Restaurant recommendations in Rome:
Bar Creperie which is where Piazza del Risorgimento and Via Leone IV meet across from the Vatican
Restaurant recommendations in Venice:
Our first day in Italy was spent in Venice. We left Bolzano at 530am and experienced the train for the first time on our trip. Given the short amount of time we had we opted to fly between cities rather than train. After the face, I think this was a great, time-saving choice! We arrived in Venice at 930 am, stored our bags, and ventured out into the city with no destination in mind. My first tip for visiting Venice, and one that saved us was carrying either a very detailed map, or in our case, a GPS in pedestrian mode. Before we knew it we were crossing waterways, walking down little alleys, or turning a corner to find a harbour we had not yet seen. The only way we were able to find our way back to the train station at the end of the day was with our GPS. The most interesting thing about Venice is the fact that its sinking. The staircases that lead to nowhere certainly got your imagination going, but overall we were left hoping for more. The shopping was great! Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, and Fendi lined the streets, along with countless Murano glass dealers and local leather shops. I think the highlight of Venice was watching a man propose to his girlfriend! It was pretty special! We were scheduled to leave Venice at 430pm for Rome however at 2pm we found ourselves back at the station ready to leave. It was certainly an interesting city to see though I would caution against spending too much time as there are no attractions or substantial activities.
That night we arrived in Rome after a long hot day, happy to find that the Sheraton Roma had upgraded us to the club floor (the perks of rewards programs!) The next day was supposed to be spent doing a wine and food tour of Tuscany however not enough people signed up so the tour company unfortunately had to cancel. As sad as this was, it was a bit of a blessing in disguise as it allowed us to sleep in and catch up on much-needed rest! After a few hours of rest in the morning we decided to venture into the heart of Roma. The Sheraton Roma offers a great shuttle that drops off at one of 3 locations. It comes frequently and was very comfortable! I think it cost 3 euros round trip. We casually walked around Rome and saw the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Vatican, the Spanish Steps and the Castel Sant’Angelo. After about 5 hours we decided it was far too hot to see anymore so we went back to the hotel to devise a new plan. We opted to book an evening, open top, double-decker bus tour which was a GREAT idea! Rome tip: Early mornings and late nights are the best time to see the city in the summer! You avoid the heat and many of the tourists! The bus which was run through Green Line Tours took us to The Trevi Fountain, The Coliseum, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, The Presidents Residence and many many fountains, all of which were beautifully lit. The next day was spent resting at the hotel, lounging in the sun, and playing in the pool. A full day of relaxation that was so needed before the big day we had coming up.
We then woke up at 430am, hopped on the tour bus and took it all the way to Naples. It was about a 3 hour drive but worth every second because it took us to the ferry that would take us to Capri! Upon our arrival on Capri our group drove up to the top of the island and the town called Anacapri. There is only one road up and one road down, needless to say, it was another frightening European road experience! The island of Capri was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and the best way to see the whole island and surrounding waters is from the top at Anacapri. From there you could see the island, the Mediterranean sea, the city of Naples, and Mount Vesuvius. We spent our time in Anacapri shopping! As a thank you to CWM for taking me on the trip I thought the least I could do was support the local Italian designers and get him a pair of wingtip leather Versace shoes 🙂 I think he was pretty happy with his gift! Besides being famous for the Blue Grotto, custom-made leather sandals, and all the celebs that visit Capri, it is also famous for being the birthplace of Limencello, naturally we had to pick up a few bottles. After lunch and a couple scoops of gelato we were off to the Blue Grotto! I think this is one of the experiences I was most looking forward to prior to our trip. Admittedly, I knew very little about what we were getting into. Overall the experience was thrilling and beautiful but I have some tips for you if you are visiting the Grotto:
Do not bring bags in the boat! You have to lie down flat in the rowboat and bags take up way too much room.
Wear your bathing suit! Water gets everywhere and our shopping bags ended up getting soaked.
In the same light, be careful of what documents, and valuables you pack in the boat as they are likely to get wet.
Take a water proof camera!
If you are afraid of small and dark spaces: do NOT do this!After a long, exciting day we boarded the bus and drove back to Rome. We got in at 1030pm, went straight to sleep because we had to be up at 530am the next morning!Our last day in Rome was another that I was really looking forward to. It was our extensive tour of Vatican City. We saw the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, The Map Room, and St Peter’s Basilica! Along the way we were fortunate enough to see the most incredible artwork I have ever experienced. Michelangelo’s ceiling in the Sistine Chapel, and The Last Judgement, neither of which you are allowed to photograph, take the top spots for most memorable sights on our trip.After another day of catching up on rest poolside we packed our bags, all our new treats and ventured back home. A 9 1/2 hour flight later and we were in Toronto where we were met with a HUGE surprise! CWM’s Mom was also at the Toronto airport all the way from Vancouver! It was a complete coincidence and just what we needed after a long time away. We had a 5 hour delay which we had planned on solving by getting on an earlier flight however when we discovered we could visit we went back to her hotel for supper and family time. After a tearful but thankful goodbye we were en route to Ottawa to head back to work.Words cannot express how thankful I am that we made time to take the trip. We had been talking about doing it for a few years but always ended up opting for sun destinations or heading home to visit family (both are equally as great)! I am thankful to visit the places where CWM lived and went to school, to visit with our friends, and see new parts of the world together. Our patience with one another and our perfect compatibility and balance was once again reaffirmed to me time and time again. I am so appreciative for such a wonderful man(n) to see the world with and look forward to our next adventure, which is only a few months away! I cant wait to hear your feedback and advice for next time. With more and more love by the second,