Pisa

On our way back from Sestre Levante we decided to pop into Pisa City Centre to check out the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the surrounding area before heading to Galileo Airport back to Edinburgh.

You can really just see Pisa in an afternoon, I’m sure they’re may be lots more to see outside the main part, but we were quite happy seeing the tower and other monuments, and finding a lovely spot for lunch and coffee.

In the heart of the city there is the Square of Miracles, or as it is formally known, Campo dei Miracoli. It is also a World Heritage Site. There are three structures found in the square, the Baptistry, the Cathedral of Santa Maria, and the graveyard. However, the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa is actually the cathedrals bell tower. The square is surrounded by a gorgeous, and well maintained lush lawn, where you could find crowds of people relaxing and taking in the sights. There is also two museums that you can visit, the Cathedral Museum and the Museum of the Synopses, to learn a bit of history.

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Around the monuments there are mazes of stalls selling souvieners. If you want to pick up a cheap magnet or key chain, then here is the perfect place. Unfortunately the majority of the stalls sell all of the same items, so it’s difficult to get something unique.

I couldn’t resist having a go at the mandatory holding the tower up pose! I’ll be honest, this was actually quite difficult and resulting in Dino yelling at me where to put my hands for a good five minutes! I think it was worth it though, what do you think?

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Roman Holiday

Last July my boyfriend and I jetted away to Rome for 4 days! It was my first time visiting Italy, and it hopefully won’t be my last.

We booked through Expedia online, and got a brilliant deal. The hotel we stayed in was called Rome Life Hotel and I would definitely recommend it to anyone unsure about where to stay.

I’ll just go over the highlights of the holiday… 
We pre booked some guided tours so we could see all of the main sites. We did a tour of the Roman Forum & the Colosseum, we had the most amusing and lovely American tour guide from Boston who made the tour that little bit more unique! I’d definitely recommend going on at least one guided tour if you’re really into learning the history of some of the sites. We also booked tickets in advance for the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel, and then got a queu skip into the museum, the last thing you wanted to do was wait in mile long queues in 35 degree heat!!

I don’t know if it’s a good thing, but the monument that really made me in awe was the Altare della Patria, also known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II. It is a monument built in honour of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy. It occupies a site between the Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill. It was one of the first main building I saw as we were in the taxi coming in to the city from the airport, and you literally could not miss it! The reason I said that I don’t know if it’s a good thing that I liked the monument so much was because of the history behind it. It is the largest monument in Rome, and it is controversial as when it was being built the city destroyed a large area of Capitoline Hill along with a Medieval Neighbourhood. Some locals also regard it as being too ‘pompous and large’. I think the thing that stood out to me most was how glaringly white it is, and I found out that it was built from “corpse white marble”which was imported from Brescia, which makes it unusual and stand out from the brown buildings in Rome.

Another one of my favourite sites to visit was the Pantheon. We were lucky enough to stumble across it after having a wonder round the city after dinner in the evening. It was free entry which was good but we also gave a donation. This was another building that I was amazed by. I’ll need to go back here the next time I’m in Rome.

THE FOOD!! I think I may have OD’d on carbs while in on holiday, but it was so worth it. I think next time I’ll sample some more of the local cuisine and maybe try to be a bit healthier… But you’d be crazy to pass up some gelato in the heat that we had in July.

During the time we went the Trevi Fountain was undergoing restoration work and was covered up at the time, so we couldn’t really see it or get any photos. Instead we wondered round the shops in the area and I just had to take a nosey round Sephora and Kiko Cosmetics! (I think that’s where most of my money went..)

The people of Rome were absolutely lovely. We had some brilliant chats with some of the waiters and shop keepers. My boyfriend is
half Italian and so they had a little bit in common, haha!

Here are a few snaps of our holiday. Enjoy! Please feel free to pop any questions you may have in the comments! X

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