Assisi, home to St. Francis (and my all time favorite pizza place) is such a beautiful city we had to make a day trip here to show Justine around and of course get some yummy pizza! The day was blazing but it made walking through the cold stone basilica so much nicer...
Venice is a fairytale. A dream made up by children, a place you could never imagine until you see it for yourself. Shrouded in mist or alive with the sweltering heat, as it was this time, this city on water is magic.
We arrived a day and a half after leaving Rome and took the bus and then the ferry to our apartment on the outer-most canal of the city. Staying on the very edge of the city has its perks: it's cheaper, cooler (temperature wise), less touristy, and you get a hell of workout wherever you go. Needless to say, we were glad to be there. Staying in hotels are great, but staying in air conditioned apartments can be wonderful (and budget friendly!), too.
We only had a few days there but we spent them wandering around the streets, trying different gelato, and visiting the island of Murano, known for it's incredible glass. It was a short but sweet trip and I CANNOT wait to go back. Hmu if you're headed that way, I'd be so down to go again.
After finishing our ride in Albenga, we hopped on the train and rode five hours to Cortona, an etruscan hill-town in Tuscany. I lived in Cortona for a year in sixth grade, so we try to come back and see our friends and our old house as often as possible. We stayed for a week in the house we used to live in; seeing friends, eating at our favorite restaurants, and reading tons of trashy novels by the pool. We didn't have a car this week, so we had to get everywhere by bike or foot- you can imagine I wasn't thrilled about this. After a week we picked ourselves up and headed on the train to Rome.
Ok so you are probably wondering why you are staring at a stack of bread and praying that this isn't one of those dumb Facebook posts of random food that your college friends keep tagging you in. Well good news, this is so much better. This, my friend, is a stack of the BEST BREAD IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. Warm, salty, chewy... I could honestly go on forever. If you follow me on snapchat, you know that I am obsessed with this bread. Yes, bread is my favorite food ever (cue Oprah's bread commercial) but this bread is different. This bread comes from the town of Frescati, a little village on the outskirts of Rome (more commonly known for it's white wine). My parents have been coming to Frescati forever- it's half an hour by train from Rome and sooo much cheaper. It is truly the best place to stay if you want to explore Rome. We always stay in a quaint one star hotel who's crowning glory is it's proximity to the forno that makes this bread. Every morning before dawn the bakers across the way start making this bread (generally known as pizza bianco) and by 7:30 it is up for sale in the pasticeria across the street. Giant bundles of twigs and wood fuel their ovens and give the bread its smokey flavor. If you are ever even vaguely close to Frescati you must stop and get some pizza bianco. Trust me-it will be worth it.
But who the f*ck wants to read an entire paragraph about bread?! More about my travels now:
So after leaving Cortona we headed to Frescati and settled in. In the mornings we got up, grabbed a cappuccino and headed into Roma. The first day we wondered around the hip quarter of Trastaverde and grabbed lunch before heading over the the Pantheon and the Trevi fountain. We've been to Rome so many times and have seen most of the sights, but some places are so awe inspiring that they are worth going back to. I don't know why, but the Pantheon, with its 9m hole in the dome and sphere like qualities is so exciting to me I always want to stop by.
The next day we visited the Forum, the cite of Roman rule for centuries, to please my latin inclined sister and to get a feel for the roots of the city. Minorly nerdy but majorly interesting. After a while however, I had to take a shopping break. I headed to the base of the Spanish Steps where the likes of Dolce and Gabbana, Pucci, and Salvatore Ferragamo abound. After spending a pretty penny on clothes I don't have room in my suitcase for, we headed back to Frescati for our final dinner.
The next day we loaded up our car (!!!) and headed for Venice. More on that adventure coming soon!!!
The other day we took a day trip to Florence and had the most wonderful time. It is such a pretty city!! Florence is a great day trip because it's only a short ride by train from our house in Cortona and it is so much fun to explore.
If you haven't been to Florence before, you have to climb the campanile bell tower to get not only a bomb workout, but also to see the beautiful Duomo. I think climbing the campanile is better than going up to the top of the Duomo because then you can see the Duomo rather than being on top of it. Either way, you will get a magnificent view of the city. If you have been to Florence before, then you can probably skip the climb and spend the day walking around museums and shopping instead.
This trip we discovered the San Lorenzo market and let me tell you, this place is a must see. It's the gritty version of the Ferry Building in SF or the Chelsea market in NYC- which is to say, it's pretty fricken awesome and a hell of a lot cheaper. This market is full of food from all over Italy: fresh pasta, truffle oils and butters, meats, cheeses, vegetables, fruits, and seafood. Outside a three prong leather market takes place with pushy men selling beautiful leather coats and bags. Make sure to walk through but keep a hand on your purse, there are lots of aggressive pickpockets here!
Lunch on a quiet side-street is a must, but even better is the Florentine treat of fresh waffles with gelato. It doesn't get much better than that. The shopping is to die, and I already am planning my next trip in about a week or so with my friend Justine. More pics then!