๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Pompeii & The Amalfi Coast ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

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By the time we reached the end of our trip, from March 26th-March 29th, we were pretty exhausted! After all, we were in Italy for 17 days! 17 whirlwind days of taking in a new culture, big cities, winding coastal roads and the gorgeous Italian language.

We stayed in our last VRBO, which was located in Castellamare di Stabia. Francesco, the owner, was a great host! He did not speak any English and I knew the most Italian in our group, so between the two of us and Google Translate, we were able to communicate. By this point in our trip, words like “Grazie!”, “Scusi!”, “Mi di spiace!” and more had become very familiar to me.

Upon arriving by car, Francesco had everything prepared for us, and had even gotten us some delicious powdered pastries–filled with local jams—fresh oranges and some homemade, sparkling red wine! One thing we came to find out is that Italy is very similar to America in some ways. North and South are very different, but Southerners are renowned the world over for their hospitality! Though fewer people speak English the further south you go in Italy, it was amazing to me how people wanted to please! We talked to a man in a tabbachi shop who helped us track down ferry rates to Capri for over 30 minutes. The people were very warm and inviting!

Since we had a car for this part of the trip, we were able to visit neighboring Pompeii, cruise down the Amalfi Coast—or if you’re my mom, grip the doorframe as if your life depended on it—and go to Sorrento and Positano. The Amalfi Coast has some of the most stunning views of ocean and coastline and when walking down the street, you can smell citrus. There are lemon and orange groves everywhere! Just don’t do what my grandfather Poppy did.๐Ÿ˜‚ He thought he’d take an orange off the tree and it wasn’t ripe yet and he said it tasted awful!

Sorrento was another one of my favorite cities. You could get lemon flavored anything there. ๐Ÿ‹Limoncello, a drink they are famous for, which consists of vodka, lemon juice and sugar. Limoncello filled pastries, cookies, chocolates–the list goes on and on! Even beauty products like scrubs and lotions!

I also really enjoyed visiting Pompeii. I had always read about it as a kid and wanted to see it in person. It is over 150 acres of ruins and they are STILL uncovering things daily. It is definitely worth the trip! You really get a feel for how ancient Roman culture was, as Pompeii was a sort of “resort town” back in the day, before Vesuvius had something to say about it. Vesuvius is also still a very active volcano that has been suspiciously quiet in recent years; scientists believe it is due for another eruption, which could endanger the millions of people living in its shadow, including the huge metropolis of Naples.

It is somewhat eerie seeing its shadow and realizing, as you walk through Pompeii’s quiet streets, that history could very well repeat itself, and much like in 79 AD, you wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.

All that danger and suspense aside though, I LOVED visiting Pompeii. It was March, so we had a lot of it to ourselves! It wasn’t crowded at all and you can easily get lost in the many quadrants they have it separated into.

I don’t have pictures of the pizza lunch we had outside Pompeii’s Ruins, but it was good! ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป Naples is known for its pizza, and if you want to get it anywhere in Italy, you should do it in this area!

Pictured Above: Some bread and actual food that was perfectly preserved in Pompeii when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. The bread is just a littttllllleee bit crispy.

When it comes to tours and museums, Pompeii was one of my favorites in Italy! ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

This was also another favorite meal we had while in Sorrento: prawns ala broccoli cream sauce with cheese encrusted in prosciutto. Delicious!

I may make some further posts on some of the strangest/most unexpected things we experienced in each city, things to expect when going to Italy and maybe even a full post on the VRBO accommodations we stayed in! Let me know what you’d like to hear more about! ๐Ÿ’•โœจ

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๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡นRome, Italy๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

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Roma, Roma!

Rome was such an amazing place. We arrived in the city March 23rd and got to explore it until March 26th.

We again stayed in a VRBO for this part of the trip and LOVED the place we ended up renting, since it was only a 10 minute walk to the Colosseum!

