More from Venice and Milan

I know it’s been months since I returned from Italy, but I only just recently finished editing all of my photos. So, I thought I would share a few of my favorites from the last leg of our trip, which was spent in Venice and Milan (more here).

Rialto Bridge

Simply put, I fell head-over-heels in love with Venice. I don’t know how to swim and I have horrible allergies, so you would think that I would want to avoid a place that’s surrounded by water and teaming with dust and mold, right? Not so. From the pastel colors, to the mysterious alleyways to the way the sunlight sparkled off the water, it felt like being in a dream.

In terms of its food, Venetians have a nice little evening tradition of indulging in small snacks called chiccetti (like the tapas tradition in Spain). On our first night, we did a little crawl through the city to a few bars to sample a variety of crostini, salads, meatballs and local wines. These small bites range in price from 1.50 to 5 euros, so they are an excellent way to sample the cuisine of this otherwise expensive city. We also made a stop for afternoon coffee at Café Florian, which opened in 1720, making it the oldest café in Italy. It’s ridiculously overpriced, but the service is impeccable and the surroundings are filled with gorgeous chandeliers and works of art. If you sit at the bar instead of opting for table service, prices do come down a bit and they do give you a nice plate of cookies with your beverage.

One of my favorite moments included dinner on our last night in Venice. We sat right by one of the canals and enjoyed fresh seafood from La Rioba before going on a gondola ride. Although gondola rides are offered throughout the day, we liked going at night because the canals were less crowded. We felt like we had the whole place to ourselves, as all we could hear was the gentle lapping of the water against the boat and the occasional singing of our gondolier.

From Venice, we took the train to Milan, our final stop, which ended up being our least favorite part of the trip. We definitely were a bit exhausted and ready to come home by that point so that might have colored our experience a bit. But we didn’t find the people particularly friendly and everything was very expensive and trendy. It kind of reminded me of Beverly Hills.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, where everyone goes to shop

Two days was plenty of time for us to see the main sites, including The Last Supper, the Duomo and LaScala Opera House. The latter was a very cool experience because there was a rehearsal in progress when we visited. So, we got to experience the exquisite architecture and amazing voices that fill the hall each night for only 6 euros, a fraction of what it costs for a ticket to a performance.

Monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie, which houses the Last Supper.

My favorite meal in Milan was lunch at Luini, which serves panzerotti, a stuffed pizza that is a traditional street food of the region. It must be everyone’s favorite—tourists and locals alike—because there was a line out the door and a security guard on patrol making sure that customers didn’t cut in front of each other! There were a dozen flavors to choose from, including savory options like ham and cheese and sweet options like Nutella.

And, with that, friends, our tour of Italy has concluded. If you missed any of our stops, you can catch up here.

Our two weeks were truly an amazing experience and I miss it like crazy. I’ve probably looked at my pictures from the trip almost every day since our return. I don’t want to forget about everything that we saw, did and ate.

It’s time to start planning the next trip. My feet are getting itchy.

On the Road: Venice and Milan

We spent the last two days in Venice. Sadly, the Internets did not cooperate with us while we were there, but everything else about that city is absolutely amazing.

We had a full itinerary planned of museums and other sites to see over our two days there, but the minute we stepped out of the train station and caught a glimpse of the Grand Canal in front of us, those plans went out the window. Instead, we just wandered wherever the city took us.

image

Have you guys ever seen the great ’80s movie Labyrinth? Well, Venice is kind of like that (if you haven’t seen this fine film, I’m sad for you. Put it on your summer movie list, stat). It’s basically a series of little islands connected by bridges. And, within each section, there are little narrow alleys and passageways that lead to the city’s main squares.

image

Of course, this makes it pretty easy to get lost. Thankfully, my husband is pretty handy with a map.

We saw a few of the sites, like St. Mark’s Church and the Doges Palace, but, our favorite moments were just watching the boat traffic and the way that the water sparkled under the sun. We took a gondola ride as well, and yes, it’s touristy and overpriced, but it’s a lot of fun and a great way to appreciate the city.

In short, you need to put Venice on your travel bucket list. Someday, it will probably sink into the Adriatic Sea and you won’t want to have missed out.

Today, we arrived in Milan, which is our final stop before heading home on Sunday. The highlight for today was seeing Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”

image

It’s been a wonderful trip and we feel really fortunate to have been able to take it together and see and do so many awesome things. Traveling is truly one of my favorite things in the world.

If I don’t get around to posting tomorrow, hope you have enjoyed following along. I will have plenty more to share–including a lot of stuff about food and some of the 1000-plus photos I have taken–when I get back to the PHL!