Hello all, this post will be an update of some of the most incredible things we have seen while in Venice and Rome! My pictures and words won’t do these amazing places justice, but I’m going to do my best to share anyway.
I have arrived in Orvieto, where I will be living for the next three months, but there are a lot of pictures from Venice and Rome that I haven’t shared yet! Until today, my apartment hasn’t had wifi, and I haven’t updated in a while, so this post it going to be a long one.
My Mom, Lydia, and I spend our first 4 days in Italy in Venice. On our first full day, we didn’t have anything big planned, so we walked around Venice, and visited the shops, some churches, and museums. We went to Galarie dell’Accademia, a famous museum in the center of the Scuola Grande of Santa Maria della Carità, near the Grand Canal. This museum is full of Venetian paintings and artwork from the 14th century to the 18th century. Below are a couple pictures.
Aside from the ancient art, there are also local street artists around Venice. They are all extremely talented! Venice is overflowing with art, and everywhere you turn there is more to see and more to learn about. Rome is the same way. It’s amazing, but also pretty overwhelming. I feel like I need to learn and remember everything I hear, but it’s impossible!
For dinner that evening, I tried some Venetian classics: Sarde in Saor, and Fegato alla Vaneziana. In English, sweet and sour sardines, and calves liver prepared in the Venetian style. I really enjoyed both. The sardines are first fried, and then topped with onions cooked with vinegar. This cooking technique was originally used by fishermen to preserve food while out at sea.
The liver is cooked with onions and wine or vinegar, and traditionally served with polenta. The bitter, mineral taste of the liver is greatly reduced, and the ending flavor of the dish is sweet from the onions, rich, and delicious. The liver is no longer tough, but very tender and easy to eat. This dish is delicious, and a great way to introduce offal to even the most squeamish of eaters!
On the second day, we toured Piazza San Marco and basilica, as well as the Doges palace. These places are so intricately designed and painted. Our guide, Marco, was extremely educated, and knew an incredible amount of detail about the history. Something that really impressed me was the ceilings of the palace. They’re just incredible. Here are some pictures of the Piazza, palace, and the Bridge of Sighs.
Venice is famous for it’s glass work, made for centuries on the island of Murano. We saw a glass blowing presentation by a master of glass works. Becoming a master requires 12 years of apprenticeship, so this guy really knew what he was doing. Below is a picture of a glass horse that he made in about 5 minutes.
That evening, we went on a musical gondola ride which included an accordion player, and a vocalist. I think if you’re in Venice, you really ought to go on a gondola ride, it’s worth it.
The next day, we visited the Venetian island of Burano, famous for its colorful houses and lace works. The cookie in the shape of an “S” is also a Burano specialty. It is a biscuit-like cookie, flavored with lemon, rum, or vanilla. It is said that the wives of the fishermen made these cookies for when they left home for a long time to go fishing.
After visiting Burano, we went to a concert of Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons, performed by musicians dressed in time period clothing. No pictures were allowed, unfortunately.
The next day, we begrudgingly left beautiful Venice and traveled by train to busy Rome. Rome has a completely different feel than Venice. Both are busy, but Rome is chaotic, and full of CRAZY drivers. When I say crazy, I mean nobody follows the rules of the road you thought everyone generally followed. Lines on the road? Nope, don’t follow those, just cram as many cars, buses, and mopeds into the road as you can. Speed limit? Naw, just drive as fast as possible until you have a good reason not to (like running into pedestrians, who don’t wait for traffic to slow down to cross the street. They just walk into the middle of the road and force the cars to stop). Mopeds weave around cars, and drive in the lane of oncoming traffic to get around a jam. Parking becomes an elaborate puzzle with double parking everywhere. Rome is a different game! I’m just glad I wasn’t the one driving. Once you get accustomed to the chaos, you begin to see the amazing things about Rome. Like gelato and pasta. Duh.
The next day was a huge one. You ready? Get ready. We saw the Vatican City and museum, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peters Square and Basilica, The Colosseum, The Roman Forum, and the Christian Catacombs. I am overwhelmed with all the beauty and history these places contain. All I’m really going to say is this: if you ever get the chance, go. It needs to be experienced. Pictures weren’t allowed in the Sistine chapel or the catacombs, but it’s okay because pictures wouldn’t capture the feeling of being there, or the wonder of seeing Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam in person.
Below are a few pictures from the Vatican, St. Peters square and basilica.
The Italian lifestyle includes lots of breaks, for cappuccino or espresso. I have had absolutely no problem adapting.
After coffee, we took a bus to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Along the way, we saw the ruined square where Julius Caesar was killed in 44 B.C.
Unfortunately, no pictures from the catacombs. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at Saint Pauls Basilica, and visited the tomb which is believed to hold the remains of Paul the Apostle, as well as a piece of the chains that bound him before his death. It’s hard to see the actual sarcophagus in the picture, but you can clearly see the chain.
We visited Pompii the next day. Another incredible, overwhelming, mind blowing day. We were able to see one of the best preserved buildings which contained the thermal baths the citizens of Pompeii used.
There is so much history in Rome, I think you could spend a lifetime studying it. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a lifetime, just 4 days. But in 4 days, we saw so much and learned so much. Like I said before, if you ever get the chance, visit Rome. It’s life changing.
I will be posting more in the future about Orvieto! Stay tuned!
Ciao for now!