Italy Trip: Firenze Day 1

We enjoyed our the train from Rome to Florence and grabbed a cab to Hotel Brunelleschi, which was my favorite hotel of the entire trip. It was located right in the middle of everything with rooms complete with robes, slippers and every amenity.
I loved its elegance.
We got a lunch recommendation from the concierge and headed out to explore Florence while our room was readied. We would check in a little later and meet up with the rest of the group who were getting in later in the day after a visit to Assisi.
Wandering the streets of Florence after lunch.
After lunch we had the obligatory gellato...
our favorite flavor from Florence was panna cotta.
As we explored we of course came across our first views of the Duomo, which was literally around the block from our hotel.
We headed back to the hotel to get settled in and as I was putting things away I swore I heard Dan and Haley's voices outside, but it was too early for their arrival making me very confused. I looked out our hotel window and there they all were talking to Adam in front of the hotel. They had a few a few morning mishaps getting them to Florence a little earlier than planned. We made some fancy dinner reservations with the help of our concierge and headed out for more sightseeing.

Exploring the Duomo
We ventured inside and Haley was a good sport in her coverup.
(She even let me take her picture, which turned out super cute in my opinion.)
Then we decided to visit what we called "The Jewish Church" that Haley and I remembered so vividly from our first visit to Florence, so we followed our maps and our tour guide (Adam below).
It's a church whose architect was Jewish, so he designed it with the Star of David prominently displayed and I believe he was even buried in the front steps of the church.
Haley and I grabbed a new picture 8 years after our first trip.
Then we found a little bistro right on the square and stopped to take in the scenery.
The ladies and Austin ordered some prosecco and Justin ordered a "large" beer.
I just loved the juxtaposition!
After a busy day of seeing the sights up close, we headed back to our hotel to get ready for our "nice" dinner. (Also our most expensive dinner of the trip, but so worth it!) The concierge said we'd dine from above the city where the sights would be breathtaking. Boy was he right!
This was actually the one place from Florence that had stuck with me from my first visit, and it's no wonder with sites like this!
We made the most of the scenery with a few photo ops, and then walked over to the restaurant.
The view from our table was unforgettable!
We pretty much ordered everything on the menu starting with delicious antipasta that were so picturesque...the octopus was a surprising hit, and we all enjoyed a bit of each dish.
That was followed by pastas and then meats, which included a sea bass that confirmed Justin's fish allergy (poor guy's face puffed up like a scene from Hitch). The beef Florentine was so amazing that the guys couldn't see a scrap go to waste, which made for fun photos.
This four hour dinner was definitely a highlight from the trip for Adam and I, full of laughter, delicious dishes, and the best company.

After dinner, we walked around town to take in the Florentine night life and the men topped off each of our evenings with roses.
A sweet and romantic ending to an amazing day in Florence!

Italy Trip: Roma

We're off to Rome to begin our five year anniversary celebration!
After arriving in Rome and making our way to Hotel Giulio Cesare, our hotel, we freshened up from our flight.
At the Vatican, getting ready to enter through the museum's entrance with our tour guide.
It was surreal to be standing on the land where Christians first experienced freedom from oppression and instead could practice their faith freely.
In the Vatican Museums
School of Athens
(at least part of it because the room was pretty full)
St. Peter's Basilica
La Pieta
(It was so beautiful and detailed. The fabric looked like it could really blow in the wind.)
After getting a good nights sleep, we woke to our friends arrival at our hotel in Rome.
After a long trip everyone was starving, so we wandered in the direction of the Vatican where Adam and I had ventured the day before knowing there were choices in that area and thankfully we found a GREAT pizza place and I had my first Italian Cappuccino. (How cute, right?)
We came out of the metro and this is what we saw!
Our tour continued across the street at Palentine Hill, the location for the ancient Roman palace.
Hanging around Palentine Hill
From Palentine Hill we had mapped a walk through Rome passing many of the other famous's your chance to come along...
The Pantheon
We turned another corner...and this was the site.
It was SO much bigger than I expected.
I was expecting a little fountain like this famous one in Belgium.
Making a special wish...
it's a tradition to toss a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder with your back to the fountain and make your wish as you throw it into the Travi Fountain guaranteeing your return to Rome. We shall see.
The end of the least for our jet lagged friends...
The Spanish Steps
We headed back to the hotel, so everyone could get some sleep since they were such troopers all day and we knew what that felt like from the day before.

Since Adam and I were well rested from being in Rome a day earlier, we headed back out for the evening and found a great little cafe to spend the evening catching up on our favorite highlights in the trip so far. We both loved the Vatican the day before and Adam favorite part of day two was the Colosseum, while mine was the Trevi Fountain.

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