Archive for the ‘ Italy ’ Category

Inside: Carnival in Venice

It’s already February and am yet to travel. *gasp*

Where to, to start another year of globetrotting? Back to Italy! Where specifically? To Venice for their carnival! :D

First time in Italy. First time to visit Venice. :)

First time in Italy. First time to visit Venice. :)

The first time I travelled to Italy was 2 years ago. I travelled solo for a week and visited Rome, Florence then Venice. The most popular route. Typical? I guess. But for a reason most definitely! I keep telling my other friends who seem to shun touristy things that touristy places/ things are the way they are for a reason and it’d be a shame to skip them just to avoid the crowd.  Anyways, since I had been couchsurfing my way around bella Italia – and met many wonderful people and got to see places I grew up studying and dreaming of- … I wanted a break from staying at other people’s place and and to just be on my own and to treat myself I guess, so I booked for a room by the Rialto bridge  in Venice. It was perfect!

Sunset in Venice

Sunset in Venice

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I like how Venice is really just any other city except for the fact that it has canals instead of roads. Vaporettos instead of buses. Water ambulance, fire boat, etc. Awesome! I wasn’t really aware of Venice’s masquerades back then but seeing all of the masks by the streets, I figured, buy one and come back to Venice to actually use it in the festival season.

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And that’s what I exactly did last week! :D

With travel buddies, Shalinee and Jessica

With travel buddies, Shalinee and Jessica

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Venetian Carnival is an annual fest held in – as the name suggests – Venice. It is celebrated until before the start of Lent, 40 days before Easter. Here are pictures taken during the last Venice Carnival.

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The cons of visiting a place during a feast is the seriously huge crowd of people!

The downside of visiting a place during a feast is the seriously huge crowd of people!

P1100441Venice. Expensive. Touristy. Crowded. Still, it was a truly fun experience! We’re even thinking of going back to another carnival wearing a full costume. Should be fun! ;)

Best done with friends. If you wanna go there for romantic purposes, better go off season to avoid the throng of visitors – or at least to not have as many of them there.

*If looking for accommodations and you realize that Venice’s hotels are out of your budget range, look for a place to stay at in Venice Mestre. It’s in the mainland and much cheaper. And besides, it’s just 15mins away by bus. :)

AAU Trip to Rome

Second attempt at making a video out of the pictures of a trip. This one’s with my workmates in London as we embarked on a whirlwind overnight trip to the eternal city of Rome. First flight in, last flight out. If I’m with people who are up for all of my crazy ideas… these are the sort of things that would ensue! lol

Enjoy watching! :D

 

Inside: Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square

This week, a pontiff -the head of the Catholic Church- retired from his post. A first in more than 600 years! The Holy Father is currently in the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo. He bid the faithfuls goodbye last February 28, 2013. It is said that it could be his last public appearance and would then lead a life of study and prayers in seclusion.

This blog post I guess is in response to such a historical event. I’m fortunate enough to have seen Pope Benedict XVI when he celebrated the canonization mass of 7 blessed person, one of which is a Filipino – Pedro Calungsod – last October 21, 2012. I flew to Rome from London just for that celebration along with thousands of Filipinos.

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The sun hasn’t even risen yet and the place is already teeming with people eager to attend the canonization mass!

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As was pointed out to me by locals in the area, the Pontiff is now awake! hehe The room with the lights on is (was) his room.

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Filipinos from all over the world came for such a joyous occasion! Some of whom we’ve talked to were living in Rome, some flew from Canada, many from the rest of Europe and of course, the Philippines!

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The cardinals

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As much as we wanted to cheer for our fellow Filipino, it was requested that everyone observe the sanctity of the celebration. Cheers were allowed after the mass.

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The square was packed! We were informed that we’d be needing a ticket to secure our seats. Oh no! I didn’t knew that! But everyone was just so kind -we were offered tickets for free, flags to wave etc!

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Pope Benedict XVI up close! :D

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It was my fourth visit to the eternal city of Roma. On my first visit, I tried to see as much of the Vatican as I could. To visit St. Peter’s Basilica is free. One only has to be mindful of one’s clothing, no bare shoulder and no shorts/ skirts above the knee. There is a (seriously) long queue for security purposes but the line is quick! Entrance to the Basilica is free.