Because of this, we got to see it during the day and at night! You may think, “It’s just a building. How different can it really look?” VERY different. By day, the Colosseum is crawling with tourists, very annoying gladiators who will try to force you into taking pictures with them—trust me, one tried to hold my mother hostage until my husband gave him a Euro and saved her๐Ÿ˜‚—but by night, the Colosseum is a lot of times deserted! It glows from within and is actually kind of romantic…if you disregard all the people who were slaughtered there during the games hundreds of years ago.

According to things we read while touring Colosseo, they actually had ship battles down in the arena and they still don’t really know, to this day, how the Romans were able to accomplish such a feat!

Rome is a place that is full of history. There is so much to see, so I’d recommend at least 3 days! Aside from the Colosseum, there is Palatine Hill, The Roman Forum, The Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps…it’s ALOT to cover.

The Roman Forum was a very interesting place, full of crumbling structures, columns and the remains of the Farnese Gardens. This little seagull befriended me while taking pictures looking down on the Forum! I think he thought I had fries. ๐ŸŸ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‚

Pictured Above: The aforementioned gladiator con artists. Even gladiators need snacks, I guess.

Now, when it comes to the Trevi Fountain, I have to burst some bubbles and dispel some myths. It is a BEAUTIFUL fountain, but you will NOT get a good picture of yourself with it, unless you come at 6:00am or just happen to be lucky. It is crowded pretty much ALL the time. I had to crop people out of my own pictures, but go there and throw a coin in and make a wish anyway! And if you’re wanting an Instagram worthy picture, be prepared to wake up at the crack of dawn.

Around the corner from Trevi, you will find a shop selling vintage posters and calendars featuring Roman Holiday cast members, Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. It’s very cool for those who love the movie or vintage Hollywood!

If you know where to look, there are also many beautiful cathedrals and chapels in Rome. We actually found this one on the way to the Trevi Fountain and were stunned by its gold and blue tones and towering ceiling.

As for the food in Rome? It is some of the best! You have to try spaghetti carbonara, gnocchi or risotto! Above is a picture of a McDonald’s(Can you believe it?!) feet from the Spanish Steps. They serve gelato and 5 Star pastries at the McDonald’s in Italy. I was super impressed.

Pictured Above: Some excellent Lobster Gnocchi from one day and some Shrimp and Rose Risotto from another. Gnocchi is similar to shell pasta, but filled with cheese or other ingredients. Risotto is more like rice and has a very nice texture and taste to it.

We stayed in the Monti neighborhood of Rome, and thanks to that, we were not far from one of the best gelato stores we found in Italy. This is what I got, a menta gelato, or mint. It had actual crushed mint leaves in it and—just look at that presentation! I had to get help to finish this gelato, but MAN was it good!

Rome also wouldn’t be Rome without Vespas! It’s hard to picture the city without them. Also near the Monti neighborhood of Rome is a little Vespa museum, where you can learn about the history of this mode of transportation, watch a short little commercial about how Italians presumably fall in love—guess what! It usually involves a Vespa! Thats some sly marketing there—or you can even rent one of these bad boys for yourself!

Pictured Above: An adorably cute Fiat that someone just made a parking spot for between huge potted plants. I mean, aesthetic goals or what?!

Rome is a beast of a city, but it is a city that needs time to be appreciated. If you go to Rome, you will be rewarded with culinary and visual delights and history you can’t even imagine!

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡นCinque Terre & Florence๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

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Cinque Terre. If you have been anywhere near Instagram in the last 2.5 years, you have probably seen gorgeous pictures of these five Italian coastline cities on your feed!

Cinque Terre consists of “The Five Towns”: Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso al Mare and Manarola. They can only be reached by train, which leaves from a station in La Spezia and winds along the coastline, through mountainous tunnels.

We drove from Lucca, about an hour’s drive to La Spezia, parked in a garage, and hopped the train to explore these beautiful cities!

Hiking is a popular way to see Cinque Terre, but when we went in mid March, during the rainy season, there was danger of the trails getting washed out and eroded, so even though we didn’t see the towns from those high vantage points, we did plenty of walking and climbed the steep stairwells in each city!

