my time in italy was, well, amazing to say the least. it was full of site-seeing and exploring scenic venice, historical milan, and magical florence.
oh, and also gelato, gelato, and more gelato!
(at least 4 scoops a day. shhhhhh)
one time one of our gelato's cone was filled to the brim with fresh melted milk chocolate (you could choose between milk, dark or white) and then 2 scoops of delightfully rich gelato set on time. the gelato was so cold it froze the chocolate in the cone.
our last night in italy, we wanted to go with a gelato bang. so we searched the streets of venice, sampling every stand of gelato until we found the GOLDEN shop. we weren't disappointed in the least. we even considered going back... but our body shapes said otherwise.
we spent our first and last day in venice. it was incredible. this lovely city on water holds so much magic within in narrow streets and endless bridges.
as you exit the train station, the scenic architecture and ambiance seem to be saying,
"welcome to venice"
since venice is built on water the public transportation is the vaporetto, which is boats that go from station to station across the city. it was fun to experience venice through her watery passage ways!
st. mark's square
st. marks basilica
we took the vaporetto across the canal to one of the neighboring islands of venice. we climbed to the tip top of a bell tower and got to look over the whole city of venice. the view was breathtaking.
on the vaporetto.. i promise i was not trying to get a picture of this man's backside. he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
the island of murano was our next stop. venice is known for it's glass, and murano is where most of it is produced. it's a quaint, non-touristy part of venice full of glass shops. there are glass blowing demonstrations everywhere, and even a glass museum! (biggest waste of 5 euro ever.. but it's ok!) it was fun to walk through all the shops and see all the different trinkets made from venetian glass.
after perusing the streets of murano for a bit, we headed over to the cemetery just a few vaporetto stops down the canal. it was quite the large cemetery with an interesting twist on how to bury people.
we also came across this little treasure:
sergei diaghilev's grave!
he was the founder of the russian ballet, and it was touching to come across his tombstone and find the many ballet slippers laid as a symbol of gratitude for diaghilev's contribution to the art of ballet.
once we made it back to the main island we spent the rest of our evening being chased
around by italian children with toy guns...
he took me down a few times.
and got quite the kick out of it.
enjoying the impeccable sunset on the canal...
and experienced our first real italian spaghetti!
our first day in venice was a success, and left us knowing we had to come back for more.
oh milan, how you hold one too many memories for me.
besides the ex-mental institution hostel with patients still roaming the halls we stayed in and the crowded metro filled to the brim with people who completely disregarded the use of deodorant, milan was great!
the BYU clan and dr. hinckley directing us
we climbed to the top of the roof, had loads of fun taking pictures among the ornate spires, and enjoyed the sunshine.
this is the church where da vinci's last supper is located. it was an answer to our prayers that we got to see it! our directors had told us they had heard it cost 70 euro to get in so we wouldn't be going as a group, but if we wanted to try going by ourselves we were more than welcome. well, you bet your bottom dollar we were going to try our hardest to see that painting! so me, alexis, aly, stewart, katherine, and paige headed over to the church willing to do almost anything for a way in. *note to self: always take a man with you when encountering this kind of dilemma. a few of us went inside, prepared to pay 50 € to get in, when to our dismay the ticket counters were covered with signs informing us tickets were sold out. me and aly turned around and started to mope to the door, but stewart insisted on seeing the last supper and began questioning all the employees on our options. one lady (who spoke very little english and was about as friendly as a cactus) told us there was no way we could get in, that the tickets were all sold out and we could try again in the morning. right when she finished her sentence, a nicer lady exchanged a few words with the cactus and the signaled us to her desk.
nice lady: "how many tickets do you need?"
stewart: "you mean for tomorrow?"
nice lady: "no, today at 12:45. how many?"
stewart: "you mean we can have as many as we need?? we'll take six!"
nice lady: "ok, that's 6.50 each."
all of us" 6.50?!?!?!?!?! huzzah!"
we came back half an hour later, and after 15 minutes of decompressing and an obnoxious asian lady getting smacked in the face with a sliding door, we made it into see the last supper.
words can't describe the beauty and emotion in that room, but all i can say is it was an incredible experience.
we then ventured over to the hold castle and found a nice spot in the gardens to relax and sip on a slushy. meanwhile, there were some young [italian] men playing soccer just a couple yards away from us. then it happened! all of the sudden, a white blur came careening from behind us headed directly for paiges thigh! then WHAM. it nailed her. (something you should know about me- i deal with other peoples misfortunes by laughing. it's terrible! i know, but it just seemed appropriate in this situation.)
well, you know how it's every girls dream to go to italy and play soccer with bunch of shirtless italian men? well ladies, our dreams came true! (feel free to live vicariously through me.) just as we were leaving they kicked the ball into the bush we were passing by.
well, i didn't want to be rude, so i picked it up and kicked it back to them!
for those of you who know me well, i'm extremely athletically coordinated. ahem. well, my first kick was pretty good! (see picture above) so they kept kicking it back to me and this went on for a good 5 minutes or so until i was laughing to hard to kick straight. plus, gelato was way over due.
the good luck trinket of milan
the city of art.
the city of scenery.
the city of beauty.
florence was my favorite city in italy. it had such a tuscany feel to it you couldn't help but love it! we saw different works of art from people like botticelli to michaelangelo, to titian.
i was able to snap this candid shot of michaelangelo's david, with the help of my friend becca. ok guys, this is one of the most amazing sculptures i've seen up to this point in my life. you would look at it and then, all of the sudden, have to remind yourself that it was stone.
waiting in line for the uffizi with janie and a mummy
when museum fatigue hit, we realized the the hinckley children seemed to live the posh life.
we climbed to the top of the duomo to overlook the city.
paige is the only one who looks good in this.
the view was to die for!
i'm a sucker for these orange rooftops, how about you?
we walked to the palace and enjoyed the breathtaking tuscany scenery.
the garden and palace
we decided to walk through the gardens of the palace, and soon found the 8 € were well worth it when we stumbled upon this view. we wanted to stay there for hours and would have if it wasn't our last day in florence and we still had things to do, places to see.
n.b.d. just creating a masterpiece out of chalk in the middle of the street.
we walked down to the flea market area of florence, known for their leather goodies. i had just purchased a leather journal along with some bracelets when we walked passed a leather vendor and it went like this:
leather vendor: you dropped something
me (extremely concerned): oh, thank you! turns around and begins searching for my dropped object
leather vendor: it was my heart, baby!
me: *realizes what's going on* BAHAHAHAHA! briskly walks away
leather vendor: this is why i'm hot! don't you wish your boyfriend was hot like me?
me: BAHAHAHAHA *never looks back*
well, i guess this is a step up from creepy old greek and french men.
at least he was italian..?
this is the boar of florence.
rumor has it, if you rub his nose it means you'll be coming back to florence.
well, that's my week in italy. i hope you can enjoy it as much as i did, but if you can't go there yourself! you won't regret it and you'll have the time of your life.