Florence, Italy


Florence is a beautiful city, characterized by everything you think of when you think "Italy." I mean, just look at the warmth of the buildings and the Cyprus trees in the background! Florence is a great walking city. We had an easy time following our map to get from place to place. We had two full days in Florence; the first we took a bus tour and the second a walking tour. Our bus tour made a stop at the Academy where we saw Michelangelo's David. It was fascinating! I was in awe of the grandeur and detail and enormous size! To think that someone carved it is mind blowing. Our walking tour highlighted much of the history of Florence. We also learned how to find the best gelato, which is obviously a win! After the tour we went for lunch where I enjoyed some of the best food I ate in all of Italy. My favorite dishes were mine, a penne with salmon and cream sauce, and Lauren's Carbonara. I'm craving both just thinking about it! That evening we went to the leather market and searched for the best gelato. What we found was good, but the best we had we found later in Rome. On the way back to the hotel we took the scenic route along the river and experienced Florence in a gorgeous golden glow! 

Venice, Italy

Venice is such a beautiful city! Venice is so different from anywhere else I've been in the world; it's very fascinating. Their only source of transportation is by foot or boat. We arrived by train and took a taxi boat to the front steps of our hotel. I knew Venice had no cars, but never thought about the fact that they would have trash boats and ambulance boats. It was so neat!

Venice was our first city in Italy, so of course we had to have gelato! Confession: we ate gelato for dinner almost every night the entire week we spent in Italy. Why not?? It was so good! We made up for it one night by having fruit smoothies, too. After eating so many carbs the entire trip, the smoothies were very refreshing! We quickly realized we had a lot to learn about ordering in Italy. Groups typically order together, sharing the food. Our first night in Venice most of us ordered pizza, thinking it would be a personal size because the price was so low. It turned out to be about the equivalent of a large! The crust was very thin, though, so we didn't feel like we looked so much like pigs once we realized that. Every other meal we still tended to over-order until we finally realized we should be sharing. The food in Italy was delicious, though, so we weren't complaining! 

We took a guided tour in Venice and learned several interesting facts about the city. In case you like random facts I'll share some with you!

- Venice is made up of over 100 islands, all connected by 448 bridges. Every time you cross one, you're on a different island. 

- The shape of the combined islands looks like a fish - pretty ironic!

- The foundation of many of the buildings is actually trees. Because no oxygen can reach them underwater, they aren't exposed to bacteria that would rot them out, so they are as strong as concrete.

- Our guide joked that the gondoliers never stop talking. If no one is riding, then they're supposedly on the phone. We did hear one singing to a couple... he wasn't very good, but hopefully it was still a romantic ride for them!

I hope you enjoy my pictures of this lovely city! I can't get over the terra cotta roofs and pink, orange, and cream buildings.