Monday, November 26, 2012

Italy - Our Top 10

During our nearly one month stay in Italy we were able to visit an array of different regions and cities. To wrap up our trip, before moving onto Vienna and Berlin, here are our top ten Italian experiences.

Ancient Rome
No trip to Italy is complete without visiting the Colosseum. One of the Seven Wonders of the World, it is not only extremely impressive, even by today's standards, but also a testament to the building acumen of the ancient Romans. If that wasn't enough, you can walk in the footsteps of Augustus, Caesar, and the rest of Rome's important historical figures in the ruins of the Roman Imperial Forum and Palatine Hill.

The Colosseum - the centre of Ancient Rome

Cinque Terre
Five cities perched on the Ligurian coast caused us to forget everything - blog posts, TV, calling home, and even bickering - if only for a few days. Rightly a UNESCO World Heritage Site, these five cities still seem to operate the same way they have for hundreds of years, oblivious to the millions of tourists flocking to see them every year.

Riomaggiore - our home for 4 days

Pompeii and Herculaneum
Perhaps the best opportunity to step back nearly 2000 years and explore a fully functioning Roman city - from palaces and temples to storefronts, cafeterias, and small family homes. Ironically, by being destroyed, Pompeii and Herculaneum survived, untouched and avoided the slow degradation of generation upon generation building on top of each other. 

Pompeii - destroyed but not gone

A photographer's playground, with it's brightly painted houses and winding canals, Burano provides the authenticity that Venice is now missing. Even as water buses deposit groups of tourists on the island hourly, it somehow manages to retain a laid back, peaceful feeling.  
Burano - full of colour

With the likes of Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello, and Bernini (wait, he wasn't a ninja turtle), the Italians easily dominate in the field of sculpture and there's no better place to bask in the glory of their masterpieces than Florence. The Uffizi, Bargello, and Accademia museums feature works by these famous sculptors as well as many others. 

Giasone - one of our favorite sculptures in Italy

The Vatican Museum
Our favorite Italian museum (that we've visited), and a serious contender for best overall, the Vatican Museum won us over with it's collections which are large both in size and scope. From ancient Egyptian artifacts, to Greek and Roman sculptures, classical and modern paintings, and the museum's architecture, the museum offers something for everyone - and it's also home to the Sistine Chapel. 

The Raphael Rooms - one of art's great achievements

Naples may be credited with the invention of this tasty dish, however we found restaurants throughout the country serving up mouth watering versions. Our favorites were Senzanome, in Florence, and Dar Poeta, in Rome. 

Pizza at Senzanome

Unable to get enough sculpture in Florence, we added a trip to the Montemartini Museum to our Roman itinerary and were blown away at the exhibition space - a historic electric plant. The contrast between the soft white marble sculptures and dark metal engines, valves, and pipes is gorgeous and provides a great photo opportunity as well. 

Juxtaposition at Montemartini

Basilica San Marco
Unrivaled for the title of most opulent by anything we've seen to date, Basilica San Marco makes up for what it lacks in size and scale with an abundance of sparkling gold mosaics. The lavish exterior, situated next to the equally stunning Doge's Palace, and mosaic covered interior leave visitors with a true understanding of how rich and powerful this republic really was. 

Basilica San Marco - one of the best in the world

The Pantheon
Was it famous before Dan Brown included it in his best selling novel Angels and Demons? If so, it's impossible to tell now, as visitors flock to the site hoping to glimpse a hidden symbol, or at least Raphael's tomb - which actually isn't that easy to spot. However for us, the building's architecture is the real draw. 

The Pantheon - an architectural marvel

A reminder, many more photos from our time in Italy, as well as the entire trip through Europe can be found on our Flickr page.

Hope you enjoyed our list...think we missed anything? Let us know!

By Travis Huyghebaert with 1 comment


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Hey there!

Calli and Travis returned from a four month trip through Europe more excited than ever to hit the open road. Who knows where they'll end up next...

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