We ate lunch at a place in Vernazza, where I had spaghetti ala clams, which was delicious! You really can’t go wrong with any of the food in Italy. I got so used to sparkling water, balsamic vinaigrette, wine and amazing pastas over there! ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป

Out of all the seaside towns, Riomaggiore and Vernazza were my favorite! They were more lively, had more to see and do and if you’re looking for those Instagram worthy shots, you will definitely find them in those two towns!

After we departed Lucca, Florence was our next stop from March 21st-23rd. We stayed in a VRBO right near the Ponte Vecchio that was over a ceramic shop!

We were within walking distance of Galleria Del Accademia, which houses Michelangelo’s David, so many amazing Italian fashion houses, and so much more, including a restaurant called Celestino’s. It was by far one of the BEST places we ate at in all of Italy. We tried some of the region’s best dishes, including chicken with truffles and peppercorn steak!

Another attraction within walking distance of where we stayed was The Pitti Palace. This place, in a word, is GORGEOUS. The tickets we purchased were under 30 euro to see the Royal apartments, museums within and Boboli Gardens.

I took SO many pictures of the ceilings in this place. Everything is gold or gilt or has the essence of gold. It just makes you realize just how rich the families who lived here were. There are art pieces from every century, decade, period!

If you go to Florence, definitely go to Galleria Del Accademia, but go to The Pitti Palace too! It is a gem.

Looking back at these pictures makes me want to go back to Italy! For more in depth tips, insights and video of our trip, check out my Instagram, @TheRedheadChronicles, or my YouTube channel by the same name! I have made videos on our trip that include insights into Venice and this leg of our trip! Rome will be posted next!

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น The Tuscany Region:Pisa,Lucca & San Gimignano ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

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The second leg of our Italian trip was beautiful and breathtaking! โœจ

We made our home base in Lucca and from there, we were able to visit so many places! We rented a VRBO from a wonderful woman named Angela who had a spacious, clean apartment that had everything we needed! If you find yourself visiting the Tuscany region of Italy, I’d highly recommend staying in Lucca, as you can see so much! The only thing we regretted was not getting to explore Lucca because we were so busy exploring other places.

From March 18th-March 21st, we explored so many places! One of my favorites was Pisa, obviously! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜‚

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is something you CAN’T miss. Did you know you can also climb it?! ๐Ÿ˜ณ It’s a little terrifying because as you go up, you slide towards the inner part of the stairwell without even meaning to!

We, of course, also had photo ops around The Leaning Tower, which is over 800 years old! It was pretty entertaining because everywhere you look, hundreds of people are literally trying to take the same photo!

If you opt to climb The Leaning Tower, you will be rewarded with a view of its bells–it was always intended to be nothing but a glorified bell tower!—and a panoramic view of Pisa. If you’re afraid of heights, don’t worry! It is enclosed. I am not afraid of heights, but I’m not going to lie, what with the obvious tilt, and since it was a windy day, I briefly considered strangling a 12 year old girl from Missouri who kept crying and wailing, “The tower feels like its moving!” ๐Ÿ˜‘

Now, you may think that The Leaning Tower is all there is to Pisa, but it’s definitely not! Near by, there is also Pisa’s own cathedral, which was one of the most stunning ones we saw while in this part of Italy! You shouldn’t skip it!

Also, there is an IKEA surprisingly close to The Leaning Tower, if you’re into that sort of thing. We went there for my husband, who loves IKEA and I kept wandering the aisles and thinking,”I’m in an IKEA. In Italy. That looks just like the ones in America.” ๐Ÿ˜‚ Still cool though!

On another day, we drove to the hilltop town of San Gimignano, which has some of the best wines, cheeses and salamis in the entire Tuscany region. If you have access to a car, GO to this city. It is truly amazing. There were nuns, a torture museum, the aforementioned wines and cheeses, cobblestone, winding streets—its a beautiful place.

I loved this part of our trip! Our entire trip to Italy was one I won’t soon forget!

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น 10 Tips: Venice, Italy ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

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Venice is one of the most amazing, unique places on earth. We spent 4 days + 4 nights there and even in that amount of time, we probably barely scratched the surface of what there is to see and do there!

But I thought I would pull together 10 tips for when YOU visit Venice! ๐ŸŽ‰ Also, I’ll include our 4 day itinerary at the end of this list! ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป

Tip #1: Get lost!

When it comes to Venice, there is so much to see! Even with a map, you’re going to get lost. While most of the time, that seems like a bad idea, in Venice, it’s the exact opposite. If you wander through the streets and bridges going over canals, you will find some great things. You can never go wrong with the pastry and coffee places you find, the small hole-in-the-wall churches usually have decadent mosaics and paintings on their ceilings, and you can stumble upon hidden landmarks!

Take for instance, Liberia Acqua Alta. This place is apparently very hard to find, and due to our short time in Venice, we had sort of ruled out seeing it…until we just found it on accident one day! We had set out and decided to tackle a different area of our Venice map we hadn’t seen when we found it! So, get lost. Wander and see what you can find!

Tip #2: Get a Venezia Unica Card.

These are cards that not only provide unlimited use of the city’s vaporetto system, but also have other benefits, like seeing popular tourist destinations AND even free WiFi for a day if you are under 29!

My husband Tim and I got the “Rolling Venice Card” for 72 hours which included as many rides on the vaporetto as we wanted and WiFi for a day! It was well worth it because even though Venice is a very walkable city, you will want to see it from the canals also! This card also covered our water transport to the outerlying islands of Burano and Murano, which are a must see!

The important thing to note here though is this: TheVenezia Unica Card DOES NOT cover transportation from the Marco Polo Airport to Venice.

For that, you will have to book a desperate transfer via an Aliguna Waterbus on the Blue Line, which was right around โ‚ฌ40-54, if I remember correctly.

Tip #3: See Burano and Murano! But if you have to pick one, pick Burano!

Now, this one is subject to opinion, but out of the two islands, I liked Burano the most! It is great for pictures and has the colorful buildings and even a lesser known Leaning Tower that Instagram dreams are made of! ๐Ÿ˜ However, if you are going based purely on seeing the lace making or glass making, go to Murano for the glass making.

It is amazing to see the glass creations there and for some reason, it just seemed more visual and was cooler to see than the lace making on Burano!

The vaporetto ride from Venice to Murano is shorter than the one to Burano. I think our ride to Murano was about 10-15 minutes while the ride to Burano was closer to 30-45 minutes from Cannaregio where we stayed.

Tip #4: Check out a mask store or atelier!

A trip to Venice isn’t complete without seeing a mask maker and exploring one of their stores! Even if you don’t come during Carnivale, Venice’s February celebration where people dress up in costumes and masks, it is one of the biggest trades known strictly to Venice!

We visited a store called Sogno Venezia Atelier and the owner Julia had a wealth of information on the art of mask making and she makes all her own costumes!

Masks are only part of Venice’s allure and mystery, but be sure not to miss out on learning more about them!

Tip #5: Stay in Cannaregio!

This is also just opinion, but I felt like Cannaregio was the best and most central location for us when it came to staying in Venice! We were not far from the airport, we were away from the touristy areas and in more of an actual Venice neighborhood, but still within walking distance of the sights, and we were close to the Ospedale stop, or Hospital! You never want to think you’ll need it, but it was nice to know it was close!

We also were near plenty of markets, which we went to to buy fresh produce and things to make meals at home sometimes!

Tip #6: Go during the shoulder or “off” season.

March is considered a slow time in Venice. It is typically a little chillier and right after Carnivale, so flight prices drop. We scored our tickets for around $700, which was a great deal when compared to anywhere from $1,000-$2,200!

