Italy

Rome and Venice

View Italy photos including Venice, Bari, Rome and more in my Italy photo stream on flickr.com: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kellygrainger/sets/72157623723318284/

rome italy

rome and venice, italy *


Yes it’s expensive, but it’s one of the most popular tourist cities in the world, in the heart of a country with a reputation for already being rediculously expensive, but it’s worth every penny.

Rome rocks.  We wore the tourist t-shirt and boarded a hop-on/hop-off bus that toured all round rome, visiting the main sites like the Vatican, Colliseum, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Vittorio Emanuele, and more.  The Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel seemed like a day trip all on their own.  One thing we weren’t prepared for, was to pay for entry into the Vatican, the Museum and the Colliseum.  Entry for all 3 couldn’t have been more than 25 euros, but an inconvenience to wait in line for an hour before realizing you need cash to pay (for those of use who don’t carry much cash).  We stayed in a hostel in Rome, it was a dive, and if I ever go back I’m treating myself to a nice fancy hotel.

rome italy

rome italy

Local Bus

Funny story – we got caught by the local transit authority for not having tickets to ride.  We would have bought tickets, they’re only about 4 euros, but we couldn’t find a vendor or ticket machine so we took our chances.  When we got caught, we were told by the policeman to pay 50 euros each as a fine.  Warming up for our next stop in Cairo, Egypt, we began to haggle over pricing.  We offered 20,  he countered 40, we offered 30 – total – and he accepted.  Pretty sure that cash went straight into his pocket, but 30 euros was better than 100.  We also got caught by the EuroRail authorities for travelling without a validated ticket.  That fine was 100 euros each and there was no getting out of that one.  The police-lady confiscated our passports, stopped the train and radio’d us in.  She was a real battle-axe.

Football

If you get the opportunity, take in a football game in the Olympic Stadium.  You can buy tickets from a smoke shop near the Vatican, just ask around, the locals will know what you’re looking for.  For Canadians like us used to hockey rinks holding 15,000 fans, the Olympic stadium in Rome holding 60,000+ fans was unbelieveable.  We happened to catch a rare rivalry of Roma vs Lazio which, after 10 minutes, turned into an all-out brawl between rival fans.  There’s a pretty good YouTube video of that game here.  The game was suspended till the riot police showed up and put an end to the brawls, but the anarchy spilled on to the streets after the game.  Scary stuff, but really not too out of the ordinary for a European football game.  What looked like warzone after the game at night was a calm, clean and peaceful scene in the morning.

roma lazio italy

roma lazio italy

Venice

venice italy

venice italy

Venice was one of the nicest places I’ve ever visited.  You can easily walk from one end of the island to the other without breaking a sweat, and every turn along the way is a remarkable sight.  My girlfriend and I stayed at a hotel called Hotel Epoque close to the bus stops and train station.  For the price (less than 100 euros / night if I remember correctly) it was a steal of a deal.  Nice lobby, free wifi, free breakfast, clean rooms and great location.  The signature gondolas are an expensive method of water travel, costing upwards of 60 euros per person.  That’s not robbery, that’s the going rate.  The rides are slow, long, romantic, and the gondolas themselves are pretty luxurious – definitely not cheap.  Italians make an honest living providing such a unique experience for tourists and it’s not cheap for them to live in Venice so don’t complain.  A more economic method of water travel is the water-taxi, about a 12 euro ride from one end to the other.  Venice is full of things to see and do, and is a popular port for cruise ships so if you ever embark from Venice, be sure to stay a couple of nights at the beginning or end of your cruise.

venice italy

venice italy

View Italy photos including Venice, Bari, Rome and more in my Italy photo stream on flickr.com: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kellygrainger/sets/72157623723318284/

 * The third Venice picture at the top of this page is from http://scienceblogs.com.  It’s one of the better Venice gondola photos I could find online and wanted to share it!  All other photos are my own, and you can see more on my flickr page.

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