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Amo l'Italia

Yeah! Very Happy On a whim we rented a car and drove down to Rome for Easter. It took about 12 hours, but could have possibly taken less if we didn't get lost in downtown Rome for over an hour (nothing like downtown Rome to test the strength of a marriage). Chris learned how to navigate one-way roads-- and Jenn learned how to read a map and pronounce "Godfatherish" street names.

Quickly, here is the Italian itinerary that we followed: Rome for 4 days, Tuscany (including Florence) 3 days, Cinque Terra 4 days, and Turino and the northern Italian mountains 1 day. Being the ambitious travelers that we are (and because Jenn likes to get all the touring in for her money's worth), we saw TONS of things in each area. And we got to fulfill our lifelong dream of being at the Vatican with over 50,000 people for Easter and hearing Pope Benedict XVI give a message in Italian.

In Rome, we had a great time seeing the Coliseum, the Roman Forum (with all the old monuments and arches), the beautiful Trevi Fountain and Spanish steps, the Bourghese Museum, the Castle de St. Angelo, old Christian catacombs outside the city, and, of course, the Vatican and its museums from top to bottom. Jenn's favorite activities were looking at Bernini sculptures (especially at the Bourghese) and people watching at the Trevi Fountain. Chris' favorite thing was hiking to the top of the cupola at the Vatican...he is obsessed with getting to the highest point in any city we go to.

Fortunately, we made it out of Italy with not a scratch on the car or on our navigator, although Jenn did develop a strange lump under her armpit on the first day of the trip. This is the first vacation either one of us have taken where we have had to find an emergency room. Beyond the sites of Rome and art of Florence, we also have had the rare opportunity of experiencing first hand the Italian emergency rooms in Florence, La Spezia, and Turino. In Tuscany we stayed in a cute, romantic little villa about 40 minutes outside of Florence. Our first day was spent driving around the countryside with trips to Pisa and Lucca. Chris loved driving on the empty, windey, and narrow roads around Tuscany. Jenn just held her breath. In Pisa, we had a wonderful time climbing to the top of the Leaning Tower, although it took all of Jenn's effort to keep Chris from wanting to drop things off the top so he could pretend to be Galileo. The rest of the day was spent in Lucca where we had a great time walking around the old city walls (which are now a beautiful park) and having dinner at a fun restaurant in a square called "Piazza de Malcontente". See, we picked up on Italian quickly! Then, we spent two days in Florence. We were under impressed with the Uffizi (mostly because the Rubens Rooms were closed--Chris' favorite painter). The David in the Accademia was spectacular, although pricey. And Jenn was under impressed with the David after being married to Chris for over six months.

Due in large part to Jenn's arm and its need to heal, we spent 4 days in Cinque Terra. While Chris spent the days hiking between towns, Jenn mostly rested and got some sun (which turned out to be a disaster because she was also on antibiotics...a few days of itching ensued). Our favorite town was Vernazza where you can buy pieces of pizza larger than your head and lay out on the beach. It reminded us of Dahab, Egypt because it was a very chill place.

Our last few days were spent marching our way back to Tuebingen with a few stops along the way. Outside of Turino was an absolutely phenomenal monastery--perched on the top of a mountain--called Sacra de St. Michelle (Mt. St. Michelle in France isSmodeled after it) Very Happy
Thanks for that mini holiday recap. I would love to make a trip through Italy.
Do you have any photos of your trip that you could share? I'd love to see them!
I did quite a few of the same things in Italy. I would say my favorite city was Rome. Art was everywhere, esp. Caravaggio. I remember walking into one particular church where they had painted the dome on the ceiling, rather than physically constructing it. The artist had done such a fantastic job, my friends and I didn't realize that it wasn't actually a dome. When we walked farther into the church, there was a collective "gasp" as everyone came to the same to the same realization at once. What an experience.
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