Page 5 of DebH Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence October 12th 2014

Geo: 43.7687, 11.2569 Today was to be more of a rest day after two long day trips, and a chance to visit some of the museums of Florence. First up was the Galleria dell'Accademia to see David. We had purchased timed tickets for 10:00am which we were to pick up at the ticket office. We walked there and there was already a massive line, which we joined. Luckily for us, I overhead someone saying that you had to pick up your tickets further down the street before joining the entry line. If we hadn't heard that we would have queued for 30 minutes for nothing! I left G in the line and went down and sure enough was able to collect the tickets. After a few more minutes we were finally allowed inside the amazingly crowded ... read more
Rape of the Sabines
Baccalla and Chips at Quattro Leoni

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena October 11th 2014

Geo: 43.3187, 11.3305 This was the second day that we spent touring with Alessandro Cammilli. He picked us up smack on time at 9.30am and we headed straight to San Gimignano. This was a gorgeous little town, although it didn't feel like a real place, more like a theme park town, such as Sovereign Hill here in Australia. There didn't seem to be any real shops for people to buy groceries etc, only touristy type shops. Still, as said it was gorgeous and we paid to climb up the tallest tower, Torre Grossa, for the sensational views. Next stop was Siena, another lovely place, much larger than San Gimignano. Ale explained about the 17 contrades that compete in the Palio and showed us how each area of Siena has different signs according to its contrade – ... read more
Piazza del Campo in Siena
Duomo of Siena
Long Shared Table at Dario the Butcher in Panzano

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Lucca October 10th 2014

Geo: 43.843, 10.508Today was one of three incredible days that we were lucky enough to share with Alessandro Cammilli, a driver that I found through Trip Advisor. Unfortunately the day started badly due to the bad behavior of our hotel, who have their own driver tour company. We had arranged by email to meet Ale at 9.30 at our hotel. 9.30 came and went which I thought was odd as Ale had been so professional in responding to any emails and so on. I went to the front desk to enquire if anyone had telephoned or come in looking for us. They responded 'no' and said that being late was typical of Florentine tour drivers. They then suggested that they could provide the same tour for us if we wanted.Fortunately G decided to go downstairs and ... read more
Piazza dei Miracoli
G Holding Up the Leaning Tower
View of Lucca from City Walls

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence October 9th 2014

Geo: 43.7793, 11.2463Our day started with the included Italian style breakfast. Lots of very sweet food – cakes, cereal with chocolate, sweet pastries, sugared croissants and so on. Fortunately there were delicious hams and cheeses as well as very good cappuccino.We then set out to Piazza del Duomo. We decided not to climb the dome of the cathedral itself, but rather to climb Giotto's Campanile. It wasn't a too difficult climb, there were spots to rest along the way, and the view from the top was worth any effort that we expended.Next we visited the Duomo itself and the Baptistery. Unfortunately we could only see the copies of the Gates of Paradise as the originals are kept in the Opera del Duomo which was under renovation.After the Duomo area we headed to the Museo Bargello as ... read more
The copy of Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise
View from Giotto's Campanile
View of Brunelleschi's Dome from the Bell Tower

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence October 8th 2014

Geo: 43.7793, 11.2463 After a leisurely final breakfast with lots of people watching we took off for a final wander to see the Chiesa Santa Maria della Salute, and for a last look at Piazza San Marco.After checking out of the Londra Palace, we caught another James Bond style water taxi to Santa Lucia Station for our train trip to Florence. As all of our train trips in Italy, it was fast, smooth and uneventful. We ate a panini for lunch on the train that we purchased in the station in Venice. After arriving in Florence, we caught a taxi to our hotel, the Davanzatti, where we faced the formidable flight of 20 steps with all of our luggage up to reception.If you are interested in my review of this hotel you can see it here: ... read more
Museo de Bargello
Copy of Statue of David in Piazza della Signoria
Palazzo Vecchio

