A Travellerspoint blog

Rome to Florence

Another warm and sunny day, we left Rome at about 8am and headed for Florence. We had small stop on the way and arrived about 12pm where it was a warm 30 degrees.

First we wondered on our own to look around a get lunch. We found a market on the way. Our local tour guide picked us up and took us through the Academy of Fine Arts were we saw the original Michelangelo’s David. It was very big! Our tour guide was very good at explaining the way Michelangelo craved the figures from stone as a form of being released from water. For example if you were to lift a statue from the water laying down the knees, hands and head would come out first and apparently that’s how he made his sculptures. Other unfinished works from Michelangelo in the Academy showed this and has really made us appreciate how talented he was. There were also a number of paintings from assorted painters in each room, most dated from 1300 to 1600. It was amazing that there was no barriers, you could get as close as you wished.

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After leaving the academy the tour guide took us through the streets of Florence to Giotto’s Bell tower (which was a huge building) and the Baptistery’s heavy bronze door, Gate of Paradise. We then went to Signoria Square where there were sculptures dating back to 1550, all available for everyone to see and touch.

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From the square we had a couple of hours on our own, we walked the streets of Florence and eventually found the river. There was a very old bridge that had shops built on each side, once we crossed the bridge we found each shop was a jewellery shop with windows completely filled with all types of gold jewellery, they look quite impressive.

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We then left Florence at about 6pm and headed to our hotel in Montecantini, the hotel is a beautiful old style hotel with a very luxurious old style lounge and foyer. We had dinner at the hotel then walked through the small country town, it has a really nice town centre. Sunday night and everything is open and everyone is out!

Posted by cbrewster 14:14 Archived in Italy Comments (2)

Rome

We tried to conquer Rome in one day!

A busy day to see Rome today, we left early to see the Vatican Museum. It was a hot day and walking in the sun was tiring. We had a local guide that took us through the Sistine Chapel and the many other sections of the Vatican museum. The detail of the artwork was amazing and it is hard to comprehend the age of what you were seeing.

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The Sistine Chapel had the Michelangelo paintings that we have always seen in pictures, they were far more detailed and comprehensive than we imagined. Couldn’t take any photos there unfortunately.

We then toured the St Peter church which was huge, everything was big which we didn’t realize how large until the size if some parts were described and compared to object we know.

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We then went to the Roman ruins and looked at part of that, there was quite a bit to see if you had plenty of time, then to the Colosseum. Wow it is huge and certainly worth seeing, our guide took us through different areas explaining that it held about 50,000 people and that the events took days to complete.

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We then went back to the hotel, had lunch and a swim. Later in the afternoon we went on another walking tour through Rome and visited the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, Santa Maria, piazza Navona, and many other interesting places. There was so much to see and information to absorb!

We had dinner at a piazza that also had a market, it was filled with artist that painted sceneries of Rome. All the paintings we saw were exceptionally good. Dinner was a traditional spaghetti to feel like we are in Rome!

Posted by cbrewster 14:56 Archived in Italy Comments (1)

Venice to Rome

Left Venice this morning and headed to Rome, another warm day expected to be in the 30’s.
Our first stop was at a small town called Ferrara, it had a castle called Este Castle and marble cathedral. There was also a street market on selling a variety of goods.

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From there we headed to the “eternal city” of Rome . Arrived at about 4pm, checked in and got ready to go out to town and dinner.
First we drove past a few sights and eventually stopped at the Trivet ‘’fountain where we threw our 2 coins in for luck. We too plenty of pictures and then headed to the restaurant for dinner.

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The dinner was great with an Italian 5 course meal (2 pastas in the middle on entrée and mains). We had singers and musicians in the restaurant and the waiter gave roses out to the ladies.

From there we drove around town to see the city at night, we saw the Colosseum, St Peters square the Vatican amongst many others all lit up which looked fantastic.

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Posted by cbrewster 06:28 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Venice

The city with streets of water

This morning after breakfast we headed back into Venice via water taxi boat to first look at the Murano glass blowing. It was good and the glass blower made a difficult skill look easy as he made a decanter and a horse in a matter of minutes.

From there we water taxied to the main island where a local guide took us through Doges Palace and St Marks square. The guide was a little over enthusiastic with the history and art in the palace that it dragged on a bit. Although the paintings were great to see but we couldn't take photo's inside.

After that we were on our own for the day, spent most of the time winding through all the tiny streets and lanes and looking at all the odd shops, plenty of mascaraed shops with masks and costumes.

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Had a coffee at a restaurant by the water and watched the crowds of people getting in and out of gondolas, which was worth seeing. We later found out that was where we were to catch one and also the Hemmingway used to sit and write at that restaurant.

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At about 4pm we met the group and went on a gondola ride, there was 5 boats going together and one had a singer and accordion player, it was very relaxing and we really felt like we are in Venice.

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We had time to have a drink at a café and watch the people go by and get out of the heat, it has been quite hot today. We had to use plenty of sunscreen.

Posted by cbrewster 13:41 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Vienna to Venice

Today we left Vienna and headed for Italy. The day was mostly spent travelling through the Austrian Alps, magnificent scenery, almost every bend of road had a view worth tacking a picture.

The first stop was a small town called Kindberg, a quaint small town off the main freeway, almost what you may see on a postcard of Austria. Lunch stop was an lake Worthersee, a café overlooking the blue lake.

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We crossed the border into Italy about 1:30pm and before long the scenery had changed from mountains to flat plains with farmland and grapevines.

We arrived in Venice at about 4:30pm, checked into the hotel and got ready for dinner at 6:30. Dinner was something special, we first caught water taxis which took us down the “streets” of Venice particularly the Grand Canal. From there we wandered through a number of tiny lanes to a restaurant. The meal was typical Italian with pasta between the entrée and main course and wine as the drink.

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After dinner we walked through the lanes to St Marco Piazza, shown a few of the key sights and off on our own for an hour or so. The streets were alive with so much happening, there were restaurants, shops open and plenty of people cramming down the 2 metre wide laneways.
To top off a great night we were treated a lightening show from an approaching storm, it light up the sky’s giving us great photo opportunities with a perfect backdrop of Venice. The water taxis back in the dark were also thrilling.

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Posted by cbrewster 09:38 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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