Monday, September 5, 2016

roma e firenze

We ended our European vacation in Rome. Here is us the night we arrived in front of the Colosseum. We stayed with Jadyn and Sean McGrath, dear friends of mine from school. 
Our first full day in Rome was spent touring the incredible Vatican City. Despite being surrounded by gorgeous art and religious relics, the most shocking thing to me was the number of people who apparently don't have access to the internet and waited in line for hours!!! Honestly, it takes one Google search to get the suggestion to book tickets ahead of time, but we still found ourselves walking ahead of hundreds of people waiting in the morning heat for tickets. I don't get it. 
We did a guided tour through the Vatican and had a great guide. Here is a not so sneaky and poor quality picture of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Wow! I still can't believe this work of art. It might have been the most amazing thing I saw during our trip.
We also climbed to the top of St. Peter's Basilica. 
We took a train and spent a night and day in Florence. Here we are in the Accademia Gallery marveling at the David. And sadly, there were hundreds of people waiting in line for this and the Uffizi, which we went to after the Accademia.

I am embarrassed I didn't know about the Gucci Museum! It was a small little collection close to Il Duomo, but worth all 7 euros. Fashion is my favorite art form so I was in heaven seeing pieces from the early start of the Gucci brand to gowns worn by Jessica Chastain and Blake Lively at awards shows a few years ago.
This was the evening gown room where my eyes watered over how beautiful the dresses were.
Another fantastic museum I stumbled upon was the Salvatore Ferragamo museum. I thought like the Gucci Museum it would be a history of the Ferragamo house and memorable pieces which defined the brand. There was a lovely Ferragamo display (including a collection of shoe molds and one of them was Audrey Hepburn's!!!) but also an "Across Art and Fashion" exhibit which featured work by Rei Kawakubo, Alexander McQueen, Martin Margiela and Miuccia Prada just to name a few. 
Florence was such a gorgeous city and I wish we were able to spend more time. Probably my biggest regret was not getting tickets to tour Il Duomo, so we took as many opportunities as possible to experience its grandeur from the outside.

Here's a few from Piazzale Michelangelo after sunset.
Here's me perched by the Ponte Vecchio which was not as impressive as Trip Advisor/Instagram/the internet made it out to be... but still lovely in its own way.
We returned to Rome where I took a cooking class! When we first started planning our trip, a cooking class was high on my must-do list. I ended up going by myself to this class (Cook With Us in Rome is the name of the company). I took the class with an Australian family of five and another couple from South Carolina. It was one of my favorite experiences in Italy and I'm so excited to try the recipes we learned.
Here is me with the instructor Gianni. He was a great teacher and incredibly patient (I got lost and was a little late to the market). If you enjoy cooking, I highly recommend taking a class! Especially one that includes a portion where you actually buy your ingredients. 
Here's us with the best hosts in Rome. I didn't take enough pictures of it but the best pasta and gelato I had was in Rome. Jadyn shared her specific gelato requirements with us and they took us to their favorite places, which were all fantastic. Spaghetti carbonara is my favorite pasta dish and I ordered it everywhere we went and I never had one that was less than excellent. My favorite gelato was Come Il Latte. We had such a great time spending a week with friends, especially after two weeks of hanging out with only each other and strangers :-P Rome was a great end to an even better trip. I will never forget our summer 2016 of unemployment and world travels.

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