Venice, the Floating City

Oh, Venice: you were my favorite part of the trip. As close as Cinque Terre came to winning that title, the City of Canals won its way to my heart.

venice-near-train-station

I was worried it was over-hyped. That years and years of people telling me how much they loved Venice, of seeing stunning pictures of it, of hearing its praises sung by every travel guide, of reading novels set in its watery streets — that somehow the prestige would lessen the grandeur. How wrong I was. I actually considered leaving Venice off our itinerary, afraid we would be exhausted by navigating tiny streets packed with tourists. I’m so glad I didn’t. Continue reading “Venice, the Floating City”

Florence, the Cradle of the Renaissance

While Florence’s city center is dwarfed by Milan’s, its size is deceptive. Known as “the cradle of the Renaissance,” Florence packs endless amounts of history and art into a small space.

As we only had two nights in Florence, we could only see so much. When I travel, I prioritize flexibility over the impossible feat of “seeing it all” — and Florence was no different. In our case, we discovered the huge city market somewhat by accident, but we didn’t make it to the Uffizi or Galleria dell’Accademia. Traveling with time constraints while also embracing the ability to make spontaneous decisions sometimes means that you take the path less traveled at the expense of missing a major tourist attraction. Most of the time, I’m okay with that. Continue reading “Florence, the Cradle of the Renaissance”

Tilting Towards Pisa: A Day Trip & Book Review

While IMG_8080browsing a used bookstore a few months ago, I peeked into the travel section to see if they had anything on Italy. Amid abandoned copies of Under the Tuscan Sun, I found Tilt: A Skewed History of the Tower of Pisa.

Confession: I’m no history buff. I don’t read all the plaques at museums, and I don’t seek out history tours. I appreciate history, and I like to understand its cultural relevance, but that’s about where it stops. It’s really not like me to voluntarily read an entire book on a monument’s history.

But maybe it’s something I should start doing. Continue reading “Tilting Towards Pisa: A Day Trip & Book Review”

The Glamor & History of Milan

Already recognized as a world fashion capital, Milan is well on its way to becoming a major destination. And with airfare into its international airport — Malpensa — routinely coming in hundreds of dollars cheaper than surrounding airports, I think it may soon become a popular hub for European travelers.

More than just a place to fly into, however, Milan possesses history and charm all its own. Continue reading “The Glamor & History of Milan”