We arrived in Rome to rain but full of excitement! We made our way on the train & metro to our accommodation after taking a lift up and down about 6 times to find the correct floor, maybe should have gotten our translation book out slightly earlier. Our accommodation was gorgeous, we had a massive room with shutter windows (all I wanted) and marble floors we really felt like we had arrived in Italy. We went for a quick stroll around the area and were gobsmacked to see the Colosseum at the end of the street of the first corner we turned. While there we went on a mad tourist sprint walking a good amount (nothing compared to George and Jill I am sure ) of kilometres everyday to get in as much as possible. As well as taking photos of every Gelato (which was about 2 a day), colourful building and group of old men playing checkers together. Our highlights would definitely have to be strolling into the Vatican just as the Pope passed by and watching the crowds go wild. The Colosseum, however it would have been great if we had remembered to charge our camera & of course just the detail & architecture of the buildings, especially the churches. Our host at the accommodation recommended a restaurant for us every night and we experienced the most amazing food. This is where we both had the BEST pasta we have ever had and our love for anything truffle began. Rome had amazed us and we were excited for what was next! I however could not get over the blossom everywhere, it was Fluff city with it constantly floating around.
Leaving Rome we went to pick up our gorgeous sporty Citreon which surprise, surprise George immediately fell in love with. We managed pretty well with driving and I am sure George felt it really helped when I screamed every time someone came by on the 'right side of the road'.
We arrived in Siena to our little cabin in a campground which was lovely and since we were already experiencing great weather we spent a lot of time outside chilling and playing cards. Siena was gorgeous and just a short bus ride or even a stroll we were in the centre. We spent a day visiting the sites and spent a few hours looking at all of the sections of the Duomo marble cathedral and taking in the panoramic view of Siena at the top of the Giotto's tower!
The next day we went through the Tuscan Hills to a couple of villages, no surprise here but everything was beautiful in Tuscany and there was so much to see & admire. We really enjoyed the village San Gimignano strolling through the tiny streets to the main square and purchasing some taster local wine and honey.
On our way to Florence we stopped off in Pisa for the touristy photo shoot which was pretty fun and entertaining to see some of the poses that people pulled out. We wanted to do photos holding the tower up with our butts but got a few too many funny stares as we started to line it up so bailed on the idea. Walking back to the car we went through some street markets where George spotted a number of stalls selling records and he ended up scoring some awesome records for only 5 Euro each!
I was so excited to arrive in Florence and to show George around after falling in love with it on my previous trip. We were staying in the Tuscan hills just a quick train ride away from Florence itself. Our accommodation was gorgeous sitting right in the hills where we could sit on our balcony in the evening and watch the sun set, even catching a (half?) solar eclipse on last night there. We had a great time in Florence seeing all of the sites, strolling through the markets and climbing the 468 steps to the top of the tower to enjoy the amazing views. We loved the food market and indulged while there as well as making a few too many purchases through all of the main markets.
We arrived in Venice late in the afternoon but got a quick bus into the town to see the sights. George was super excited as we arrived in seeing the absolute beauty of Italy. I also fell back in love with this place, especially in the evening it is just stunning. We promptly got lost through the streets and eventually made our way to St Marks Square and stood with the crowds watching the classical bands perform! After dinner we could not go pass Snickers gelato for me and Smurf (?) flavoured gelato for George. We were buggered and it was pretty late so were pretty keen to make it back to our bed. Unfortunately that wasn't as easy as we hoped as we watched our bus go in the opposite direction of our accommodation while on it. We jumped off and George recognised the motor way so began the trek back to the accommodation thanks to George's amazing memory. 40 minutes later and after meeting a number of prostitues we made it home! Back into Venice the following day prepared for the 20 degrees temps to find ourselves scorching in 30 degrees, it was so hot in our jeans and long sleeves that after wandering and seeing a few of the sites for a few hours we found a lovely little bar to relax in for a while. Much to Geroge's happiness we went and saw the church where Indiana Jones was filmed and George pulled out his best poses for the photos. We had passed a courtyard restaurant while getting lost the previous night so went on a hunt for this same restaurant and thankfully after almost giving up we found it and had some of the most amazing shrimps, mussels and cheese. I fell in love here with procuitto and melon Mhmm!!! Bussed home and to my extreme happiness got on the wrong bus once again so please read above to find out how our night ended! We were very pleased to lear there are 2 bus lines running just with the same number, very confusing!
Today we made the drive to Levante where we going to leave our car for the next 4 days and train into our accommodation in Cinque Terre! After searching for this car park for an hour we were informed it was actually Levanto we wanted to be at not Levante which was an hour back from where we had came from. Thankfully it was the websites incorrect spelling not ours. Either way we eventually made it to Vernazza in Cinque Terre.. OH MY GOSH this place was amazing!! The Cinuque Terre is made of 5 villages built in along the coast line, the roads are so windy and small no one reccommends driving to the villages which is a great advantage as everyone is on foot. As it was late in the evening after wandering around we grabbed a bottle of wine (4 euros) and sat on the rocks watching the waves crash on the break point as the sun set. We then had a delicious dinner on the waterfront. We were truly in love!! The next few days we explored all the towns, ate the most amazing food and enjoyed the lovely people. We were happy to say Vernazza was our favourite village of the 5 but every bit of them is stunning so it was a definite hard pick. On the Sunday we were relaxing in our room and could hear all this music and cheering so went to explore and found out the first Coop (corner store) was being opened and there was a big celebration in the middle of the street taking place. Everyone was dancing all the traditional Italian dances and everyone joined in. Amazing! While here we also experienced the best Ravioli we have ever eaten in our life, ever!!! Served with prawns it was just divine. On our last night in Cinque Terre we made our way up the hill and found a little patch down the side to sit and enjoy another bottle of wine while taking in the view of the village one last time. Needless to say we were very sad to be leaving!
We arrived in San Remo where we were staying in little studio right on the beach. I was so excited to have a kitchen and eat some of George's home cooked food that I had been craving! San Remo was super relaxed we strolled, sat on our balcony, drove around the coast and bathed on the beach in the goregous sun. Was so lovely to relax and feel a little at home with some space in our accommodation.
We couldnt believe our time in Italy was over, we were pretty sad as we really fell in love with this place but of course so excited to head on and see France!!
LESSON WE HAVE LEARNT: To drive on the right side of the road and to honk at every possible thing
TOP EXPERIENCE: Seeing the pope was one of those 'is this really happening moments' and feeling the love and respect in the crowd was pretty special
MUST DO RECOMMENDATION: Cinque Terre no doubt about it! We spent the longest amount of time here but is still the place we can't wait to go back to... AMAZING!
BEST FOOD: So many choices!! Ravioli in Vernazza, pasta in Rome and blue cheese and Tuscan honey combo! Mhmm!!
AVOID NEXT TIME: Bologna! A little town recommended in the Lonely planet and we stopped by on our drive one day. All we saw was rubbish, warn down old buildings and haunted churches. Did we miss the beauty?