If I can suggest though, go in late March or be prepared for cold temperatures. We layered a lot. March is also the time for “high water”, so you will see higher water and even flooded streets in Venice due to the rain. We had to use catwalks to walk over the water sometimes, but if worse comes to worse, they do have these strange looking rain boots you can purchase everywhere. They look a lot like Saran Wrap that just goes over your feet! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Tip # 7: Ride down The Grand Canal.

This is just a MUST. And kind of a given, but you have to see Rialto Bridge from the canals. It is a beautiful sight, not to mention, a relaxing ride. You will get some of your best pictures riding the vaporetto! They have these awesome little back sections of the vaporetto boats where you can go out a door and literally be in the open air. Just hold onto your phones! You don’t want to drop that into the canal!

Tip # 8: Take a gondola ride…but during the day.

Day fares for gondola are cheaper than at night and you’ll get less grainy, higher quality pictures. Now, while the vaporetto is great, gondolas are amazing because they take you down the tight, little back waterways of Venice that are quiet, secluded and interesting. We saw hidden passageways, passed a private courtyard where a couple was drinking red wine and they toasted us… ๐Ÿท๐Ÿ˜‚

It was all very Venetian and we wouldn’t have seen any of it if we hadn’t gone for a ride! The fare is generally โ‚ฌ89, but you can ride up to 6 people in a gondola and that total is split amongst riders, it is not per person!

Tip #9: Go to Cemeterio Island.

I did not take many pictures at Cemeterio and some people think cemeteries are morbid, but I thought it was a cool experience! If you like seeing how Venetians live…and how they died, Cemeterio is an interesting place to go. It is a 5 minute ride from Cannaregio across the channel.

There are beautiful monuments there and even windows that just face off into the sea. While wandering around, we came across a landing of black and white tiles that just gently sloped into the canal and we discovered that it is there that boats dock to offload coffins.

It’s impossible to realize all the things that are different about Venice until you really stop and take a look.

Tip #10: Talk to some Venetians.

Whether it was talking to our waiters at the trattoria down our street, Julia at the mask shop, or anyone we encountered, the Venetians are an interesting people. They are very passionate about things and are set in their ways. They certainly won’t go out of their way to help you, but they are nice if you catch them in a good mood.

If I had to rank all the towns on their “friendliness” that we went to, Venice wouldn’t have the top spot, but more on that later! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Bonus Tip #11: Get used to “Italian Time”.

Italians have their own clock that they go by, whether it’s getting somewhere and meeting up with someone or just eating dinner. Dinners are usually 4 hour affairs with multiple courses and you have to ask for your check, which was strange to us Americans.

One reason for this is that Italian waiters are paid a living wage. In America, waiters barely make $3 an hour and live on tips, so it’s all about turning tables. Get used to taking your time in Italy and you will enjoy your trip so much more!

Those are all my tips for Venice! ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿท๐Ÿ•

Here is a brief itinerary of our time in Venice! ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป

March 14th: Landed in Venice

*On this day, we basically ate dinner near Rialto Bridge(very touristy, but the pizza was good) and went to our VRBO home to catch up on the time change! Not much accomplished this day.

March 15th: Murano & St. Mark’s Basillica

*We rode over to Murano to see some glass making and also checked out St. Mark’s Basillica and square! We did a lot of wandering this day and got a lot of ground covered!

March 16th: Burano, Riding a Gondola, and Riding Down Grand Canal

We rode over to Burano early and also had lunch there! Poppy had fish with the heads on. ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜‚ We also rode the vaporetto all over, including down The Grand Canal, and got gelato. ๐Ÿง

March 17th: Cemeterio, Libreria Acqua Alta and Sogno Venezia Atelier

We saw a bunch this day! We explored Cemeterio, Libreria Acqua Alta and I bought a Venetian mask!

Stay tuned for my next blog on Florence, Pisa & Lucca!

And there is a quick video I made of Venice, which is on my IGTV, or Instagram tv! I hope you’ll check it out!

