Home again from Italy!

July 06, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

iowa-wedding-photographeriowa-wedding-photographer Italy was beautiful.  I miss it already!  But I'm happy to be home, over my jet-lag, and sleeping in my own bed.  Mostly, I am so excited to get back to wedding season!  Cannot wait to get back to work again at tomorrow's wedding!

I know it's probably photo overload, but here are some images from our trip.

Italy-001Italy-001 Our first stop was Venice.  We got into Italy in the early afternoon and spent the day wandering Venice.  It was amazing! Italy-002Italy-002 Italy-007Italy-007 Italy-014Italy-014 We stopped by the Church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari.  It took me back to art history class in college.  I wish I had remembered more, but what I could remember was so much fun.  To see some of the triptychs and artworks I'd learned about in person was awe inspiring! Italy-024Italy-024 The "roads" throughout Venice were waterways and the sidewalks were pretty much alleys.  It was an adventure to navigate. Italy-033Italy-033 I loved all the architecture and had fun photographing some of the small, intricate fixtures on the doors and buildings. Italy-035Italy-035 This was the first of what became a daily tradition while we were there: afternoon gelato!!  Yum!!!  This was coffee and chocolate.  So good! Italy-038Italy-038 Taking the water taxi to the Piazza San Marco. Italy-041Italy-041 A view of the Bridge of Sighs from the channel. Italy-043Italy-043 Italy-050Italy-050 A couple views of Venice from above, a sea of terracotta roofs and water. Italy-052Italy-052 Italy-055Italy-055 Italy-060Italy-060 Lunch!  Langostinos, potatoes, and polenta paired with a Venetian white wine.  Italy-070Italy-070 After lunch, we went to the Doge's Palace.  Such beautiful architecture, art, and filled with history.  We crossed the Bridge of Sighs while we were toured and watched the gondolas below. Italy-084Italy-084 Italy-092Italy-092 Italy-097Italy-097 Lemon and raspberry gelato! Italy-103Italy-103 Italy-117Italy-117 We only had one full day in Venice and it was such a beautiful, wonderful experience.  Italy-124Italy-124 Italy-131Italy-131 Our next stop was Florence.  Our first stop was the Galleria dell'Accademia, where we were able to see Michelangelo's David, several of his unfinished sculptures, and so much more.   Italy-139Italy-139 After the Galleria, we wandered Florence and enjoyed it's GORGEOUS Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore from the piazza around it.  The marble on the facade was so intricate and stunning, made of green, white, and red marble.   Italy-148Italy-148 The Florence area is known for it's beef.  There were many butchers and restaurants that displayed some gorgeous steaks in their windows.  We'll circle back to steaks in a bit. Italy-153Italy-153 We usually stopped back by the hotel for a quick nap each day in the late afternoon.  We didn't rent a car at all, so we were walking everywhere (we took public transportation between cities, but walked everywhere otherwise) and it wears you out after a long day of trekking around the city and wandering museums.  It really worked out wonderfully.  In Italy, they typically eat later in the evening, so most of the authentic restaurants didn't open until 8:00.  So after our naps, we were ready for an evening out.  It helps that we don't usually sit down to eat until 7:30 at home anyway. Italy-158Italy-158 We explored Florence.  We went to the Baptistry of St. John, climbed Giotto's Bell Tower (414 stairs!!), went to the Uffizi Gallery and wandered the Boboli Gardens.  Italy-162Italy-162 A view from our walk across Florence. Italy-170Italy-170 The ceiling in St. John's Batistry and the original doors, which are preserved behind glass in the museum. Italy-199Italy-199 400+ steps later, a beautiful view of the city from the bell tower. Italy-200Italy-200 The best gelato we had the whole trip was the dark chocolate we had in Florence.  It was so good!  I will dream of it forever...  Yum! Italy-205Italy-205 Italy-213Italy-213 Wandering the gardens was so peaceful and had beautiful views.  It was a beautiful way to spend part of the afternoon. Italy-215Italy-215 Italy-219Italy-219 Italy-220Italy-220 Italy-222Italy-222 On our way back to the hotel for our daily nap, we were SO fortunate to happen upon a parade that was heading to the final match of the Calcio Storic Fiorentino, a game played in the city dating back to medieval times.  Such a fun surprise!! I loved seeing all the costumes!  Of course we headed back to the hotel to watch some of the match!