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THE queue.

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St. Peter

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Taking pictures is allowed as well. It’s just with the clothing that they are very particular about.

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The tomb of the late Pontiff, John Paul II

People I’ve met kept recommending that I go up the cupola as one can see the whole of the Vatican from there. Do take note that once you’ve decided to go up, there literally is no turning back as the passage goes one way and many people are heading up. The view from above is really nice though!

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Reminders!

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Looking down the Basilica from high up!

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Time to head up the cupola :D

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It was a bit of a squeeze.

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St. Peter’s Square as seen from the top of the Basilica

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Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast

My cousin and I were planning to go on a month long backpacking trip in Europe. Our list of places to visit was so long, I could feel myself getting a headache just thinking of what route we’re going to take while taking into consideration the budget. We did agree on two things: we will be going to Vienna to visit a good friend AND go to Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Unfortunately for my cousin, she wasn’t able to join me because of work. I still managed to go on a trip and do those two but with different companions.

Amalfi is beautiful!

As I’m typing this, I would have to say that Amalfi Coast is the most beautiful place I’ve seen here in Europe. To get there, you could either catch a flight to Rome then take a train to Naples then Amalfi OR fly to Naples then go to Amalfi OR you could also book a Mediterranean cruise. While over there, there were several cruise ships around the coast. But it still wasn’t as crowded with tourists as the rest of Italy. Probably since it was already early fall (mid-September)?

Breathtaking Positano!♥

Amalfi Coast is a 50km stretch of coastline along the province of Salerno in Southern Italy.  It is composed of 13 municipalities. Around 7 of which we have seen: Amalfi, Positano, Ravello, Maiori, Minori, Scala and Vietri sul Mare. The rest being Tramonti, Atrani, Conca dei Marini, Furore, Praiano, and Cetara. It’s said that Amalfi Coast is also known as “the land of the Sirens,” referring to Homer’s epic “Odysseus.” It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site as a cultural landscape because of its unique scenery as well as its indisputable beauty: jagged cliffs bordered by crystal clear waters of the sea; whitewashed (sometimes colorful) villas built on mountain slopes; flowers abloom and trees (mostly of lemon) abundant; and clear skies all combine for a spectacular view!

I travelled with my friend Ania in Italy for 9days. Wanting to save some money, we stayed in a hostel that’s walking distance from Salerno’s train station. After a quick change of clothes, we got on a bus bound for Amalfi. We bought the €3 day ticket. It was a very zigzaggy route but it was soooo picturesque! The one hour trip passed by quickly since I was just enchanted with what I was looking at! It is a must to ride a bus when here!

My friend got a bit of motion sickness hehe

A map of the coast painted on ceramics :)

Amalfi town used to be a maritime superpower. During the 800s it was the capital of the Duchy of Amalfi, a maritime republic which was considered an economic powerhouse and an important trading power in the Mediterranean. Built in the 11th century, you can visit the Cathedral of St. Andrew where in its crypt are buried the remains of St. Andrew, the first disciple of Jesus.

St. Andrew’s Cathedral

Wanting to make the most of our day card, we decided to catch the sunset in Ravello, a scenic town that’s perched high up in the mountains, 350meteres above sea level. To get there, we just went back to where the buses were parked in Amalfi and caught the one that’s headed to Ravello. Up there, they were producing limoncello (you can have a sip which we thought was a good way of warming us up coz it was relatively cold up there) and ceramics with beautiful designs on it. When it got too cold for us (we were just wearing very light dresses), we headed back down to Amalfi and from there got on a bus to Salerno.

