Thursday, 1 August 2013

Interrailing around Italy!!!!

It is safe to say that I have wanted to go to Italy for a very long time. Ever since I can remember, in fact. And I am not even sure why because until fairly recently, I have not even known what there is to see in Italy. But since my teenage years, I have become obsessed with the idea of going. And finally this dream of mine has come true - what a total dream it was.

We went literally everywhere starting in Venice - such a beautiful town. Full of the most beautiful views and canals. I loved the lack of vehicles on the roads, due to the fact that most people travelled by boat which left the pavements and roads completely free. Plus, I was in my little piece of heaven because Venice is full of the most beautiful architecture. I am a sucker for beautiful buildings, squares and bridges, so I was in my element here.

Next up we travelled to the nearby town of Verona and the 24 hours we spent here was definitely not enough. It is an undeniably cute town, filled to the brim with culture, music and literature. I was able to visit Juliet's square and house (although she was a fictional character, Shakespeare based both his main characters on real people) which delighted my literary nerdiness. Plus we were able to get tickets to watch the opera in the Roman arena for that evening - with the beautiful backdrop and the amazingness of watching a Verdi opera in Italy, it made for a pretty perfect evening.

Bologna ended up being a complete joke. Our instructions told us to get the no. 25 bus from the station and it would stop right outside our hotel. So we got on to the correct bus but ended up going the wrong way out of town. So we got off it, swapped to the other side of the road, and travelled back through the centre of Bologna, this time getting off at the right stop. But what a local had told us would be a 20 minute walk turned into an hour and half's walk to our hotel (part of it following the motorway). Needless to say we were extremely grumpy by the time we had checked in and eager to get out of that silly town. So all we saw were the brief glimpses from the bus window but I did see some of the many porticoes that my guide book had described to me.

So we headed on swiftly to Florence. This was one of the places that I was most looking forward to and I saw an incredible amount of beautiful art this weekend including some excellent Botticellis. I climbed a million steps to the roof of the bell tower which hurt a lot but was so worth it for the views of the town. Another highlight was the Pitti Palazzo, the stunning home of the Medici family. Elaborately decorated and accompanied by huge stunning gardens, we spent hours there. Was totally gorgeous. We spent our final night there up at Michelangelo's square watching the sun go down over the city. It was truly lovely and made even more special because I spent it with my American friend Laney who I hadn't seen since March while she'd been rushing around Europe. She returns to America in two weeks time so I am glad I got to see her before she runs back across the pond.

Next we headed down (on a double decker train) to Naples. But actually we didn't spend a lot of time in the city itself. The evening we arrived, we went for a wander and finally I felt that I was in real Italy (rather than being in a touristy equivalent). We had the best pizza ever that first night, not overly surprising considering that it is the Home of Pizza. The next day we had a day of historical education, visiting Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Vesuvius. I climbed a volcano. Was an incredible experience, lending us some beautiful views. And it is the only active volcano on mainland Europe. Walking around Pompeii was one of my favourite experiences as well. It was so huge with so many well preserved buildings. It is incredible to think that once upon a time, this was a busy living town, and then in mere hours everything was wiped out. Weird. After an extremely active day soaking up history, the following one we decided to soak up some rays on the island of Capri. Not far off the coast of Naples, it was an excellent respite from the general craziness of the holiday with lots of sunbathing and swimming involved. It was the first time I had set foot into the Mediterranean and was just what we needed.

That evening, trying to seat ourselves so we avoided our worst areas of sunburn, we set off for our final stop - Rome. This was actually very like London in it's buzzing nature and I could actually see myself living there. It was wonderful, had the best ice cream ever and was just buzzing with famous sites and general busy-ness. We had our one and only proper meal with dessert and everything so we got a taste of Italian tiramisu (which is so much nicer than the English one btw). And my favourite place had to be the Trevi fountain. It was quite stunning and watching all the tourists pose around it was very amusing. The colosseum was also, obviously, quite exciting to see and when we were up on one of the top levels, we were (un) lucky enough to be caught in a thunderstorm which was quite a spectacular backdrop to something that is very beautiful in itself.

As you can probably tell, I adored every second I was in Italy. I had so many incredible experiences and saw so many things, that I will never ever forget. I have built it up in my mind, so much for so long and it would have been very easy for me to be disappointed. But I wasn't - it was a perfect, hilarious, crazy holiday. I couldn't have asked for a better one.

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1 comment:

  1. Wow you explored a lot of Italy! This is exactly what I want to do - thanks for sharing Charlotte I love your photographs xx