Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Honeymoon #3 Part 2 - Venice, Florence, Rome

After our stay in Monte Carlo, we flew over to Venice to continue the Italian portion of our honeymoon.  We had only allocated one day/night in Venice, and with our hectic transportation schedule, it really wasn't enough.  Especially with the little accident that 2hung had in the canal (kekeke), we had even less time.  It was also why we had to start taking pictures with my cell phone during the time we spent in Venice and Florence.  Nonetheless, we still had a great time!

Day 7: Venice

I was recommended highly to try the squid ink pasta in Venice so that's what we had that night.  It was yummy.

Day 8:
The next morning we took a short train ride over to Florence which was one of our favourite cities on this trip.  This time we didn't have the luxury of free hotels but I booked an apartment through airbnb and what a difference it was when you are used to staying at fine hotels.

We had lunch at this awesome sandwich shop called Ino which served really great prosciutto, fresh mozzarella and other cured meats.  We had lunch there twice because it was so good.

Took a walk through the Ponte Vecchio and the various piazzas in Florence.  They have now opened a Gucci museum and cafe!

For dinner we ended up at this awesome pizza place called Gusta Pizza, where there were tons of people ordering pizzas to go.  Then we had some gelato before calling it a night.

Day 9:
The next day was an exciting day for us because we had booked a tour with Tuscan Wine Tours to visit some of the wineries of the Chianti and Chianti Classico regions!  This was the trip 2hung had been waiting for.  But first things first, need to fuel up on espresso.  We got hooked on 1 Euro espressos when we were in Europe and they always served espresso macchiatos the right way.  And remember, lattes only in the morning!

We met up with our group and took off to tour the first winery in the Chianti region.  We also enjoyed some cheeses that were made by monks with some nice jams.  The Chianti country side was very enjoyable and scenic.  The weather was perfect.

We stopped off at the Crazy Butcher's for lunch.  Needless to say, there was tons of meat on the table.

In the afternoon, we visited a winery in the Chianti Classico region.  They also made olive oil.

Last stop was at a little town in the Chianti Classico region before heading back into Florence.

Day 10:
We managed to squeeze in visits to the Galleria dell'Accademia to see Michelangelo's statue of David, the Uffizi Gallery and the Duomo on this visit.  And of course, you can't go to Florence and not go to the outlets!  2hung and I did a lot of damage at The Mall and the Space (Prada/miu miu) outlets.

For dinner, we had some delicious fresh mozzarella with truffles and some delicious pasta at Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco.

Day 11:
On our last day in Florence, we visited one of the local markets and then stopped by the famous Trattoria Mario for some Florentine steak.  The steak is only served rare and the thing was huge!  It was hard for us to finish the entire thing.  The other couple beside us were asking for their steak to be well done, but I think the waitress just pretended like she didn't hear or didn't understand (hehe).

Before heading to the train station, we went up to the Piazzale Michelangelo for a last view of Florence.

Just a short train ride away and we were in Rome!  This was also the time when we managed to fix the camera to the useable state, so we celebrated with some free champagne courtesy of the St. Regis.

That night we had dinner at Osteria 44 which served really good food and the service was excellent.  We actually went back there for a second night since it was so close to the hotel.

Day 12:
The next day was an entire day dedicated to visiting the Vatican City.  This was the most tiring day of the entire trip because there was so much walking, so much to see and we took so many pictures.  I think we spent the first 3/4 of the day in the Vatican Museum.  The amount of art that the Catholic Church has collected is amazing.  There were no pictures allowed inside the Sistine Chapel so we bought some post cards for souvenirs.

After the Vatican Museum, we went for a quick lunch at Pizzarium, where we got to choose from a wide variety of pizzas with different toppings and you can get them to cut you as big or as small a piece as you like so you can try out several different flavours.  Pretty neat place.

Then, back to the Vatican we went.  This time to visit the St. Peter's Basilica adorned with amazing sculptures and paintings.

Such a tiring day calls for carbs and gelato at dinner time!

Day 13:
Another place that 2hung was really excited about visiting was the Colosseum.  Good thing we had purchased the Roma Pass at the train station, so we skipped the line to enter the Colosseum, but really there was no order or line to speak of.  There were tons of tourists crowding at the entrance but nobody was directing anyone to get in line, so it was very disorganized.

Right next door to the Colosseum is the Roman Forum.  It was a nice day to be outside and checking out the ruins.

For lunch we stopped for some pasta and pie at Enoteca Corsi which also happened to be a wine shop.

In the afternoon, we hit up the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps which were way over crowded.

Day 14:
There are numerous churches in the city of Rome and each one of them seem to hold some gems inside.  The little church right near our hotel Santa Maria della Vittoria holds the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, one of Bernini's works.

Then, it was the Parthenon.  The building was perfectly circular inside.

We broke for lunch at a fancy grocery store called Roscioli.  They specialize in mozzarella and carbonara.  At first they thought we were Japanese, so they gave us a Japanese menu and the waiter could speak perfect Japanese as well.  But then he realized that we weren't Japanese so he gave us the English menu which was much more extensive than the Japanese one.

One of the many piazzas in Rome, Piazza Navona, was home to Bernini's famous fountains.

I haven't read Angels and Demons myself, but 2hung insisted that he was a fan and took lots of pictures of the angels when we visited Castel Sant'Angelo.

The only Michelin-starred restaurant that we tried in Italy was Il Convivio Troiani which received a one star rating.  The restaurant was hidden away in a side street and might be hard to find if you didn't have Google Maps.  I thought that the food at this restaurant was great, however the service was a bit rushed.  Especially the server, he was very anxious and caused an unnecessary rush with the other waiters in the restaurant.  This affected the pleasantness of the restaurant experience.

Day 15:
By the time we got to our last day in Rome, we had already seen most of the sites, so we spent the day roaming around instead.  We started the morning off with a stroll in the Villa Borghese which was in the shape of a heart!  We wanted to go into the Gallereia Borghese but it was sold out for that day.

Then we roamed through the Piazza del Popolo with the twin churches.

Our last meal in Rome was Roman-style pizza with paper thin crust at Li Rioni.  This is the thinnest crust pizza that I've ever had and I really liked it!

One last look at the Colosseum in the night time before we called it a night.

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