Italy-223Italy-223 Italy-230Italy-230 Italy-233Italy-233 Italy-240Italy-240 Italy-250Italy-250 Italy-253Italy-253 Later that evening, we headed out for supper.  Josh was brave and ordered one of the giant steaks.  I should have helped him out with it, but I really wanted to try the soup (which was the best tomato soup I've ever had in my life!!) and some simple carpaccio. Italy-255Italy-255 Italy-257Italy-257 Italy-258Italy-258 The next day, we took a day trip to Cinque Terre. Italy-261Italy-261 Cinque Terre consists of five cities nestled along the coast.  We were able to explore 4 of the 5 cities. Italy-262Italy-262 Italy-265Italy-265 The water was so blue! Italy-270Italy-270 It was amazing to see how the cities were nestled within the hills of the coast. Italy-279Italy-279 Italy-282Italy-282 Did I mention how beautifully blue the water was? Italy-288Italy-288 Italy-291Italy-291 The drink pictured above was amazing!  We often stopped for afternoon espressos, but this was the best.  It's an affogato, espresso over gelato.  Possibly the best thing ever!! Italy-293Italy-293 This is just a quick shot out the window of the bus as we headed back to Florence.  See the white in the mountains?  Those are marble mines. Italy-300Italy-300 I'm not so sure how "traditional" this pizza is, but it was so delicious!  It was made with real mozzarella, made with water buffalo milk.  I know that probably sounds weird, but it was so yummy!!!  We actually ended up ordering another! Italy-303Italy-303 Our next adventure was to Pisa.  I'm so glad we went.  The leaning tower was fine.  Fun to see and hilarious to watch the lines of people doing the "holding up the tower so it doesn't fall" photo opt, but I enjoyed the piazza around it.  The piazza was grassy instead of the cobble-stoned piazzas we'd seen elsewhere.  The baptistry and cathedral were stunning.  We walked the medieval city walls and enjoyed a beautiful view of the piazza and the city beyond. Italy-306Italy-306 Italy-310Italy-310 Italy-314Italy-314 Italy-322Italy-322 Italy-323Italy-323 Dinner back in Florence was amazing.  I enjoyed some lamb and Josh's wild boar pasta dish was fantastic.  I miss the food in Italy so much already!! Italy-324Italy-324 After Florence, we were off to the beautiful city of Siena.  I got a kick out of our hotel key.  The tassel on this was huge!  Of course, you're not meant to carry the key with you as you wander the town.  They keep it at the front desk while you are out. Italy-327Italy-327 Siena is an amazing city that remains fairly untouched by the changing times.  It wasn't really damaged in the various wars throughout the years.  Each day we entered the city through the city walls.  Kind of cool! Italy-328Italy-328 Italy-334Italy-334 The cathedral was STUNNING!  Black and white marble throughout.  Seriously, this is not a facade.  Even the broom cupboard walls were made of black and white marble.  Italy-337Italy-337 Unfortunately, the plans to continue building were put on hold ages ago.  There are many partially finished walls near the cathedral. Italy-338Italy-338 SO GORGEOUS!!! Italy-352Italy-352 Most of the year, the floors are covered to protect the mosaics, but we were fortunate enough to visit while they were uncovered.  The mosaic below depicts the story of Romulus and Remus. Italy-358Italy-358 Italy-361Italy-361 While we were in Siena, they were preparing for Palio de Siena, a bareback horse race in the piazza that dates back to medieval times.  Each of the city's 17 contrade, smaller communities within the city, have a rider and the winner of the race earns a large purse for their community.  We happened to walk past a courtyard down an alleyway where performers were practicing for their parade to the piazza. Italy-362Italy-362 Italy-363Italy-363 We enjoyed a small afternoon snack in the piazza.  Then went exploring.  You could tell which community you were in by the light fixtures.  I don't think we were able to get to them all, but we did see many rams, fish, unicorns, dragons, shells, towers, and more. Italy-375Italy-375 Italy-386Italy-386 One day while in Siena, we took a day trip to some Tuscan wineries near San Gimignano.  