Catching the sunset in Ravello’s piazza

We wanted to start early the next day but we kinda overlsept so we were in a hurry to get to Amalfi. Once in Amalfi, we again rode a bus but this time, towards Positano. It may seem that we were spending too much time in buses whilst there but it was alright with us since it allowed us to see much of the coastline. Plus riding a bus there seems to be an adventure especially if you’re seated near the driver. The road is narrow (barely enough for two vehicles side by side) that when at curves, cars have to give way to each other! It’s a bit troublesome when we’re by a curve and if the oncoming cars were driven by visitors in the area because it seems that they’re so used to wide roads that they won’t really move to the side for fear of scratching their vehicles that it doesn’t give our bus much space to get by. What’s funny though is when our driver would shout instructions to them to say… move backward, turn more to the left (or the right) and close their side view mirror so that we could pass by. I found it totally entertaining! :D

Looking up at Positano :)

Amongst the towns we’ve seen in Amalfi Coast, Positano is our hands down favorite. It is enchanting! Bellissima!!! It’s beauty earned for it the title “the pearl of the divine coast.” However, it is also probably because of this beauty that’s why it’s the most expensive place there. It is the most visited place in the coast of Amalfi. The town is also known for its clothing and shoe production. I was going to buy a handswen sandals worth €70. Alas, I thought twice about it! Oh well, guess I’ll have to come back again for one! :D

Enjoying the summer (well, early autumn) sunshine! :D

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Inside: Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square

Rome: Must See(s)

Oh my! Four times in Rome and counting! Here are some of the must see places in this city. There’s quite a lot so be more than free to remind me if I missed something. I could write a part 2 if that’s the case! :D

Capitoline Hill

The Capitoline wolf: a bronze statue of a she-wolf suckling twins infants who then founded Rome

It is the smallest of Rome’s seven hills but was the religious and political center of ancient Rome. Many important temples once stood here, the most important of which was the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus Capitolinus, built in 509BC and was almost as large as the Parthenon of Athens. The temple and the hill served as the symbol of Rome as Caput Mundi (capital of the world). Located on top of the hill is Piazza del Campidoglio which was designed by Michelangelo.

Michelangelo’s Piazza del Campidoglio

Roman Forum

The Roman Forum

Once the site of ancient Rome’s political, religious and judicial buildings, they say that the Empire was planned and developed in this relatively small space. Being the center of Roman public life, this was where triumphant processions would pass by along the Via Sacra (Sacred Way), the main road, as well as where elections, trials and even gladiatorial matches were held. It was referred to as the Forum Magnum or simply the Forum. The best way to view the Forum as a whole would be atop the Capitoline Hill.

Piazza Venezia – Victor Emmanuel Monument

Victor Emmanuel Monument

Located at the foot of Capitoline Hill, the piazza got its name from Cardinal Venezia who built the nearby Palazzo Venezia.

Seeing part of the city atop the Victor Emmanuel building

The monument houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was built after World War 1 to honour soldiers who died and whose bodies were never found.  Many criticized the building of the big white marble building since it clashes with the general architecture of the area. It even garnered nicknames such as “the wedding cake” and “the typewriter.” Either way, the view from the top is really nice so don’t forget to check it out!

Largo di Torre Argentina

There are ruins of four temples in this site

Found in this site are the remains of four Republican Roman temples and the Theatre of Pompey. This was where Julius Caesar was stabbed by a group of senators on the steps of the Theatre of Pompey. Currently, people go there to see the hundreds of stray cats that made the ruins their home.

One of the cats that laze around in the ruins

Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps: Europe’s widest staircase

Also known as Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti  in Italian. It was designed by Francesca de Sanctis at the request of Innocent XII during the 18th century, they are so called because the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See was once situated in the piazza. The Scalinata with its 138 steps is the widest staircase in Europe. At the base of the staircase are streets with lots of high end shops.

Fontana di Trevi

So called because it is at the junction of three roads in Rome’s Trevi district, this fountain stands 26metres high and 20metres wide and is one of the most popular in the world. The Trevi Fountain was designed by Nicola Salvi in 1732. It was completed in 1762. The central figure of the fountain is Oceanus, the divine personification of World Ocean, an enormous river encircling the world. He is flanked by two Triton. One is leading a docile animal while the other is struggling with a very unruly sea horse. These two symbolize the moods of the sea. Also found at the niches on either side of Oceanus are Abundance from which water spills from her urn and Salubrity holding a cup from which a snake drinks.

