Our time in Italy was short and sweet! Since we both had previously spent quite a bit of time in Italy on previous trips, we opted to quickly jaunt through Italy in trade for more time in other places. However, the little bit of time we did spend in Italy was “perfecto!”
We landed in Roma and took a shuttle to the Hotel Artemide where we stayed for one night. The hotel was great, the location was great, and the staff was great, with the exception of the evening desk attendant whom we think may have been boozing it up behind the desk, due to his slurred speech and bloodshot eyes.
Since we had less than twenty four hours in Rome we decided to hit up one major feature, and spend the rest of the evening relaxing and enjoying the delicious cuisine.
We both had been to Rome multiple times before, however I had only ever seen the Colosseum from the outside. So we braved the heat and the worst of summer's tourist lines and had a great time touring the Colosseum.
We had a delicious, overpriced pizza margherita for lunch and a bite of gelato walking back from the colosseum.
Later in the evening, we took a stroll to the Trevi Fountain and made some wishes with American pennies. We had done some research on Tripadvisor for dinner restaurants, but when we got to the restaurant we had chosen, it was closed. We were a little bummed, but we ended up having a delightful dinner at a little restaurant we found walking back towards our hotel. The food wasn't the best food we've had in Italy, but it wasn't bad, and the atmosphere was nice.
In the morning we headed to the train station to catch the train to Firenze. We ended up having to wait quite a while in line at the train station, to get our Eurail passes validated and reserve our seats on a train.
When we got to Florence we walked from the train station to the Relaiz Uffizi. The Relaiz Uffizi is an older, but nice, hotel we had stayed at a few years back. It sits above a restaurant overlooking the Piazza del' a Uffizi, which is a great location. We spent the day strolling the leather market, the Ponte Vecchio, passed by the Duomo, and ate lots of gelato. Florence has always been one of our favorite cities, and still is. It is so charming just to stroll the narrow streets and busy piazzas (however, we would definitely never come back in the height of tourist season).
The next morning we hopped on a train to Venizia. The train ride was pleasant and entertaining. We had another young American couple just across the isle from us, and an EXTRA friendly Italian man that sat next to Scott. The couple we sat next to were from a small town in Texas, and it was their first time to Europe. It was interesting to hear about their experience, and what their perceptions were about being out of the U.S. for the first time.
The extra friendly Italian guy sitting next to Scott, was a whole other experience. When the train attendant came by, we all were given a packet of cookies, a beverage, and a wet wipe. The Italian man opened up his wet wipe and proceeded to wipe down his hands, his face, and his entire hairy arms. Then he looks at both of us, holding the wipe up to his nose and says “Perfume! Perfume!” We both politely nodded our heads in concurrence that the wipes had a fresh smell to them. He then kept insisting that we smell our wipes. We both just continued to smile and tried not to laugh. He then took the wipe he had just finished using to practically bathe himself with and held it up to Scott's face insisting that he smell the “Perfume!”. At this point Scott is hanging half way out into the isle trying to avoid the guys insistent gesture. For the rest of the train ride the Italian guy continued to look over Scott's shoulder to look at his ipad, to see Scott's cards while we played Gin, and he seemed to be intently listening to our conversations even though he didn't seem to speak a word of English. It was reminiscent of a scene out of the movie Euro Trip.
When we got to Venice, we dropped our bags at the Novecento, which was another great hotel that had been recommended to us by Scott's sister. We headed to a restaurant for lunch that had been recommended to us by the concierge at the hotel. It was a fabulous little restaurant that seated no more than twenty guests, not one other person at the tables around us was a tourist, all of the pasta was freshly made, and the chef even came out to talk with guests.
After lunch we ended up going into a Venitian mask store that was just a couple doors down from the place we had lunch. All of the masks were so beautiful and all hand made and painted in the store. We ended up purchasing two beautiful masks that we had shipped home. Come to find out, the place we bought the masks was the place that made all of the masks for the movie “Eyes Wide Shut”, they had also made some masks for Leonardo DiCaprio, and were the number one recommended mask shop in our guide book. We completely lucked out because neither one of us knew about it and unknowingly chose the best!
We spent the rest of the day strolling along the canals, browsing in shops, and eating pizza by the slice at little pizza shops. It was perfection! We were so glad we did so much strolling the first day, because the next morning we woke up to thunder and rain. We spent the morning enjoying our nice comfortable bed because we knew we would be staying in a few hostels for the next couple of weeks.
Italy still truly is one of the best places to visit. The food is great, the people are friendly for the most part, and it is always so charming.