I hadn’t really planned in returning to Italy so soon, but when the opportunity of travelling there with my family over my Christmas break presented itself, how could I refuse? I mean hey, free food and accommodation. Well kind of, anyway. It was still strange though, to go back to all these cities I’d already been to six months ago. The handy thing was that my memory was still fresh enough for me to be able to act as navigator and occasional guide.
The first city we returned to was my favourite, Venice. And this time, we were able to see a lot more. We spent hours wandering through the streets, exploring the canals and ogling the mask shops. A tour of Doge’s Palace completed the experience. The best part about being in Venice was the fact that I would be in Venice for New Years. Or so I had thought, but then one thing led to another and I was in bed before midnight, woke up to the sound of the fireworks and rushed to the window only to find that it faced the wrong way. A somewhat unlucky start to the New Year, but it makes for a good story.
With our stay in Venice finished we found ourselves heading to Florence, home of David. Yes, the big statue sculpted by the genius Michelangelo. And when I say big, I mean big. You don’t realise the size of the thing until you see it in person. Just over 5m tall, not counting the stand it’s on, it’s pretty hard to miss. The rumours are true though, you only really go to the Accademia Gallery for the David. Unless you’re an absolute art fanatic, once you’ve seen the David the Accademia doesn’t have much else to offer. That being said, it really is worth going to the Accademia, even if it is just to see the David. Another place that is really worth a visit is the Medici Chapel. Decorated with coloured marble and statues by Michelangelo the chapel of the Medici family, once one of the most important and powerful families in Florence, is truly beautiful. And the day trip to Sienna and San Gimignano reminded me just how beautiful the Tuscan countryside is.
The next stop on the list was the big one, Rome. And of course all the typical touristy things were done, we visited the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum and the Vatican. As well as some less popular things, like going to catacombs. There was also a day trip to Pompeii, which on reflection would have been better if we’d been stationed in Naples. We spent more time travelling to and from Pompeii, than we actually spent at the site. Although, I will say this, the ruins are a lot more enjoyable in the off season when you don’t have to fight the heat and the crowds. The same goes for the Vatican.
The final destination, for me at least, was Milan. From there I would go back to Salzburg and my family would travel on to Barcelona. Milan is great, I think, if you have money to spend, or if you’re in the mood for window shopping. Which, coincidentally, I was.
Those last few days days with my family flew, as they often do when you’re having a good time and before I knew it I was happily back in Salzburg with my Erasmus family. Well sort of. To make a long story short, I left my room key with this Erasmus family of mine who promptly locked me out of my room. Not intentionally, to be fair, but my point remains. No matter if I’m with my real family, or the family I’ve adopted, I have a great time yet somehow often end up on the short end of the teasing and jokes. Oh, and one last thing, I’m still in love with Italian food.