Eat, Tour, and Stay in Naples, Italy

Today I’ve got a guest post from Paolo, owner of the B&B al Centro Storico in Naples. If you’re planning on staying in Naples, send him an email or a message through Facebook. And also check out his blog – what’s better than getting information on Naples from someone based right in the city?


Are you a traveler or looking for a thrilling place for a getaway weekend? Many people, when asked this question, wonder exactly which place could be the best for their group to make sure they enjoy their holiday to the fullest. There are very many beautiful places to visit but I would recommend you give a trial to Naples, which is the walk of Italy. If you have been there, I know you would not mind paying it a visit once again or a thousand times. For a first timer, this is the place to be for your fiesta. Not to mention the greatest pizza, three eye-catching castles embedded together along a coastline, and other centuries-old buildings that were constructed in the 12th-century.  Read more

Back in Rome

Rome, Italy

After a restful night back from Paris, I woke up late and only planned to go to the Pantheon on Friday. The Pantheon is a temple originally dedicated to all the Roman gods (pan (all) theon (gods)) and is now dedicated to the Christian religion. After that I just walked around a little bit for the city and explored new sites.

One of my favorite spots of the day was finding Gelateria Della Palma, right near the Pantheon. Stand facing away from the Pantheon and take the little road ahead of you on the right. About a block down you’ll find the gelateria on your left. It has 150 flavors of gelato and mousse, not to mention a great selection of candy, wrapped around the store! It was pretty mind-blowing, but with the crowd in there I just got my signature tiramisu flavor (sorrynotsorry). The flavors are separated into dessert and fruit flavors for the gelato with a decadent mousse selection to the side. It’s a definite go-to in Rome!

Pantheon
Tomb of Raphael, the artist
Dome ceiling of the Pantheon
Inside the Pantheon
Trevi fountain and its crowd
150 flavors at Gelateria Della Palma!!!! Wrapped around the store!
Walking around
On Saturday I felt like I had seen most of Rome and stayed the majority of the day in my hostel, relaxing, uploading pictures and updating my blog, and packing for the next day. Saturday evening I met with family friends who were also in Rome for a few days (small world) and we went out for dinner! It was great seeing familiar faces and having a little piece of home after so many months.
On Sunday I was able to go to the Easter mass at St. Peter’s – and wow was it packed! The basilica wasn’t letting people inside so the square was crazy. I meant to get there earlier but the guy at my hostel’s reception desk didn’t know the password to the computer so he couldn’t print off my boarding pass, so I had to run around the city for a while looking for a place and got there only an hour before it started, which cost me a good spot. Either way I got to see the Pope! Great and interesting way to end the week.
The guy in the middle with the white cap.
The Pope in the man in the middle, under the cross.

Florence and Pisa

Florence, Italy
Pisa, Italy
On Tuesday I ran around train stations all day getting to Pisa and Florence. I left early in the morning and was able to spend about half an hour in Pisa (after two hours of trains from Rome), and saw the leaning tower! I would have liked to spend more time but there honestly wasn’t anything else to do in Pisa and I wanted to get on to Florence for the rest of the day. It was basically a day of taking my own photographs, and while I didn’t get the entire “keeping the tower up” picture because everyone else was busy doing that for themselves and taking forever to get the perfect picture, I got a few that I took myself and am pretty happy with the result 🙂

In Florence I used my Rick Steves’ audio Europe tour podcast (nerd alert), which took me on a free tour through the city and showed me the best sites in the city. I started at the Florence cathedral, known as the “duomo” and has a giant dome on the back. It’s covered in green, pink, and white marble and is beautiful on the outside but pretty boring on the inside. 
Later in the day I went in to the Uffizi gallery museum, and had to wait in line for EVER. But I got in about an hour before it closed, and had plenty of time to see the paintings and use Rick Steves’ tour again. One of the best parts of the museum was seeing the painting of the Birth of Venus (I think, can’t remember the artist right now), which I have always liked and remember learning about before in a class. Unfortunately we couldn’t take pictures in the museum, but I did get a really great picture of the Arno river and the Ponte Vecchio bridge from a window.
Of course I had plenty of gelato and even a nutella-covered waffle during the day, which was amaaazing. I normally don’t like nutella but it’s a lot better if you have it as a dessert. 
Although the day was very rainy, it was a great break from Rome and nice to see a little more of the country. 

Cathedral in Pisa, with the tower on the right.
Cathedral in Florence – you can just see the dome behind.

Inside the Florence cathedral.
What was the main square in Florence.
The David copy
Picture of the Arno river and the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge from the Uffizi gallery.

