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Below is a picture of the 12 day trip that my dad and I took and I also included the web page of the travel agency we went through on the button below. I 100% recommend this travel agency, as they were extremely organized, insightful & had a lot of good recommendations for each area. We were truly able to sit back and relax as they took care of all of the hotels, tours, bus rides, etc. Although we fit a lot into 10 days of being in Italy, they made the down time and travel in between very relaxing. It was nice knowing we didn't have to worry about a thing from the minute we stepped off of the plane in Italy. Please keep in mind travel agencies are A LOT more money. In my opinion this was incredible to have as my first out of country travel experience with my dad, but moving forward I will always plan my own trips just because I really enjoy doing it.
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Day 1: Travel Day
Day 2-3: Rome
Trying to see all of Rome in 1 day was difficult to say the least, but we covered a lot of ground, especially with our VIP access to skip lines and were able to see certain areas that not all were able to visit. We started with the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel and we got a behind-the-scenes look at the Bramante Staircase. After that, we were able to admire more of Michelangelo's work in St. Peter's Basilica.
Out of all of the things we did on this trip, being able to cut the enormous line at the Colosseum was probably the most useful. People were waiting for hours in line and we walked right up and went in. This was one of the most memorable moments to me, to this day, because it was my first time seeing anything like this. It is incredible to see something so well preserved and to have so much history in that one spot.
After that full day of site seeing, we ended our night with a nice dinner near the Piazza Navona and walking to the Trevi Fountain to get gelato near by. Legend has it, throwing a penny in with your right hand over your left shoulder ensures that you will return to Rome in the future (doesn't hurt to try).
Day 4-5: Pompeii, Isle of Capri & Amalfi Coast
We loaded our bags onto the bus and started off for our day tour of Pompeii. Being able to walk through the remains of this town, after the Vesuvius eruption left it's people devastated and in ruins, was crazy to me. I never cared too much for history until this trip. It really triggered my interest and put into perspective why history is so important and how things that happened so long ago can really be interesting to learn about. One thing to note about this area is that there were penises drawn all over in the concrete and were said to be pointing in the direction of the brothels. This in turn caused a lot of the shops there to have penis shaped everything- pasta, shot glasses, etc. It was quite hilarious and very unexpected.
After Pompeii, we began our way to the ferry that took us to the Isle of Capri for the night. Once we got there, we were taken up the zig zag road on the hill, to the tippy top, by an open top taxi. What amazing views of the coastline and scenery there were, and not only from the hotel, but everywhere we walked and ate. This part of Italy was full of restaurants, whose owners care so deeply about their food and making sure that you enjoyed yourself, to shop owners that put all of their heart and soul into the jewelry and art that they make. I left this island with so much love in my heart and pizza in my belly.
Day 6-7: Florence
Day 6 was pretty much a travel day with a view. We took a ferry to Naples and followed the Autostrada Del Sole (Motorway of the Sun) north towards our end destination of Florence. Once arriving we took a bus to the Tuscan hills to enjoy a lovely dinner and some Chianti wine.
Our first day in Florence was full of seeing some of the well known beauties of the area such as, Michelangelo's statue of David, Giotto's Bell Tower, Gates of Paradise and Piazza della Signoria. After eating my weight in carbs for lunch, we ended up at the Piazza Santa Croce to get some gelato. We headed back out to the hills, to the northernmost part of Chianti, where we participated in a cooking class and got several different items to try for dinner, as well as more wine.
Day 8: Cinque Terre & Portofino
With our day beginning very early, we began making our way to Cinque Terre, which let me just tell you now, was my favorite part of the trip. I mean, just look at that view! All of the colorful buildings on the side of the cliff with the bright blue waters crashing below, create such a picture perfect landscape.
After spending some time exploring the lovely buildings and area, we took a boat to Portofino for a short little excursion. Here we got to walk around and grab some food and gelato and just enjoy the view and company. We were extremely tired at this point, so this day felt a little more relaxed then the previous. I really wish I had more food and gelato recommendations for this trip, but since it was all planned out, I wasn't paying too much attention and just was along for the ride.
Our plan at that point was to start making our way to Santa Margherita for dinner and bed before the next day began... I told you, we covered some serious ground in 10 days.
Day 9: Santa Margherita
This is where things started really chilling out, as far as how much scheduled things we had. We headed north to the Italian Lake District, where we ended at Lake Maggiore and were able to do our own thing here and walk around and explore. They gave us tips on where to go and what to eat, but other than that, this was a self guided day.
Day 10: Vineyards, Verona & Venice
We began making our way through the European Alps to the vineyards, which were close to Lake Iseo. We got to explore and witness wine making behind the scenes at a family owned estate.
Next up was Verona, where we started with the Roman Arena, which is still used for opera performances to this day. As we walked to see Juliet's Balcony in the inner courtyard of the Capuleti home (Casa di Giulietta, or Juliet's House), we heard about a few small legends. One being that if you rub the bronze breast of the Juliet statue, your luck with love will turn around. In this area you will also find Romeo and Juliet's Wall of Love, where thousands of people have left their mark. I wrote my boyfriends initials, with mine, and our anniversary date, then I chewed some gum and stuck it to the wall. And just like that, I was a part of Verona forever.. or at least until it got covered or the gum fell off. People tend to write poetry or short love notes to their loved ones and put them up there as well!
We then headed to Venice, where we had dinner and enjoyed the city built on water.
Day 11: Venice
We took a boat to the island of Giudecca to watch and admire the art of glassblowing for part of the day. The rest of the morning/early afternoon, we got to enjoy St. Mark's Square, where St. Mark's Basilica is located, and also made our way to see the Doge's Palace and it's Bridge of Sighs.
We had a side excursion choice to visit the island of Burano for the day and have lunch there at a local restaurant. I am so glad that we decided to do this. Although we were so tired by this point, it was still a very nice, relaxing visit as we were able to stroll the streets and see each building painted a different, vibrant color. This place was truly out of a magazine.
We arrived back to Venice and just before dinner, we got the chance to cruise the canals on a traditional gondola ride, as they serenaded us and steered us around. We enjoyed one last dinner, with an incredible view, and took in the 10 days of epic sight seeing and food that we just endured.
Day 12: Travel Day
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