4/01/2018

italy travel diary


Over spring break, I was lucky enough to spend a week in the beautiful country of Italy. This was my second time in Europe. Here is a compilation of photos, thoughts, and recommendations from my first visit to the land of the best fresh pasta—city by city.

(I actually had a layover in Brussels, so I remembered to get my Belgian waffle fix there!)

“Some days are for falling in love with people, some days for cities, and some for your time in solitude.”

—  Akif Kichloo



Rome
The tourist hub! In one of the most historical cities in the world, you'll find incredible ruins, architecture, and art. I'll admit that it was my least favorite, but regardless Rome is a beautiful place that everyone needs to visit at least once in their lives! Here are some key places that we visited:
  • Vatican City, for amazing ceiling art, St. Peter's Square, and Michelangelo.
  • Trevi Fountain, for sitting outdoors with gelato or a glass of wine.
  • Roman Forum, where you can also see the Colosseum and check out the rooftop of the National Museum (it's free with an awesome view of the city).
  • Dar Poeta for dinner in Trastevere (recommended by locals and tourists alike). Their pizza is super popular. Don't forget to try their ricotta and Nutella calzone.
  • Drink to try: Aperol Spritz






Florence
I would say that Florence is middle ground between Rome and Venice (both literally and figuratively). It's less crowded than Rome, but more bustling than Venice. You'll find great art in Florence. The weather was beautiful while we were there.
  • Boboli Gardens is a gorgeous park with fountains, sculptures, and greenery. Very picture perfect.
  • Piazza del Duomo is the main tourist spot in Florence. I highly recommend climbing the cathedral. 463 stairs up!
  • At sunrise or sunset, visit Piazza del Michelangelo for a sick view of the city.
  • Although a bit expensive, definitely worth it: Florentine steak at All’Antico Ristoro di’ Cambi. A cozy location with fantastic service, you get steak by the kilo and it's the melt in your mouth kind of meat.
  • Drink to try: wine!



Venice
Venice was my favorite of the three major cities, because I love the waterside. Isn't it so crazy that people don't own cars on the island? Everyone gets around by simply walking or by taking the water taxis. The water's color was a perfect teal, and watching the gondolas weave through the canals was so peaceful.
  • The best part about Venice is the small canals that run throughout the island. Take some time during the day to just get lost and walk around! Night is a little scary though because there aren't a lot of streetlights.
  • There's an installation called Support by Lorenzo Quinn along the Grand Canal that's a visual statement about the impact of rising sea levels on the beautiful city.
  • The best pasta we had during the entire trip, hands down, was at Dal Moro's. Fresh pasta on the spot in Chinese takeout boxes!
  • Drink to try: Bellini


Burano
About 40 minutes by water bus away from the northern shore of Venice is a gorgeous island called Burano. Every house is painted a beautifully bright color, creating a splash of rainbow in the middle of the Mediterranean. Even the hanging laundry is picture perfect.
  • Go on a sunny day to experience the fullness of the vivid color palette.
  • It's 15 euros round trip by water bus (ferry), to and from F.te Nove A.
  • Try a butter cookie, one of the island's specialties.
  • Trattoria al Gatto Nero has the most delicious (although a bit pricey) risotto, made with ghiozzi fish. It's a Michelin Guide restaurant!
Because it was International Women's Day when I visited, a waiter gifted me with a bouquet of yellow mimosa flowers during lunch. I think it's safe to say that Burano was my favorite part of the entire trip.


And that is the end of my Italy travel diary. I'm hoping to return someday to visit other locations such as Cinque Terre, Capri, and Milan. Probably in the summertime ~

See you again, Italia.

Much love,
Chaereen