In a whirlwind week Amy and I saw about as much as Italy as we could. The trip all came together no sooner than the day before we left, and it all seemed to work out well. Destinations included Rome (Roma), Florence (Firenze), and Cinque Terre (Five Towns). It was a pretty sweet trip. All told we took 465 pictures. As soon as I sort through them all, I'll put them up on picasaweb for your viewing pleasure.
Rome was awesome.
More history than you can shake a stick at, quite literally. The city makes you contemplate what a historical building is. In the US we just classify things as historical if they are over say 100 years old. So when you are standing inside the Colosseum which is around 1900 years old you kind of wonder why we all ooh and aah at the old houses in the US which date back an astounding 100 years. Crazy. Anyway, seeing all of the historical sights is nearly impossible so we stuck to the highlights and saw the Colosseum, the Vatican Museum (including the Sistine Chapel), the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, the Trivi Fountain, and a million other cool old buildings in the process. Oh, and of course at least one Gelato shop per day. We did that for the entire trip.
Florence was pretty neat. There was more museums to see, including the Uffizi (has an endless amount of paintings by old important people inculding Rafael. Who knew the Ninja Turtles could paint?) and Academia (has the statue of David). We also were able to go up into the top of the Duomo (Dome) of the huge cathedral there. You can tell I'm a cultured one can't you...
After Florence it was time to head off the the highlight of the trip in the Cique Terre. So named because of the five towns on the coast which are all connected by one of the busiest nature trails in the world. The water is an awesome blue and the shores rocky. I even got brave (or stupid) enough to take a swim. Now that I'm home, I did the research and the water was just over 57 degrees. Needless to say it was a short swim. The scenery there was breathtaking. It reminded me of Croatia. Many of the shops were closed since it was the off season, but the last day we were there was opening day for them. There was still plenty to see and do. It was a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the citys of Florence and Rome.
After we left there, we drove back to Pisa where are flight was. We decided we would be satisfied with a drive by of the leaning tower as we heard it was a pretty quick stop. As fate would have it our flight was cancelled due to a freak fog that rolled in out of a clear blue day. So after some shinannigans with Ryanair (the airline) we opted for a hotel over the airport floor (I know, I know... I'm getting soft.). We found the cleanest most friendly 2 star hotel ever out of sheer luck, and before you could say "Motel 6" we were both making Z's. The next day we walked to the tower and apologized to it for not stopping by the day prior. We took the obligatory "holding up the tower" picture and it seemed to appease the leaning giant, and our flight departed close to on time that night.
All in all a fantastic trip, wecome break from the daily rat race, and what else would I do with all that money? Turning it into memories is worth every penny to me.
The final verdict: See Rome, it's worth it; Cinque Terre, a definite for nature lovers; Florence, for the more "Art minded". Italy is a must go in any case.
-- Chris and Amy