The many tourists visiting the famous fountain :)

They say that if you toss a coin over your shoulder with your back to the fountain, you will be back in Rome. Well, to be more precise, if you toss a coin using your right hand over your left shoulder. Others are adding that if you toss 2 coins, you will fall in love with an Italian and that if you toss three coins, you will marry that person. I don’t know about the last two but I’ve been to Rome 4x already and I haven’t exactly tossed the coins properly! :D

Fontana di Trevi by night

With the amount of people tossing coins here, the city is able to collect EUR 3,000 daily! The money is then distributed to various charities in the city. Also, it is illegal to frolic in the waters of the fountain!

The fountain is walking distance from Piazza Navona and the Spanish Steps.

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is built on the site of Stadium of Domitain and follows the form of the open space of the stadium. During the 15th til the 19th century, they would flood the piazza and use it for aquatic games and would stage naval battles.

Piazza Navona has three fountains:

Bernini’s Fontana Dei Quattro Fiumi (Nile, Ganges, Danube and Rio de la Plata)

Fontana Dei Quattro Fiumi (Four Rivers Fountain) was created by Bernini in the early 1650s is one of Rome’s most famous. It represents the four great rivers known at the time namely the Danube, the Ganges, the Nile and the Rio de la Plata. It created a controversy since bread tax was raised to cover the cost of its building.

Giacomo della Porto’s Fontana del Moro

Fontana del Moro (Fountain of the Moor), located at the piazza’s southern end, was designed by Giacomo della Porto and built in 1575. The fountain has statues of four Tritons and the basin is made of special antique rose marble. In 1654, Bernini carved the central figure, a muscular Triton riding a dolphin, that resembles a “Moor”. Thus, the fountain is called the Fountain of the Moor. During a restoration in 1874, the original sculptures were moved to the Villa Borghese and substitute copies were made and are still on the fountain.

Fontana del Nettuno also by Giacomo della Porto

Fontana del Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune) on the otherhand is by the piazza’s northern end. Also designed by  Giacomo della Porto in 1574, it was completed by Antonio della Bitta in 1878 when he added the sculpture of Neptune fighting an octopus.

Also found in Piazza Navona is Sant’Angese in Agone Church which is right in front of the Four Rivers Fountain. It was designed by Bernini’s rival, Borromini. Locals say that 2 of the representation of the rivers are actually shielding their eyes due to the horrible design of the church while the statue of St. Agnes meanwhile is gazing out of the piazza so as to avoid looking at the fountain in front of her! :D

Pantheon

The Pantheon was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa as a temple to all the gods of Ancient Rome. It was destroyed by a fire in 80AD, that’s why it was rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian. The present building can be dated back to 120AD. Despite its age, it is one of the most well preserved ancient Roman buildings owing to continuous usage. It was made a Roman Catholic church around the 7th century. They dedicated the church to St. Mary and the Martyrs and is locally known as Santa Maria della Rotonda.

The oculus inside the Pantheon

Inside, very noticeable is the oculus, a central opening that opens to the sky. The Pantheon’s dome is the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. It lets natural light in and allows the sun to create striking patterns of light across the walls. The inlaid marble floors are original and hasn’t been changed since ancient Roman times! The church is also a burial ground of some illustrious Italians such as King Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I as well as the very famous Renaissance painter, Raphael.

Castel Sant’ Angelo (The Castle of Angels)

Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 9am-7:30pm; closed on Mondays, Dec25 & Jan1
Admission fee: €8.50

The Illuminati’s secret lair according to Dan Brown’s Angel and Demons novel, this building was initially commissioned as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian and his family. It was then used by popes as a fortress and castle. They had a covered passageway built to connect the Vatican and Castel Sant’ Angelo and used it as a means of escape in times of danger. Perched high up on the building is a statue of the Archangel St. Michael from which the building got its name. It dates back to when Pope Gregory the Great, during a procession to plead for the end of a plague, saw an angel standing on the top of the castle sheathing its sword. This was interpreted as being a heavenly sign that the plague was about to end. Henceforth, it became known as Castel Sant Angelo. A small chapel was built on top the castle at the spot where the angel was supposed to have appeared.

