Venice

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Venice is another city that is completely mesmerizing. There is really nothing like it: the number of bridges you cross to get over canals, the way that water taxis work, getting lost turning down small streets that end in a dead end (it’s really comical to think of how people did this before Google Maps). But this city is truly beautiful with it’s colorful buildings that add such a charm to this wonderful place!

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A place I recommend visiting is Doge’s Palace. It’s a quick walkthrough the palace, but you get to walk through the Bridge of Sighs and into the prison area which was super interesting to see.

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A bakery that I really recommend is Marchini Time. We stopped here in the afternoon’s for a coffee (the largest cafe latte I got on the entire trip) along with their strudel which was so delicious!

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And I made it my mission to visit the Church that was used in the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It was super exciting to see it and the area surrounding the church is positively adorable.

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And everyone at The Westin was absolutely wonderful. The location was fabulous – except for the creepy streets you had to walk down to get to it – and they gave us a room with a fabulous room of the Basilica across from the Grand Canal.

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On to Como tomorrow!

Rome

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There’s so much culture and history in Rome that it’s almost hard to narrow down what to see. The first day was spent taking a tour of the Colosseum which then followed to the Palentine Museum and seeing the ruins. Afterwards, we headed to Campidoglio and toured the Capitoline Museums where they have some great classic pieces, along with a café inside that had the best iced coffee!

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The rest of the three days included visiting The Vatican, various churches, the Trevi Fountain, eating gelato at Giolitti, walking and getting lost in the streets of Roma! And one of my favorite spots that is a must see in Rome is Piazza Navona.

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026021 016 022 025 027 023 001 And for quick coffee stops, never underestimate how delicious a McDonald’s McCafe can be. Unlike in the US, they have delicious pastries and great coffee for cheap prices and quick in and out service when you have lots to see and can’t sit and linger for an hour in a restaurant!019002 028 011
And I can’t say enough great things about our hotel. We stayed at The St. Regis which was a perfect centralized location from the train station and all of the sites. It was simply wonderful to come back after a long day to such a luxurious room! We absolutely loved it :)
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Tomorrow, we’re heading to Venice!

Florence, Sienna & Pisa

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Florence is my favorite city in the world! It’s so charming and almost magical when walking along the Arno river  and seeing the Ponte Vecchio in a different light at sunrise or sunset. Florence has so much to see and do that we could have practically spent an entire week here (versus the three days). As the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is so rich in culture and history with its numerous churches, architecture, and museums.

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One particular place I recommend seeing is the Pitti Palace. If you are like me and enjoy visiting palaces, there are gardens that you could spend a couple hours wandering through (the Boboli Gardens) and your ticket will also let you visit Giardino Bardini, where the garden at the top of the hill has beautiful views of Florence (this is one of my favorite spots!).

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We went to a couple of museums in Florence, but I definitely recommend the Uffizi Gallery which has great works of art as well as a wonderful view of the Ponte Vecchio from inside.

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Looking for the best gelato? I found it here in Florence at Gelateria la Carraia. The cherry amaretto flavor is absolutely delicious and some of the best I ever had! The gelato I had in every other city was delicious, but just didn’t compare. Another favorite spot of mine for sandwiches (and cheap wine – we are talking about $2 for a small glass) was at All’Antico Vinaio..

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And let’s not forget that Italy has amazing pasta – cooked al dente.023

We stayed at The Westin which was in the perfect location and the traditional style the hotel is modeled after was fabulous (after all, it was a palace at one time!). And our room was so big coming from our Milan hotel that had a little sitting area and plenty of space to relax. It was directly next to the Arno and about a five minute walk to the Ponte Vecchio which made it a perfect centralized location.

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While in Florence, one day we devoted to taking side trips; we went to Sienna and Pisa. Now if you have more time, I would definitely recommend visiting these cities on separate days. But we took the bus to Sienna in the morning and returned at about 1pm and then went to the train station and headed to Pisa. Sienna has a wonderful cathedral which is spectacular, along with a large medieval square, Piazza del Campo.

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And Pisa, which certainly doesn’t need much of an introduction. The leaning tower certainly is a must see!

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Tomorrow’s post we’ll head to Rome

Milan

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10 years ago was my first trip to Italy and it was one of those trips that I never forgot. The places, the people, the food all combined to make a trip that was so memorable and a place that I always wanted to return back to. This past April was the lucky month that I was able to re-visit one of my favorite places. We went to all of the major cities, re-visiting places we had already been to, but also discovering new places along the way.

The first stop was Milan. After a missed connecting flight which resulted in lost luggage for 3 days (thank you again American Airlines), the trip started out a little bumpy, but being back in Milan was so exciting! The last time we were in this city, the Duomo was being renovated on the outside and had a huge cover over it. So being able to see it all for its beauty was unforgettable. We also climbed to the top and saw how detailed the architecture is as well as providing great views of the city!

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And, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping center is one of the most iconic and beautiful places I have ever seen with high end shops that include Prada and Louis Vuitton. It’s a must see!  But the phrase, “The early bird catches the worm”, is a saying that tourist spots are based on. The best time to visit any top attractions is to get there super early in the morning. To get the best pictures without a ton of people in your pics – the Duomo and shopping area are best to see before 10am, so get up and get out early!

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The hotel we stayed in is also a place I will never forget: Excelsior Hotel Gallia. It was such a luxurious hotel that was so modern and sleek. Our room was simple, but had a Nespresso coffee maker (which convinced us to get one for home), along with a perfect location, as it was right across from the train station, which we would be utilizing for the entirety of the trip. Also, the metro stop was located there as well; so it was very quick to walk over to, hop on, and take down into the center of the city; I definitely recommend buying a few tickets so you can limit the amount of walking as you don’t want to tire out too quickly!

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Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post where we’ll head over to Florence!

Birthday Celebration at the Royal Palms

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Macy’s Jacket, BCBG Blouse, Old Navy Jeans, Zara Flats, Old Navy Clutch

For my birthday In January, we went to the Royal Palms Resort & Spa which is one of my favorite resorts in Arizona. We ate at the Mix-Up Bar which was absolutely delicious. We ordered lots of apps and drinks that it made turning older pretty fun! And for my outfit, I kept it simple with skinny jeans and flats but threw on my tweed jacket for a pop!

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