Like always in holidays the time has been flying and tomorrow it is time for me to go back home. The past few days it has been raining here so I am happy I did not leave my Venice trip for this weekend. I went to Venice earlier this week as I wanted to spend few hours outside of Padova. From here you can go to Venice with the train in 25 minutes and the ticket costs 4.10€ so it is easy, cheap and fast. I have visited Venice I think almost ten times so far, but still I like to return there every now and then. But why? Well for me Venice, even though being super touristic, has some magic that I have not found in any other place. I don`t go there for shopping or the food, I go there to clear my mind as every where you look there is something so amazingly beautiful. Maybe a cliche, but that`s how I feel about the city.
The day was sunny and like always, the city was full of people. I thought that after the carnival the city would be less grouted before the summer season starts, but no. There seems to be always people as people all around the world come to see one of the most famous cities of Italy. We walked around few hours, stopped for slice of pizza (Venice is so super expensive when it comes to food) and wondered if one day we should spend the money and experience the city from gondola. And of course we also took million pictures, like always in Venice, so now less talking ans I hope you enjoy the view!
As it is my last night in Italy I will now drink a good cup of coffee, prepare my luggage (there is way too many new things I need to somehow get back to Finland with me) and start the dinner preparations.
This Thursday I am taking you back to Sicily once again as we continue the road trip to the fourth city of our trip- Taormina. Last week I showed you Noto from where we continued to Catania for one night. There the early Sunday morning we visited mount Etna (see more about that from Dream came true -post) and after the hiking trip we skipped rest of the Catania area and continue along the east coast to Taormina. The Greek-Roman theater was the only thing I had heard about the city and I can tell you I was so surprised when we arrive there – it was so much more I could even imagine!
Taormina was for me like those sunny dreamy places you see in the movies as everything and everyone looked so good. The city has this breath taking atmosphere even though it is backed with tourist and I really hope to visit the city again with more time. Taormina has the beautiful coastal are where you can swim and do all kind of water activities and see so many beautiful yachts. Then in the up on the hill there is the city center with small boutiques, restaurants, beautiful hotels and historical sites. We drove about to the half way with out car and left it to paid parking hall. From there we took a buss (it was included in the parking fee) with other tourist to the beginning of Corso Umberto, the main street.
I have to be honest and tell that after hiking in a sunny day in Etna it was for me little heavy to fully enjoy and concentrate to Taromina. It was so hot that I was feeling sick almost all the time there and being little pit tired after Etna, I did not take too many photos. I have clear images of the beautiful city in my mind but can`t truly find it from the photos I have take there. But nevertheless the city is colorful, full of small details and beautiful people. I felt there was a lot those rich upper class couples (sorry for the generalization) having their luxury holiday and I can understand why they chose Taormina. The city offers you perfect place to escape.
From the up the view to the sea was really nice and you can see how much sea traffic there was in a sunny August Sunday. There were also few totally insane hotels in the hills with those class wall pools you see in the luxury travel photos.
After walking around Corso Umberto and streets around it, it was time to go to the Greek-Roman Theater I had been waiting to see. When standing in the ticket line we saw a small paper telling about constructions in the theater area so before paying the tickets we asked what is going on. We found out that most of the theater was covered as they were making everything ready for some event, so there was not too much to see that time. With the disappointment we eventually decided not to pay the entrance fee and join in (they did try to say there is a lot more also to see in the area) as the theater was my main interest. So my advice to you is to check what there is happening when you are visiting the city, as you can imagine how sad it was not to see this place. The picture of the theater is borrowed so I can show you how it is, but I hope one day I will see it live whit its full beauty and take my own photos of it.
I found the city surprisingly green and there seemed to be plants in every corner of the city. From the main streets you can step a side to tiny streets and find example local artist selling their paintings or peaceful cafe bars where to enjoy a small brake form the busy Corso Umberto. And as it is so hot in the summer time many restaurants and cafe places have very nice air condition machines to cool you down.
In this last picture there is the most beautiful hotel entrance I have ever seen. I wonder if it was looking as nice inside also.
Hey you, I hope you are having as nice weekend as I have here in Italy. Yesterday I visited one of my old university friends in Firenze and they could not have been better for a small day trip. It has been so sunny and warm the past days (I heard that it has been raining almost every day the past few weeks) that it is really starting to feel like spring. The city was full of life like usual and it was nice to see people enjoying their Saturday outside in the sun. We spend the day very stress free just walking around, having lunch at Mercatone centrale (this place is always full but I still love it), doing little shopping at the leather market and talking as I have not seen my friend way too long time.
The city is definitely one of my favorites and I highly recommend to visit it if you ever come to Italy. If you are interested on history the city offers a lot museums, churches and other historically interesting sights. On the other hand if you like shopping this is also perfect place for you, Firenze has all the big luxury brands but also many small unique boutiques, markets outside and very nice selection of vintage boutiques. So definitely something for everyone.
You can also be super romantic in Firenze and example lock your love to the gate in the Ponte Vecchio like hundreds of others have done.
For leather lovers Firenze is the dream as here you can find amazing leather products from small local producers with very nice prices. Check example the San Lorenzo market, it has huge variety of leather products like bags, belts, notebooks and jackets. I have also bought some years a go very nice cashmere scarf from this market Just be careful with the quality (check double if it is real leather) and always bargain as there is every time some air in the first price they give.
While walking around the city we run into lovely Don Nino gelateria & pasticceria. This very light, nicely decorated place offers very good looking ice cream and amazing pastry. My friend example had her first ever cannoli (traditional Sicilian pastry) here and I can assure it was one of the best once I have seen out of Sicily. Just take it with ricotta, not with pistachio as that is the real way! So if you need a little brake, don`t miss this place. You will recognize it from the white bikes front of the place and constant flow of people in and out.
Enjoy last hours of Sunday, will now continue our weekend with a good movie and the best vegetarian lasagna we have ever made (check this Green Kitchen stories recipe, it is the best).