Italy is full of history, great food, and even better shopping. If you’re looking to head to this beautiful country any time soon check out my blog post below. CIAO
After weeks of much research everything I read suggested that I should plan a trip in the off season. Which is typically in late October, and I am glad that I did. I caught a flight from John F Kennedy (JFK) in New York to Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport (FCO) for around $500 via Delta Airlines. The ride wasn’t bad because we flew through the night. Don’t worry about not being able to find a shuttle or a cab ride from the airport. There will be many shared ride services available throughout the airport.
Where we stayed
I wanted to lodge in an area near the Vatican that was close to a metro stop. Roma Cappoccia in Vaticano was just what I needed. It was a legit five-minute walk from the Vatican and in between the two metro stops Ottavanio and Lepanto.
The owners of the bed and breakfast were very nice and helpful, they provided maps and suggested places to eat and explore. The bed and breakfast is located in a brownstone type of building on the 2nd floor. Every guest has their own private room and private bath, and did I mention the free breakfast? And yes the breakfast included fresh cappuccino EVERY morning, extra foamy.
Since Rome was our hub location, we wanted to be sure to cover as much as possible that we considered high level. So, one of our tours was of the Vatican and man oh man is this place huge. I highly recommend a small tour group so that you can get a real feel of the times and some of the purposes of the things you will see there. Please wear very comfy walking shoes. I am sure we walked over four miles in the Vatican alone!
Another staple we wanted to check out was the coliseum. Going back to the beginning of this post, I mentioned being happy that we decided not to go to Italy in the high season. Looking at the crowds of people that were there in October made me feel better about my decision because I could not imagine the extra people who flock to these historical land marks in the summer time. I mean people were out there in the cold with babies in their arms, babies in strollers, and toddlers running around. Could you picture that in the summer with about 2000 more people in the smoldering heat? There is so much history surrounds the coliseum including the significance of it’s structure, important emperors at the time and the many scandals that took place. After leaving the coliseum we took a short walk over to Palatine Hill and our guide dropped even more knowledge on us that I don’t remember reading or learning in my history books in grade school. One of the most interesting things the guide shared with us was the Vestal Virgins. For a little insight about them click here
Next was a quick trip over to Trevi fountain, one of the most famous fountains in the world. If heading down to get pics of the fountain, I recommend on getting there pretty early. It gets really crowded there and many travelers want that “perfect” photo in front of the fountain.
Since we flew into Rome, we determined it would be best to simply take the high-speed train everywhere. One of our stops was Florence, but it was only for high end shopping. The Mall Firenze was our destination and it was about an hour on a coach bus through the Florence country side from the Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station. What I noticed was that my friend and I were the only African Americans on the ENTIRE bus.
After we returned from shopping we simply just walked around the area and we ran smack dab into Basilica di Santa Croce. It stands tall over the city with a massive Renaissance dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, with the baptistery right across.
After that we walked around a little to grab some food and ran into the museum that housed the “David” made by Michelangelo. We did not purchase tickets to enter the museum and were unable to check out this masterpiece unfortunately. We ended the evening with a train ride back to Rome for our next adventure the following day for Milan.
Check back soon for part two of my trip to Italy and our adventures to Milan and Venice.