One of the angels at the bridge

Catacombs

Opening hours (San Callisto Catacombs): 9am-12pm; 2pm-5pm; closed on Wednesday
Admission fee: €8

Via Appia Antica, the oldest street in Rome

Beneath the city of Rome are catacombs that date back to as early as 2nd century AD. Back then, people were cremated upon dying but early Christians were against it since they believe in resurrection. To solve this problem, subterranean cemeteries were made. The Catacombs of San Callisto is the longest with around 12miles of tunnels. However, only 500 metres is open to the public. 19 popes, 50 martyrs were buried here along with hundreds of thousand other Christians. There are many other catacombs in the area.

To get here, either take a tour or do it on your own (this is what I almost always do on trips). Take the metro and get off at San Giovanni then take bus number 218. It will pass by the catacombs. OR take the metro to Ostiense station and take bus number 118. If you’re unsure of your stop, just let the driver know where you want to get off.

Colosseum

Opening hours: Daily (except Christmas and New Year) from 8:30am until 4:30-7:15pm (depending on the time of the year)
Admission fee: €15.50

The Colosseum. Pic courtesy of my friend Ania :)

Probably the most iconic building in Rome, it was originally called the Flavian Amphitheater and commissioned by Emperor Vespasian in 72AD. It is considered a structural and engineering marvel and one of ancient Rome’s greatest work. It could hold more than 50,000 spectators and people were seated according to rank. The Colosseum used to be made of marble. However, these were quarried and used for the constructions of the cathedrals of St. Peter and St. John Lateran as well as the Palazzo Venezia. What you can see now is actually the skeleton (inner walls) of the original building. It was the battleground for gladiators and used as a venue for mock naval battles, animal hunts and executions. Thus it came to represent not just the ancient Romans’ wealth and extravagance, but its cruelty.

Inside the Colosseum

Vatican City – St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s Square

*I will make a separate entry for the Vatican that’s why I won’t go into details about it here :)

St. Peter’s Basilica

Vatican City is recognized as the world’s smallest independent state in both size (44hectares) and population (800). Inside of which is St. Peter’s Basilica. It is officially known in Italian as Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano. The basilica is believed to be built on the spot where St. Peter, the first pope, was executed. Entrance here is free but everyone should be dressed appropriately (no bare knees nor shoulders). It is considered as one of Christendom’s holiest site and most renowned work of Renaissance architecture. St. Peter’s Square (Piazza San Pietro) which is located in front of the basilica was designed by Bernini in such a way so that the Pope could give his blessing to as many people who could see as possible.

Looking down at Piazza San Pietro from atop the cupola of the Basilica

These are the definite must see places when in Rome though the sights are not just limited to them. I always take my time when visiting certain places and I try not to hurry. Enjoy the sights. Take a break: have a cup of espresso in Rome’s best coffee shop and roasting house a quick walking distance from the Pantheon, Sant’ Eustachio Il Caffe, while in one of the many piazza around. :)

Have a quick sip of Italian espresso! :)

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Inside: Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square

Rome, the Eternal City!

The fact that I’ve already been to Italy thrice while I actually told myself that I’ll avoid visiting the same country until after I’ve been to many European countries warrants that I actually write something about the country that I visited the most in this continent! :)

Piazza Venezia

My first stop in Italy was its capital city of Rome. I spent around 4 days there. I would have preferred to stay longer but I had trains and flight to catch. I love to travel and I’ve encountered people (and or links/ blogs) who tend to distinguish between being a tourist and a traveller. Hmmm… I prefer the label traveller but if being a tourist meant going to the must-see places, trying the must-do things, chowing down on must-eat foods and taking loads of picture, then I’m a tourist to a T! But then, I don’t really enjoy joining guided tours and prefer taking my time to explore a place and every now and then, I prefer the less “touristic” route. Having said this, I would like to share how I explored this city (mistakes included so that you may avoid them yourselves. Okay, I went a bit off topic here, I tend to do that but please just bear with me ;)).

