Europe: Second stop, Italy

From what I’ve heard from my friends, I needed at least a week in Italy to travel through the main tourist cities such as Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan because this place is huge! After some quick research on to gos and to dos in Italy, I settled for Rome (4 days 3 nights), Florence (4 days 3 nights) and Venice (2 days 1 night). From here on out, I was travelling by train.

Rome was, again… huge! From the buildings to the roads, the structure of the city was old but big in proportion. I first visited the Vatican museum. The most interesting part was definitely the Gregorian Egyptian Museum and the one section that bored me was the Pinacoteca where they kept ancient artworks as I find the paintings looked similar. Then again, I’m not really into this sort of art. The Spanish Steps which was on the recommended to-do list was disappointing as hoards of tourists gathered at this area and instead of looking at the steps, I saw human heads. An even bigger letdown was the Trevi fountain as it was under construction work. Such a pity! The Pantheon was as magnificent as its depiction on TV channels such as Discovery Channel or History Channel. However, the one attraction site that takes the cake was the Colosseum. On the evening of my last night in Rome, I dropped by St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican city.

View of the garden from the Gregorian Egyptian Museum in Vatican Museum.

View of the garden from the Gregorian Egyptian Museum in Vatican Museum.

Vatican Museum : Of high ceilings and strong necks. This was captured while walking towards Sistine Chapel.

Vatican Museum : Of high ceilings and strong necks. This was captured while walking towards Sistine Chapel.

Behold the Spanish Steps... filled with humans. They're everywhere!

Behold the Spanish Steps… filled with humans. They’re everywhere, people watching!

Utter disappointment at the Trevi Fountain. Also, the skies looked like it was about to pour and it did.

Utter disappointment at the Trevi Fountain. Also, the skies looked like it was about to pour and it did.

The oculus at the dome's apex where rain will pour in and be drained out.

The Pantheon: The oculus at the dome’s apex where rain will pour in and be drained out.

Nothing more to say about this except taking in the spectacular view.

Inside the Colosseum: Nothing more to say about this except taking in the spectacular view.

Sunset at St. Peter's Square.

Sunset at St. Peter’s Square.

After Rome, my friend suggested that for one of the days of our stay in Florence, we would do a non-touristy activity. She proposed a wine tasting tour at Tuscany. It was the best decision we made as we got to retreat to the countryside for a change of scenery. At our hostel, we befriended Margarita who was from Spain and Marcy hailed from Orange County, California. This is one of the perks of being a backpacker in that you get to meet new people from all walks of life. Further, there was a fashion fair going on when we were in Florence and the locals would dress fancy and head out to meet with friends. For tourists such as myself, it was like a free fashion show! The experience was quite amusing as this is something I’d never see in Malaysia.

A change of scenery in Tuscany, Florence with grey skies and green fields.

A change of scenery in Tuscany, Florence with grey skies and green fields.

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After the rain.

Wine tasting with salami on bread.

Wine tasting with salami on bread.

The Florence Cathedral. Sunny weather which was great for pictures!

The Florence Cathedral. Sunny weather which was great for pictures!

Venice was amazing! Such a shame that I was only there for a night, I should’ve stayed longer as it wasn’t as crowded and hot as Rome. The entire city was surrounded by water and it was breezy. I got to explore the Venetian alleyways and I also saw the local kids playing football.

Another side of Venice, tranquility and still waters.

Another side of Venice, tranquility and still waters.

Whilst exploring the Venetian alleyways, smileeee!

Whilst exploring the Venetian alleyways, smileeee!

Piazza San Marco, where all the tourists and pigeons in Venice were.

Piazza San Marco, where all the tourists and pigeons in Venice were.

Candid moment with me teaching this little boy I met on how to get close to the pigeons. I still remember he said to me as he pouted after the pigeons flew away from him, 'Aw, they must really not like me...'. How adorable is that!

Candid moment caught by my friend with me teaching this little boy I met on how to get close to the pigeons. I still remember he said to me as he pouted after the pigeons flew away from him, ‘Aw, I don’t think they like me…’. How adorable is that!?

How did I feel about Rome? Frankly, I didn’t enjoy much. It was mainly the environment. It was hot and dusty. Aside from that, I know this sounds ridiculous despite myself as a tourist, I got really tired of bumping into other tourists everywhere I go, especially tour groups (Avoid them like the plague!). Plus, when I got to Roma Termini, I could already see gypsies and scammers prowling out and about. It was as if the whole station was a savannah, and these hyenas were hunting for preys. But, the highlight of my stay in Rome was my graceful hosts, Florencia and Nicola. I couchsurfed at their place and I really got to know the local culture. They were very friendly and generous. So, a big grazie to them! As for Florence, there wasn’t much to do and Venice was memorable.

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