Category Archives: Vacation

All Roads Lead to Rome

Believe it or not it’s finally time to wrap up our tour of Rome and end the honeymoon. And unlike our quick 10 day visit, if we count blog time, you’ve been there for nearly a month so you’re practically a resident.

Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo

But there’s still so much to see. The Trevi Fountain.

Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo, spanish steps, trevi fountain

The Spanish Steps. Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo, spanish steps, trevi fountain Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo, spanish steps, trevi fountain

The Pope!

Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangeloWe were told that Vatican City was about 40 minutes from our hotel so we decided to make the most of a warm 85-90 degree day (all acclimated now that we live in Florida) and walk. We made our way down through Piazzo Novana to take another look at the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (fountain of four rivers) which was designed by Bernini, who studied under Michelangelo and was known for his attention to detail (i.e. Matt Zalewski biceps).

Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo

Each corner represents a major river. The Nile representing Africa, the Danube representing Europe, the Ganges representing Asia, and the Río de la Plata representing the Americas. Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo

A quick walk across the Tiber and we approached Vatican City. It was a good day to explore the area as there was a parade downtown in celebration of Republic Day so we avoided the crowds and got to see a little of the fly-over along the way.

Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo

Whether you celebrate Catholicism or not, Vatican City is a must if you’re heading to Rome. When we arrived, we did as most tourists do and got into the longest line we could find, inching forward to see St. Peters Basilica and hovering in any sliver of shade we could find along the way.

Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo

It’s hard to explain a church known as one of the greatest of all Christendom but let’s just say good ol’ St. Peter lived up to the hype. Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo IMG_5196 Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangeloWe grabbed a bite to eat at a local spot recommended by our friend John, who lives in the area, and spent the rest of the afternoon working our way through the Vatican Museum and towards the Sistine Chapel. If we were allowed to take photos in the Sistine Chapel or even speak above a whisper, we still could not translate the beauty and history of one of the most famous pieces of art in history.

Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangeloWe wrapped day 3 in rome and day 10 in Italy with dinner at a local spot recommended by our concierge and finally, a bottle of wine worth remembering. In fact, the waiter let us take another bottle with us and if we can last long enough, we are hopeful to enjoy it next May to continue celebrating the trip of a lifetime.

Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangeloVatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo, giolitti, gelatociao Roma!

 

 

 

Are you ready for some ruins?!

It’s Day two in Rome and you’ve got a date with a Gladiator in the Colosseum.

roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,

There are several career paths you’re now husband has mentioned over the years that fit his personality type and high tolerance for pain. Firefighter. Police Officer. Top secret member of the U.S. Army Special Forces or Navy Seal. But a Gladiator? Weren’t they all unfortunate criminals or prisoners of war with no citizenship? Sure, some of the attributes line up: brute strength, athleticism, courage and enough craziness to fight to the death, but who would choose that path? Well, if you measure it in giddiness and chatter during our tour of the Colosseum, he would.

And apparently he wouldn’t be the only one. Even free men opted to enter the ring in search of glory and prize money. Confident in your abilities, my dear, but happy it’s no longer an option for you.

roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,

Having a hard time picturing what all this rock is about? Let’s revisit a classic scene to put us in the Gladiator spirit.

That’s better.

It’s really hard to believe this building still stands after thousands of years, earthquakes, floods and fires, but it does. There are parts of the massive arena that still showcase the original marble flooring as well as a reconstructed area that simulates what it looked like in its prime.

roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,

roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,

You try not to compare it to familiar places like Soldier Field, but it’s hard not to when so many of today’s mega-stadiums resemble the same framework the Colosseum originated so many years ago. roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,

Now uncovered, the area below the main floor housed two levels of compartments and included trap doors that could spring the animal up onto the main stage to excite the audience and challenge the gladiator. Kind of reminded me of the bushes behind my old Montessori school where I used to run an imaginary zoo. Much friendlier animals in my care, of course.
roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,

Thanks to high-end designers like Tod’s and Fendi, historic sites like the Colosseum and Trevi fountain are getting the funding for much-needed restorations that they otherwise couldn’t afford. Check out this recent 60 Minutes episode to learn more. It’s really fascinating.  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,

 

IMG_5130

We wrapped the Colosseum tour and spent the rest of the afternoon trying to find our way out of the fiery maze that was the Roman Forum. Fortunately we had learned a lot about it the day before so the main focus became trying not to suffer heat stroke and keep our minds clear. The fresh water fountains helped.

roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,

One of my favorite parts of the forum and surrounding hills were the contrast of bright poppies and fresh water against the red and brown rubble.
roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,

Remember popular 90’s game Labyrinth? Yeah it was kind of like that. roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,

That saying, all roads lead to Rome? Thanks to Augustus, technically all roads lead to this rock.  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,

After the forum, we headed back towards the hotel to try what our guide John said to be the most authentic and homemade gelato in the city. And with a line out the door 100 or so flavor offerings, I’d say he was right.

roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,

We wrapped day two with an evening aperitivo on the rooftop followed by a heaping plate of carbonara. IMG_0423_2 IMG_0425

When in Rome!

Rome: It’s like Chicago but older

Today we land in Rome and I must admit this city far exceeded my expectations in the three days we explored it. I was excited for Rome because I knew Matt would be really excited for Rome. Why do you ask? In the short six years we’ve known each other, I’ve come to learn that my new husband is a bit of a history buff. Falling slightly behind any shows that involve ultimate survival and fast and loud car restorations, chances are if he’s watching television, he’s tuned to the History Channel.

So I knew Rome would live up to Matt’s expectations and for that I was pleased. And while I did really enjoy Mr. Peterson’s World History class, I must admit I went into Rome a little rusty on my ruin knowledge. Fortunately for Matt, my parents gifted us with a private tour from a family friend who lives in Rome and just so happened to have a Masters in philosophy, a PHD in theology and a rich knowledge of local gelatology. The amount of knowledge our guide, John poured into our carb-and-wine-filled brains was enough to fill a semester-long course, but it set a foundation (no Roman pun intended) that we were able to use for the rest of our trip and for that we are very grateful. If you plan on going to Rome, check out John and his wife Ashley’s web site and be sure to meet up with them. You’ll be glad you did.

Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, berniniRome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, berniniRome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini

I’ll tell you a little more about the forum when we go back for a closer look on Day 2 but just imagine the above photos some 2000 years ago. And if you still can’t picture it, this may help.

source

We were privileged to learn that John also served as a consultant in restorations to the local Catholic churches in the area so we got an in-depth lesson in Art History and more Catholic facts to supplement our recent marriage prep workshops.

Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini

dome is not in fact a dome but painted. Take that Rationalists.

Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini

John also set us up for a dinner reservation that evening, stopping by the restaurant towards the end of our tour and putting in a good word for us with the chef. A tour guide and a concierge!

Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini

We wrapped Day one sharing a good bottle of shiraz, mussels and linguine with black truffle.

Next up, a tour of the Coliseum.

Rome, Roma, Coliseum, pantheon, honeymoon in italy, Italy, michelangelo, Roman Forum, visiting rome, rationalist movement, bernini

Florence: Day 2: Under the Tuscan Sun

It’s Day 2 in Florence and you’re up early and ready to head out for a hike. And even though you packed enough workout clothes for nearly every day of your trip, you find yourself in them for the first time in over a week. You make a mental note to wear less luon when you get back to the states, likely short-lived but an effort nonetheless.

Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo

It’s also the point in which you are reminded how much more organized your new husband is with clothes than you are. You make a mental note to try harder once your back home but when you’re reminded by seeing this photo approximately one month later, you realize you like the luon, that goal was also short-lived.

Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo

You hike up towards the villas stacked in the hills surrounding Florence with the hope to see the panoramic landscape below. Only problem is your hike leads you on a two to three-mile uphill tour of narrow roads with thick, high walls. It’s still beautiful, and a great way to burn off the gelato, but you’ll soon realize you chose the local scenic route and they probably don’t care about seeing the properties of all their neighbors on the morning walks, either. Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo

It’s on your way down that the you finally catch a glimpse of what every book about a recently divorced woman who decides to search for her identity again in Italy, describes. Sweeping valleys filled with grape vines, sunshine-colored villas you swear you’ll come back and rent with your group of friends for your 40th birthday and Italian cypress trees. Lots of Italian cypress trees. Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangeloFlorence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangeloFlorence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo

 

I’m not quite sure how we got there, but we eventually made our way to the piazza de Michelangelo towards the end of our hike. We’d visit the real guy later that afternoon so it was neat to watch the buses drop off hundreds of tourists at the top of the city after we had sort of carved our own path (literally) along the scenic route. Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo

We took the short way home, just down a little winding road in the above picture and got cleaned up for breakfast at the same place we went the morning before.
Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo

Seeing Michelangelo’s “David” was perhaps the only time we paid too much to skip the line the whole trip. At this point we hadn’t pre-booked anything and had managed to see quite a bit by just the one person gets in a random line and the other walks to the front to make sure the random line actually gets us in the door strategy. David is a pretty popular guy in Florence so we figured he was worth it.Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo

Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo

Thanks to Michelangelo, I no longer feel self-conscious about my arm veins. Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo

That afternoon, we checked out the nearby leather district with intention to actually buy something. I can’t even remember the place, but suddenly I lost Matt and was somewhere in Vegas, trying to find my way out from the random corridors that let me to watches, jewelry and leather goods I could only afford if I got to take home half the pot of the guy with the gold pinky ring for being his good luck charm.
Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo

I did learn how they get gold-leaf on leather, though!

Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo

Our last night in Florence, after a snack of cheese and wine ate with a baby sugar spoon, we went to dinner at local spot Trattoria Casalinga. We’d heard good things about the family run restaurant and promised ourselves that even if we got stuck with the menu only being written in Italian, we’d just wing it. And wing it we did. Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo

We started with mixed crostinis and more antipasto than we realized we were ordering and enjoyed a tortellini with sugo (don’t ask but it was delicious) and a cut of veal (once again don’t ask but it was delicious).

We normally didn’t have room for dessert, but when we watched the grandmother of our waitress carry a fresh batch of her special merengue cake to the dessert counter below, we pushed through. And I’m so glad we pushed through. Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, michaelangelo, museo de accademia, michaelangelo's david, tuscany, piazza de michaelangelo

Stick with me because next up, we head to Rome!

roma, rome, italian honeymoon, honeymoon, wedding, italy, colosseum,  IMG_0416_2

 

Florence: Day 1: A ridiculous amount of renaissance art

Today we kick off a two-day tour of Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, home to Michaelangelo’s “David” and checking the box on everything I expected Tuscany to be.

Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art,

In just an hour or so on a high-speed train we arrived in Florence (Firenze) and made our way from the train station across the Ponte Vecchio bridge to Hotel La Scaletta.

Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, Tucked away in a nook near the Palazzo Pitti or Pitti Palace was our gem of a hotel. The staff was wonderful, the tiny lift that could only fit the two of us OR our luggage was adorable and the views were breathtaking.

Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art,

After brunch and a cappuccino at a nearby cafe, we spent most of the morning browsing what’s said to be a ridiculous amount of renaissance art inside the Pitti Palace.

Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, IMG_4980 Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art,

Home to the Medici family as early as 1549, it took us hours to get through all of the residences of the family and their assistants. I was pleasantly surprised that Matt and I shared similar taste and tolerance for renaissance art, perhaps one of the few things our pre-marital questionnaire did not reveal ahead of the wedding. Crazy to think that it took us until the modern wing of the museum to see anything American.

That afternoon we ventured around the central part of the city towards the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, or the Duomo. Even with photos, it’s hard to explain how beautiful this gothic-style cathedral really is but perhaps mentioning that every green, pink and white detail you see is made of polychrome marble.

Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art,

Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art,

Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art,

We stopped for an aperitivo at local sweet spot Gilli and enjoyed the people watching in the Piazza de Republica. It reminded us both of Chicago, both the high-end shops and the group of twenty-something girls from Chicago drinking Champagne at the table next to us.

Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art,

That evening we had a dinner reservation on the roof of our hotel. I was expecting nice views, but the meal was one of the best we had the entire trip. The waiter was wonderful, the wine perfect and well the sunset, I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art, Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta, palazzo pitti, boboli gardens, renaissance art,

Next time I’ll introduce you to my guy David and tell you more about how much I didn’t want to leave this pretty city.

In search of bolognese

Today we venture south to Bologna, a medieval looking city with a center that’s more Chicago State Street than Little Italy.

Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica,

Bologna is referred to in a number of ways. La Grassa (the fat one) celebrates the first bolognese sauce that originated in the city. La Dotta (the learned one) refers to the university that was founded in 1088. And La Rossa (the red one) illustrates the red terracotta medieval buildings with their miles of porticoes and apparently some left-wing politics as well. (source)

We arrived by train and after checking out our very modern accommodations at Hotel Metropolitan, ventured out to check out the open markets.

Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food, hotel metropolitan

Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food

We quickly realized there were far less tourists in Bologna than Venice and after an hour or so roaming the streets surrounding the main piazza, far more American retail stores.

Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food

We stopped for lunch at an outdoor cafe near the museum and had our first really memorable meal of the trip. Perhaps not as much as this kid who enjoyed a foccacia sandwich larger than his entire torso. Bon Appetito!

Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food

Matt enjoyed a tagliatelle with bolognese and I had a salad with poached egg, asparagus and peccorino cheese with a side of bread and wine, naturally.

Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food IMG_0256_2 Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food

Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food

That afternoon, we boarded the San Luca Express for a ride along the portico that led up to the Basilica Santuario della Madonna di San Luca overlooking the city. We had originally planned on walking the trip but after hearing it would take two hours to walk the world’s longest portico, we both decided riding was the best decision of the day.

Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food

If the views from the top of the city weren’t breathtaking enough, a walk inside the basilica will do it.

Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese foodBologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese foodBologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese foodBologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese foodBologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food

It was at the top of San Luca that we had our first aperitivo on the trip. Partially pictured: the tiny round teeter-totter that was the seat at this quaint pizzeria.

Bologna, italy, honeymoon in Italy, San Luca, basilica, bolognese, open markets, porticoes, travel, summer in italy, bolognese food, aperitivo

Our stop in Bologna was quick, but we were grateful to experience the University town before heading down to Florence for the next few days and falling even more in love with this beautiful country.

Florence, firenze, Italy, honeymoon in italy, honeymoon, wedding, travel, duomo, ponte vecchio, tuscany, la scaletta,

 

Ciao!

Visiting Venice: Day 1

Today you’re off to Venice. Get excited!

venice, italy, honeymoon in italy, venezia, travel, wedding, canal, bridge

Wait. Not yet. First you have to get to Chicago. And then Toronto, dontchaknow.

venice. air canada, honeymoon in italy, toronto, frankfurt, germany, german pretzel, chicago, ohare, wedding

Add in a brief stop for Fruhstuck (thanks 4 years of German class) in Frankfurt and you’ve made it.

IMG_0178 venice. air canada, honeymoon in italy, toronto, frankfurt, germany, german pretzel, chicago, ohare, wedding

But you’ll get there eventually. And you’ll be pleasantly surprised by both the quality (very good) and cost (free!) of the wine Air Canada will serve you on the way.

venice. air canada, honeymoon in italy, toronto, frankfurt, germany, german pretzel, chicago, ohare, wedding

Merci. Danke and Grazie.

You’ll attempt to follow your new husband’s directions and try to pretend the sunrise over the atlantic is actually a sunset to prepare yourself for the 7-hour time difference, but considering it’s your first time ever crossing the Atlantic, you’re just thankful to focus on the free movies instead of the potential water landing.

venice, italy, honeymoon in italy, venezia, travel, wedding, canal, bridgeYou take a bus from the airport and arrive to the island mid-morning. It’s just a short walk to the hotel and as soon as you step foot inside to be greeted by the friendly staff, it starts pouring outside. A beautiful and perfectly-timed rain shower.

venice, italy, honeymoon in italy, venezia, travel, wedding, canal, bridge, hotel abbazia

You get a caffeine fix from the staff while you wait for your room to be ready. A cappuccino for her and an espresso for him before heading out to explore in an effort to avoid complete jet lag.

venice, italy, honeymoon in italy, venezia, travel, wedding, canal, bridge

 

Obviously bright-eyed, you spend the afternoon exploring the narrow streets lined by canals and the cutest little boats you’ve ever seen.

venice, italy, honeymoon in italy, venezia, travel, wedding, canal, bridge IMG_0202

venice, italy, honeymoon in italy, venezia, travel, wedding, canal, bridge

 

The rain lasts just long enough for you to still think it’s pretty. It’s the last sign of clouds or precipitation you’ll experience for the next 10 days.

venice, italy, honeymoon in italy, wedding, canal, gondola, summer in venice,

venice, italy, honeymoon in italy, venezia, travel, wedding, canal, bridge

IMG_4775 venice, italy, honeymoon in italy, venezia, travel, wedding, canal, bridge, gelato venice, italy, honeymoon in italy, venezia, travel, wedding, canal, bridge

 

You make it to dinner and based on a recommendation from the concierge where the menu is in Italian and the waitress doesn’t speak English. A perfect end to a very long day and the beginning of a wonderful honeymoon.

venice, italy, honeymoon in italy, venezia, travel, wedding, canal, bridge,

 

venice, italy, honeymoon in italy, venezia, travel, wedding, canal, bridge