I have been to Italy twice so far in my relatively young life. Each time was an entirely different experience. The first time I went was when I was in high school with my older sister, Vicki, who had just graduated college with a minor in Italian Renaissance Art. She wanted to see what she had studied and I wanted to go…well anywhere. It was both our first trip out of the country. Oh what an experience it was!
The next time I went to Italy was with a good friend of mine, James. We went last March and had a wonderful time. Both James and I travel quite a bit so naturally our adventures were quite different from the ones I had the first time.
My first trip to Italy we visited Venice, Florence, and Rome. Our first leg of our trip was in Venice. We were taken by water taxi, of course, from the Venice airport to St. Mark’s square. My sister was the first one out. She put one unstable foot on the wet dock and went to step up then she was gone. She had slipped and fallen, luckily not in the water; she was just sprawled out on the dock. Being the wonderful sister I am I started laughing so hard I almost could not get out of the boat. Much to her chagrin I continued to laugh at her and her now ripped jeans all the way to our hotel (it was just on the other side of the square).
The next morning we awoke to find the entire city (or at least a good portion) was flooded by the tide. Apparently, in November flooding is a pretty normal problem. They had little wooden walkway set up all over the city and stoppers in front of all the doors. Throughout the day the water went down but the smell lingered. Our next couple of days there were very much like this and I have to say Italy did not seem to be quite as great as we thought it would be.
Next, we went to Florence. Florence was like a world all to itself. It is so beautiful and peaceful it is easy to imagine staying there always. We saw wonderful art and ate wonderful food. We only got lost once, which was scary mostly because we saw a man with a machine gun, but we survived and it didn’t taint the city.
James and I also went to Florence. It was amazing the second time too. We met very interesting people and got a wonderful taste of the nightlife. James and I also ventured outside of Florence into some of the beautiful quaint Tuscan villages. We went to the village Maiano (which is right out side of the city, if has a wonderful villa and you can get great pictures of Florence I highly recommend it), Chianti, and San Gimignano. Lots of wine, beautiful scenery, Tuscany will always be in my top ten places.
Next on both trips was Rome. Rome, for my sister and I, was very scary. We had men stop us demanding we have dinner with them. I had a man chase me through the market telling me I had beautiful eyes. We had our waiter and the manager of a restaurant refuse to bring our check instead they kept bringing us chocolates. Definitely a strange experience.
James and I again had a completely different experience. I had some attention given to me but nothing on the same level as before, which was much more comfortable for me. James and I spent St. Patrick’s Day in Rome. We saw a bar that promised green beer (which was so nice to see a little piece of home) so we went inside. There was no green beer but we did have a great time and met so many different people. It was so much fun, I highly recommend seeing the nightlife in cities when traveling abroad and not just holing up in your hotel room. James and I also braved the subway, which was much easier and less scary than I thought it would be (also a lot cheaper than cabs)
Rome is a lovely historic city. The new world and the old world meet in a strange symmetry that somehow seems to work. We took a day trip to Pompeii, which is amazing, and mind boggling all at the same time. Pompeii is a must see who anyone who enjoys history.
*** These pictures are from my second trip which is why I don’t have any of Venice. Sorry I haven’t scanned any from the first trip, but Venice does photograph extremely well.