Wednesday, 16 April 2014

7 Days of Italy: Tuscany & Venezia

The final 3 days of the week long holiday in Italy was basically spent on a city hopping spree with a different city each day. Continuing our journey from Cinque Terre, we hopped on a 50 minute train ride to Pisa, home to the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.

With most online travel forum recommending against spending the night in Pisa, after a couple of hours in Piazza dei Miracoli with the famous Pisa landmark, we headed off to Florence. The Leaning Tower was an amazing architecture work although the first architect had to be really stupid to design a tower made fully from marble on a muddy land.

At certain angle, the leaning tower looks scarily tilted
Gotta act like a tourist once in awhile - pushing the Leaning Tower
Known to be the home of the Renaissance period, Florence was a spectacular compact city with everything within walking distance. Unfortunately, poor planning hit us hard as we arrived late on Sunday afternoon from Pisa and all museums and galleries are closed on Monday. Being the city hopping part of the journey, we had no choice but to forgo seeing the famous Michelangelo's David statue. The remainder of Day 5 was spent around the city of Florence, enjoying its relaxing open air piazza with gelato and watching sunset over Ponte Vecchio. One of our very interesting part of our night was watching a street performer mimicking Charlie Chaplin for over an hour.

Day 5 - Gelato dose
The riverside of Florence lit up after sunset
Charlie Chaplin impersonator - somehow I feel he looks a little like Hilter

As Day 6 begun, we took a tour of the Basilica Santa Maria dei Fiore, the home of the famous Duomo in all of Florence. Having seen the St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, the interior of the Basilica Santa Maria dei Fiore was of course no match for the Vatican. However, the facade and duomo (dome) was impressive. The visit to the Basilica ended our adventure in Florence and we continued on to our final stop, Venice.

Basilica Santa Maria Dei Fiore
Having visited Venice in 2012, the main island of Venice was somewhat familiar. Arriving in late afternoon, all that could be done was taking a walk around the alleyways of Venice through Ponte Rialto and ending the walk in San Marco Square. Having dinner near Ponte Rialto was probably one big mistake as we started walking back at 11pm-ish only to realise we are lost in the maze of Venice. The scariest part, at a point we asked for directions, only to end up bumping into the same group of people after 15 minutes walk and ending back at where we begin after 30 minutes of walk. Trust me, the streets of Venice is no joke. Thank god for Smartphone and kind Samaritans, we manage to find our way back after an hour or so.

Ponte Rialto in the night
With a night flight back to London, our final hours in Italy was spent hopping from Venice to Murano and Burano island. Famous for its glass, Murano offered tourist with an opportunity to watch how Murano glass is made. Burano which had seen more recognition of recent years officially overtook the main Venice island as my favourite place in this region. With quaint brightly coloured houses, Burano feels extremely cheerful.

Horse in the making
Burano's quiet canal
All the pretty colourful house!

Ending our week long journey with a long ferry ride back to the main island of Venice and a water bus ride along the Grand Canal was an amazing way to end the day. 7 days of seafood spaghetti and gelato and it’s the end of our Italian adventure.
Italy Map
Our week long journey in Italy starting from Rome and heading north west to La Spezia for Cinque Terre, then diverting down south slightly for Pisa and heading east toward Pisa and finally north east towards Venice

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