Roma’s Castel Sant’ Angelo

The city of Rome has two international airports namely Ciampino and Fiumicino. It’s pretty easy getting to downtown Rome from either of the two: you can arrange for a hotel transfer or take the express train (30minutes between Termini and Fiumicino for €11) but the cheapest option (and this is what I always do) is to just get on a bus, €5, when you arrive at the airport to take you to Roma Termini. If you’re flying out of the same airport, book a return ticket as that will save you a euro or two. Travel time takes between 40minutes (Ciampino) to an hour (Fiumicino) give or take several minutes due to traffic.

In the bus, headed to Roma Termini :)

I love the fact that in this country, the ancient and the modern blend into each other harmoniously and a result is this very interesting city, much less country, that is just brimming with history, arts and culture! Sipping coffee in a steetside cafe that’s situated in front of a church designed by Bernini several hundred years ago or seeing kids play football and even using a centuries old cathedral’s wall to bounce their ball against.

Some practical tips for the city:

If you plan to stay here for at least 3days and you want to visit museums (and other attractions), buying a Roma Pass is a pretty good way of saving money. For €30.00, you get an unlimited access to their public transportation and free entrance for 2 sites plus discounts to others in a span of 3days. It ends on the midnight of the 3rd day.

There is one more way of saving money while in Rome. In this city, I don’t have to keep buying water which is very important coz it is hot and you’re doing a lot of walking! Why? Well, the city is famous for its aqueducts and its these amazing waterway system that brings fresh water from the outside into the city. There are thousands of little fountains called fontanelle (little fountains) or nasoni (so-called because of the nose shaped faucet)  that can be found all over. The water here is refreshingly cool and tastes good. So what I do is just buy a bottle of water for €1 and I just keep refilling it while there! Saves the environment from too much plastic bottles and helps me save some euros too. ;)

One of the numerous fontanelle in Roma :)

Cooling down in the middle of a Roman summer!

Having an aperitif is a nice way of spending your evening.  Technically speaking, an aperitif is an alcoholic beverage that you drink before a meal to stimulate the appetite. In Rome though, that means having a cocktail drink (or an aperitif) PLUS an all you can eat (appetizer) buffet for a very affordable price of €7! Foods include cold pastas, finger foods and sandwiches. I went to a couple when I was there and they’d always bring a new dish almost every 30minutes aside from the ones already out. There’s always something new to try! :)

Great finds are just around the corners! :)

The best way to go about exploring this city (even other places for that matter) is to go by foot, walk I mean. :) Just pick a spot and go from there. They did say that the best finds here be it restaurants, pizzerias or gelaterias are not on the main street but are hidden inside the city’s many nooks and crannies. :)

Sample 3 Days Itinerary

I will be suggesting an itinerary but I am in no way encouraging you to strictly follow it.

DAY 1

Spanish Steps

Start the day early so you can see more. Go to Spagna Station to visit the Spanish Steps (Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti), the widest staircase in Europe. It links Piazza di Spagna at the bottom with Piazza della Trinità dei Monti at the top.

Fontana di Trevi

Walk then towards Fontana di Trevi, a huge Baroque fountain that’s very beautiful and is one of the world’s most popular. That being so,expect many tourists to be here as well. After tossing a coin into the fountain so that you’ll return to this city, head now to the Pantheon. Built during ancient Roman times, it is one of te most preserved buildings since it had always been in constant use. Originally serving as a temple for all gods, it is now a Catholic church dedicated to St. Mary and the Martyrs.

These are seriously refreshing, perfect for a hot day in Rome!

Walk now to Campo dei Fiori which literally translates to a field of flowers. It is a bustling market that sells everything from pasta to hat to fruits and flowers. Buy fresh fruits already chopped and ready to eat in a glass for €3. Near the market is Piazza Navona. It used to be a stadium where the ancient Romans came to watch the “agones” (games).

