Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Italy Trip

A little over a month ago, I traveled with my parents to the incredible country of Italy. In just about 13 days we got a good absorbency of the Italian Culture. Our trip began in the ancient city of Roma. In Rome, we stayed at the Hotelle DeNazione, which was located literally about a minutes walk from the Trevi Fountain. The amount of people just sitting/mingling/gazing at the fountain was absolutely mind blowing. Seriously, I don't think I've ever seen so many people just stare at one fountain for such a long time. We also got to see the Spanish Steppes.

Anyway, the second day we took about a four hour walking tour of the Colosseum and Ancient ruins of Rome. The sheer size of the Colosseum and the amount of people touring it was incredible. When I stepped into the colosseum, it really felt like i could just go back about ten centuries and witness brutal gladiator fights to the death.

On the third day, we arrived in the Vatican City and toured Saint Peter's Basilica, where the Pope lives. That experience was also pretty crazy considering the size and height of the basilica and the amount of people there. The line to get in extended from the entrance all the way around the freaking basilica. Again, would have been impossible if you weren't on a tour to get in. We got to travel underground and see the full scale original of Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel painting. The Italian guards were shushing everyone to no end, and it was very gloomy down there. I also felt a little uneasy when I saw the bodies of popes preserved in a casket for over a hundred years. The whole tour of the Basilica did emit the sense of dominance, power, and absolutism the Roman Catholic Church had over the centuries. 

After that, we traveled to the island of Capri, about a fourty five minute ferry from Naples. Capri was spectacular. Upon arriving to the island, you were hit by the ragged edging of the mountain and its size. We then promptly got into another boat that took us to the Blue Grotto sea Cave. This cave is not an ordinary one. The cave's entrance is only about 4 feet high. So when there is rough sea, you cant get in. However, when inside the cave, you can see the sunlight reflect a brilliant emerald blue color off the ocean floor, basically making the cave glow. After that we traveled to the top of the island, to the town of anacapri. There are basically a lot of shops there, and of course, gelato. After our lunch, my dad adamantly suggested we go on the ski lift that brings you to the very top of Anacapri, literally a thousand feet higher. I pretty much soiled my pants at the sight of it. However, once at the top the view was really crazy. For only 8 euros/person it was worth it.

The view from entering Capri. Boom.

After getting back to Rome that night, we traveled to the Renaissance city of Firenze, or Florence the next day. Florence was incredible. Again, our hotel was centrally located about a five minute walk to Ponte Vecchio.  The view of the Arno river was also breathtaking. Walking on the same streets that Michelangelo, the Medicis, and other incredible artists that influenced an era was enlightening. The tour showed us basically the whole town, including Michelangelo's David. Everything in Florence wasn't cheap as you could imagine haha, even a simple dinner for three could cost you a $100. The next day from Florence, we got to travel to the village of Cinque Terre, basically a bunch of small buildings located on a cliff drop haha. The villages used to be regularly attacked and pillaged by pirates in the early centuries. Anyway, the villages were pretty crazy with the spectacular view of the ocean. Each town was connected by railroad which was also impressive. The day after, we got to have our own personal tour of Tuscany and its magnificent wines and vineyards. At first we couldn't find our tour bus. Then, this very knowledgeable British guy dressed in a suit and tie shows up with a black polished Mercedes E.V.O and we were off on our own personal tour. We went winetasting with another college group from somewhere in New York, basically just there to get drunk. Funny thing is they wouldn't tell us which college they were from because the T.A's didnt want to get in trouble haha. After seeing much of tuscany luxuriously, we saw the town of Pisa, and of course the leaning tower. We climbed all the way to the top of the tower and I was hit with a serious case of vertigo. Most surreal experience ever. 

The next day, we traveled to Venizia, or venice. That in itself was such a crazy experience. Seeing all the canals running through the island was weird yet thrilling. We had to get to our hotel from the train station by boat. The streets in Venice were so damn narrow. Literally like a maze. Even with a map, we got lost everytime the first two days. The second day, we traveled to a nearby island by boat and got to see how the locals make the widely treasured Murano glass. The dude was pretty good at what he did. Made a glass stallion, like the ones you see on the ferrari emblem, in about five minutes. That thing probably costed about 15 euros. Not a bad business. After that, the last day we had another tour that lasted about 3 hours. The tour featured an inside look of San Marco's Basilica. You know, after seeing so many Duomo's and Basilica's all over italy, i was just about burnt out and spaced out much of the tour haha. What did intrigue me about Venice though, were the Venetian parade masks. They looked creepy yet very fun to wear. I had trouble finding a good one, but eventually got a good one for about 10 euros. A steal. We ended our journey by getting our stuff and leaving to the airport by boat again. Awesome. 

more pictures will be added soon

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