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Italy is the place I have promised myself to return to regularly over the course of my life. There is something about being in Italy that just fills me with sense of deep contentment. I had been to Rome previously, and my visits to Florence and Venice on this trip just continued to strengthen my affection for Italy. And if somehow I can ever pull off a destination wedding, I still want it to go down on the Amalfi Coast off Naples. Yes. Dream wedding.

Rome

As mentioned, this was not my first visit to Rome. The last time I went, only a couple summers ago, I was there for about two whole weeks. Still, there was a TON to see and do. Since the people I was traveling to hadn’t been to Rome before, they did a lot of the sights I didn’t feel the need to spend too much time at this time around. This meant I had some alone time, which was quite relaxing. As much as I enjoy traveling with a group, there’s something so wonderful about walking at your own pace and prioritizing your own desires – whether it be regarding what to see, what route to take or when/where to eat. The downside of the Rome leg of our trip is I fell ill and was bedridden for a couple days. I had to miss the trip to Naples. Luckily, I had seen it all before and plan to go back!

Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (this is the back!)

Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (this is the back!)

The "Wedding Cake"

The “Wedding Cake”

Castel Sant'Angelo

Castel Sant’Angelo

Piazza Republica

Piazza Republica

Ecstasy of Saint Teresa in Santa Maria della Vittoria

Ecstasy of Saint Teresa in Santa Maria della Vittoria

Rang in the New Year at the Colosseum - nbd.

Rang in the New Year at the Colosseum – nbd.

Florence

Florence stole my heart. So different from Rome, and still so amazing. Florence is quaint and charming, and thoroughly impressive at the same time. We stayed at an airbnb in Florence, which just added to the overall experience. It’s small enough that one quickly becomes familiar with the layout. I can’t think of a better place to have spent the first night of the new year. The time we spent atop Piazzale Michelangelo, taking in the live music and watching the sunset over the city, was pure bliss.

Basilica of Santa Croce, aka Temple of Italian Glories because of the greats who are buried there.

Basilica of Santa Croce, aka Temple of Italian Glories because of the greats who are buried there.

Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo

Ponte Vecchio -- old bridge lined with shops

Ponte Vecchio — old bridge lined with shops

With David!

With David!

Il Duomo - Basilica di Santa Maria

Il Duomo – Basilica di Santa Maria

Venice

Venice is water. I had heard the city is sinking and having been there, I believe it. While it’s absolutely gorgeous to have everything on water, it’s also a bit frightening. Overall, the food and winding streets in Venice made it a fun affair (though we were only there for a day).

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View from the Bridge of Sighs

View from the Bridge of Sighs

Crowded at this amazing little take-out-homemade pasta shop!

Crowded at this amazing little take-out-homemade pasta shop!

Beautiful St. Mark's Basilica

Beautiful St. Mark’s Basilica

I will likely be returning to Rome with my family in June. After that, my next trip to Italy will begin in Sicily and continue upward. When that will and who it will be with is yet to be determined, but that’s my plan!

 

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