Monday, May 02, 2016

Italy Selfies

Robert and I just got back from a trip to Italy. We visited Venice, Florence, half-day in Pisa, and Rome, all in one week. It was a lot to pack into one week, but that was really the most time we felt we should be away, and then we figured we probably would not go back to Italy for a while so we should just pack as much into it as we could. You would probably need to stay a week in each of those places to do them justice, so we just did the highlights. Which also means we were surrounded by tourists a lot of the time because we were doing the most visited places in each city. So maybe one day we will have to go back and see a little more of the non-touristy Italy.

We did get to see the Italian countryside- from high speed trains as we traveled from city to city.  I love taking public transportation in foreign countries because you get more of a sense of what it's actually like to live there. We spent about eight hours total on the high speed trains travelling around, plus time spent on buses and metros within each city. What was awesome about this trip was that people came up to us all the time in public areas trying to talk to us in Italian. I guess we look Italian?? Unfortunately, although written Italian looks very similar to the Spanish and French Robert and I are familiar with, spoken Italian is not as easy to pick up. We knew only your basic greetings and as soon as we opened our mouths people knew we were not Italian (although, we were not necessarily immediately pinned as Americans. One guy guessed Robert was German. Even if their first language was not English, most tourist still communicated with Italians in English since it's a common second language all over the world).

I would love to blog about each of the cities, and maybe it will happen before July when we have the baby, but until then, here are our selfies from each area. I still haven't even looked at all the pictures from our nice camera, so these were all taken from my phone or Robert's phone.

Venice

"Gondola, Gondola, Gondola!" was the catch phrase in Venezia that all the Gondola drivers used to try to get you to come on a ride with them...which we did. We were super touristy this trip!


You will find I started getting better at taking selfies as the trip went on. These were some early ones before I realized I kept reaching across Robert.

The Grand Canal, below.

On some bridge taking a picture with just some random pretty bridge. You have to be used to going up stairs and bridges if you live in Venice. And walking a lot. There are no cars, so you either take boats (which itself only gets you so far) or walk. Even local deliveries to restock the shops or hotels are done by boat. It's sooo nice and peaceful with no cars though! Get out of the touristy part of town and Venice is absolutely lovely.

Another picture with the Grand Canal. Most of the canals are small like the one in the picture above, but the Grand Canal is, like the name implies, grand. That's where the bigger boats and waterbuses go down, also where the oldest and most famous houses are.

This was from the top of the bell tower in San Marcos square.

Florence

This is from the top of the Duomo, the dome of the most famous church in Firenze and the city's most recognizable piece of architecture. You need to come back to read about the trip up to the top when I finally get around to writing about it, but lets just say Robert might not have done it if he knew what he was getting into.

And here is us safely at the bottom with the Duomo in the background.

Pisa
I forgot my phone in my bag at the coat check when we went up the tower, so Robert has the selfies on his phone. Here's just a picture of the tower and the church I took before we checked our bags. Come back someday to read more about our short trip to Pisa.



Rome

Inside the Colosseum. We got there before it opened and got it as soon as it opened. Half and hour later the inside was crawling with people.

Outside the Colosseum

The Roman forum, which would have been like downtown Roma during Roman times, the most important and bustling part of the city. Those three giant arches to the right behind me are just half of what used to be the Roman Basilica. I always thought a Basilica was another way to say Catholic church. Actually, the orginal Basilica was a Roman invention, a large public building like a town hall, and the Catholic church adopted the same floor plan for their churches after Rome fell and the church became more prominent. Rome history is fascinating because the city has been such an important part of both the history of the Roman Empire and the history of the Catholic Church and Christianity as a whole.
More Roman Forum

In front of the Pantheon. An ancient Roman building that is not a ruin, and is actually still used today. You can thank the Christians for taking over this Pagan temple and using it and up keeping it as a Catholic Church for thousands of years, to this very day.

Inside St. Peters Basilica. Definitely a big church, but I think I was more blown away by some of the interior decorations of some other Catholic churches we've visited, like Notre Dame in France. Still, cool to see the inside.

Outside St. Peters Basilica.

We saw a lot more, this was just our selfies, but it's a good start to writing about what was a trip full of must see sights. I should mention too that we took no selfies in front of any art, but we saw a lot of famous art that was also a highlight of our trip. It is always really cool to see famous pieces in person to see what makes them so spectacular. So come back to read about that too!

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