Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Italy 2010

For our Easter vacation, we took a 10 day trip to Italy, exploring Rome, Florence and Venice. It had been a dream for the both of us to see Italy, something we had talked about even before we were married. Having Kayden along made it a bit less romantic, but wonderful none the less!!

In Rome, our hotel was at the top of the Spanish steps, allowing for easy access to the rest of the city. We took Rome by storm, hitting up the Vatican, Colleseum, the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon as well as other famous sights. We were both amazed at how integrated the ancient ruins were into the modern city. You turn a corner and then, boom, right in front of your face, lay a structure that had been around for 1000's of years. Incredible. And, of course, we had to have gelato every day and try as many flavors as our stomach's would allow. My favorite turned out to be kiwi. Yummy.

Florence was our next stop on our Italy 2010 tour. It had a completely different feel than Rome, with smaller winding streets, CROWDS galore, and quaint shuttered windows. We loved the river and the gorgeous bridges that linked the 2 sides of Florence. Our favorite day of our whole trip was in Florence. We wandered the streets, getting lost in the back allies and then headed up to a park with a look out point over the entire city. From there, we found a random path that took us into the hills of Tuscany. Amazing views and a fantastic time in nature. The day was finished with an INCREDIBLE dinner at "Il Latini", Rachael Ray's favorite restaurant in the whole world. (yes, I know, I am a dork for knowing this). All the food of our 5 course meal came from the owners farm, tasting fresh and fantastic. When can I go back??

Venice was our last stop. Our hotel was tucked away in the North East corner of Venice, among the locals. We loved this escape from the crowds and it allowed us to get a small taste of the non tourist part of Venice. Everywhere we walked seemed to be a photo op. We were both in awe of the place, a city that was built on mud 100's of years ago and still thriving today. Highlights included a gondola ride and a water bus ride down the main canal. I think I could have cruised the canals all day!!

We came away from the trip more in love with the Italian culture and food than ever before. The language is beautiful, the scenery amazing and the people were super friendly. Kayden was a rock star in the Italian's eyes- Old and young alike always stopped to pat her on the head, chat or wave, saying "Ciao Bella". She of course worked it, blowing kisses, waving hi and goodbye. This earned her free cookies, ice cream and candies.

Venice- Rialto Bridge
View from our "bus" ride
Gondola ride. Sadly, they do not sing anymore!
Kayden in "guck" heaven
St Marco Square
Canal by our hotel
Square in Florence
Dinner at Il Latini- Can you tell what animal Shane ate??
View from the park over looking Florence
Junk galore to purchase
Standing on the steps of St Peter overlooking the Vatican
Roman Forum
First glimpses of the Roman Forum
Piazza Navona