It’s been a week since we were back from our last stop in Rome. If you asked me what the highlight of my trip was, it was definitely missing the summer & gelati- as well as the magnificent heritage architectures that have become the general backdrop. As for cities/places, I would have to say Finale Ligure & Cinque Terre were my favourites. When we were in Italy, we’d duck into cafes each afternoon to sip espressos at the counter & people watch (well I would have a bibite of Cola or Cappuccinos in the morning) . It was such a nice ritual and the caffeine was necessary in order to continue our marathon walking tours of the cities. Since I’ve been back, I’ve noticed that at around 2-3pm everyday, I hit a slump. I feel sluggish and unproductive & the thought of brewing up a pot of hot coffee in Florence start drifting in. Since we are winter deep in Melbourne, here are several photos for just the refreshing jolt I need to power through the day. I miss you Italy.

IMG_5664_副本First portrait in Milan
IMG_5666Croissants & Brioches have become a regular breakfast staple for me in Italy
IMG_5675_副本Beautiful door knobs & knockers
IMG_5676_副本Santa Maria delle Grazie- The Last Supper IMG_5680_副本How to drink from the water fountains in MilanIMG_5699_副本via Dante shopping strip which leads to the Gothic Duomo (below)IMG_5702_副本Duomo di Milano, made entirely out of MarbleIMG_5705The many glass domes in the Vittorio Emanuele IIIMG_5707_副本Lucky ballsIMG_5716_副本San Simeone Piccolo- VeneziaIMG_5726_副本 IMG_5731_副本Outfit: Portmans jumpsuit from Camberwell Markets & Oroton Nylon baby backpack
IMG_5740_副本 IMG_5755_副本St Marks SquareIMG_5758_副本Campo Ghetto in VeneziaIMG_5760_副本
IMG_5769_副本DavidIMG_5780_副本Outfit: Rosebullet dress, Bata gladiatorsIMG_5781_副本 IMG_5784_副本Chianti, the specialty of TuscanyIMG_5795_副本San Gimiagno nunsIMG_5804_副本Tuscan HillsIMG_5808_副本Sangiovese grapesIMG_5814_副本My favourite time of the day. Favourite pick would be Pistachio flavour. must.try.
IMG_5823_副本Beautiful light & tiles from the Grand Excelsior Hotel- Amalfi CoastIMG_5824_副本 IMG_5833_副本St. Peters basilica ceilingsIMG_5835_副本 IMG_5841_副本Saint VeronicaIMG_5846_副本You can mail postcards from the Vatican CityIMG_5848_副本G outside the gigantic St Peters Basilica- Vatican City.

You can check out more photos of my trip by following me on Instagram @ellebambi

Here are the last couple of things I learnt during our last leg of the trip in Florence, Pisa, Amalfi Coast, San Gimiagno & Rome.

  • Did I already mention the crazy speed Italians drive on? The average is about 130KM & we had drivers tail gating us, who were doing about 150KM speed.
  • Florentine steak is just a T-Bone steak (Whilst it tastes amazing – I still personally feel, it can’t beat our Aussie steaks) We ate ours at Briganti
  • There are absolutely no KFCs in Italy overall
  • Get a little charm bracelet or gold jewellery from Florence as a memento
  • Wondering what to have for dinner? Why don’t you have an ‘Aperitivo‘ instead?
  • If you are wanting Chiantis, make sure to try the Chianti Classico, easily identified by the black rooster stamp on the neck of the bottle
  • You really only need to spend about 1 hr in Pisa
  • We stayed at the Grand Excelsior Hotel in Amalfi. Which is a relatively small hotel on top of a cliff. They don’t have much staff, so don’t expect a porter to take your bags to your room. It is relatively old with retro styling- I think the 60s-70s was its prime & they didn’t renovate since then.
  • The rest of our accommodation was through AirBnB
  • You can call, or in our case, we texted for cabs in Florence using this number:
    So.Co.Ta. taxi company, the number is: 334-6622550 or 333.8077555
    In the message, send the address where you need to be picked up (street and number).
    If it’s a restaurant, hotel, cinema or something like that, indicate the name of the place and add your last name to the message.
    You’ll get an SMS confirming your taxi with the name of the cab and the estimated time for it to arrive at your address
  • Uber it in Rome. So much better than cabs, but of course, slightly higher price. There is no Uber in Florence at all by the way
  • Go to the Colosseum at night or early in the morning. Pre-book all your tickets online which allows you to skip the queues
  • When visiting the Vatican City, don’t bother buying tickets online beforehand- there are many people offering ‘tours’ of the Vatican who will approach you outside. They bring you to a nearby office to purchase tickets & you go with a small group & a tour guide. We did buy tickets online prior, however trying to organise getting in, skipping the line etc was too overwhelming upon seeing the crowd & line outside the Vatican. One of those tour promoters also approached us & advised that our ticket only really included certain parts of the Vatican with no guide & reminded us that e.g. the Sistine Chapel has over 1000 rooms with no explanation of what is what. We paid another 60Euros in total & we skipped the line & went with a small group through the Vatican city- I guess not sure if we were ripped off, but after walking through room after room & what seemed like endless turning corridors & winding stairs, we were so thankful to have taken the tour. Plus there were just way too many people in there, I think it would have taken us a full day if it weren’t for the tour guide. P.S there was hardly any AC in there, so it is steaming HOT inside the buildings
  • I have only ever seen 2 McDonalds- one outside the Firenze SMN Station & one in Rome. C’mon, I know what you are thinking- why eat that when you are in great Italy. Well, why don’t you try to eat just Croissants in the morning, Pasta & Pizza with hardly any meat for lunch, dinner & supper everyday?

 I’ll try to think of more….