Italy — Lo Stivale — The Boot –home of all things Italiano, such as romance, pizza, gelato, leather, murano glass, and lots of vino!
To get the flavor of Italy, it is good to visit more than one city. A fine circuit to get a bit of a taste is Bologna, Florence, and Venice.
On a recent romantic getaway trip, my husband and I stayed in Bologna for three days and were fortunate to attend the chocolate festival known as the culinary epicenter of Italy. We booked our accommodation via Booking.com like we normally do and we were very happy with the hotel where we stayed. Bologna annually hosts an event on the magic of chocolate, called Ciocco Show. All the best chocolate sellers of Italy gather to showcase their chocolate. And was there chocolate! Even chocolate high heel shoes. soccer boots, typical chocolate from the Bolgogna region in the photo below, massive chocolate fountains drizzled over freshly cut strawberries and topped with whipped cream (so delicious!).
Top off a bit of perfect chocolate with “the best” cappuccino (we´re pretty sure we heard the Italians say “cappuccini”) in the world, and eyes roll back, head turns toward the sky, with the taste of coffee (and chocolate) on your lips! Could it get any better..?
Of course, one can’t go to Bologna and not have the famous pizza from Pizzeria Due Torri. Huge slices of this scrumptious pizza, with its typical Italian sourdough base for a pittance of 2€ each. We even went back on the last day to have it one last time, for breakfast, before we headed back to the airport. Super Yummy-licious!!
In Bologna, we hired a Fiat 500 with a sun roof (how cute is it!?), and drove the quintessential Tuscan countryside to Florence (Firenze as the Italians call it). This drive was beautiful!
It is a relatively short drive (by the way, it is us driving there, in the video above), under two hours, but you can make it as lovely and romantic as desired in driving the winding roads of the Tuscan countryside. And pump up the Italian tunes! When in Italy, do as the Italians do and listen to Italian music!
Florence at Sunset… is this beautiful or what? Watch our magical stroll next to the Arno River, serenaded by the this beautiful violin. Florence at night is just as magical. Watch the street puppet show we saw here. This city amazed me! I didn´t know what to expect but now I can tell you it´s a MUST to visit when you go to Italy!
Once we arrived in Florence, we were overtaken by the sheer number of alluring venues. Our eyes ached from the Renaissance beauty; it took our breath away. From the Piazzale Michelangelo, to the Duomo – Cathedral of Santa Maria del Flore, to the Accademia and Uffizi Galleries, to the Piazza della Signoria, it was a consensus that one day was not enough time for this city’s artistic and architectural heritage.
From Florence we drove just under three hours to Venice.
Ah, Venice, the city of love.
Ever wanted to go Punting in Venice on a Gondola with your own chauffeur? Do it! It´s a form of art.. it´s beautiful, not to mention ROMANTIC! In the second photo below the guys were actually arguing with one another. About what, I don´t know, but it was funny to see!
Let´s talk pizza, shall we? Just look at it! I absolutely loved the sour dough pizza bases they use for their pizzas in Italy (well the ones we had in Italy). It makes a huge difference in the taste of the pizza! Note to self: learn how to make sour dough pizza bases!
VENICE. Oh Venice! With its intricate transport system of interconnected canals, it is the perfect setting for one of the most romantic cities in Europe. We decided to park the car outside the city for 4€, then took the bus for 3€, and hopped on the Vaporetto (water taxi) for 7.50€ each way. We learned quickly that the #1 and #2 make various stops, while the #5.2 is “fast”. You could also park in the multi level parking at Piazza Roma (right next to where you take the vaporetto) at 28€.
Here, in Venice, we noticed the retail shops had quite expensive merchandise, there were some really beautiful stuff displayed in the windows! Super pricey! A handbag at 20,000€ for example. We then saw the famous skew towers and Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) in the two photos above. It´s filled with centuries of history. St. Mark’s church is at one end, the Campanile bell tower in the middle, and colonnaded famous cafes on three sides. It is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon in Venice.
In the evening, we enjoyed a glass of limoncello (at 10€ a shot, I might add) on a rooftop overlooking the city (imagine that.. something I surely won´t forget!). Then we ate ice cream at the White Galateria with its many, fabulous ice cream flavors, tasted famous Conti (pistachio flavour) and mini Cannolis. Probably the best cannolis I´ve ver tasted!
Overall, I found Italy a beautiful country to visit. Even more than I thought I would. We spoke Spanish and the locals spoke Italian. The similarity in these two languages was enough that we were able to understand each other. I´m not kidding..!
These three cities gave a fantastic overview of Italy and the trip was a nice getaway from the demands of work and family. We could just be together and we LOVED every second of it! I can´t wait to go back and explore more cities! Rome, Milan and Pisa HERE WE COME!
On our way home at the Bologna Airport (which by the way has a super high tech security system that you pass through before boarding) we just happened to pass the Ferrari store and see this…
If you´re a F1 junkie, like my hubby, this might make your day (Hey, I do have some guys reading this blog!). Or perhaps your husband is one 🙂 The merchandize in this store is super impressive! Even little Ferrari onesies for babies… so cute!!
Have you been to Italy before? If so, where? Let me know in the comments! I would love to know! Oh and one more thing.. I took these photos on my Samsung Galaxy smartphone because I forgot (yes silly me!) my DSLR camera at home. I want to know what do you guys think of the quality of the photos, are they good enough for the blog?
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