Thursday, June 15, 2017

Italian Road Trip

On Friday morning, we woke up in Florence. Before leaving Florence behind, we took a few minutes to stop at the Piazzale Michelangelo for a last view of the city.

View of the Duomo from Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence

Our next stop was Siena! This city is special to Jenna because she lived there during her study abroad a few years ago. It's only a little over an hour from Florence, so we were walking through the medieval streets in no time.

Piazza del Campo in Siena

Medieval building in Siena

Small piazza in central Siena

Medieval street in Siena

We ate lunch in the Piazza del Campo, the main square of the city. I had what was easily the best pizza of my life. Afterwards we continued the tradition we started in Florence- gelato every day after lunch.

Piazza del Campo in Siena

Siena is not a very big city, but it has a huge and impressive cathedral. Everyone loved the Duomo di Siena... except for a super pretentious American we overheard complaining that it was "garish" haha. Someone has very high standards. 

Exterior of the Duomo di Siena

Exterior of the Duomo di Siena

I personally liked that it has a lot going on. In general, most Italian cathedrals are more ornate than what you see in other parts of Europe. I'm all for it.

This window is from 1549 and still going strong.
The next leg of our trip was the longer drive of the day- it was time to head to Venice! As much as I loved Florence and Siena, I was so excited to go somewhere new that's been on my bucket list for a while!

On the drive, we learned that you can't read books on Italian road trips. The Italians are very into tunnels. Every hill/mountain has a tunnel going through it. So no reading unless you're very patient and don't mind that you have to pause while it goes dark every 10 minutes. 

None of us really knew what to do or where to go when we got to Venice that night. You can't drive into the city (guess why? water.), so we had to park and then find transportation. The cheaper option would have been to take a vaporetto (water bus). 

However, with 6 people, a ton of luggage, and not knowing where exactly to go, we opted to take a private water taxi instead.

I'm so glad we did! It was the perfect introduction to Venice. It was relaxing and beautiful. And the sun was just starting to set. 

Sunset from a vaporetto in Venice

Sunset in Venice

Before we even got off the boat, I already knew I needed to come back to Venice someday.

We got off at Piazza San Marco. To find our AirBnB, we went to the owner's nearby glass shop. His friends met us there and led us through a maze of narrow and winding streets. When I wasn't near the water, it almost felt like the Old City of Jerusalem! 

More adventures and so many more pictures of Venice coming soon...

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