While many people stay at home or go to school in this crazy pandemic, we instead went to a couple places in Italy. It has been my dream since the 6th grade to travel to Rome and see the ancient ruins. We drove 12 hours to Florence on a Wednesday and as we were driving into the city, we passed a street that led directly to the Duomo. Only my mom and I saw it as we were passing and my dad and brother were confused by our gasps. Our apartment was on the top floor (a lot of steps) and there was a giant porch that looked directly onto the Duomo and the main square.
We went to a couple museums where there were absolutely no tourists, a line that would usually take 3 hours took us 10 minutes. We went to see Michelangelo’s David and there were only 10(ish) people in there. Our Rick Steves audio guide warned us about crowds and how to book for tickets months in advance; we booked two days before. We also took a paper marbling class. To marble paper there were trays with water where we sprinkled a fancy type of paint using a certain brush. There are a bunch of different techniques that you use for the paper like swirling and using a comb. We didn’t get to pick our own colors but it was cool to see the different versions of each style that we all did. You set the paper on top of the water and peel it out. We were in Florence for four days and then drove to Rome for another four.
Our first night in Rome we went out to dinner because it was the last night in Italy where restaurants would be open past 6pm (due to COVID). After dinner we stumbled across the Pantheon, no tourists, and went to the Trevi Fountain to throw in the obligatory coins. We went on a food tour near the Colosseum and later a tour of the Vatican Museum. It was just us on the tour which was really nice because we could learn more about the art and when we were in the Sistine Chapel there were only 20 other people. We went to the Roman Forum and learned about archeological discoveries that our guide had made. We also went to the Colosseum which was amazing, that is the part of Rome that I wanted to see the most. I think it is so interesting how so much of it has been destroyed but it is still intact and gigantic. There used to be pieces of metal holding the structure together but they have been removed and turned into other things, so now it is standing on its own and is still in one piece.
Before we left the city my dad and I decided to go back to the Vatican and climb to the top. There was no one in line when we had our temperatures taken and only three groups in front of us when we went through security. I think we were the only people who used the stairs because we didn’t hear any voices when we were going up but at the top there was a decent number of people who I think took the elevator. It was a lot of fun and an insane amount of stairs but the view into the Vatican was amazing and we could see all the artwork that looked like paintings from far away but were actually made of countless small tiles. We have been to many other places since we last blogged but Italy has been my favorite. More updates on other subjects coming soon…