A few days in Rome.

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When we were planning our trip to Italy, we came across a lot of negative feedback about tourist traps in Rome, so we were a bit apprehensive before our visit.  To our surprise, we didn’t encounter any unpleasant experiences during our stay. We stayed in HiSuite, a small hotel near Piazza Navona. It was an excellent location with easy access to cafes, restaurants and grocery shops. Interesting places like Ponte Saint Angelo or the Arc bridge was within walking distance.  We booked our sightseeing tour with a guide in advance. It didn’t disappoint us, as we were in a small group, didn’t have to wait in long queues and our guide could explain everything in English. We visited the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Roman Forum, Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel with our tour guide. We had dinner in the famous Alfredo alla Scrofa restaurant, said to be where Fettuccine originated. I personally didn’t like the Fettuccine dish they served, but the ‘live performance’ of preparing the fettuccine dish was excellent. The appetisers, meat and the deserts we tried at Alfredo were excellent.

We also visited Florence for a day trip, but unfortunately, it turned out to be a very rainy day within hours of our arrival. Here are a few photos we captured before it started pouring.

Family vacation in 2014, Venice.

Our summer vacation in 2014 was spent in Italy. We decided to start from Venice, stay in Rome for a few days and then visit Florence before heading back home. We flew from Berlin to Venice on Alitalia flight. Our hotel in Venice was right at the heart of St.Mark’s Square. It was a good decision to choose a hotel in the area as we felt it were safer and had easy access to most main attractions in Venice. We walked a lot during our stay, got lost many times and discovered some hidden gems along the way.  As expected, Venice was full of tourists, everything was more expensive if you compare the prices with Rome or Florence. I was surprised to see many ‘illegal’ vendors selling ‘designer bags’ and other items on the road. When someone from the authorities is spotted or seems to be approaching them, they simply ran away with the goods, only to set up in another location. The chase and run incidents occurred several times not far from our hotel, right in front of many famous Italian designer stores in the neighbourhood. I was particularly drawn to buildings that were hundreds of years old. The architecture and craftsmanship of those buildings were mesmerising. The artistry, attention given to details and the designs used on different materials were impressive. Those buildings were built in an era when technology and modern equipment and tools were non-existent so one can imagine the man power used and the number of hours spent on such complex projects at that time. The admiration for those marvellous buildings would continue as long as it exists. Besides admiring the old architecture and workmanship of buidlings, the gondola rides on Grand Canal was very memorable.  La Caravella restaurant and Mamo Trattoria Pizzeria is among the favourite places we had meals.

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