Monday, September 5, 2016

Back from Italy!

I just got back from Italy yesterday afternoon, and was pretty beat which is why I missed the Sunday Funday post!  But it's a long weekend anyway, so today is like Sunday.  =)  I'm so glad I gave myself an extra day to rest, so I didn't have to go back to work right away!  

Since I didn't really take any OOTD pictures, I'll just talk about the rest of my trip a little!  Since last week's post, we left the Amalfi Coast and headed to the Tuscany area.  We stayed in Siena as a "base" to explore the area, though looking back, Florence would have been a better base since we ended up passing Florence everyday anyway lol.  Though I loved Siena!  The location was just not ideal for the things we did.  I guess we should have done better research because we thought Siena was only about 30 min from Florence, when it was really more like 1.5 hour drive.  We also spent a day going to Cinque Terre, which is kind of a far day trip and I wouldn't really recommend it.  It was so touristy, with huge groups of day trippers.  Besides, it was pretty similar to the Amalfi Coast.  So I wish we had just explored one of the many Medieval little towns in Tuscany instead.  But I guess this just gives me a reason to go back in the future!  

Here are some pictures of Siena - it's a cute little town and everyone is sooooo nice.  I really liked the atmosphere as soon as we got there.  This is what it looks like from high up - as you can see, the whole town is the same color!

This is the main square of the town (Piazza del Campo).  We had just missed their annual horse race on this square!  I can't even imagine this square being turned into a horse race track.  It's not even a circle.  It's more like a oddly shaped triangle.  The huge tower is where I climbed up and took the first picture above. 

I climbed soooo many stairs!  Lol.  It is very tiny and claustrophobic in the tower as well.  It looks like this and goes on forever...

There's also a famous cathedral in Siena called Duomo di Siena.  It's got a distinct black and white look.  The level of detail inside is just insane.  I have visited many cathedrals and this one is definitely one of the best!

Pictures don't do it justice at all.  

The floors are covered with carvings like this and it's pretty insane:

The whole Tuscany area is just so nice.  There are rolling green hills with cute little towns perched on top.  We went wine tasting at Montepulciano which is where the Brunello wine comes from.  I wish I had done more of that!

Here are some pictures from Cinque Terre.  These are taken in the town of Vernazza.

We also spent one day exploring Florence.  Though I wish we had more time of course!  But Florence is pretty small too.  You can walk from site to site really easily.  Like 30 minutes and you've walked the whole city lol.  One of the most famous sites of Florence is of course, the Cathedral, and it's called Santa Maria del Fiore.  It looks very very cool from the outside.  You can go inside of course, and you can also go up to the dome and have a nice view of the city.  But the lines were so long for both that we opted not to.  Since we only had a day there, waiting hours in line is not ideal.  Should have reserved tickets ahead of time!  Oh well.  I'm not the best travel planner lol.  Outside looks great.  Haha.

Next time, I'll definitely go up to the dome!

One thing I'm really glad we were able to see, is Michelangelo's David!  It's probably one of the most famous sculptures in the world, if not the most?  It's housed in an art school (Accademia Gallery) in a very unassuming building.  The line to get in was long too, but we were able to pay a guide and skip the line.  I love skip the line options and take it whenever I can lol.

It's a lot bigger than I thought it would be!  As my guide said (and I completely agree!), that is the total opposite of the Mona Lisa lol.  Here's a photo of David from down the long hall way, to give some perspective of how big he is:

And of course, the back side lol:

So the last 2 days of my trip, I spent in Rome.  It was a bit of a whirlwind!  I saw a lot of the major sites in this time lol.  My hotel location was very good, right outside of the Trevi Fountain.  So I saw that many times, and it was always suuuuper crowded with tourists.

It's not a far walk from the Colosseum either.  For this part, we were finally smart for once and got tickets online the night before!  Then showed up not long after it opened the next morning so we didn't really have to wait at all to get in.

The forum:

Then the Pantheon, which is free to visit so there is no line either.  People just go in and out.  It's great!  

One thing we didn't know was happening was the Banksy Exhibit.  We were able to get tickets online for it too, and skipped the hour long wait.  Pretty happy we caught it!  They had over 150 pieces.  Here are some examples:

Then, we accidentally went to the Vatican too!  Lol.  Didn't have plans for this at all, and I knew it would be insanely crowded.  But we were just strolling and decided to just take some pictures at the square and call it a day.  However, we ran into some dude (there are so many people offering to be your guide everywhere in the city) who offered us a pretty low fee (20 euro) to join the last tour group of the day which would skip the long wait.  So we decided to do it and see the Sistine Chapel and St. Peters Basilica.  This is the only way I would have gone inside.  The line looked insane.

They don't allow pictures inside the Sistine Chapel, and the lighting condition was pretty bad inside St. Peters so my pictures there were crap.  But they are definitely impressive to visit, and I'm glad I saw them!  When we were there, they were preparing for Mother Teresa's Canonization which would take place on the following day.  I'm so glad we didn't accidentally wander over a day late, because we actually happened to drive past the Vatican the next morning on the way to the airport and the crowd was already insane at around 7 am!  I read online that over 120,000 people showed up.

They already had Mother Teresa's picture hanging up on the day before when we were there:

And soooo many chairs:

Anyway.... so that was pretty much the end of my trip!  The Amalfi part was chill, but the last bit there got a little crazy.  But I would totally want to go back to Italy and spend more time to relax and drink wine, now that I got so many touristy things out of the way.  Food there was so good too, I'm gonna have to spend a lot of time to work off what I ate lol.  I think I had some form of pasta and/or pizza everyday.  Total carbo load!  Probably gained like 10 pounds but I don't regret it one bit hehe!


  1. Looks like you had a wonderful trip!! Thanks for sharing!

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