My Roman Holiday II

On our second day in Roma, we went to the Colosseum and to the Roman Forum. These sites are two that you should never miss when you visit the Eternal City. It’s a packaged tour so you get to see both places when you purchase a ticket.

There’s so much history there and it’s an architectural marvel as well. It is a wonder what the human mind can do, even in the Ancient times. The Colosseum is an oval amphitheater where all those gladiator battles were held as well as many other public spectacles of the age. The Roman Forum is a place filled with the ruins of Ancient Roman structures. As it was the center of day to day life in Rome then, it is where the government buildings and markets were located.

Later that day, we also went to the Fontana di Trevi where, as they say, if you throw a coin in over your shoulder, you will return to Rome one day. The fountain itself is very beautiful with the crystal water from the aqueducts that flow through the city. Although it’s hard to get a decent picture with all the tourists around, it is definitely worth a visit. Why not throw in a Euro? It couldn’t hurt.

The next day, our third day, it was a very chill day as it was our last full day in Rome. We visited the Pantheon. It’s a former Roman temple but nowadays it is used as a church. On the day we went,  before all the tourists were allowed in, there was a mass. Tombs of notable people are housed there, too like that of the artist, Raphael.  In the middle of the Pantheon is the Oculus in the concert dome that is the ceiling.  Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. It’s basically a big circular whole in the roof but it keeps the structure standing. It’s amazing how innovative those Ancient Romans were. How did they come up with these things? The rest of the day was filled with shopping and cups of espresso.

Here are some of the snap for those days. (All pictures are SOOC.) It doesn’t do the place justice at all. It’s one of the places you have to go to – truly one for the bucket list. You have to experience that magic of the Eternal City, even once. I even want to go back someday soon.

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My Roman Holiday I

So, tell me, is there a blog post title more cliché than that? I’ve decided to name the last leg of my family’s Euro trip as such because, obviously, we were in Rome – the Eternal City. This starts the final days of our trip.

I didn’t expect it but I fell head over heels for this city. To me, it felt fantastical being there. It was a mix of magic, mythology, history and time travel all rolled into one place – it was right up my alley! Seriously!

We boarded a train from Bologna to Rome and as we stepped out Roma Termini, there was an ad for a Filipino restaurant, Asian Delight. So, of course, after weeks of devouring foreign food, we went there to have dinner. We had some lumpia, pancit and of course, crispy pata! Tasted like home!

On our first official day, we went to visit and see Vatican City. We explored what the Museo had to offer and went to St. Peter’s Square and basked in the grandeur that is St. Peter’s Basilica. Of course, we didn’t miss out going inside the Sistine Chapel where photographs were not allowed. Suffice to say, it was a tad underwhelming. I honestly thought the Creation of Adam would be this huge painting on the ceiling but nah, it was quite cute from where we were standing. Images online are quiet deceiving. The whole ceiling depicted scenes from the book of Genesis and that as a whole was quite a sight.

To top of our day, we had some pasta and desserts at a cafe right outside the gates of Vatican City. It was quiet a memorable day.

More on the Rome leg of our trip to come!

ciao Italia – one short day in Firenze

After exploring Bologna and Venice, we hopped on a train from Bologna to Firenze.

Florence is a very rich city in Italy, in both art and history. There are numerous museums in Florence that are home to many masterpieces. Although we did not venture into any of the said museums (long lines!), the architecture in the city itself was wonderful to behold.

We had a day to just walk about the streets of Florence. We saw the iconic Duomo, Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiorewhich surprisingly had green and pink hued walls. We wandered the streets and observed the yellow painted buildings. We stopped by a cute little retaurant that was next to a bell tower that chimed the hour to have pizza and pasta for lunch. We ate our gelato and sipped on melted granitas as we explored the city. We looked on at the statues that lined the piazzas. We shopped for some Italian leather goods, which Florence is known for. We went inside a scoula that taught people how to create the said leather goods. And we also said “hi!” to a replica of Pinocchio, a puppet who wanted to be a real boy, whose story originated in this Tuscan city.

ciao, Italia – Day 2 in Bologna

It only goes to show that not everything will go as planned when one travels. Always, always be prepared for whatever happens. Sticking to the planned out itinerary is good but what if something comes up? Like, let’s say, the Gelato Museum you planned on visiting that day just closed for the season. Yeah, do some thorough research but also be flexible and roll with the punches.

After our jam-packed and super warm day in Venice, we decided to have a chill day back in Bologna, so, we decided to just go to the city center and see what it had to offer… our stomachs! Because that plan to visit the Gelato Museum didn’t push through, we went where we could and stuffed our faces. Fun times! Pasta, granita and, yes, gelato!

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ciao, Italia – Venezia!

It’s one of the most unique places in the world. With it’s rich history and culture, Venice is definitely a place you must visit.

The first thing the comes to mind when someone says “Venice” is, of course, the gondolas. It’s a very unique site to see, there are no roads, just canals; no cars, just boats. Other than that, Venice is a very picturesque city, as all Italian cities.

We decided to take a train ride to Venice for a day, to see what it was all about. Italy is a country that’s easily travelled by train. It can get quite expensive but if you book ahead, you can get some good deals.

When we arrived in Venice, suffice to say, it was HOT! This was mid-August and it was super hot, like middle-of-summer-in-the-Philippines hot. Add a huge crowd of tourists (which we were a part of), it can be quite a disappointment. The boats were packed with people, which makes it super convenient for those nasty pickpockets. My sister almost had her stuff stolen. She noticed someone slowly opening the zipper on her bag and thank God she did! She stared the guy down, so he just moved on and got off at the next stop. We’ve been warned about pickpockets in Italy, but since Venice is a major tourist attraction, there were certainly a lot there!

Other than that, it was a fun trip. We had fun taking pictures all over and I must say, I think these photos are some of the better ones from our whole trip. Venice is just that pretty. Here are photos of our day in Venezia!

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We have our tickets! Let’s go!

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You’re in Venice, for sure!

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a parking space for gondolas? LOL

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Sorry, random people! I have to take a picture!
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The Bridge of Sighs – this is the bridge where convicts pass through before their execution. Fun, eh? 
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Piazza San Marco

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Basilica di San Marco
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St. Mark’s Basilica
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Campanile di San Marco
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Lunch time!
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We grabbed a bite at the oldest cafe in the world – Cafe Florian.
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It was a tourist trap but hey, desserts!
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At least, I get to say that I had lunch at the oldest cafe in the world. That counts for something, right? LOL
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Rialto Bridge – one of the bridges that cross the Grand Canal

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“Sikit-sikiti lang!” This was in the boat to Murano. It was like being in a tightly packed jeepney back in Cebu, comes with pickpockets, too! Felt right at home! Just kidding! 
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Glass blowing demo in Murano.
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The finished product, well almost, it has to cool first. Let me point out, that after the demonstration, we spent a lot of time in the gift shop. Got a pair of glass earrings, too! Hmm, wonder if they had glass slippers?
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Picture time!

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By the time we were in the boat ride back to the “main land”, since Murano was a bit farther out to sea, we were drained.
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Of course, PIZZA!
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Now, back to Bologna! 

The day went by so fast in Venice. Although we didn’t get to see most of the place, it was amazing being just there. I would want to go back someday, when it’s cooler, and explore the city some more.

More Italy adventures to come! Thanks for browsing through!