Signage on one of the restaurants that can be found in Trastevere district

If it’s around lunchtime by the time you get here, I’d suggest crossing the Tiber River and eat lunch in Trastevere (Trans Tiberem=beyond the Tiber River) district. It is a good place to look for places to eat because they serve good Italian foods at reasonable prices. Afterwards, you can walk around this district travelling in a north-easternly direction. This will lead you to Largo di Torre Argentina. Its claim to faim in this city is that it has now become an unusual cat sanctuary. A few minutes walk away is the Piazza Venezia. Built after World War 1, this monument houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to honour the soldiers who died and whose bodies were never found during that war. Just beside it is the Palatine Hill where it was said that the abandoned twin brothers Romulus and Remus were kept alive by a female wolf. And from here,  you can see Rome’s most iconic structure, the Colosseum. Perfect place to have pictures taken during sunset in Roma. ^_^

Pic courtesy of my friend: Ania

DAY 2

Pic courtesy of Ania :)

If you are a Catholic and would like to go to Rome especially to see the Vatican then it’s best that you allot a day for the Vatican Museum, St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s Square. Visit Castel Sant’ Angelo after too. It was built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian and was later turned into a papal fortress. The late afternoon and evening would be free though for other stuff. Even if you’re not a Catholic, it’d still be nice to do this coz some of the most famous paintings could be found inside the museum and the Basilica is also really nice inside. ;)

Looking down at St. Peter’s Square from the top of the Cupola!

DAY 3

If you’re up for museums and galleries, don’t miss Galleria Borghese when in Rome. You have to call for a reservation before youc ould be let in though. OR just chill, roam around and visit other museums, churches and eat. :)

There are actually a lot more to see in this beautiful cityy but at least if you do this, you pretty much covered the must see! ;)

Ania, grazie! :D

Hopefully, I can follow up this entry with another soon! Anyways, I’m headed to Nice, France in a few days! Ciao! :D

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Inside: Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square

Bella Italia!

If there’s one country that was most likely the cause for my desire to travel, I would have to say that it’s Italy. I have always loved history, arts, food and beautiful places and this country has all of those in such abundance!

I finally got to visit Italy last June for a week! :D I went to 3 cities: Roma (Rome), Firenze (Florence) and Venezia (Venice). I was supposed to travel with a friend but due to unfortunate circumstances, she wasn’t able to join me. It’s a good thing that I know people there and that I’m getting used to travelling on my own so I was fine with it albeit a tad disappointed. I’m not about to let that stop me from going there though! hehe

I try not to post photos of me but more of the places that I visit and the people that I meet. Well, maybe in just this entry, I’ll give myself an exception! haha

In Rome’s Colosseum

When I think of Italy, I almost always have Rome in mind. What with it being the capital city since ancient time and with most of the country’s famous landmarks found here. Most notable of which are the Vatican, Colosseum, Pantheon and Fontana de Trevi amongst many others. While I was here, I seriously did nothing but walk around, eat pizza, walk, eat pizza, walk… you know the drill ;) hehe

At Piazza Michelango with a panoramic view of the city of Florence

I was heading north to Venice where I will fly out back to London so I decided to visit the charming city of Florence. It’s small when compared to Rome but I met an Italian in Amsterdam who told me that I HAVE TO visit Florence and skip Naples! I originally wanted to go to Napoli. Why Napoli? For pizza of course! :D I wasn’t disappointed with my change of heart since in Florence, I found something interesting at every turn. From Galileo’s tomb to where Michelangelo used to live to Boticelli’s painting of Birth of Venus which when I saw totally gave me goosebumps! A word of caution though, too much art in a day can cause headache, well, at least for me!

Posing beside Venice’s infamous gondolas! :D

Venice was my final stop in this wonderful country. I know that it’s built on water, I’ve seen pictures of it before too but I was still amazed and found this city utterly interesting and beautiful! It’s a typical Italian city (rich in history, with many monuments, etc) save for the fact that instead of solid ground for roads, theirs is water; instead of cars or buses making traffic, they have waterbuses, gondolas and water taxis too! I was amazed! hehehe

Seven days flew by quickly and the next thing I know, I’m on a plane back to London. I’m happy to say that I’ll definitely return to Italy! In fact, I’ve already booked a flight for next month! Next destination there? Sardinia! It’s time to hit the beach!!! It’s been at least 7 months now and I just can’t wait! :D

Related posts:
DIY: Schengen Visa Application
Getting Around in Europe
Rome, the Eternal City!
Rome: Must See(s)
Amalfi CoastInside: Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square

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