Veni, Vidi, Comedit in Rome

I came, I saw, I ate. See? I may not be witty in English but I have smashed it in Latin! 😉

Anywhere where you can eat loads of pizza, fresh pasta and ice cream (gelato) is OK with me. And if you feel guilty, you can throw your hands up and say “When in Rome…!” This is literally true here. (I’m assuming the Romans stuff their faces with pasta at all times, right? Right?!!) Continue reading


Staircase to Heaven in Vatican City

I was really excited to visit the Vatican City but was in two minds whether to climb the tiny narrow staircase to the top of the dome of St Peters Basilica. People said it wasn’t suitable for people who are at all claustrophobic – but we did it and it was the highlight for me!  The views were incredible.

There was a beautiful moment when we got to the inside of the dome – the choir started singing and it was really moving to hear the music in the acoustics of the dome. Continue reading

When in Rome… exploring the Ancient Heart of the Roman Empire

Rome is truly a smorgasbord of history – find a panoramic point and you can survey architecture through the ages – literally. From the old Romans ruins to the grand domes of the Basililicas. There are countless beautiful piazzas (piazzi? piazzae?). I was quite glad we had left Rome until last to visit – had we visited Rome first then other European cities may have seemed less impressive, but Rome was certainly the crescendo.

We explored the Roman Forum which is the amazingly complete ruins  (well, they ARE ruins, but some bits are still standing and it gives you a glimpse into what a Roman city would have looked like – nay not “a Roman city” but the very heart of The Roman Empire!). I tried to imagine being alive in the roman empire and going into town to meet your friends on a Saturday morning, and this is your local town centre! Continue reading

Rome for Lovers

We have always saved Rome for our honeymoon – partly as my parents went there on their honeymoon so it’s a bit of a family tradition, and partly as it’s meant to be a romantic city so sounded perfect! And so yes Rome was our Honeymoon, and yes, we have got married!! We had a simple registry office wedding with close family and a meal in a restaurant afterwards. It was perfect for My Husband and I (ha ha! still sounds so strange!!). But enough of that – on to Rome!

Our favourite place was the Trevi Fountain. This surpassed our expectations as we thought it would be a small fountain but its sheer scale and magnificence surprised both of us. (That’s a person, bottom right of the photo, and a building on the left of the photo!) Caution, this is swarming with tourists at any time, day or night, so it’s difficult to get any space or a good photo without heads or limbs in it.

Needless to say, the Spanish Steps are also very touristy. Continue reading

Venice – v beautiful but v expensive (even the toilets!)

How to describe Venice? It is hard to describe the indescribable. I felt like I was on a film set; that it wasn’t real and any minute I would see the director and lots of industrial-sized lights. It was too beautiful and surreal to be true.  It was also everywhere. Everywhere I looked, there was picture-perfect scenery – from the gondolas to the majestic buildings on the grand canal, to the tiny alleyways to get lost in. So quaint, so perfectly Italian.

The highlights are indisputably the Grand Canal and St Marks Square.

Grand Canal VeniceThe Grand Canal was busier and more full of life than I expected. It is very much a practical means of getting around, rather than the serene oil painting that I had expected. Continue reading

Trieste : the real Italy

Lets be honest, we went to Trieste not for its culture or fame, but because we wanted to go to Venice, and Trieste had cheaper flights. So the plan was to fly into Trieste, spend a few days there (it’d be rude not to!) and then take the train to Venice. Then train back to airport. Simples!

Trieste isn’t a tourist hotspot, and I was a tad concerned that we had booked too long there, as there isn’t a lot to do… but that turned out to be its charm. There are no tourists and therefore we saw the real Italy. If there was a lot of sight-seeing to do, we’d be planning our days around “the sights” and rushing around trying to see everything before it’s time to go home. In Trieste, there were fewer sights, so we had the luxury of time to relax and enjoy just “being”. In fact, this trip goes down in history as the most relaxed I have been in living memory. And that’s quite a claim! 🙂

Trieste main squareSo what sights does Trieste have to offer? Well, there’s Piazza Unita D’Italia Continue reading

Pisa : the best mini pizzas in the world?

Most people visit Pisa for one thing – the Leaning Tower. And who can blame them? It is a breathtaking sight. But we found that Pisa has more to offer. So when the coach tours had left for another day we found ourselves to be in a tranquil quaint Italian town.

Obviously we did the main sights – after all who would come to Pisa and NOT see the Leaning Tower of Pisa! However we enjoyed it from the outside only and we did not climb it…  I understand that you need to book ahead for that.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of this was seeing the many tourists doing the classic “I’m holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa” pose. Continue reading

Florence : cherry blossom and ice cream!

I will always remember the spring sunshine and cherry blossom in Florence. And the massive mounds of ice cream, obviously! This was ice cream unlike anything I’d ever seen before, or since. It became our nightly ritual to have an ice cream for pudding each evening while strolling around as the sun set.

Florence is a beautiful city. Each morning we walked along the river towards the Ponte Vecchio. This is an ancient bridge with jewellery shops spanning the length of it. It is customary for lovers  to chain a padlock on to the railings on or near the bridge to symbolise their eternal love. Continue reading