l’amore nella solitudine
Thoughts from my journal:
“A lot has happened in the last 4 years. For my 30th birthday, I decided to travel far… to be alone. So I went to Italy…. to photograph, meditate and write.I sat staring at the Venetian lagoon in the rain and could only feel peace – for life has been so kind to bring me here today – a soulmate, family and a job that brought me to Milan. 30 couldn’t have felt better another way!”
A post long overdue, I decided to finally document the sweet memories from my solo trip exploring the enchanting borders of Italy.
I carved out a 10 day itinerary starting in Milan and making my way down south over the next 10 days.
I flew in to Milan, took the train from one city to next and flew out of Rome.
Day 1-2: Milan
Day 3-4: Venice
Day 5-6: Florence
Day 7: Cinque Terre
Day 8-10: Rome
My trip was action packed yet, I got to spend ample time not just sight-seeing, but also indulge in the culture, food, history and music that paint the cobblestone streets of Italy.I chose to explore each destination by foot… taking my time to talk to people – locals and fellow tourists. I made great friends in each location – either waiting in the queue to entire the Ufizi, or a bunch of girls taking pictures of eachother in gorgeous Burano.. and at times just alone, staring into the peaceful blue Venetian lagoon.
Day 1: Milan
I spent the day exploring the all that makes Milan – the fashion capitol of the world! :)I hopped on the metro train from my hotel (which was in Asiago, not Milano) and got to the city center. Everything was easily accessible from the city center i.e. the Duomo metro station.
Duomo di Milano:
Of course, the first place I chose to visit was the magnificent Duomo di Milano. The cathedral church of Milan dedicated to St Mary of the Nativity, it is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan. The Gothic cathedral, magnificent by day or by night took nearly six centuries to complete.
There are tons of stores nearby and incredible food around!
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Of course my next stop, being the fashion-monger I am, was the gorgeous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – home to all the luxury fashion brands of the world. As much as the shopping opportunity appealed to me, I was blow away by the architecture of this “shopping mall”, essentially housed within a four-story double arcade in central Milan.
Teatro alla Scala (La Scala Opera house)
My goal was to catch atleast one cultural performance in each city – be it the Opera, a solo pianist or street musicians.So Day 1 in Milan, I got to witness, in the historic La Scala Opera house of Milan (the oldest, built in 1778), one of the most memorable performances of the Sleeping Beauty I’ve had the privilege to attend.
Day 2: Milan
Day 2 was a day to explore and experiment the fantastic shopping, food, aperitivo and more!
I started by spending the day in the utterly beautiful neighborhood of Brera. Aside from the adorable bouganville adoring the windows, the Brera shopping and fine dining stole my heart. I treated my self to the BEST Margherita and Pinot I’ve had! 🙂
The rest of the day, I walked around shopping for some gifts for my husband from the lovely Della Moda district, bagging some chocolates and more wine as I strolled the pretty streets.That night again, I was drawn to the haunting presence of the Duomo. I spent a couple hours there staring at the crowds of tourists, musicians.. and got lost in the mumur.
Orchestra LaVerdi :
I couldn’t help myself from catching another spectacular pianist performance at the Orchestra LaVerdi before leaving the beautifully haunting Milan.
Day 3: Venice
Venice stole my heart.There’s something so enchanting, almost seductive about the sutble calm of the Venetian lagoon. While you can lose your way trying to make your way through the narrow crowded streets of Venice, once you get to the water front… the silent knocking of the parked gondolas against one another, birds in the sky, the ancient prison in the distance, and musicians playing tunes so ancient … Venice takes you back a few centuries… and you won’t want to come back.
I stayed at the Palazzo Selvadego Hotel, in the heart of St. Mark’s Square.I grabbed some hot chocolate at the famous Caffe Florian and made my way to explore the lagoon.
So pristine, you could lose yourself staring into the distance.
Take a moment to ride the gondola. Its even more beautiful when the skies are gloomy, the melancholic music of the waves and the laughter on the boat makes for such a poetic memory.
Bridge of Sighs:
The Bridge of Sighs was the place that connected the halls of the courts between de Duke Palce and the New Prison. The arched bridge got its name from sighs of prisoners crossing it en route from the Palazzo Ducale to prison.
de Duke Palace:
At the waterfront, adjacent to the San Marco Piazza stands the magnificent Duke Palace. I took the tour through the palace admiring the intricate architecture.
St. Marks Bascillica –
Iconic cathedral with a cavernous gilded interior, myriad mosaics & an onsite museum at the edge of the Piazza.
Piazza San Marco:
Often known in English as St Mark’s Square, this is the principal public square of Venice. Restaurants, hotels, high-end stores, restaurants surround the square. By night, it has a haunting hollow vibe… surrounded by centuries of history, so many stories to tell.. you can almost lose yourself just staring around the Piazza.
Day 4: Venice , Burano
One of the most enchanging islands in the venetian lagoon, about a 1 hr Vaporetto ride from Venice, Burano in my opinion holds so many secrets, so many stories.. away from the hustle of Rialto, Burano is where people go to escape reality.Known for its postcard perfect streets lined with pastel colored houses, I spent the entire day exploring the secret corners of Burano.
I walked until I was exhausted, until I could see no one else in sight and sat by the water front and let my feet hang into the water… I breathed in the stormy skies, all the millions of thoughts and fears I’d hidden for 30 years coming before me… and I could only feel peace.Life had brought me to the most peaceful place in the world, the closest I could imagine to heaven. My life, my husband, my puppies, my family – all close to me in my heart, I experienced so much happiness in that moment, the memory is framed in my heart forever.