\\ Venice, Italy //

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I know what you’re thinking—-FINALLY Avery has gotten back on here and decided to blog! I’m sorry I’ve been gone for a while. Life has been beating me with a stick lately, if I’m being honest. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ It’s no fun.

Anyways, I thought I’d share some pictures of our Italy trip in this entry and then do some follow up blogs with tips for each city AND our itineraries! ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

Here are the cities I’ll cover after Venice:

โ€ขFlorence & Pisa

โ€ขRome

โ€ขSorrento(with some stories about Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast thrown in there!)

AND, if you haven’t already, you can check out some vlogs I did of each city on my YouTube channel! ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOeL03NmymfgJ7XKBBmYueg

They’re fun and set to music, and I may eventually do some more in depth videos! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Venice was, simply put, one of the most amazing, gorgeous, unique places I’ve ever been.

On this trip of a lifetime, we had 5 adventurers: me, my husband,Tim, my grandfather, Poppy, and my mom and dad. We were in Italy from March 13th-March 30th—roughly 17-18 days, if you discount traveling by airplane for the majority of two of those days.

We spent 4 days and nights in Venice alone! I had read a lot of articles from other people saying that “2 days was perfectly sufficient and enough time to see Venice.” ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Those people are idiots. Don’t listen to those people. If you plan on seeing Venice in your lifetime, you really want to devote more time to it because it’s a great place to explore! And you will get lost, trust me.

We stayed in the Cannaregio neighborhood of Venice, which is the northernmost region, and a straight shot from the Marco Polo Airport by Aliguna Waterbus. We stayed in a VRBO rental that was actually the home of a famous artist from the 1700’s, Francesco Guardi. It was such a convenient place to stay—away from crowds near Rialto Bridge and other touristy places, but still close enough to walk to those places! We were at the Fondamente Nove stop, one stop up from the hospital at the “Ospedale” stop.

For that reason, we saw tons of yellow “Ambulanza” or ambulance boats that would go rushing by!

There are so many things you don’t even think about before coming to Venice. You might know in your mind that there are literally no cars and everything is done by boat, but witnessing that in person is a whole different thing! Venice also has trash boats that come by and collect everyone’s trash at different pickup points around the city. We took the trash from the VRBO we were staying at to one of those points before leaving and some men in yellow uniforms took it from us. Where the trash goes from there, I have no idea, but since Venice is literally made up of thousands of islands, my guess is they have one just for trash! ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

We also saw a hearse boat. At the Fondamente Nove stop, where we were staying, we were directly across the channel from Cemeterio Island—-you guessed it!—-Venice’s only cemetery! We actually went across and explored one day and there are tons of graves for priests, nuns, your everyday citizens, and so many more people from every walk of life. I did not take any pictures out of respect for those people, but it was very interesting. One thing we quickly noticed was that many Italian cemeteries have pictures of the people on their tombstones! It’s rare to see that in America.

It was kind of neat—it really gave you a feel for who those people were.

Italy itself is such a fascinating country! I will have to do a completely different blog entry on tips for traveling to Italy—the culture is so different! For instance, many people in Italy don’t own dryers! So we would see laundry hanging everywhere, which was actually really pretty.

Of course, we also saw many gondolas and gondoliers throughout Venice—which was magical.

Pictured above is the famous Rialto Bridge, which is always a crowded place! We walked over it and took a vaporetto down The Grand Canal and underneath it! It is a beautiful bridge, but the great thing about Venice is that there are bridges everywhere! There are so many different kinds, some of them have delicate ironwork, some have no railings at all, but every one is more unique and beautiful than the last!

We did the usual touristy things in Venice, which included eating some pizza! I fed Tim some pizza in a piazza for this picture! ๐Ÿ˜‚ We had a lot of Italians scoffing at us and laughing at us for this one, but we did it anyway because why not?!

Out of all the pizza we had though, Naples had the best. ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป

While we’re on the subject of food, Italy has some great cuisine. ๐Ÿ There are the obvious things, like pasta, pizza and bread, but they have exceptionally good coffee and espresso!

Tim and I were delighted that it was so good and so cheap! In America, the land of the overpriced coffee, you usually spend anywhere from $2.00-$5.00 easily on some frappuchinoed to death, sugary concoction, but in Venice, we enjoyed espresso for as cheap as โ‚ฌ1! It was incredible and that stuff packs a punch, so this little shot was all we needed! We did not let my dad have any. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Long story short, he once had some cappuccino from a gas station in Atlanta, which has not that much coffee in it at all, and it resulted in a spontaneous trip to The Container Store, where he then zoomed around, buying over $200 worth of organizational shelving, which he has still yet to use. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‚ My dad can’t do coffee.

But ANYways—Venice in particular has some delicious seafood! Again, it is distinctly Italian, so you have to be careful what you order, but these were some scallops I got on the island of Burano which were great! Not pictured are some fish that Poppy got—with the heads still attached. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

You’ll be happy to know that Italy has some of the best pastry shops around! Some pastries have liquor in them, some are covered in powdered sugar, but all are delicious. I often joked with my family while we were there, that even if we got lost, it was okay, because we were bound to find a scrumptious pastry place! Pictured above is a place called Rizzo’s Bakery and then a Kosher Bakery in the Jewish Ghetto section of Venice, which is a very neat area to explore.

This is a church door in the Jewish section of Venice—-there are also monuments and a museum of Jewish history, going all the way back to the 1300’s and up into World War II history.

Fruit stalls are also abundant in Venice and many other cities in Italy. It was so nice being able to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, which we did on occasion, to cook with or eat on the go.

Gelato is another Italian specialty that you have to try! ๐Ÿง “Menta” or “Mint” is one of my favorite flavors! You can find gelato stores all over the place and while this one came from SUSO Gelato, a highly Instagrammed place, it was definitely one of the more touristy shops. Rome definitely gets my vote for the best gelato by far! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

There is so much to taste, experience and see in Venice. Pictured above is a gorgeous church right on The Grand Canal, the famous Bridge of Sighs, and St. Mark’s Basillica, which are just around the corner from each other.

One of the best ways to see Venice is by vaporetto. There are so many boats in Venice, it is easy to get them confused, but I generally remembered it this way:

Aliguna Waterbus(The only line running from Marco Polo Airport. The blue line.)

Vaporetto(The public boats everyone rides everywhere. There are stops all over the island. Generally, the cheapest.)

Water Taxi(Expensive, private lines that hold only a handful of people. Like a taxi in New York. You’ll pay a lot to ride on one of these!)

Gondola(Smaller, traditional boats piloted by gondolier. You will pay about โ‚ฌ89 Euro for a ride and it is more expensive at night!)

Traghetto(These look like gondola, but are cheaper and take you across The Grand Canal. Great if you want a picture in a gondola, but don’t want to pay as much! However, gondola rides are more enjoyable on the back waterways—The Grand Canal is a choppy and busy place!)

One of the most recognizable things in Venice other than Rialto Bridge, is this art piece called “Support” by Lorenzo Quinn, a piece representing global warming, something that is more evident in Venice than in any other place in the world. When we visited in March, it was during “the high water” or rainy season. We saw a lot of people wearing these plastic bag rain boots and walking on catwalks, which were literally erected all over the city to help people walk above the water! Pretty crazy stuff!

We had to visit Murano and Burano, two outerlying islands of Venice too!

โค๏ธ๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’œ

Murano is known for its glass making.

Burano is known for its colorful buildings and lace making.

From our place in Cannaregio, they could generally be reached in about 30 minutes to an hour. Murano was neat, but Burano was absolutely beautiful. DO NOT PASS GO. You have got to at least see Burano, if you pick between the two! You can get some great pictures, great food and see one of the lesser known “leaning towers”, a church tower in Burano that is listing over to one side!

Italy has around 11 “leaning towers” including the most famous one, The Leaning Tower of Pisa. Apparently, Italians are over ambitious with their building plans and the ground is extra soft in Italy—which accounts for why there are so many!

