Happy Monday my friends! I trust you all spent the weekend bundled up inside trying to stay warm. Im sad but also super excited, to be sharing my last post in regards to Italy. This is going to be a long one as Im cramming my last day in Florence in with two quick but long stops in Naples and Rome!
Picking up from my last post of Florence + Cinque Terre, I was still technically in Florence and as I mentioned in my last post, I had snagged two separate tours for my time in Florence. I already explored the coastal villages of Cinque Terre and now I was off to see some of the ever famous, Tuscany! I booked a super cheap tour – 55 euros – with MyTours for a day trip to San Gimignano followed by a wine tasting and lunch at a local winery in the hills of the Chianti region, then we stopped for a quick visit at the impressive Monteriggioni, ( I didnt get to go inside the fortress due to having sore foot problems ) and then we finished the day off with a few hours in Siena! And it was heavenly! Ive always dreamt of seeing those rolling hills of Tuscany and getting the chance to stand and gawk at them was a highlight of the trip for me! Then when you throw in medieval villages stacked with towers and the prettiest, oldest alley ways. Yep! Cloud nine! I was even able to whip out the drone for a few quickies while I had some down time in the villages. It was beautiful but Im not going to lie, I did a whole lot of nothing! I walked the villages for as much as my foot would allow and then I found a good cafe or restaurant and popped in for some bruschetta and a good beer!
When we left San Gimignano, we made our way to the beautiful vineyard estate of Poggio Amorelli in the heart of Chianti! Im not a wine drinker but I mean, when in Italy, am I right? I will note, that I prefer white or pink wine over red wine! I prefer sweet…not bitter! But this family provided a delicious lunch stocked with a variety of meats, cheeses, oils, pasta and bread! It was delicious! Perfect way to start things off before we tasted over 6 different wines known throughout the Chianti region and learned about the process of making wine and oils as well as balsamic vinegar! I rather enjoyed myself! I still prefer beer though 😉
Me and my gimp self just hanging in the parking lot ha
Siena was beautiful and busy! I wasn’t expecting it to be that busy with as close to Christmas as it was. It was raining off and on but it was still so worth it! I wandered with the tour group for a little while before sneaking off into a restaurant in the main square to enjoy the views and people watch! Which I love doing! People watching that is. People are really fascinating!
The next day I spent traveling to Naples and my first day there I spent mostly in my hostel dorm. I know, I know. I’m lame but when you spend 3 weeks wandering around a country, you need downtime in there too! Plus I knew the next two days I would be exploring the outskirts of Naples. Im going to be honest. I really wasn’t feeling Naples. It was….too much for me. Lots of liter, too much traffic, too many people. Its a city for sure. I don’t really understand why people say its so dangerous there. I didn’t get that vibe at all nor did I ever feel unsafe. I know pick pockets are a big thing there but I was fortunate and did not have any issues.
The next day I had another day trip (100% tourist over here) to the infamous city of Pompeii! It was a hard decision between Pompeii and Capri but with the mindset that I would be visiting the Amalfi coast the next day, I opted for history! Pompeii was incredible! Its crazy how much was preserved from the volcanic ash! And the funniest part, most of the artifacts of Pompeii are not actually there, they are within museums. I was told that the Herculaneum is far better preserved and still has majority of its original artifacts! Good to note! Don’t worry, these were not actual bodies that we saw but merely a plaster molding of the state of the bodies when they were uncovered. Still other worldly to see. A good tip, get to Pompeii early. The swarms of people started to arrive around noon and it was noticeably more quiet and empty when we arrived.
Side note on my tour. I originally signed up for just the half day trip to Pompeii but the couple who was with me, it was just us 3 in our group, booked the full day Pompeii and Mt Vesuvius day trip. So I got to go to the top, well the parking lot, of Mt Vesuvius! Winning! The views over Naples were stunning!
So, back track really quick. I mentioned how I was supposed to head to the Amalfi coast the day after Pompeii… well that did NOT happen. I was in my hostel and received an email from the tour group letting me know that unfortunately, I was the only person who booked the Amalfi coast tour that day and because of that, the tour would have to be cancelled. I was NOT happy. Mainly because they emailed me so late at night by the time I went to rebook the tour with another company, it was too late and no company would allow me to book on such short notice. Looks like Ill have to go back. What is with tours cancelling on me, darn it!
So after a very sad and somber day, I got some much needed work done in my hostel and stuffed even MORE pizza and pasta in my face before packing things up and heading to my last stop of the trip! ROME! Rome was beautiful but again, its a city and I found it even more dirty than Naples. I actually really disliked Rome.. I think it was my least favorite of the entire trip. The Generator Hostel was…the worst Generator Ive stayed in and that says a lot because I LOVE Generator hostels. Total advocate for them and I’ve stayed in now 4 of their locations. The Rome Generator definitely needs some up to it. The design was awesome, as always with Generator, but the customer service was so so and the fact that the bar is closed all day until 5.. what a loss of money if you ask me. Moving on. Im just not a big city girl and even though there was history and charm oozing from every corner, the amount of liter and people who hound the hell out of you to buy their tickets or buy whatever it is they are selling, really turned me off. Like a lot! I crap you not, within a 50 meter walk you will be asked by 4 different people that are all asking you to buy the same thing… and then the continue to walk with you and sell you on whatever skip the line ticket they have. No means no, buddy. It could also be that I was just so over the trip at that point and I just wanted to be home. Who knows. But I should not have spent 3.5 days in Rome haha.
Thankfully my hostel was close to the main terminal in Rome so that was convenient but with my mood turning from super excited to be in Italy to I can’t wait to be home, I didn’t do too much in Rome but go to the Coliseum and Vatican city and Museum. And the best part, I purchased a two day hop-on hop-off bus ticket with entry to both the Vatican Museum and Coliseum included! I love these things because I get too see highlights in a quick manor and it provides transportation at a decent price ALL DAY. Sounds good to me! This also provided a way for me to see the city without walking and letting the pain of my plantar fasciitis flare up…Winning. I was able to see a lot of the city this way. Im sad I didn’t get off the dang bus and go see the Spanish steps or the Trevi fountain but there were SO MANY PEOPLE in that neighborhood I knew I wasn’t going to want to deal with it. I promise I love people, I just don’t like THAT many people crammed into one place. Rome really does have so much to offer. Maybe I need to give it another try when my foot isn’t a pain in the butt.
I gave one day to the Vatican and the next day to the Coliseum. I was pretty much a professional tour guide at that point with how many times I went around the city on that dang bus! I was SUPER EXCITED for the Coliseum! I mean, we learn so much about the Roman Empire and the display of power and control the coliseum showcased but man, seeing it in person was so surreal. Just thinking of the amount of blood shed and trauma that happened RIGHT THERE and for a source of entertainment and power. Baffling. I still also do not understand how anyone was able to build anything back in the day. I get the whole pulley and slave system but…. I just don’t get it.
I cant believe thats all for Italy. It was a crazy 3 weeks and Im so thankful I had the opportunity to go to Italy at all considering I was supposed to spend my time there in August – thanks, broken leg =D – Its an incredible country that offers plenty of diversity, years of history, color, beautiful views, incredible people and some of the best food your mouth will ever get the chance to enjoy.
Heres the little video I threw together of my trip! =D