18 November 2011

Gelatiamo - it's a verb (a repost from the LUC blog)

I would love to tell you that you can do Florence, Venice, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa in a three-day weekend....but I really recommend you don't (although if you must Florence makes a great jumping-off point).

Yes, Florence is small - but it has a ton of amazing museums that take HOURS to go through (all though we did cram the Uffici gallery - home toThe Birth of Venus in an hour and 15 mins) and a ton of shopping. A ton.

Venice is, well, Venice. Beautiful, simply beautiful. And surrounded by some islands you might want to check out, like the one where they make Murano glass.

Pisa, and specifically the Leaning Tower of, you can do in a day. Easy.

As I said, we did this in a weekend (of the JFRC three-day variety). We left EARLY Friday morning and were at our hostel in Florence by 11am. We dropped off our stuff and started walking. And walking. Because really that's all you do when exploring an Italian city. And oh, was the walk beautiful. We were heading towards il Duomo (the Cathedral)...it was more than a little breathtaking when it just kinda popped up.

It's getting a much needed bath.

Then we wandered to the leather market where I, of course, bought a leather journal. And a wool poncho. Because it was a very cold weekend. I have to admit, I was about to forsake Roma and Spoletto (my future homes) for Florence. Then I realized how small it was. And that it felt like there were more American students than Italians. Nevertheless, I shall return here and devote at least an entire three day weekend to it. When I'm rich - because even some of the churches cost money to visit.

Next day, up early, on a long train and we get to Venice just about at noon. Our train left at about 5:30PM to return to Florence (it's expensive to stay in Venice). After a really delicious sit-down lunch (OMG, REAL FOOD), we started heading towards Piazza di San Marco and the Rialto.

Found them finally:

Sunset view from the Rialto

Crazy beautiful. And crowded.

Downside? We walked a lot and fast (and got distracted a lot along the way) and even in the off-season

there were still mostly tourists. I felt like if I punched the wall it would crumble and Epcot would appear. Loved it! But I would like to be able to give it a three day weekend as well; hopefully I'd be able to find something that felt more authentic.

[Speaking of authentic - gelato is now a verb form, gelatare, as in "to get real, authentic, delicous, Italian gelato." For example:

One member of group: "I'm hungry"

Everyone else in group: "Gelatiamo!" (translation - "Let's gelato!")]

Next day, up early to go to Uffici - but we only had just over an hour because we had a train to Pisa. The walk from the Pisa station to the Leaning Tower of was rather long. But Pisa is a very beautiful Tuscan town so that was okay.

Giving it some love.

And we had a blast at the Leaning Tower of.

So in conclusion:

It was an amazing weekend! Never doubt that! But we were exhausted, I had shin splints and the anxiety of knowing we had barely scraped the surface of these places was a bit unsettling.

And of course, I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Did I mention we rode in a gondola?

I'm on a gondola. Not to be confused with a boat. Gondolas > boats.

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