Since we had been staying at the campsite outside of the city, we didn’t get a chance to visit Florence when we arrived. So, after leaving in the morning we went to the town where a walking tour had been organised. A local lady took us on a tour through the city, pointing out interesting buildings and architecture. We saw a number of statues (unfortunately only the lifesize replica of David because we didn’t have time to queue to see the original) and a few churches as well. The work and detail in the buildings everywhere in Europe is incredible, and even though they’re all similar they’re also different as well.
Our tour concluded at a leather factory, and in true ‘perfume factory’ style we had a 5 minute leather demonstration, then we were told how important it is not to buy fake leather products (and how to tell the difference) before being let loose in the shop. The prices there were very high (at first things look reasonably priced, but then I remember to double it for Aussie dollars…) The leather goods were beautiful, and of a high quality, but not really worth the prices they were asking.
We had time after that to wander for a bit, get some lunch and head back to the bus. I had a delicious salad (after eating so much everywhere else, it was nice to have a slightly lighter lunch) and a coffee (yum yum!)
Florence was a pretty city, and wasn’t too busy/crowded which was really noticable after being in busy Paris and Nice.
Some chatting, dozing and iPodding on the bus and then we were in Rome. We were dropped off at a metro station and caught the train into the city for a walking tour with Lauren (our Topdeck guide) and saw the main sites including the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Colloseum and more. We stopped for a pizza dinner (naturally followed by gelati).
The train was very crowded and hot, and after all the stories and advice I’d been given before leaving, I was quite worried about someone stealing my wallet or phone. Trying to balance, protect both pockets and your backpack is no easy feat! Although I felt a bit uncomfortable about being on the train, during our time in Rome I never saw anyone who made me feel uneasy. It was more just because of warnings I’d been given. There was even an ad on the train warning of thieves and pickpockets.
The Trevi Fountain was beautiful, with several waterfalls splashing into it. I threw two coins over my left shoulder (which means that I’ll come back one day – throwing three meant you’d ben married within 12 months which is a little scary…lol) The Pantheon was very impressive. The dome ceiling is enormous, and the building is well maintained even though it’s about 2000 years old!
The Colluseum was looking really good at night, and was impressive from the outside. The next day we went inside, and it was even more impressive. It’s hard to believe that these buildings are soooo old. It was interesting to find out that parts of buildings (like the Colloseum) were taken by the Romans and used in other buildings (there were some columns we saw in Vatican City that had been removed from the Colloseum).
It was nice walking through the city and seeing the shops and laneways as well as the bigger landmarks. Walking tours have been a great way to see the cities. Tired from all the walking we’d done, we went straight to bed after the tour. The rooms were nice, with just two single beds. Again there was space for our suitcases – something that is a real luxury!