This time last year we had just finished our trip to Italy so I have a little catching up to do.
After Venice our next main visit was Rome. I had never been to Rome and I wasn’t disappointed. We stayed centrally surrounded by history, statues and amazing buildings. We spent most of our days roaming through the narrow cobbled streets and coming across fabulous piazzas (public squares) often populated with cafes and always with crowds of people. Luck was actually how we found the Trevi Fountain and on another day, the Pantheon.
Our first evening was spent, phone in hand checking maps and taking photos, on a lengthy walk finishing at the Colesseum. While there were many highlights both in Rome and throughout Italy, for me the absolute experience was the Colesseum. I can’t really describe how I felt looking at it (and that isn’t a good thing for a writer to admit). It was truly amazing. That evening we took the photos outside the Colesseum and visited early the following morning to tour inside.
The maze of streets was formidable and we counted ourselves fortunate at finding the hotel again after our first foray into the sights.
We toured Vatican City (with just about everyone else) and I admit this was mostly as I wanted to visit the Sistine Chapel which was the last part of the tour. Early on our guide talked us through what we’d see in the Sistine Chapel using some poster boards. That was a good thing as we weren’t supposed to talk in chapel although not everyone took notice of that. Ultimately, I found it a little disappointing, not, I hasten to add, Michelangelo’s painting, but being crowded in a relatively small space with hundreds of others, giving little space and peace to walk around and soak in the beauty and atmosphere.
Palatine Hill was the complete opposite as it covers such a large area so while there were plenty of visitors it never felt crowded. I had not seen umbrella trees before and while their proper name is Pinus pinea, umbrella trees describes them well.
In addition to Venice and Rome we also visited Florence and Milan and spent two weeks in Umbria, staying in the ancient walled city of Montefalco. The photo below doesn’t do justice to the beautiful sight of fields of sunflowers in the sunshine, but it was taken from a high speed train!
Umbria may not one of the better known parts of Italy, but it is well worth a visit.