After my moments in melancholic peace by the waters, I walked my way back to FOOD! and bless Burano for the most delicious Olive oil based shrimp spaghetti I’ve Ever tasted!
I took the No.1 Vaporetto back and decided to hit the crazy hustle of the streets of Venice.
Evening sunset – Campanile (Bell tower) :
Once back to Venice, I made my way up the Bell tower in San Marco to watch the sun set over the enchanting Venice.
Ever seen those gorgeous Venetian masks? They were born here! The crazy busy lit up streets of the Rialto market are a sight to see! Definitely take a few hours to explore the stores, pick up some gifts and get something yum to eat while here!
Of course, I couldn’t leave Venice without attending a concert ! I was so fortunate to attend a spectacular performance of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” at Opera e Concerto ( Scuola Grande di San Teodoro)
Day 5 : Florence
I arrived in beautiful Florence amidst heavy rains. I got out of the metro and made my way to the hotel Delle Nazioni which was only a couple blocks away. Umbrella in hand, camera in my jacket and a book to write in, I ventured out in the rain!
Piazza Del Duomo (San Maria Del Flore) –
magnificent Cathedral-flanked square with monumental buildings designed by Giuseppe Nagoni in the 19th-century.
First stop was the landmark 1200s cathedral known for its red-tiled dome, colored marble facade & elegant Giotto tower.
Bell tower – Celebrated red, green & white marble-clad Gothic tower with steps leading to a terrace & city views.
Piazza della Repubblica: I walked past the laeather stores toward the Piazza della Republica to get some lunch !
A prominent art museum located adjacent to the Piazza della Signoria in central Florence, the Uffizi Gallery is one of the world’s most revered art museums; it houses some of the most important works of the Renaissance era, including works by Leonardo da Vinci. I stood in an incredibly long line for over an hour to get tickets to spend an entire afternoon in the magnificent Uffizi Gallery.
Ponte Vecchio by River Arno:
Here’s a view of the Ponte Vecchio bridge from the Uffizi! 🙂
Piazza del Signoria – stroll and make your way here to catch the replica of Michaelangelo’s David!
Day 6: Santa Maria Novella:
The next day I walked up to check out the lovely renaissance art at Santa Maria Novella.
San Croce – Another quick stroll around the city got me to explore the Franciscan church of San Croce.
Pitti Palace: After an amazing lunch and some fun coversations, I made my way to the palace. I walked through the Boboli gardens and was a tad exhausted. So I got me a gelato tub and sat in the courtyard under the afternoon sun and wrote a few thoughts into my lil journal.
Academia – Another long line, another gelato in hand and a few fun conversations with fellow travelers, I made my way in to witness Michaelangelo’s David!
Piazzela Michaelangelo – Before you leave Florence, climb the tower to take one final glimpse, overlooking City of Florence!
Day 7: Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is a string of centuries-old seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline. In each of the 5 towns, colorful houses and vineyards cling to steep terraces, harbors are filled with fishing boats and trattorias turn out seafood specialties along with the Liguria region’s famous sauce, pesto. Cinque Terre, which means Five Lands, comprise the five small coastal villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso – and you can take the train to hop from one island to another. You can also hike between the towns. I started out in Manarola for brunch, and then made my way to beautiful Vernazza.After grabbing lunch by the coast, I decided to hike to the next town Corniglia.
Make sure to climb up the 500 something steps to the top of the hill to get a spectacular view of the town and of course grab some aperitivo!
I then took the train to Manorola and then finally ended up in Monterosse and spent time soaking the sand and beach winds by the beach.
Day 8: Rome
Took the train from La Spiza to Rome, I spent the few hours to write a poem. When I got there, it was bright, sunny and vibrant! I stayed at Piazza Navona in the heart of the city.
Ceaser Shuffle – Colesseum to the Forum
I decided to take the guided tour by Viator to tour the Colesseum, the Capitoline museums and the Roman forum. The Colosseum or Coliseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. Built of concrete and sand, it is the largest amphitheatre ever built.
Roman Forum: the tour ends in the rectangular forum surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome
Victor Emmanuel II Monument: The tour also walks you past the government building Victor Emmanuel II Monument.
“Heart of Rome” walk from the Spanish Steps to Campo de’ Fiori: Spanish Steps:
After the tour, I was pretty exhausted and decided to hit the Spanish Steps to get some yummy gelato!
The next day I went to check out the gorgeous Trevi fountain. It was under construction around the time I visited, but still looked so magnificent!
Pantheon: I walked my way to the Pantheon in the evening and spent the entire evening listening to the musicians serenading to modern folk music.
Finally I concluded the night grabbing dinner in the atmospheric Campo de’ Fiori, musicians in the piazza and aperitivo in my soul!
Day 9: Rome Vatican:
I booked another tour to explore the Vatican city that walked through every wall and cultural aspect of the Vatican.
Teatro dell’ Opera di Roma:
How could I not catch the Opera in Rome? Had my tickes booked earlier in the day. After the Vatican tour, I was pretty exhausted, so I took a couple hours to rest and made my way to the fabulous Teatro dell’ Opera di Roma.
Day 10: Rome
My last day in Rome, I decided to revisit all the places that had my heart and try all the gelato and pasta my heart craved. I walked the “Heart of Rome” walk again savoring every moment of this journey.Ended the day devouring the most exquisite plate of laCarbonara at a tiny hole in the wall and soaked in a lot of aperitivo!
Memories. Burano, September 2015