A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: ChrisandSoni

Day 14 - Naples and Pompeii

Our trip comes to an end!

Well our trip to Italy entered its final day and we took a day trip to Naples for a brief walking tour of the city, lunch and then on to Pompeii to visit the city destroyed and preserved by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. It was weird to walk through the ruins and see parts of the ancient city preserved so well that you can still see frescos painted on the walls in houses and the remains of tables in houses, wells in the floors and a Roman Bathhouse preserved as examples of the lives lived more than 2,000 years ago.

It was a trip I'll remember for the rest of my life. It was filled with so many beautiful sights, gorgeous scenery and the chance to make new friends. A special thanks to Bob Spidel who put this trip together for us and served as an excellent tour guide the whole trip. He chauffeured us around for most of the trip city to city, served as tour guide and patiently waited as the women in the group shopped in just about every store they passed!

Thanks for all you did Bob!

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Posted by ChrisandSoni 03:20 Comments (0)

Day 13 - Rome! Vatican City

Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Bascilica

On this day we started off with a tour of the Vatican Museum, followed by the Michelangelo's masterpiece Sistine Chapel and finally the beautiful St. Peter's Basilica, one of the largest churches in the world.

The Vatican Museum was incredible to walk through. One of my favorite room was the "Map Room" with its rows and rows of detailed maps. All of the artwork was truly incredible to see. One of the things that stuck with me was "Nero's Bath" which is made of porphyry marble which cannot be found anywhere in the world anymore. The Vatican Museum holds 80% of all of it in the world. The purple/red color of the marble really catches your eye and is beautiful to see.

I loved looking at Michelangelo's paintings on the roof and altar wall of the chapel. It was truly awe inspiring to see his work. The only bad thing is the chapel is so jammed pack it's hard to enjoy the paintings without getting pushed and bumped constantly! I hate crowds but I'm glad I got to see this marvel in person, pictures don't do the paintings justice!

St. Peter's Basilica was beautiful, it to was crowded and it was cool to see the center markers for all the major cathedrals in the world marked out on the floor to represent on the tile floor where the other cathedral's ranked in terms of size compared to St. Peter's. Once you go out into the square and see how majestic the Basilica is and imagine all the people who have come to St. Peter's see the different Pope's through the years it really touches you. Even seeing the famous Swiss Guard who protect the Pope makes you love the Vatican City even more.

This tour was the perfect end to our time in Rome!

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Posted by ChrisandSoni 16:34 Comments (0)

Day 12 - Rome! The Forum, The Coliseum and old Rome

Our second day in Rome was highlighted by tours of the Forum and old palaces, Circus Maximus, The Temple of Caesar as well as the legendary Coliseum. We also got to see the last 3 remaining Gates of Ancient Rome.

Our excellent tour guide explained that all the old marble from the Forum and Coliseum had been reused in St. Peter's Basilica. While it was sad to see these grand old monuments crumbled and deserted it was cool to see them used in such a beautiful church!

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Posted by ChrisandSoni 15:13 Comments (0)

Day 8- Florence!

Michelangelo's David, The Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), The Uffizi and Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze

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One thing I'll always remember was seeing in person was Michelangelo's David. The 18 foot tall statue is mesmerizing and after you see it all other sculptures are compared to it, it has no equal.

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Posted by ChrisandSoni 17:34 Comments (0)

Day 11 - Rome! Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps

Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps

Our first day in Rome and we took a walking tour of Rome at Dusk and night. Rome is truly a beautiful city in the dark!

While we still had light out in the evening we walked to the Pantheon and toured its magnificent interior. It was originally a Temple to the
gods but later converted to a Church and that's why it's survived as long as it has while other Pagan worship places have been torn down. It was awesome walking in and seeing that awesome open dome overhead and the beautiful marble interior. After our tour we ate a great meal and at sunset took one last look at the Pantheon and headed towards the Trevi Fountain to throw our coins in over our left shoulder hoping to come back to Rome. We also stopped at Piazza Navona to see the impressive Fountain of the 4 Rivers and then on to the Spanish Steps.

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Posted by ChrisandSoni 15:07 Comments (0)

Day 10 - Pisa and the Florence American Cemetery Memorial

Leaning Tower of Pisa

So no trip to Italy would be complete without seeing the world-famous Leaning Tower of Pisa! I never realized that the tower also had a beautiful domed Baptistery in front of it as well as an interesting cathedral. We also got to tour the cemetery building beside the cathedral.

The visit to the Florence American Cemetery was moving. It really moved me to walk among those Crosses and Stars of David. Here isa little info on the cemetery courtesy of the American Battle Monuments Commission.

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Posted by ChrisandSoni 14:14 Comments (0)

Day 9 - Cinque Terre- heaven by the Mediterranean!

Loredana shows us the jewel of the Mediterranean

Well here it is...the 5 jewels on the Mediterranean! This was a beautiful setting, vibrant colors, cool shops, citrus trees, olive groves and vineyards dotting the landscape. Some of the best food we ate was here also. The 3 villages we were able to see and tour were Manarola, Vernazza and Monteresso. We also had the best guide show us around, Loredana Pantano.

If you ever have a chance go to Cinque Terre and see the beauty!

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Posted by ChrisandSoni 10:23 Comments (0)

Day 7 - San Gimignano, the city of towers!

City of Towers

This was my second favorite place we visited in all of Italy! San Gimignano is called the City of Towers and at one time boasted 72 towers in its skyline. Now 14 towers have been preserved and dot the city profile. Something about this medieval town spoke to me , it was really awesome to see the towers rising against the sky from a distance, we could even see them from our villa on the horizon.

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Posted by ChrisandSoni 10:00 Comments (0)

Day 6 - Venice!

Piazza San Marco, Grand Canal, Bridge of Sighs, St. Mark's Basilica

Our trip to Venice was the first city we visited where I wish we had 2 days to visit somewhere. We took the Grand Canal water bus up to St. Mark's Basilica and the Piazza San Marco Square. We also saw The Bridge of Sighs which Lord Byron named comes from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken down to their cells.

Some of the best shopping we found was in Venice, especially the Venetian and Murano glass items found throughout the city.

Venice was truly a beautiful city to see and explore.

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Posted by ChrisandSoni 08:34 Comments (0)

Day 5 - Siena and a beautiful Tuscany sunset!

We took a day trip into beautiful Siena famous for the Piazza del Campo (Campo Square) where horse races are held twice a year around its egg-shaped oval square. It also has the stunning Siena Cathedral (Duomo) which was planned to be the largest in the world and one-up rival Florence's Cathedral but was downsized and took a long to complete due to funds running out and the black plague striking the city. One of the cool things to see in the cathedral was a manuscript room that had original manuscripts in it and beautiful paintings on the walls and ceiling.

That night we were treated to a stunning sunset in the heart of Tuscany, it was a memory that will stick with me forever!

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Posted by ChrisandSoni 04:22 Comments (0)

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