Fall Break: Rome, Venice and Florence

I’ve always wanted to travel to Italy, so Fall Break was the perfect opportunity! My travel buddies were three of my flatmates (Faith, Yohanna and Jacob) and our friend Perry.

There’s far too much to write about eight days in Italy (two days in Rome, three days in Venice and three days in Florence), so here’s the extremely abridged version. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. (I would post every single photo I took, but I suspect nobody really wants to see 17 photos of the Colosseum from different angles.) And for those who are wondering, yes, I did eat gelato at least once a day.

Our first stop was Rome. We hit all the major landmarks: the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountains, the Pantheon, and–my favorite stop–the Vatican! On Saturday, we walked around St. Peter’s Square and took a few photos, but on Sunday, we decided to return for mass. We actually saw the Pope (!!!!) and witnessed a canonization. It was definitely a highlight of the trip/my life.

From Rome, we took an overnight (6 hours, yikes!) train to Venice. We arrived at 5:30 a.m. and took a water taxi to our hostel. We couldn’t actually check in yet, but we put our luggage in lockers, showered and ventured out to St. Mark’s Square. The first thing on our itinerary was a tour of the Cedenese glassblowing factory on the island of Murano. Jacob’s parents know the owner, so we got a private tour of the factory and the showroom. I couldn’t believe how many different glass designs there were. Everything was gorgeous and I definitely understood why Murano glass is so famous and well-loved.

Other highlights: the Gallerie dell’Accademia and the Palazzo Ducale (Doge Palace). Fun travel tip: We learned that Venice really doesn’t require three days of travel. The weather was less than desirable and we hit most most of the key landmarks in two days, plus had plenty of downtime. If you’re planning to visit (especially if you’re a student on a budget), set aside a day and a half to two days and you’ll be set.

We took a (much shorter) train ride to Florence and arrived at night, so we grabbed a quick dinner near our hotel and went to sleep shortly after. Over the next three days, we went to the Accademia Gallery to see Michaelangelo’s sculpture of David, visited Pitti Palace and Uffizi Gallery, climbed to the top of a tower in the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, shopped around the San Lorenzo markets and walked all the way up a hill to Piazzale Michelangelo, which provided a stunning view of the city.

All in all, the trip was a success, as I got to visit some amazing landmarks, while eating incredible Italian food. Enjoy the photos!

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