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Day 7 September 19

We did not have any definite plans for our last day in Rome. When researching for this trip, we watched several Rick Steves videos and his side trip to Ostia Antica interested us. Before going to Ostia Antica, we stopped by some of the sights we saw our first night when we did the “Heart of Rome” walk. It was really nice to see The Four Fountains and other sights during the day. Then we headed to Ostia Antica, an ancient port town- containing the remains of warehouses, apartments, mansions, shopping arcades, baths and a 2000 year old theater that served a once-thriving port of 60,000 people. Later it became a ghost town that is now being excavated (Rick Steves, Italy 2013).

This was such a highlight of our trip. The cool part of Ostia is it is HUGE! The main road is 2 km long and I’m not sure how wide it is, but it’s pretty wide! We really got to explore the ruins, go inside buildings, climb to the top of the theater, and so much more. It was really amazing and a great way to say good bye to Italy, before heading to the airport.

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Our first day technically in Rome was day 4. We arrived in the evening, and after checking into our hotel we got our ROMA Passes and then did Rick Steves’ Self Guided walking tour called “The Heart of Rome”. It was a great way to get acquainted with the city and also see a lot main sights at night (Campo de’Fiori, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Capranica, Piazza Colonna, and the Spanish Steps).

Day 5, September 17

On our first real day in Rome we went to the National Museum of Rome where we saw the Boxer and Greek Discus Thrower. Then we headed to Ancient Rome for what Rick Steves calls “The Caesar Shuffle,” which included the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Capitoline Hill and the Pantheon. This was an awesome day. However, there was not a lot of information provided. Thankfully we had our Rick Steves’ Guide.

Day 6, September 18

On our second day in Rome we had reservations for the Vatican (A must if you want to save time! The lines were ridiculous!) The Vatican Museum was not what we expected. We expected it to be more focused on the Catholic church, however the museum was mainly art they have collected over the centuries- some religious, some not. There was actually very little emphasis put on the Catholic church. Other than that, the art work was amazing. Honestly, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel was overwhelming. Every piece of the chapel was covered with beautiful art. There was so much to see and so much to take in. I would definitely recommend reading up on the Sistine Chapel before visiting to really appreciate it and to be able to take it all in.  Another highlight was Rafael’s School of Athens.  Later in the afternoon we visited the very busy St. Peter’s Basilica. This was also very impressive and also overwhelming.

One more post to go! Day 7 Ostia Antica

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Technically on Day 2 we went to Pisa. We caught the afternoon train, crashed at our hotel until dinner, had amazing Indian food and saw the Leaning Tower at night. It was beautiful.

Day 3, September 15

We woke up to dark clouds. Thankfully it was the only day it rained, and boy did it! We packed our rain jackets and umbrellas before heading to Cinque Terre, which is about an 1 1/2 hours away. The train ride was easy with one quick change in La Spezia.

The first town we went to was the furthest of the five towns, Monterossa al Mare (aka #5). While on the train, it started to POUR. So we decided for an early lunch at Ristorante el Pozzo, a nice family restaurant recommended by *Rick Steves where we got to try Trofe (“made of flour with a bit of potato, designed specifically for pesto to cling to”*) and Pansotti (“ravioli with ricotta and mixture of greens served with a walnut sauce”*). It was delicious!  The rain slowed down while we were eating and we walked around and took pictures before deciding to go to Vernazza (aka #4). Here it also rained off and on. We explored this city ally ways, and got to go to the Castle that over looks the Ligurian Sea. It was beautiful, but because it was raining so much, we decided to cut our trip short and head back to Pisa.

Day 4 September 16

Our train to Rome didn’t leave until 1:15pm, so we had plenty of time to explore Pisa’s main attraction: The Field of Miracles. Timothy and I got tickets for the Duomo and Baptistry, which were both very impressive. Also, we took several pictures of us with the leaning tower before we headed off to Rome.

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Timothy and I have wanted to go to Italy FOREVER. We’ve talked about it since, our days in Potsdam. Then on April 12, 2009 we declared ROME OR BUST, well we all know that was a bust. But not any more!

Armed with our Rick Steve’s Italy book (recommended by my Aunt Marie *THANK YOU*), Timothy and I just enjoyed a wonderful week in Italy, where we visited Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terra and ROME! It was a dream come true.

September 12

We had an afternoon flight to Rome. It was delayed and then customs took about an HOUR (Be warned)! We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn that night (it was the best bed we slept on the WHOLE TRIP)!

Day 1, September 13

We woke up bright and early to take the train to Florence. This required one change in Rome, where we caught a very nice high speed train that went directly to Florence main station. (Great website about taking trains in Italy)

After getting to Florence we went to the tourist center, before hitting the city. Our first stop was the Medici Museum and Chapel, followed by the Accademia Library to get reservations for both the Accademia and Uffizi museums. Then we had lunch before our 1:30pm reservations at the Accademia where we got to see the amazing statue of David, as well as many other famous works of art. Then we went inside the famous Florence Duomo (church), before taking a break for dinner. After dinner we walked the streets and the walked around the Palazzo Vecchio and Ponte Vecchio before bed.

Day 2, September 14

We woke up early for our 8:15am reservations for the Uffizi, where we got to see more amazing art, including Birth of Venus. Honestly the museums in Italy are overwhelming. There is so much art and history. However, there is little information provided. I highly recommend either downloading Rick Steves *Free audio tours of these famous museums, or buying a good guide that will provide you with more information about these amazing pieces of art. Then after lunch, we went to the Museum of San Marco (we discovered this interesting museum from the Rick Steves TV show), which was really neat and is housed in an old 15th century monastery.

Later that afternoon we took the train to Pisa. That night we had yummy Indian food (recommend also from Rick Steves) and saw the leaning tower at night.

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