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.
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St. Peter's Basilica
If there had to be one example to sum up the fury of artistic spirit during the Renaissance it would definitely be the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Rome. This is the largest church ever built in Rome and is built on the crucifiction spot of the first Pope St. Peter. A lot of famous minds worked on this masterpiece namely, Michelangelo, Bernini, Raphael, Bramante, and Peruzzietc. Built in style with Renaissance as well as Baroque architecture, this church was built during the peak of the Renaissance in Italy. Since it is one of the holiest places for Christians all over the world, this place is flocked with devout Christians and inspired travelers soaking the wonder of art. Basilica is not to be missed, it is one of the greatest buildings of its time!
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.