The Cinque Terre

We ventured to the Cinque Terre on Thursday because it was the only day it wasn’t going to rain, and although it was cloudy we had an awesome experience. We couldn’t take any of the famous hiking trails because they are closed in the winter, but we took trains to each neighborhood and with the extra time wandered around the areas. At the first stop we walked down to the shore, at the second we did a vineyard walk, we stopped very quickly at the third, and sampled the local wine and dessert wine at the fourth. By the time we arrived at the fifth it was dark and cold so we just found some local grapes soaked in grappa and sat by the sea until our train home arrived.

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Pisa

We chose to spend the last days of our trip in Pisa for several reasons. We found an amazing Place to stay that is 5 minutes from the train station, and 10 minutes from the airport we fly out of tomorrow. Pisa is also located a train’s ride away from many cities, so we were able to venture off a few times. But our first night here we explored Pisa and went out to dinner.

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Dinners In and Snow!

The aparment we rented came with a fully equipped kitchen, so on some of the colder nights we practiced our cooking skills we had acquired along the way and made some amazing meals. We also had a dinner where we drank the wines from the first two farms we had volunteered at. Oh and it snowed while we were there too.

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Big Thanks to Roberto and Emanuela at Podere Marco Polo

Our hosts at our last wwoofing farm were born and raised in Venice, and offered us some amazing suggestions as to where to go when we visited ourselves. We spent an afternoon searching for gianduja chocolate, which we enjoyed with hot chocolates; and also fritolin, a Venice specialty that has disappeared form everywhere but this one restaurant we were sent to. It was one of the best things we ate in Italy, and included fried fish, shellfish, and polenta.

So a big thanks to Roberto and Emanuela for their amazing suggestions!!

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Pub Crawl

Our guidebook had a few pages devoted to a Venetian pub crawl, which taught us how to order “ombra rosso” the slang term for house wine in Venice, and about ciccheti, small little appetizers you can sample at each bar for a minimal fee. We repeated our crawl again another afternoon, making this one of thebfaborite things we did the entire trip.br />
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Murano and Burano

On our second full day in Venice we visited the islands of Murano and Burano. The first known for it’s famous glass, the second known for lace and an amazing restaurant called Trattoria al Gato Nero, where we treated ourselves to an all out seafood feast. We toured a glass furnace and walked around the brightly colored islands for the entire day.

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The Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Bascillica

Our last stop was Vatican city, right next to our apartment. We toured the Vatican museum where we saw Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. Then we headed over to St. Peter’s where we saw the artist’s sculpture, Pieta. Here we saw many famous tombs, and learned the story of Peter.

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Roaming through Rome

On our last day in Rome we tried to visit everything we hadn’t already seen, it proved easier than we could imagine because there was only a handful of tourists in town. We didn’t wait in line for anything, not even the Vatican. In the center of Rome we visited the Collosseum, as well as several other monuments. And we walked past the ones we had visited at night on our first day.

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Pompeii

When we arrived at Pompeii we were shocked that there was hardly anyone there. We practically had the entire ruins to ourselves. We followed a tour that explained all of the different aspects of what we were seeing, including the bodies of the victims that were frozen in time by the volcano; as well as, the different ancient homes, restaurants, and baths we were looking at. We then took a train back to Naples, and another one back to Rome.

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Naples

On Diana’s last day with us, before she flew out of Rome to go to Asia, we attempted a trip to Naples and Pompeii that we weren’t even sure we could accomplish. The guidebook we had said we could attempt Naples and Pompeii together in one day if we took the earliest, fastest train. Not wanting to spend hundreds of dollars on train tickets we opted to take the slower, later train, resulting in the fastest tour of Naples anyone has done. Two pizza places, and several tourist spots later, we were headed on the last train to Pompeii where we made it to the ticket line with only 3 minutes to spare, but more on that later. Naples was not as dirty as we expected, and the people there were amazing. Our first stop was the pizza place that appears in Eat, Pray, Love, but also where pizza was born. Our last stop was the harbor of Naples with an amazing view of Mt. Vesuvius, the volcanoe that destroyed Pompeii, in the distance.

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The Largest Flea Market in Europe

On our second day in Rome we spent hours trying to figure out how to get to the Porta Portese flea market. We finally arrived and were overwhelmed. The market had several sections that took over a half an hour to walk through from end to end. There was so much stuff, but we only bought a few little things. We gathered supplies for a snack, and then went back to the apartment. That night we went out for hot chocolate and fell asleep early to prepare for our busy traveling day ahead.

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Arrival in Rome

Roberto took us to the bus stop in Farnese last Saturday morning where we took 3 buses, a tram, and a metro to arrive in Rome. Only taking us about 4 or so hours we were there in no time with only minor confusion along the way. Our rented apartment was very nice and just outside the Vatican walls. We could see St. Peter’s from our front entrance. We spent our first night exploring the city and going out for drinks. We were able to see the Spanish steps, the Trevi fountain, and the Pantheon; all lit up for the evening. Oh, and we finally ate McDonalds.

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