Today my dear friend Martha is contributing her expertise to Paperwhite. Martha is a travel guru, she has been all around the globe. In the next year she is travelling with her husband to countries like Italy and India where he will be meeting with his Master's program. Martha is going to do a post on each country upon her return. First stop: Italia.
We (I) tend to think of Italy as one homogenous country of delicious cheese, leather goods, ancient ruins and suave, smooth-talking Italian lovers. While it certainly contains these many things, Italy is divided into many very distinct and proud sub-cultures. If you paid careful attention in European history, you will remember that Italy only completed unification in 1871. The country as we know it is merely 140 years old! An infant as far as sovereign powers go, I think?
Thus, regions and provinces within Italy are incredibly unique. They can generally be divided into the South, the Center, and the North, but within each of these areas as you move east to west, your understanding of Italy will change dramatically.
Ok enough history lesson, here are some favorite moments from my journey, which began in the center and worked north.
The coliseum- at dawn! We woke early and found ourselves completely alone on this magical morning. If you are you going to see the coliseum, do it at sunrise!
Obviously one primary thing to go to Italy for is the great art- and Rome has no shortage. Here is the Moses, hidden away in a tiny chapel, the San Pietro Vincoli.
When in Rome, one must go to the Vatican (officially the smallest country in Europe)
This is Piazza via della Conciliazione, the road to St. Peter's Bascilica.
The next stop was Florence—and boy she is a beauty. The Duomo takes center stage.
Lining the Arno river in Florence are fences full of locks. Legend has it that you bring a lock, close it together with the one you love, and throw the key in the river, symbolizing your endless love.
This is beautiful Pisa, which also sits along the Arno. Most come here to see the famous leaning bell tower, but the baptistery and cathedral are more beautiful, in my opinion.
Yep, it really does lean!
This is Cioccolata Calda, a drink that will change your life and your perception of “hot chocolate”. It’s literally like a melted dark chocolate bar that you spoon out.
Sneak peek at new footage! This is the Milano Cathedral, perhaps one of the most recognizable symbols of gothic architecture in the world. It’s brilliant in person, and mysterious in the fog!
This is Bergamo, the gateway city to the Alps. Just about 45 minutes north of Milan, this was our final stop and where we explored for about a week.
It was magical in the fog; after trekking to the upper city we had this lovely view.
This is the un-foggy version. Beautiful, no?
In Bergamo one can spend days just observing the fashion and habits of the residents- and their best friends.
And their little ones. I die for this pink furry coat.
And of course, on any trip to Italy, expect to spend a lot of time with delicious heaps of Gelato.