It was a beautiful excursion! Italy-392Italy-392 Italy-403Italy-403 Italy-406Italy-406 Italy-407Italy-407 Italy-408Italy-408 On our last morning in Siena, we took a few anniversary portraits (thankful for compact tripods and phone apps that connect to my DSLR).  Then, we went to get a few gifts for family.  It just so happened that was the morning the contrade marched to the piazza to kick off the games for the horse race.  I cannot even express how thankful we are that we happened upon so many AMAZING traditions and celebrations while we were traveling!!! Italy-402Italy-402 Our last stop was Rome.  We had enough time on the day we arrived to visit the Museo Nazionale Romano, which was fabulous. Italy-430Italy-430 Italy-431Italy-431 We lucked out and got to watch a beautiful fireworks show while we were wandering Rome. Italy-435Italy-435 Trevi Fountain at night was gorgeous, super crowded, but beautiful. Italy-440Italy-440 We ended up back at Trevi Fountain the next day while on a tour of Rome (which was amazing, our tour guide was so knowledgeable and we had plenty of time to explore).  We were told that tossing in two coins would mean you will return and have success in love.  Well, we're already pretty awesome about the being in love and married thing, but there's nothing wrong with wishing for love to continue to grow and thrive.  Plus, I think we should definitely return there someday! Italy-444Italy-444 Italy-446Italy-446 Yep, more gelato.  I have zero regrets about the amount of gelato I consumed on this trip. Italy-450Italy-450 On our tour of Rome, we stopped by the Pantheon.  It's been converted to a Catholic church now, but it was still fun to experience.  It is hard to fully wrap my head around how old it is, as are so many of the structures and ruins in Rome.  Amazing! Italy-452Italy-452 Italy-454Italy-454 After our morning tour of Rome, we headed to Vatican City.  What an experience!  We were able to see the Sistine Chapel, though photos are prohibited so I do not have any images from that.  The room, which was huge, was packed full of people.  It was kind of crazy! Italy-460Italy-460 Italy-463Italy-463 Our final stop on the Vatican tour was St. Peter's Basilica.  The afternoon light coming through the windows at the base of the dome was so beautiful! Italy-468Italy-468 Italy-475Italy-475 We stopped for a drink and snack along the river as we made our way back toward the area of town where we were staying.  It was so peaceful! Italy-479Italy-479 We had a great time wandering the city on our way back. Italy-483Italy-483 Italy-487Italy-487 Bright and early the next morning, we headed over to the Colosseum.  It was a super-long line waiting to get in, probably because we went on "free admission" day, but it was quite the experience wandering the Colosseum. Italy-495Italy-495 Italy-496Italy-496 Italy-498Italy-498 After the Colosseum, we wandered the Roman Forum and the ruins around it.  It was one of the highlights of our time there for me.  The land was privately owned until recent times, so it remained pretty much untouched.  Kind of amazing!  You may noticed the walls have a regular series of holes in them.  That is where the marble facade was held in place, but over the years the marble was taken and the metal pins holding it were repurposed. Italy-506Italy-506 Italy-509Italy-509 The poppies around the ruins were beautiful. Italy-518Italy-518 Italy-522Italy-522 Italy-523Italy-523 A city view from the area around the Piazza del Popolo. Italy-531Italy-531 Italy-532Italy-532 Italy-533Italy-533 Italy-536Italy-536 Our final meal in Italy.  It was bittersweet getting ready to say goodbye.  We explored so much, but there is still so much art and history and culture yet to experience there.  I'm so thankful for our time in Italy.  It was a perfect 15 year delayed honeymoon!  Italy-542Italy-542 I hope you enjoyed this very brief overview of our travels!!  It was amazing!


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