On this bridge there were literally only jewelry shops full of the most exquisite jewelry I could imagine.

Of course I had plenty of gelato and even a nutella-covered waffle during the day, which was amaaazing. I normally don’t like nutella but it’s a lot better if you have it as a dessert. 
Although the day was very rainy, it was a great break from Rome and nice to see a little more of the country.

FLORENCE & PISA MUST-DOs:

  • Typical touristy “Help the tower is falling so I must hold it up!” picture at Pisa
  • Stroll along the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. Don’t plan on actually spending money unless you’re rich!
  • Uffizi Gallery or Academia – but no pictures allowed!

Rome-ing Around

Rome, Italy

This week is Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Spain, which means Spring Break, which means I finally get to fulfill a life-long dream and come to Rome 🙂 Since arriving here I have been in awe of everything, from the food to the monuments, and haven’t had one bad experience (knocks on wood). This is the first time I am traveling completely alone in a country where I don’t know the language nor have anybody that I know or to stay with. Although it is a little lonely, I actually love it because I have been able to do whatever I wanted all week long without having to worry about someone else’s schedule. The main bad part is eating alone in restaurant (although I found a Harry Potter app on my phone that has all the books, so I’ve been rereading them all week while eating pizza) and having to rely on strangers to take my pictures, and you can never tell before hand if someone is bright enough to handle that important task, so this has been a week of mainly selfies.

What I’ve noticed about Rome is how many people are homeless. It’s pretty ironic that the Pope gets to dress in gold, silk and diamonds while his people are sitting outside the city’s churches with cups in their hands, asking for money, and getting ignored by everyone. Clearly we know where the tourist money goes.

Anyway, on Sunday, I went to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, for which I had pre-purchased tickets. If you ever go to these monuments, I highly recommend getting tickets before as I skipped an hour-long line (and skipped a probable 3-hour line at the Vatican museum the next day doing the same thing…). It was an amazing day – I love the rich political and religious history that Rome has, and the fact that these ruins are still standing (sort of) today is just unbelievable.

The Colosseum!
Inside the Colosseum

Insanely huge!

Interesting… 

First sight in the Roman Forum, which used to be the center of the town back in the day. This is the temple of Antoninus and Faustina.

Temple of Vesta

Spot where Julius Caesar’s body was burned!

House of the Vestal Virgins

The entire Roman Forum from the ground

A giant stadium type ruin

The Forum the view of the Palatine

The Spanish Steps – so packed with people!

The Victor Emmanual monument

Was able to go to the top of the Victor Emmanuel monument – amazing view over the entire city! This is the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.

View of St. Peter’s

Hey, Rome!

Crowd at Trevi Fountain

Got my Lizzie McGuire moment as I threw the coin in backwards – some girls actually started singing the This Is What Dreams Are Made Of song…
Some house right on the Tiber
Ended the night with a pizza and wine!

On Monday I visited the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. The security jerks wouldn’t let us take pictures in the Sistine Chapel so I can’t show anything from that, but everything from touring around that day was so beautiful. Each room was so ornate and every little detail was carefully thought up and so well done and impressive. The Basilica itself was so huge – you could have easily fit a football field inside, not only lengthwise but vertically, too, in the dome.

Inside Vatican museum

The Hall of Maps – a suuuuuper long hallway lined with mosaic maps of ancient Italy and Europe, with the ceiling covered in golden portraits.

St. Peter’s Basilica

The Holy Door, which the Pope uses on special days.

Why do I always pose like that?

A list of every pope ever, from Peter to John Paul II, and their deaths.

Michaelangelo’s Pieta

Inside the Holy Door

John Paul II’s shrine

I think the top right window is the Pope’s bedroom

Lunch

At the Victor Emmanuel monument

yuuuum

Cool pillar thing

More ruins!
ROME MUST-DOs:
  • Pre-book all your tours. You will thank yourself later when you see the 4-hour long lines. Be smart and plan ahead!
  • Definitely tour the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Vatican Museum (ends with Sistine Chapel), and St. Peter’s Basilica. Best part, you can use your Rick Steves’ audio app for a free do-it-yourself tour in all these places!
  • GELATO GELATO GELATO. Near the Pantheon, if you face away from the main doors, there is an alley on your right leading straight ahead. Go down there and you should find a gelato restaurant with 150 flavors. Try not to go crazy.
  • Take the elevator to the top of the Victor Emmanuel monument. It’s not free but you have stunning views of the entire city with all the monuments.
  • Go when the weather is cooler, such as in March. This way you can wear a light jacket and keep a small purse on the inside. No pickpockets for the whole week I was there!
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