FIRENZE: MUSEUMS, MUSEUMS and SHOPPING!

Accommodation

We found our place at www.airbnb.com. It was Giada’s Lovely Apartment in the heart of Florence for 40,00 Euros/night for 2. It was such a catch! The apartment was a 5 minute walk from Sta. Maria Novella Station and also a 5-minute walk to the city centre. What more can you ask for? The best part was that it was just on the 2nd floor! At this point of our trip, we already had 3 luggages which was very hard to carry around — the less stairs, the better!

Giada shares her apartment when she’s away. It’s like staying at a friend’s room which made it very cozy. I really recommend her apartment

Day 01

We left Venice at 10am and arrived in Florence just in time for lunch. Another city another reason for a good lunch! Nik and I always reward ourselves from the tiresome train travels – Fave part! We ate at San Carlo, a restaurant really near the apartment. Another pricey lunch but not as much as our dinner in Venice!

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We acquainted ourselves with the city by foot as usual. You’d be stunned by how much walking we do all day and to my dismay not a single pound was shed from my body!! After almost a week in this country, I came to the conclusion that “diet” is impossible to do in Italy with all the irresistible carbs (pastas, pizzas, Paninis) we eat all day.

First stop was Sta Maria Novella Church – only because we stumbled into it while walking to the Duomo from the apartment.

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How cool is this??? It took me a while to figure out how they did it.

Continue reading “FIRENZE: MUSEUMS, MUSEUMS and SHOPPING!”

Ciao Bella Venezia

From Munich Hauptbanhof Station, it took 6 hrs to arrive in Sta Lucia train Station in Venice. Words can’t explain how it feels to be back in this beautiful city. In 2010, my family and I did a 3-week Italy trip (which I have yet to write about) and we stayed in Venice for 4 days. What my family and I did in those 4 days, Nik and I did in an entire day!

Accommodation

Albergo Marin

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Looks old and abandoned, doesn’t it? But I think that’s what makes this building so beautiful. What attracted me most about this hotel is how it’s conveniently located right across the Sta. Lucia train station. After crossing one bridge (Ponte Scalzi), you’re there! Trust me when I say you wouldn’t want to stay at a place far from the station; you wouldn’t want to be carrying your heavy luggage up and down the thousands of bridges scattered all over the city. Also, its near a Vaparetto stop (waterbus). Although, it was quite pricey —110,00 Euro (6,000++ PHP) for 1 night and the room was small, no bathroom and AC was broke. As what i understand though, this is the normal price for hotels in Venice and we just wanted to stay in the island for a night so we really didn’t mind. Did I mention they serve breakfast too? Also a + factor!

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Romeo! O Romeo! Where art thou, my Romeo?

We spent 1 night and an entire day in Venice before taking the train to Mogliano Veneto (2 stops from Sta, Lucia) where we spent the next two nights in an apartment owned by an Italian/Chinese family who spoke very little English. (2 nights at this place was cheaper than our 1 night in Venice.) The apartment even had an authentic Chinese Restaurant right below which Nik and I ate at for the entire stay. We had our own kitchen, a balcony, bathroom and wifi was free! And they were so kind to fetch us from the train station. We felt so at home with Giady and her family. After spending an entire day walking around Venice, this place was heaven! The next day we took the train to Verona.

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I just have to post a photo of me and Nik in the train because we had to pay FOURTY FIVE EUROS for it – EACH!!!! It’s not supposed to be this expensive but we made the mistake of purchasing a direct ticket. Instead of arriving in Verona in an hour we got there in 20 minutes and it’s only supposed to be 15 Euros!! So you have to really tell them “SLOW TRAIN.”

Continue reading “Romeo! O Romeo! Where art thou, my Romeo?”

Under the Tuscan Clouds

Italy’s most well-known and exceptionally picturesque region is no doubt Tuscany; a region best known for its fine art and is a combination of eminent cities such as Florence and Pisa and a scenic countryside like Chianti.

This part of Italy is home to a number of world-renowned artists such as Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci where their paintings lay at the Uffizi. The abundance of grapes in this area gave birth to the finest wines in the country, the Chianti wine. The region is also very rich in history – with all this, it is not surprising why Tuscany is a perfect escape for foodies, writers and for people who want an escape from the busy city scene.  This is exactly why Diane Lane in the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” bought a villa on a whim when she was vacationing in Tuscany one summer. She fell in love with the place and never looked back.

You can bike through acres of vineyards or take a bus to the different towns to really taste the Tuscan air but based on experience, to truly see Tuscany, you rent a car and rent a villa in Chianti.

Accommodation

We stayed in Tuscany for a week. There is always a pleasant surprise when traveling with my sister, I was expecting to be staying in a busy city but to my surprise, we drove 20km outside Florence where she rented out a villa in Greve in Chianti called Fattoria Sto. Stefano. The Villa was a very old beautiful building on a hilltop, it was quite dreamlike, actually, with its lovely gardens and pool (which we weren’t able to use); the superb views, and if that’s not enough, you can taste their olive oil served at breakfast and the well-known chianti wine for dinner which they grow right in front of their property!

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The view outside our window all week long.  Continue reading “Under the Tuscan Clouds”