At Christmas time we had two weeks to visit Italy. Our time was divided up into stays in Rome, Florence, Siena, Montepulciano and Venice. We first flew to Rome where we spent the busy Christmas week exploring and checking out this amazing city. Coming from Australia, it was awesome to see places that had thousands of years of history all around: in the buildings, culture and food! Given the limited time, we stayed in the city heart so we could walk to most places. Some attractions around Rome had scheduled closures over the Christmas, period so we made sure we saw all of the highlights while they were open. Through Trip Advisor, we read that it is best to book Colosseum tours through the coopculture.it website where the best deals are found, avoiding middlemen! It is a challenge to book the tickets (as they had to be booked over the phone to Italy, but it was well worth the hassle). We loved seeing the Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, The Roman Forum Ruins, St Peter’s Basilica, The Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. As a Christmas gift, we were given tickets to a food tour on eatingitalyfoodtours.com, the “Trastevere Twilight Walking Tour”. This was a fantastic night, during which we heard a lot about the history of Rome and its people’s passion for fine food. Delicious!! We went to Italy prepared to eat and eat and eat – mission accomplished!
After a week we caught the train to Florence where we spent a few days seeing the big museums and enjoying eating in the markets and restaurants. Our favourite food from the whole trip was at a place we stumbled across, called “Gustapanino”. The owner, Pasquale, sat and spoke and joked with us, and helped us have a great night with fantastic food and some limoncello to finish with. As we left, he recommended his two brothers’ restaurants too, both ‘Gusta’ places and we went to the both the next day. We had the best pizza of our lives at “Gusta Pizza”, and will always remember the food of Florence.
To get to Venice we drove from Montepulciano via Bologna. It was a nice drive along a good freeway, though the Italian signs are sometimes a challenge and speed limit signs are a rarity. On Arrival in Venice we saw an amazing sunset, thought that was about it for seeing any sun for the next four days! To fit with the cold of winter, Venice turned on the cloudy, dreary weather too. One day we got an earlier water taxi to Burano Island, where there is lots of lace produced. It was good looking around there and stopping for a great lunch at a small family restaurant.
Here are some of our pics from our time in Italy: