Hello beautiful people! Over the last weekend, I took a short 4 day trip to Italy. I started this excursion by sleeping in the airport in Copenhagen, having a flight at 10 the next morning. Then followed a short day in Milan, took the train to Florence and stayed in a hostel, spent the day in Florence and then trained to Rome in which I stayed for two days before heading back to Milan to catch a flight home. I do dearly wish I had of had time to update you lovely people on my adventures as I went along, however I was extremely pressed for time and therefore had to take in every second of the enchanting Italy while I could. I will attempt to sum it all up in one post, and try to keep it to a manageable size!
March 13th- Milan
My flight got in to the airport around 12:30 on Thursday. I was able to quickly catch a shuttle bus to Central Milan, about an hour from the airport, for only 10 euro. This was extremely convenient as I had no time to wait for a bus, yet was not overly enthused about having to pay 90 euro for a taxi. I had a tour at 2:15 meeting at Piazza del Duomo, and this being my first time in Italy, I had no idea which way was what. So I took a cab which was a rather pleasant experience having the driver cheerfully teach me how to properly say “Piazza”. Usually I do prefer to explore places on my own, without being restricted by a guide and an itinerary. However, my train to Florence departed at 7:30 and I did want to get as much done in Milan as possible without pesky line ups. I was able to see such sites as the famous Duomo, a church made over hundreds of years displaying influences of differing eras. With intentions of creating a Gothic church, it is a glorious display of white spiky exterior is an event on it’s own. Throughout this 3 hour walking tour, we were able to see many of the main sites of Milan, with the main being a viewing of the Last Supper. Being a huge Renaissance nerd, of course the thought of getting up close and personal with a painting that was the first we know to show human emotions, well, just was an absolute dream. The perception of this painting, was far more than religiously significant. The ability to represent dialog through a still painting, to create depth and such perspective within a piece of art, is incredible to say the least. Standing where Leonardo Da Vinci had stood, trying to perceive the way he must have been thinking to paint such a significant work; well it was honestly and truly moving. I do believe that in the overwhelming emotion of it all my eyes my have teared up a bit, as disgustingly cliche as it all sounds. Purely surreal, it was a moment that was certainly significant and unforgettable. The painting occupies a wall in a room that was once where the priests would eat at the long table, and the painting was made to seem as if the Last Supper was taking place with those eating in the dinning hall. Made to accommodate 200 people, a max of 20 some people are allowed in this room at once, after passing through a series of doors that were sealed air tight to ensure that everyone was clean of dust. I could honestly continue for posts about this painting, however that is unsightly and unfortunate for all you readers. Just take my advice: If you ever consider simply dismissing Milan as a city solely of high end fashion, please consider stopping in to see this masterpiece. There is many other less known gems in Milan which I also encourage you to do your research again, a Lonely Planet will do quite nicely. I then continued after the tour to get incredibly lost making my way to the train station and decided to cut my losses and hail a cab. Luckily I was not too far away, and only had to pay 5 euro for the ride. After grabbing a quick bite to eat, I found my gate and was onward to Florence.
March 13th/14th- Florence
I arrived in Florence around 10 something, and I was able to find my Hostel right away as it was simply 3 minutes from the train station and the hostel’s website provided excellent directions of which I had printed off (it does me best to be prepared as I have an uncanny talent for getting lost). I stayed at the Hostel Archi Rossi which was pleasant with clean rooms, reliable wifi, lovely facilities, free breakfast buffet as well as free tours leaving at 10 every morning. I had a nice shower and went directly to bed, seeing as I hadn’t truly slept in two days. The next morning I quickly got ready for the day, packed my things and headed for free breakfast to be followed by the free 2 hour walking tour at 10. This was a nice way to get my barrings about the city. I must say, I am completely in love with Florence. Italy instantly captured my heart, and Florence sealed the deal. I was inside Strozzi palace. I was standing outside of Palazzo Pitti, former home of the Medici family. THE MEDICI FAMILY. Everything in Florence is absolute magic; From the Ponte Vecchio to the Uffizi to the absolutely heavenly Gelato (which was first created in Florence) Oh and the Wine. Ahhhh the wine. After my tour that finished on the Ponte Vecchio, I was able to go about the city myself as I prefer and explore. I made my way to the Uffizi, and after strolling around the building far more times than I would like to admit, I finally found the correct entrance. For those of you who are easily overwhelmed with directions as I, the entrance of the Uffizi is on the inside of the two buildings, your second door in from the square on the building to your left. If you accidentally try to enter in one of the doors that are by no means entrances, you will get yelled at in Italian. This museum is substantial, and you should take care to set aside a large chuck of time to take it on, give or take how much in depth you plan on observing the exhibits. This museum is home to the large Medici collection of art, donated to the city by Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici under the condition that the collection forever remains in Florence. After the Uffizi, I was able to find a lovely vegetarian cafe, Brac ( http://www.libreriabrac.net/brac/ ) and had an avocado salad. For more great restaurants for the Vegetarians and Vegans, check out Florence happy cow- quite a few listings!! Also, all Gelato places I came across had many sorbet flavors, also some had soy and usually a dark chocolate dairy free Sorbert! All equally delicious. After that I continued to stroll along the stunning streets and Piazzas, and happened upon a cafe for a glass of wine as I had a few hours before I had to be at the train station. I enjoyed a delicious red Chianti while unlooking the Duomo. Then I continued to move along to find my street, and looking a bit disorientated a kind young man with a British Accent noticed and set me off in the right direction. With a map at hand it would have been no problem to find my way, but this sure made the process go quite a bit faster! After picking up a few things at a train station I was onward to Rome.