Anyways, Burano was worth it! ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป It’s like walking through a crayon box! ๐Ÿ–

Of course, no trip to Venice would be complete without visiting a mask shop and maybe even purchasing one to take home! This was a very traditional and gorgeous mask I purchased in one of Italy’s favorite colors, burgundy, from Sogno Venezia Atelier.

Julia, the owner, was fantastic, going into all of the history on the masks, which were used back as early as the 1300’s. They were worn by noblemen and peasants alike; the idea was that it made for a more even playing field. No one knew who anyone was, therefore commoners and wealthy aristocrats mingled together, often doing some unsavory things such as gambling, having affairs and so much more! It was amazing hearing such incredible stories and seeing such fascinating creations. We were in Venice after Carnivale had passed, the famous holiday in February where everyone dresses up in masks and costumes, but Julia showed us a costume she was working on. She makes them all by hand. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Another great place in Venice that has to be seen to be believed is Libreria Acqua Alta, which you have probably seen on Instagram, as it is very Insta-worthy. ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ

I had actually resigned myself to the fact that we wouldn’t be able to see it. Again, this goes back to the “2 days is enough time to see Venice” argument. ๐Ÿ™„ Even at 4 days, it is hard to cram all that Venice has to offer in, but we actually stumbled upon this place by mistake! Funny because it is apparently one of the harder things to find!

It is a rather ordinary bookstore, but go back to the very back, and you have this staircase made of books! The book lover in me felt bad for books that had been out in the rain, but once I told myself they were probably mostly encyclopedias anyway, I felt better about it. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Venice is a gorgeous place. Out of all the cities we went to in Italy, I think it was my favorite. It was less stressful because there are no cars(More on that in a future entry๐Ÿ˜‚) and it is so quiet at night it’s unbelievable, also due to the fact that there are no cars, making it the polar opposite of another place we stayed in, Castellamarre di Stabia, where it literally sounded like Vespas were going to come crashing through the windows of our VRBO we stayed at! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ

Venice is a place I’d reccomend ANYone go to. It’s one of the prettiest places in the world and truly a wonder.

Dragon Lights Festival ๐Ÿ‰

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Hey, guys! Long time no blog. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ I apologize for being gone for the better part of a month and a half—I’ve finally returned from Italy and life has been…well, life. It wouldn’t be a vacation if you didn’t come home to unexpected things happening, am I right? I’m so ready to go on another one lately, just with the way things have been going! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™„

But ANYways, enough excuses! I thought I’d share some pictures from a beautiful lantern festival I went to recently! After this post, I promise I will be writing some blog posts about all that we got to do and see in Italy! And sharing so many pictures! ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡นAnd if you don’t want to wait on me(I’m still kind of on Italian time. It’s so cool, they’re never in a rush to do things over there!๐Ÿ˜‚) you can check out some of my vlogs on my YouTube Channel! ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOeL03NmymfgJ7XKBBmYueg

So, about a week and a half ago, I went with some friends to The Dragon Lights Festival ๐Ÿ‰, a traveling festival that goes around the country, teaching things about Chinese culture! There are dancers, performers, and of course, thousands of colorful paper lanterns!

I also got to have an impromptu photo shoot with my friends, which was so neat! The kimono I used in these pictures is actually for sale on my Etsy page! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ My grandmother actually had the great idea to take pictures of it at the festival, even though it’s Japanese, of course, and I love how the pictures turned out! If you want to see more pictures, here is the link to our Etsy shop!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/EdisonsPlace?ref=seller-platform-mcnav

Have any of my readers out there been to a lantern festival? Or any kind of cultural festival? I think they are so neat! Not only were the lanterns so pretty, but it is neat to soak up other people’s cultures and get an appreciation for their traditions!

You can kind of see in the pictures, but it was an overcast and cloudy night, but thankfully, the rain held back for us!

I hope everyone else has been doing great! ๐Ÿ˜„ I can’t wait to share some of my Italian adventures with you all!