Europe » Italy » Veneto » Venice October 7th 2014

Geo: 45.4371, 12.3327 Or last day in Venice – sigh. After breakfast we caught the vaporetto to the Rialto Bridge and spent some time wandering around the fish market. We then walked through the Canareggio sestiere to reach Fondamente Novo where we hopped on another vaporetto to Burano. We spent an hour or so wandering around the little shops and taking photos of the gorgeous houses. We were so lucky, it was a pretty, sunny day, which showed the colours to perfection. We finally ended up at Da Romano, where we had to try their delicious fish risotto, which was superb. After lunch we caught another vaporetto back and this time got off at Murano. We wandered around a little and then we... read more
Seafood at the Rialto Market
Vegetables at the Rialto Market
A peaceful canal in Canareggio

Europe » Italy » Veneto » Venice October 6th 2014

Geo: 45.4371, 12.3327Today was our 30th WeddingAnniversary – the purpose of our trip to Italy.We started with a delicious breakfast at the Londra Palace. The weather was nice enough to sit outside an people watch, there was a never ending parade of people going back and forth along the Riva. We found the tour groups the most fascinating, watching people rushing to keep up with the tour guide. Again it confirmed that that is not a style of holiday that would suit us.After breakfast we headed to the Doges Palace for our Secret Itineraries Tour that we had booked from Australia before we left. I booked it primarily for G, but found it to be totally fascinating. Would highly recommend this tour to anyone visiting Venice. It lasted for around 90 minutes and afterwards we had ... read more
Ceiling Inside Palazzo Ducale
Photo from Inside Bridge of Sighs
Queues in Piazza San Marco to Enter Basilica

Europe » Italy » Veneto » Venice October 5th 2014

Geo: 45.4371, 12.3327Today was such an exciting day as we were finally going to Venice, which was the city we had chosen to be in for our actual Wedding Anniversary. Unfortunately we only had three nights available, both due to time and money (the hotel we chose in Venice was by far the most expensive of the trip), but we intended to make the most of it.We caught a taxi from the hotel to Milano Centrale station to board the train Venice. We booked all our train trips in first class, it only cost slightly more and we loved having the extra space available. It made for a very comfortable ride.The scenery was fairly bland, with the most exciting part being the journey over the causeway into Venice Santa Lucia station. We decided to splash out ... read more
Santa Maria della Salute Venice from water taxi
St Marks and Doges Palace from water taxi
Hotel Londra Palace from water taxi

Europe » Italy » Lombardy » Milan October 4th 2014

Geo: 45.4643, 9.18951 After breakfast in the hotel, we left to wander around the Galleria Emanuelle shopping arcade, followed by a visit to La Scala Opera. Unfortunately we couldn't do the usual tour as there was a rehearsal for the ballet in progress.We still did the reduced tour and were able to spend some time watching the rehearsal through plastic windows which was totally fascinating. G and I aren't in to opera, but still loved the museum and the gorgeous costumes.We stopped for a panini and a glass of wine for lunch at a street side bar that was on the way to the Santa Maria delle Grazie where we had tickets to see the Last Supper. We had a lot of trouble booking these tickets, in fact I made 96 (that's right 96!) calls to ... read more
Teatro alla Scala
Castella Sforzesco
Shopping on Via Dante

Europe » Italy » Lombardy » Milan October 3rd 2014

Geo: 45.4643, 9.18951After our final breakfast looking at the lovely view of Lake Como, we left for Milan.We had organised a driver through the Metropole, Fabio Fantoni, for the transfer which worked very well. After we arrived in Milan, we were able to check into our hotel, the Gran Duca di York nice and early. After dropping our luggage the front desk explained how to get to the railway station and we headed straight there to catch the train to Malpensa airport. We were very happy with our room - not only was the cost incredibly reasonable, it was a lovely sunny room with a balcony and a complimentary mini bar, non alcohol only as well as excellent free wifi. Our review can be read here: read more
Bathroom at hotel
Hotel Exterior
Balcony at Hotel

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