My Friend Alexa 2019

I Left My Heart In Italy

I Left My Heart In Italy

It may sound corny, but really, you can’t help but fall in love with beautiful Italy. The fact that Italians are a lot like Indians in behaviour and attitude, reinforces this!

The Train Journey:

We reached Italy by train from Switzerland. The train journey is a story in itself. The fantastic, clean, and super fast SBB train takes you from Lucerne in Switzerland to Venice, Italy in 7 hours 20 min, through Milan. We clocked 250 mph at one point. And it felt like we were floating! You can see the speed displayed in the monitor in front of you as you travel. The ride is through beautiful tunnels. Its amazing the number of tunnels the Swiss have dug under the Alps. Its an engineering marvel! You can see the machinery used for this phenomenal task in the Mining Museum in Lucerne.

We had planned and booked hotels in Italy for our journey. The hotels were all located conveniently close to the stations. Our plan was to go from Venice to Florence, Pisa and then Rome before we flew out of Da Vinci Airport in Rome. We had deliberately planned the train ride through these two countries to experience this scenic ride.

view of the countryside while riding a train through Italy
View from the SBB train from Lucerne to Venice.

Venice

Venice turned out to be everything we have ever read about it. People had warned us (older people) not to stay in Venice as there was no way to transport your luggage except by dragging it around. The most comfortable way is to stay in a hotel on the mainland and travel to Venice for sightseeing.

We took a grand tour of the three famous islands in Venice. There are actually 118 islands in Venice connected by bridges and boats. Murano, Burano and Torcello. are three popular islands to visit. Murano glass is well-known and we had a chance to see glass making in action. You can buy some of the famous Murano glass after the tour too.

Burano island leaves every woman breathless with its exquisite lace! The finish, the designs are sooo beautiful! If you can afford it do buy a piece of lace to remember your visit by. Authentic Italian lace!

St. Marks Square, gondolas, the walks near the Grand Canal, it is a marvelous place.

Gondolas parked on both sides of a small canal in Venice
The by-lanes of Venice. Pretty much everyone owns a boat !

After an overnight stay in Venice we left for Florence and Pisa the next day. its a short ride by train. Here you will be using the Italian train system either Trenitalia or Italo. The ride is as much fun as the destination! There are trains throughout the day, so you can plan your trip easily.

Photo of St. Mark's Square
The Iconic St. Marks Square.

Florence:

Stay in Florence and visit Pisa by car or bus from there. We stayed at a hotel just opposite the small train station in Florence. It was a grand old hotel. By that evening we were at the Leaning Tower of Pisa. You can’t go there or anywhere without a horde of tourists around. Shopping is interesting as is the food! Authentic Italian food! We stopped for lunch at a small restaurant and dined on lasagna and cannoli!

The Leaning Tower of Pisa with tourists swarming around
Don’t expect to go to Italy in the tourist season and not see people!
Two men dressed as sadhus. one of them sitting on a stick - both with folded legs and long robes.
These guys just happened to be meditating just outside the Tower! A friend of mine said they were still at it a year later when she visited Pisa!

Rome:

Rome! So excited to be here! Hundreds of years of history! The Colosseum took me back to gladiators and lions. the blood that must have been shed here. the terror, the crazed crowds…

The ancient Colosseum in Rome

My thoughts flew to the book The Last Days of Pompeii. Our wonderful guide was such a proud Italian! He was so proud of the fact that here is the cradle of western civilization – a thousand years of history. It is amazing to think that so much has survived as witness to the events of the past.

The Pantheon
The Pantheon
Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain – don’t forget to throw a coin into the fountain and make a wish that you will come back!

The buildings are so ornate, the cobbled streets, the slow life is fascinating. We observed that all the houses still had antenna for Free-to-Air TV in Rome! No dish or cable where we were staying! And this was in the 21st century!

Vatican City:

Our visit to Rome would be incomplete without a visit to Vatican city. Early morning at 8 am we waited at the gates of the City and our tour guide led us in. I was awestruck by the awesome museum, the Sistine Chapel, Renaissance frescoes, the Raphael rooms. I gaped with open-mouth at Michelangelo’s fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. – awed at finally ‘seeing’ God give life to Adam.

Fresco on ceiling in Sistine chapel, Vatican city

Never mind those rude Vatican guards. I was surprised to see how harsh they are. No one has taken the trouble to sensitise them to the fact that tourists are eager to see these beautiful, sacred places.

Da Vinci airport: Time to head home after a trip of a lifetime.

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48 thoughts on “I Left My Heart In Italy”

  1. One of my dear friends is traveling to this country in the coming week and I definitely forwarding this blog to her. This place is definitely in my soon to travel list and after reading such a beautiful post, I so want to visit it soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember learning about the Leaning Tower of Pisa in school. At that time, I felt it was some story until I researched some more and found it real. And how are those babas sitting, one in the air?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This post brought back so many lovely memories for me! I loved Italy too! I missed out on Venice though. Practically every street corner seems to have some or the other monument, the whole city of Rome is a treasure trove of history!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are lucky to see the world

    I wish one day i also visit some places outside india

    Well you make me picturized the Italy and it was so so good

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I missed Venice during my last visit and from then onwards, planning to go back again. I loved Rome and Florence a lot. The museums are the best I can say, I wouldn’t get bored even I have to spend days touring them.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. An amazing post and such beautiful photographs. As an armchair traveler, I am so glad to have seen Venice, Florence, Rome, and Vatican through you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Italy is in my bucket list for this winter and hope I would not fail to tick it off. Its indeed so beautiful that I am not surprised you left your heart there πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have never been to Italy. But felt like I am in Italy while reading your post. Beautiful pictures and very expressive style of writing.

    Like

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