A Travellerspoint blog

Rome!

Days 18 and 19

Rome is everything you expect it to be, only bigger! We arrived a few days ago after a 4 hour train ride from Cinque Terre. It took us about an hour to find our hotel dragging our bags through cobble stone streets. Our hotel here is awesome. Casa Howard is a small boutique residence with beautiful furnishings and impeccable, yet personal service. (that sounded like an ad didn't it?) We're staying in the Zebra room that is dramatically decorated in red and black with accents of zebra.
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The day we arrived we were able to see the pantheon which is the oldest church in Rome where Raphael is buried. We also made our way to Piazza Nuovo which has a gorgeous fountain in the center.
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After having some wine and bruschetta we met up with our Australian friends that we had met in Greve again. Ebali is a unpretentious little restaurant hidden in the winding alleys behind the Nuovo. The decor was farm house chic and the drinks and food were incredible. After dinner we went to a bar called The Drunken Ship and ended up playing beer pong until 2am.
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Yesterday we went on a 2 hour tour of the Vatican. What an interesting place! Although I thought the Sistine Chapel would be the highlight, to me there were so many other incredible works of art by Michelangelo. Learning the history of the catholic church and how the pope has been tied to and interacted with the rise and fall of Rome was very fascinating. After a desperate late lunch at a tourist restaurant by the Trevi fountain we got Gelato and took pictures in front of the fountain and threw coins over our shoulder I love the Trevi fountain!
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Rome is chaotic and noisy, historic and interesting. I'm glad we're spending our last few days here. Today...The Colosseum!

Posted by LLC 01:54 Archived in Italy Comments (2)

Day 16 & 17

Cinque Terre

Ok the train ride from Florence to Cinque Terre was a nightmare. It was so confusing and we missed our first connection. But eventually we made it to our destination, Riomaggiore. Riomaggiore is the first village of 5 in Cinque Terre. These villages are built into the side of cliffs right on the Mediterranean Sea. You can’t drive in the villages, the only way to get from one village to the next being by boat or train. This place is remote and very quaint with stunning views. The seafood is so fresh it practically walks right onto your plate.

We’re staying in Casa Lorenza which is a little house with fantastic views of the village and ocean. It’s freezing here but of course we still have had a wonderful time. We took the train to all of the villages today but hiked the distance from the 4th village to the 3rd on our way home. The trail on a cliff had views of the ocean the entire time. We stopped in one of the villages for fantastic lasagna and then went to a different place for wine and desert. This place was a stony maze of a restaurant right on the cliffs. It was very romantic!

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View from the balcony!
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Thousands of people have put locks along this path to secure a lifetime of love. We did too!
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Posted by LLC 11:23 Comments (1)

Days 13, 14, 15

Florence

We had our own car in Greve that we had to drop off in Florence. It was a little frightening to drive in the city. After being lost for about an hour just trying not to crash we finally made it to the car rental office. Troy was going so slow down the street trying to find the office that people were cussing and honking at him!

Our hotel room in Florence was awesome, our host, not so much. We ended up liking him in the end but it took a while to get used to his sense of humor. Our room had beautiful views of the neighboring church and was right on Piazza Repubblica which was very central.

Our first day there was Troy’s 28th Birthday. Not only were we in Florence but our close friends Vic and Stafanie were there too! We met them in the square and the night went on with plenty of wine, food and stories of our travels up to this point.

On our second day in Florence we wanted to do all of our sight seeing so that we could go into the Tuscan country the following day. We started in Michaelangelo’s Terrace from which we could see the entire city. We walked across the Old Bridge then made our way to the Accademia to see the statue of David. It is a masterpiece. The detail is incredible. We marveled at the statue for a while before going to climb the Duomo. The Duomo is a giant dome in a church that you can basically hike up. I don’t know how many stairs it was, but it seemed like it was over a thousand going straight up. At the top of the dome was a mural of heaven and hell that was very graphic and would frighten anyone into ‘loving’ the Lord :) The Duomo was one of our favorite things about our time in Florence. The way up was really fun and the view from the top was well worth the work.

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Later that night Troy surprised me with a gorgeous pair of earrings! Earlier while we were having lunch he said he wanted to go grab his jacket and he took so long we just thought he got lost. But he was really picking out the perfect pair of earrings from Frey Wille. I love them and I love him even more for wanting to make me happy! I’ve worn them everyday since he gave them to me.

Our last day in Florence we thought it would be fun to rent scooters. This would have been a great idea had it not been raining for days. But being the stubborn group of people we are, we decided to chance it because there had been a break from the rain. We should have gotten the clue when it was nearly impossible to find scooters to rent in the first place. We made it out to the country without rain. Had a blast wine tasting with Vic and Stefanie. We also walked around a little village. It started to rain a little, but we didn’t think much of it.

