One Country, Five Cities, Eight Days: La Vita è Bella

Maybe I’m exaggerating, but I feel as if most people’s dreams include visiting Italy during some point in their lives. It was one of my dreams for as long as I can remember and this past week I was fortunate enough to make it come true. From Rome to Florence to Pisa to Venice to Milan, I got to experience the culture, history, and of course food that Italy has to offer.

My spring break trip started off in Rome as I made my way through what I consider the most beautiful church I have ever seen. The Vatican City was truly breathtaking. The amount and magnitude of the statues and art within it were incomparable. But thanks to my 6 a.m. flight and lack of sleep, I slept in so didn’t get to climb to the top of the Basilica.

IMG_6608 (1)There is so much history in Rome that it’s hard to keep up with it all and its truly crazy thinking about how old all the buildings are. I’m pretty sure that being Starstruck only applies to meeting people but I have to say, standing in front of the Colosseum felt surreal. Learning and reading about it as a kid and being physically present does not compare.

I was in Rome only for two days and got to see a lot, but I will be back for sure during the summer to visit the inside of the Pantheon. Hopefully by then the Trevi Fountain won’t be under construction anymore. After Rome I headed to Florence, which has to be my favorite city out of the five I visited. Not that I didn’t love the rest but I could actually see myself studying abroad in Florence. From the Ponte Vecchio to the Michelangelo’s masterpiece David, I loved everything in Firenze!

DCIM100GOPROPisa and Milan were my short day trips because there isn’t that much to see in either city. But the two-hour nap I took in front of the leaning tower of Pisa was one of the best and the Kit-Kat flavored gelato I ate as I gazed at the Duomo in Milan was to die for.

Whoever said gelato was a dessert only had it all wrong! I had gelato every single day that I was in Italy and sometimes I even had it as my lunch or dinner. Maybe it was because I was visiting the tourist areas of the cities but everywhere I went I saw so many people eating gelato just relaxing. I knew gelato was an Italian thing but didn’t know how much they ate it. Think of gelato as being the Starbucks of the U.S but on steroids, one in every single corner.

IMG_6787 (1)Of course I couldn’t leave Italy without trying their pizza and I may have taken it to the extreme by eating it every day I was there also, thinking ‘oh well, I’m in Italy after all!’ Another thing that I noticed was the amount of people driving Vespa’s. I thought it was only in movies and was outdated but in some places there were more Vespa’s parked in the streets than people walking around. I really wanted to rent one but didn’t get the chance to do so. I guess it’s for the better because I don’t know if I would survive trying to drive like Italian drivers.

DCIM100GOPROAlthough English is the universal language of the world, it was much easier to get by speaking Spanish in Italy since it is somewhat similar to Italian. Let me just say how helpful Spanish was because getting around a city you have never been to without phone service was a challenge. Ordering food was the only way to get Wi-Fi but I couldn’t spend all day eating so for the most part paper maps were the way to go.

To add to my adventurous week I became one of those people you see running around the train station trying to catch their train—not once but twice! The first time I went to the wrong station at first and the second time the train left 20 minutes before it was supposed too. But its all part of the adventure I guess! I was so excited to sit down and gaze out my window as I made my way through Italy but every single train I took I fell asleep within five minutes.

DCIM100GOPROI didn’t appreciate the prices in Spain until visiting Italy. Everything is more expensive, especially in Rome and Venice. Paying 8-10 euros per meal was nothing out of the ordinary and the service fees they charge is ridiculous. In Venice, buying a coffee to go would cost two euros but if you wanted to sit down and drink it there it would go up to six euros. But that’s the price to pay when you are the beautiful city of Venice. It was while I was riding a gondola along the Grand Canal when it hit me, I was in Venice the “City of Water!” The way the houses and canals intertwine seems so unreal that you question how the place even came to be.

No traveling for me this week so time to explore the best city of them all, Madrid! Until next time, adios!

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