Friday, August 30, 2013

The Experience: Rome, Italy

Part of Forum near Colosseum
"When in Rome, live as the Romans do; when elsewhere, live as they live elsewhere." - Saint Ambrose

When walking around Rome, we were in awe of all buildings, ruins and structures. Some people say being in Rome is like being in a living museum. You could just feel how old the city is. I mean, you're standing on the same grounds as the old dudes we read about in history books! 

As with any city, there are positives and negatives about visiting. Most people love Rome for the sightseeing, good food & wine, and shopping. I personally loved walking around at night and seeing all of these historic buildings lit up - there's such a stunning contrast of the buildings to the dark sky. 

However, the downsides are quite considerable. One is the summer heat - it can literally beat you up. Rome summers are hot, hot, hot! Second, there are waaaay too many tourists at this time as well.  Third, as with most big cities, is it's so expensive. For example, we were on a 4-city tour and this was our last one. In the smaller cites, we had great wine and food for a fraction of the price - there's great food and wine everywhere in Italy!

Rome at Night - the best way to see the city!

Altare della Patria is stunning at night
Overlooking Rome all the way to Vatican City. After eating near the Spanish Stairs, we wandered up a random street that had the best views!
Some cool Romans just hanging out

Sunday, August 25, 2013

My Fave 5 Expreiences: Florence, Italy

Here's a clue - it's all food...

Notice the family finishing dinner in back. So cute!
1. Trattoria Pandemonio - My jetsetter friend, VB, suggested we eat here and we put our trust in him. Upon arriving, we were the 1st clients to enter this family restaurant. In fact, they were just finishing their dinner! You can just tell how family-oriented this restaurant is - "Mamma" gives the entree suggestions and "Babbo" gives the wine suggestions. Even the grandson was involved...serving us champagne!

The food was phenomenal. The experience was superb.
*And it stands the only place all vacation that we did NOT limit ourselves to the cash budget. Debit cards (gasp) were used. Oh yeah, that IS octopus to answer your question.
It stands out as one of our favorite memories of life. You could tell everything there was done with love (and a lot of perfection). We almost didn't want to leave. Mamma even said we could stay there as long as we long as it was before 11:30pm when then close. 
Us and Mamma. She's a no bulls*&$t kind of business woman with a kind heart.

Friday, August 2, 2013

My 5 Fave Sites: Florence, Italy

We stayed in Florence longer than any other city in Italy just based off of a hunch - we were so lucky! It was a beautiful city full of sights, shopping and really good food. Actually, it's smaller in scale than one would expect - all of these places we could walk to. And of course, like the rest of Italy, very happy people everywhere (except for the 2 homeless women that cussed me out for not giving them money :-o ).

My 5 Fave Sites

1. Florence at Night - View from Piazzale Michelangelo showing the Duomo, Santa Croce, Palazzo Vecchio and a very happy couple.

2. Drunk Sightseeing at night - Pictures taken after bottles and craft of wines then had forgotten by the next day. The next day, I re-saw the same sites ja vu.
Piazza della Signoria