And then as we made our way back to Poggio Ascuitto so Stefanie could buy some olive oil…it poured. So hard that the rain stung our faces as we went against it on the scooter. Luckily we only had a few miles to go and we figured we’d wait out the rain by enjoying some wine and bread on the farm. There was a small break and we went for it. We were not even 5 minutes down the road and the rain came down again, harder than before. On top of the rain it was getting dark and we had about an hour drive back to Florence. It was a miserable ride. By the time we got back to city we were so cold that it was hard to even move our fingers or to walk. Although it wasn’t the most comfortable experience it made for a great story . One that Troy, Vic, Stefanie and I will not soon forget!

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Posted by LLC 11:21 Comments (1)

Day 12

Greve

Our third day in Greve was very relaxing. It was raining and we always say that rain is our ‘romantic weather’. We went into town and did some wine tasting and then just allowed ourselves to unwind. We laid in bed with our view of the vineyards and horses and I finished a book while Troy surfed the web.

We were too tired to go into town for dinner so we decided to take a shot at making our own Italian food. We made the regional specialty Fagioli y Olio, which is white bean and olive oil soup. And we had fresh pasta with pesto with bread and wine. It was pretty good!
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Greve was gorgeous and staying there gave us a chance to rejuvinate just in time to meet up with our friends the Chapas in Florence!

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Posted by LLC 11:12 Comments (0)

Days 9, 10 & 11

Greve in Chianti

Day 9- We needed a vacation from our vacation in Venice. Although is it hauntingly beautiful it is also very busy and full of tourists. We took a water taxi across the way to a small island called Lido. Out of over 140 islands in Venice it is the only island that has a beach in Venice. We were able to rent a tandem beach cruiser and see the whole island that way. While we were pedaling around we came across a roadside shack with food and drinks. We each ordered a bruchetta which is much different than the bruchetta we're used to at home, and a drink. After making our way back home we finished off the day shopping for gifts and eating at that delicious restaurant we did a few days back. Our stay in Venice was full of pizza, gelato, lemoncello, stone paths, getting lost, and of course wine...probably a little too much wine :)

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Day 10- We've transitioned once again. Yesterday after realizing that I made a mistake when I reserved our hotel room in Venice we were able to skip out early and head to Tuscany. Instead of taking the train we decided to rent our own car so that when we got to wine country we could make our way around. That was an adventure! After getting lost 5 times we eventually found our way. Greve is a tiny village in Chianti. Our Agriturismo, or farm house, was about a mile down a dirt road after a small turnoff from a 2 lane highway. So needless to say this place is remote. But you know those paintings we've all seen of the tuscan wine country? That is where we are. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. We ended up spending the first night here at a bed and breakfast a little further down the dirt road as our original place Poggio Ascuitto didn't have a room for the night. But all was well! We stayed in an 800 year old Caselle with 2 Australian couples about our same age. We had a beautiful dinner with them that went back to the Caselle and had a few bottles of wine in front of the 10 foot wide stone fireplace finally making it to bed around 1:30.

Day 11-Early this morning we were able to check into Poggio Ascuitto which is a small 7 acre farm that grows grapes for wine, olives, vegetables, has horses and has a beautiful 800 year old Caselle we're staying in. This place is too stunning to put into words. After getting settled in we went into the village of Greve and visited a small market and picked out fruit. It was really interesting just to be amongst the locals. Then we went to a wine tasting place called La Cucina and had wine, olive oil, bread and cheese. Yummy!

After being home for a short time we decided to take a horseback ride through the vineyards. We were both in awe not only of how beautiful it was to ride through the vineyards but also how amazing it felt to control such a powerful animal. We were able to gallop and all in all the ride lasted about 1.5 hours right at dusk.

After relaxing for an hour or so in our rustic and very charming apartment we went to dinner in the dining room. The hosts Eva and Maschismo made us a dinner that was so delicious. It was a 4 course meal that tasted so fresh it was unlike anything we have had before. Maschismo made his specialty which was fresh octopus with potato. Troy loved it and I was a little freaked out. But there was plenty of other food for me to eat. See pictures below. Dinner was accompanied by organic wine made right there on the property. We felt like we were really guests in their home. Their daughter and Eva's father ate with us as well as a couple from Canada. What a unique experience!

Other than missing family and friends and of course our baby Rambo we are having the vacation of a lifetime! Love you all!

Fiat 500
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Poggio Ascuitto
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The view from our bedroom
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Lolo got the "special horse"
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Posted by LLC 13:57 Archived in Italy Tagged tuscany greve Comments (10)

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