After a joyful week at the school, I then flew Italy loosing my favourite peach lotion and some nervousness, back at the Bremen airport. I remember the long cab ride to the hotel located around the coast of Naples, cold wind and a fast pumping heart and eyes scrolling through the buildings, people, their vehicles and every tiny thing that I could notice and try to remember. A walk to the seashore in the late evening and passing my time with the beautiful view of the city on hills was a soothing end for that day. A big thank you, Celine Lavisse for joining me here. It wouldn't have been this good without you.
Food and wine, and everything fine – Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance Movement. Hence, there is no dearth of world-class art, history and tradition in this little town. Its narrow cobbled pathways are reminiscent of romantic Italian movies of the yore, and are perfect for aimless evening strolls with your loved one. Don't be surprised if you come across architectural masterpieces around every corner though, the town is replete with medieval chapels and museums all over. Florence is also famous for its hyper-stylish indigenous fashion being the hometown of world-renowned designers such as Guccio Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo, you'd find family-run boutiques everywhere.Free things to do while here: San Miniato Al Monte is an eerie but gorgeous church about Piazzale Michelangelo which you should visit. Take a stroll at Piazza Della Signoria and enjoy the collection of sculptures in the arcade nearby; there are also plenty of great roadside restaurants where you can sit and people-watch. However ridiculous it may sound, but you can also take a free walking tour of Florence; many guides just want to share their adoration of the gorgeous city with others and hence organise walking tours without charging anything.Where to eat: Here are the three cheap but outstanding places to eat in Florence: 1. SandwiChic at Via San Gallo, 2. Panini Toscani at Piazza del Duomo, 3. I' Girone De' Ghiotti at Via dei Cimatori. All three serve vegetarian food as well.Where to stay: What makes Florence a must-visit is its gorgeous yet affordable stays. Here is one fantastic option.
On Day 8, we made our way towards the city of Pisa. Here, we straightaway went to the main attraction of the city, the Leaning Tower of Pisa.The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the seven wonders of the world, making the city of Pisa, among the most visited, the world over. The monument, is actually a bell tower and took almost 200 years to be built. It started leaning once the construction reached the fifth floor, (out of eight in total). Due to the leaning, the top of the tower is 17 feet away from the vertical, making it a marvel to look at. Several attempts have been made to take it down, and rebuild, or restore at another location. Several people have tried to understand the reason behind the leaning. But no concrete scientific reason has been found so far.
Day 5: We rested during the morning before heading to the train station to take a 12:10PM train for a day-trip to Siena. Since it was a Sunday we got to know there would be lesser transportation in terms of buses. Siena was about an hour and a half from Florence. It is recommended to travel by bus as you get to pass scenic vineyards on the way. We walked from the station to the city center through the quaint little streets; there we visited Piazza del Campo which is a huge square. Siena is a walled city and the entire city has medieval brick buildings. Given it was a Sunday, most shops were shut which also meant lesser tourists. We then had lunch at one of the cafes in the streets and then went to the Siena Duomo, Cathedral of Siena. Then headed to the bus station and took an express bus back to Florence passing the picturesque vineyards. We later strolled through the streets of Florence and then had our last dinner in Florence.
We left Rome early in the morning, departing on a train to Naples. The journey took 2 hours during which we passed a variety of landscape and reached our destination a little past 8 AM. From Naples we boarded a local train which made up a quite interesting ride to Sorrento. This is the train which locals use for commuting along the coastal towns of southern Italy and has very striking characteristics. The first striking characteristic that you come across is the graffiti on the outside. As soon as you board, you'll find yourself in the company of street musicians playing Accordion and singing in Italian.Upon reaching Sorrento, we called our host, Gaitano from casa colarusso, Masa Lubrense - a quiet town on the coast. It started to rain heavily but luckily our host picked us up in his car and took us to our cozy accommodations.At the first look of our rooms, we were left astounded by the beauty of the view from our balcony. It was the most beautiful scene I had ever seen. Calm Mediterranean sea covered by dark clouds. The room was very well equipped with modern amenities. Gaitano and his wife ran the establishment quite efficiently.
Rome is Italy in a nutshell. Universally agreed upon as one of the most romantic and inspiring cities to live in, Rome is an exhilarating blend of historical ruins and vibrant streets. The city's artistic heritage is paralleled by only a few across the world; some reasons for this are the Colosseum, St. Peter's Basilica and the Byzantine mosaics throughout its geography. A trip to Rome could also be either religious (a day at the Vatican) or completely dedicated to fashion owing to its dolce vita culture. You can randomly sit at any roadside cafe or bar and watch the sun go down with your partner by your side, or you can follow the hordes because when in Rome...Free things to do while here: Pay homage at St. Peter's Basilica where you can find the iconic Pietà statue by Michelangelo. Visit the Bocca della Verità and tell a lie – legend has it that the huge face will bite you if you fib, so keep your fingers out of the way. You must already be aware of the iconic Trevi Fountain in which you throw coins and seek a wish; that's a must-visit place.
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I began my travel through this iconic city with on the most iconic places, not only in Rome, but also in the rest of the world. The Colosseum is right in the center of the city, which itself speaks greatly of its importance. Also known as the Flavius Amphitheater, it is the largest of its kind in the world. This monument is hailed as the epitome of Roman Architecture and engineering. This UNESCO World Heritage site, housed around 50,000 to 80,000 people in its time and was used for entertainment purposes in the early medieval era (remember Gladiator?) The monument is gigantic with four floors and each floor having around 80 arches each. Due to earthquakes much of the monument has been destroyed, but it still spills splendor and awe. If you think the Colosseum looks magnificent during the day, be ready to be blown away by its night view. The monument lights up the cityscape of Rome and looks like a jewel on the street!
After navigating through the museum, we finally reached the most important part of it, the Sistine Chapel. The wall on which the much-famed The Last Judgment, by Michelangelo, is painted looms out slightly over the viewer, and is meant to be somewhat fearful and to instill piety and respect for God's power. That piece inspires nothing but admiration. The artwork is astounding and nothing rivals it. But again, the crowd dampened the experience. But, this is where I'll explain to you, the perks of being five-feet tall. I walked right to the back of the room and blocked out the crowd. Once you focus on just piece of art, everything else fades away. It's almost like The Matrix, everything slows down. Concentrate enough and you feel like you're a part of Creation of Man.
A major portion of ancient Rome lies in deep slumber about 9 and 15 meters underground. With less scope of excavation in the deeper sections we have to rely on the catacombs, scavi, and crypts on religious sites to decipher the life in classical times. The famous Catacombs of Rome are the ancient burial places which are made of underground passages. The original Roman custom was cremation, after which the burnt remains were kept in a pot. But around the 2nd century AD, burial of unbound was being practiced. Christians also preferred burials. Wall graves were dug and were usually laid out vertically as it could contain one or more bodies. Another way was to have burial rooms containing graves all for one family. It gives you a chill when you descend into the realm of those dead and still dwelling here. Capuchin Crypt behind Piazza Barberini is where you can see the bones of thousand Capuchin monks. You’ll find skeletal remains of 3,700 bodies believed to be Capuchin friars buried by their order. There are six total rooms in the crypt. These would be the spooky highlights of your tour. The interesting history of the Basilica of Saint Clement makes it a key point to visit. Travel Trip- The Catacombs of St. Callixtus are closed on Wednesdays.