After leaving the manor for the last time, my friends and I took off on a ten day adventure across Italy and Greece. In the last week and a half of April, we managed to see five cities, check off countless bucket list items, and eat way too much Italian and Greek food (but if I’m being honest, our diet was mostly gelato). Here are my favorite parts and quick bits about of each city we explored!
First stop, Roma! We stayed in Rome for about a day and a half to start off our adventure. While in Rome, we saw the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Colosseum, the Vatican City, and the Spanish Steps. That’s five good checks for my bucket list.
My favorite part of Rome was definitely the Trevi Fountain. It was gorgeous, and I felt like Hilary Duff. Although Rome was beautiful and had a lot to see, it was definitely a very crowded and touristy city. It was pretty difficult to get a good photo at the Colosseum, we were constantly being hounded to buy selfie-sticks on the street, and a lot of the food options were touristy and overpriced.
The Vatican City especially ended up being a little stressful and disappointing. Being a Catholic, visiting the Sistine Chapel has been a lifelong dream of mine. Arriving in the city we were met with huge crowds, insane lines, and tourist-type salespeople every few feet asking us to buy their fast passes and more selfie sticks. We didn’t even get into the chapel because the line would’ve taken us hours. The Vatican City was beautiful and I am so happy that I was able to go, it just didn’t feel as special as I had hoped. I hope to come back someday to get the full experience with more time to explore the city and the chapel.
Next stop, Florence! Arriving in Florence was like a breath of fresh air after leaving the crowded and touristy city of Rome. Florence was beautiful and had so much to offer. For the most part, we just walked around and explored different areas of Florence. We went to Piazza della Signoria, Piazzale Michelangelo, shopped at the leather market, took in the views from the gorgeous bridges, and ate a lot. Like A LOT.
Our bellies were full of Italian cappuccinos, pasta, pizza, and way too much gelato. We had the luck of being there the same time as a gelato festival, so of course we had to go. And I’m not kidding we literally tried 19 different kinds of gelato. I thought I’d never be able to look at gelato again.
Overall, Florence was a gorgeous city. There were less big touristy places to see, but still plenty to keep us busy. I loved the relaxed feel of the city and there was still so much to do (and eat).
While we were in Florence, we were only about two and a half hours away from Cinque Terre. So, we decided to take a train one morning and spend a day there!
Cinque Terre is a beautiful string of seaside towns on the eastern Italian coast. It’s the type of place you see in pictures and think that it has to be edited. But nope, it really exists and it’s really as beautiful as the internet make it look.
We planned our day to spend 8 hours in Cinque Terre. Unfortunately, it was an extremely rainy day, so we weren’t able to enjoy the hiking or beautiful beaches that Cinque Terre has to offer. This left us heading into the towns which honestly didn’t have as much to offer as we expected.
Overall, it was a beautiful trip but we probably planned to spend a bit too much time there considering the season and the weather. I would love to go back and spend a day hiking, boating, and beaching there.
Our last stop in Italy was Venice! Venice was on the top of my city bucket list this semester, and it did not disappoint. Literally every turn, every street, and every canal was picture-perfect. I took way too many pictures.
The food, shopping, gelato, and sightseeing was all amazing. My only regret was not being able to travel to the nearby islands of Murano and Burano. The day we planned to head out it was absolutely pouring outside, and the ferry system that goes to the islands was closed. Still, Venice was beautiful and we fell in love. Although there aren’t as many big sights there, you could spend days getting lost on the winding streets and canals.
For our very last day in Europe we flew to Crete, Greece to stay in the beautiful oceanfront town of Chania. Oh my it was perfect. We stayed in the most beautiful hotel, we were right on the water, close to countless restaurants and the best shopping I’ve seen all semester. Greek food was amazing, the town wasn’t touristy, and we watched our last sunset of the semester on the beach.
Absolutely perfect. 10/10 would recommend.
I feel so so lucky to have been able to spend the last ten days of my semester exploring Italy and Greece. The cities, sights, food, shopping, monuments, and people I was with made this trip absolutely perfect (and my favorite of the semester).
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