the Colosseum is in fact the original interior wall.

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It is an incredible area to visit both inside and outside. We took a full day to walk all around until we couldn’t walk no more.  Then we walked back to the hotel near the Vatican which is easy because everything is well signed.  It is a great city.

Adventures in Venice

Venice is one of those places that you should visit while in Italy.  Since we had limited days, we booked 2 nights in Venice.  Luckily, Venice is very small over all and one full day of touring around is all you need.  You have to take a gondola ride, even though it is about 100 Euros.  Overall I recommend it for a quick romantic trip.


Our Hotel Aboveven2 ven3 ven4 ven5The famous Rialto Bridge. It is one of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. It is the oldest bridge across the canal.


Our great gondola ride


St Mark’s Square


 Adventures in Florence

After Venice we took a train to Florence.  The main train station is close by in Venice and you can just take a ferry and a short walk.  We decided to add Florence because everyone says the food is so good there.  Frankly, I think the food is just as good, if not better, in Rome.  There are a few things to check out in Florence and of course you have to go by either the Accademia Gallery in Florence or front of the Palazzo Vecchio to see the statue of David. Below are a few statues and views from Piazzale Michelangelo (Park).  It is where you go to get that fantastic view of the city of Florence with views of the Cathedral. They also have a replica of the statue of David there also.

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Adventures in Pisa

We took one of our Florence days and took the hour train to Pisa.  There is not a lot to do there so we took our pictures of the grounds, of the leaning tower, and pictures from the top of the leaning tower.  We ate lunch and took the train back. All in all, a good day and a picture you have to have in your albums

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That was the end of our Italian vacation.  We enjoyed it very much and will most likely stop in Rome again as we had great food and the loved the vibe.

I have to say it again: To Travel Is To Live!