I recently traveled to Italy on a 10-day Rick Steves Tour with my college roommate. It was an amazing adventure! Since college, where I spent six weeks in England as an exchange student at Canterbury College, I've dreamed of exploring Europe. And after watching the film, Under the Tuscan Sun, I knew Italy was first on my list. It was truly magical and everything I thought it would be. We spent four nights in Venice, three in Florence, and three in Rome. We explored historic galleries, museums, markets, cafes, bars. Saw incredible architecture, ceilings, floors, one more beautiful than the next. But my favorite city has to be Venice with its canals, gondolas and vaporettos. Enchanting!
Moonlight in Venice
Bridges cross shadow
Alleys beckon to markets
Gondolas swish by
Florence and Rome were beautiful cities, as well, each with its own history, art, and magic. In Florence, we attended a cooking class at the famed In Tavola (http://www.intavola.org/en/), where we learned to make Tomato Bruschette (Bruschetta al Comodoro), Fresh Egg Pasta (Pasta Fresca all'Uovo) with Mushroom Sauce, Chicken Fricassee (Pollo in Fricassea), and Tiramisu. We sat at two large tables and sampled our delicious dishes paired with lush rosso wine (as we did most lunches and dinners). We visited The Uffizi Gallery home to Botticelli's, Birth of Venus, among other glorious paintings. Open air markets displayed leather purses, wallets, belts, colorful scarves, hats, masks, fruit. In Rome, we experienced the Vatican with its impressive Sistine Chapel, and the massive Colosseum.
Not only did we have a wonderful Rick Steves tour guide, we had local tour guides, as well, who gave a peek into the history and local flavor of each place we explored. They definitely added spice and fun, as did the 26 other people on the tour with us. This was a trip of a lifetime and one I highly recommend. Bellissimo Italy!