March 14th/15th/ 16th- Rome
Arriving in Rome late on Friday night, I made my way to my hostel which was a short walk from the train station. I was staying at the Beehive Hostel. Oh my word, it was beautiful! It has a vegetarian cafe located inside, and lots of different types of rooms. Very clean, and lovely lounges outside as well as one inside. Gorgeously decorated, very cheerful! Helpful, friendly staff as well. HIGHLY recommend it. After a shower I was able to settle in and make use of the free wifi, then get a good nights rest. The next morning I had a tour of the Forum/ Colosseum, followed by a tour of the Vatican. Again, I really am not huge on tours, but in order to see everything I wanted in such a short period of time, they were necessary. To those of you who have the time and are not on a skip the line tour as I was, do the Roman Forum first as the line is always shorter for tickets, and the same ticket will get you into the Colosseum. The line up for the Colosseum is pushing 2 hours as the Forum is about 10 minutes. I absolutely adored both of these sights, and was enchanted by these ancient ruins. The fact that they have withstood the test of time is absolutely incredible. Having a glance into the lives that people have lived so long ago, standing where they once stood, is an absolute honor. Seeing my history lessons come to life as my mind painted vibrant life within these deserted buildings was incredible. Also I must add, standing in front of the temple of Caesar on March 15th, the Ides of march, the day he was killed, was absolutely insane for me! It didn’t seem to be a big deal to others, but well, I am a nerd. After this I accompanied my tour guide to the Vatican for the second portion of the tour. The Vatican was of course breathtaking, with architectural feats that are hardly perceivable. The Representation and symbolism in the Sistine chapel was obviously a highlight. The excess of statues obtained (stolen) by Napoleon was incredible as well. I thoroughly enjoyed the hall that displayed different maps from over the years, due of course to my obsession with maps. The ceilings were also another high point, painted to look as if they were carved however were all flat paintings. truly an optical illusion to say the least. St. Peters Basilica was also amazing, of course. Afterward, the two others on the tour and I decided we would do some exploring as a group. It was lovely to meet some new like-minded travelers, and to have some company. I was able to see the Pantheon in passing, as we walked the exquisite streets. We had a look around Piazza Navona and I indulged in buying myself a small painting. We had a lovely meal, during which we drank red wine. Afterward, had Gelato at a fantastic place with a VW van inside. Too cute! It was called pistachios, and I have the address on a business card kicking around here somewhere if anyone is interested. Finally arriving back at my hostel, prepared for my last day in Rome/Italy.
I awoke the next morning with intentions on heading to the Capitoline museums, but not before finally getting to sample the cafe at my hostel. I had a lovely fruit salad, along with blood orange juice and a macchiato with soy milk. Sooooo goooood. I had a lovely walk in the sun to the Capitoline museums, and first enjoyed the surrounding area before I actually entered. The museums were very overwhelming, however enjoyable. I was able to see some things of which extremely interested me, such as the statue of the She-wolf. I would recommend leaving a good chunk of time for this, with breaks on the terrace as to not become overwhelmed with art and history. After this, I met up with the friends I had met the previous day at the tour. Together we did some exploring, including the Trevi fountain and the Spanish steps, finishing off the day and our time in Rome with a sunset with a view from Pincio which was stunning to say the least. Sadly, we then made our way back in the direction of our differing hostels, but not after one last meal at which I had grilled Vegetables, delicious! After this, I had to retrieve my bags from my hostel storage room, and goodbyes were to be had. I was at the train station in plenty of time, so of course I had one last Italian Gelato while waiting. I swear, this gelato is incomparable to any other ice cream form on the face of the planet. Onward to Milan, I was able to catch the last shuttle at 12:30 to the airport, at which I had to spend the night to wait for my 7:30 flight.
As mentioned above, I am completely enchanted with Italy as a whole. Florence especially captured my heart as a place that felt like a home; I could see myself living there. Rome was a beautiful city that I grew more fond of for every second I spent there. It felt like a dream, of which will forever remain a place I will long for. I did throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain, ensuring that return as the legend goes. I would love to see much more of Italy, I cannot even begin to make a list. Hopefully the return will come soon, until then my heart will ache for it.
For any of you reading this with aspirations to travel to these areas and want any information on the places I stayed or ate at, etc, (particularly the veg or gluten free crowd, as I know it is so much harder for us!) Do not hesitate to contact me with any questions at all! I may have not been there long but I did more research than I needed, so hopefully will be able to help! Personally, I never go anywhere without a Lonely planet. 🙂
PS: I will add pictures, internet isn’t behaving at the moment.
Hope everyone is having a lovely night where ever you find yourselves!
Much love, thanks for stopping in!
-Amy Tattrie xo