Friday, June 27, 2008

Trip to Italy

Yes, I for Italy. I had over 200+ photos, I'm not sure where to start. Start from the beginning, of course. This makes it a VERY long post. Don't say I didn't warn you.

After a 3-hour long transit in Bangkok, we endured another 12 hours flight to Milan on midnight of Wednesday 28 May 2008. Touched down on a cloudy morning but who cares. It was fashion city, Milan!!

29 May 2008 - Milan, Italy

This is inside of Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral). It is one of the world's largest churches, second within Italy, next to Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, and being the second largest Gothic cathedral in the world. A small red light bulb in the dome above the apse marks the spot where one of the nails from the Crucifixion of Christ has been placed

Description of some restoration work being done to the Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral)

The complicated architecture of Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral)

View from ground. Details of the brick construction of the Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral)

Had a lot of free time to roam around some fashion streets in the city and visited the Galleria. We stayed the night in Milan

30 May 2008 - Verona, Italy

We travelled 2 and a half hours from Milan to Verona

Stopped by Juliet's Balcony

Costs €4.00 to enter Juliet Museum

This is Verona’s Roman Arena, once rivaled the Colosseum and is the third largest arena in the Roman world. Lots of shopping streets here as well. Make sure you bring enough euros. Haha!

The Wall of Verona, once fiercely protected the city from invasion. From Verona, we travelled one and a half hours to the city of Venezia and stayed the night

31 May 2008 - Venice, Italy

A short ferry ride to the islands of Venice, made up of 118 islands

This is the Bridge of Sighs in Venice. The enclosed bridge is made of white limestone and has windows with stone bars. The Bridge of Sighs passes over the Rio di Palazzo and connects the old prisons to the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace

The many gondolas. Costs €25.00 a ride along the smelly canal

Piazza San Marco - St Mark's Square. That's a full view of St Mark's Basilica

A little about Piazza San Marco. Save me some writing

The ceiling of St Mark's Basilica. Those are not paintings. They are mosaic. Impressive!

The Square with lots of pigeons

More about the Piazza

Venetian masks are worn during the Carnival of Venice (elsewhere known as Mardi Gras). Comes in different colours, full-face masks or eye masks

Murano glass, famous product of Italy

Mastro Gappetto, wooden Pinocchio, also a famous product in Italy

We had the rest of the day to shop around Venice. I must say that this city is a must-stop-and-shop place. The L-O-N-G street of Rialto sells beautiful leather, cheap and fashionable in all colours, shapes and sizes. You may bargain slightly

1 June 2008 - Pisa, Italy

Venice to Pisa took 5 hours on the road. So there went half the day

Ahh! This photo needs no further description. We travelled another hour and a half and reached Florence to stay the night

2 June 2008 - Florence, Italy

The very first place we stopped at was the Pizzaale Michealangelo and his famous piece of art - (naked) David

I sure thought it was a city of statues. Too many of them, with history attached to it, of course. Go wikipedia it

Another David

Florence is also another city that you simply must shop! Don't hesitate to get that leather bag or leather wallet or leather something if you like it. After all the walking and shopping around, it was time to adjourn to the cultural city of Italy - Rome!

3 to 5 June 2008 - Rome and Vatican City

It was a drizzly and cold Tuesday morning. Ironic that we were to visit Vatican City on such a day. This is St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

This is the balcony where the Pope stands and greets the crowd on Sunday noons or Wednesday mornings, when it's not raining

Look at the number of chairs put out for the public to meet the Pope. H-U-G-E compound!

After spending close to an hour in St. Peter's Basilica, we went on a city tour to Rome city. Rome needs no further introduction, really. The main attractions are as follows:

One of the many buildings of the Roman Forum

View of Roman Forum taken from the Palatine

The ever-famous Colosseum that needs no introduction. It used to hist gory battles between gladiators, slaves, prisoners and wild animals. Much blood has shed here

The map of Colosseum. Costs €11.00 per entry. The ticket allows entry to the Palatine as well

Inside the Colosseum

Fontana di Trevi - Trevi Fountain at Piazza Di Trevi is the largest most ambitious of the Baroque fountains of Rome. Standing 25.9 meters (85 feet) high and 19.8 meters (65 feet) wide! A traditional legend holds that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return to Rome. We didn't have any RM. So we threw some Baht instead. Haha!

The Pantheon. It means "Temple of all the gods" which was originally built as a temple to all the gods of Ancient Rome. Today, it illustrates a monument where dead are buried

Piazza di Spagna where the Spanish Steps are found. It has 138 steps but we were more interested with the high fashion shops around that area - Dior, Ferragamo, Louis Vuitton, YSL, Prada, Gucci, TODS, you name it!

We went back to Vatican city the next day to visit the Musei Vaticani (Vatican Museum). Entrance fee is €14.00 per entry

We had one objective: To visit Capella Sistina (Sistine Chapel). It was a L-O-N-G walk before reaching the chapel

The ceiling of one of the galleries

Another ceiling of another gallery

After 45 minutes or so, we reached the chapel. Photography is forbidden. I was naughty enough to open the camera shutter, placed the camera on my laps and snapped whatever the camera could capture of the Sistine Chapel's world-famous ceiling of The Creation and Judgement Day on the wall, painted by Michelangelo

A gallery on the way out

The exit stairs in Vatican Museum

Santa Maria della Concezione's Crypt (Crematorium) is a Baroque church with skeletons of over 4,000 monks, dismantled and arranged in swirls and curlicues with ribs hanging from the ceiling in the form of chandeliers. Photography is prohibited. Donation of €2.00 is required. The remains of one of the Princesses of the Barberini family is found here. It says: "What you are, we were. What we are, you will be". You can read more here

Santa Maria della Vittoria is a Baroque church which holds one of Bernini's most famous works - The Ecstasy of St Teresa

The Ecstasy of St Teresa. It shows the Spanish mystic floating on a cloud in a spiritual trance after an androgynous angel has pierced her with a burning arrow

San Pietro in Vincoli. Pilgrims visit this church for the chains said to have been used to shackle St Peter in Jerusalem

The chains are now conserved in a reliquary on the main alter

Santa Maria Maggiore has a ceiling said to have been made from the first shipment of gold from the Americas

Why did we visit this church? Because Santa Maria Maggiore bears this plaque which marks the burial place of Baroque genius, Bernini

The entrance door of Santa Maria Maggiore. Observe the 3D carvings

Food in Italy was pretty much predictable. The many tramezzini (sandwiches) found almost at every corner of any streets. Costs about €4.00 each. Nothing much inside except for some salad, tomato slices and salami/chicken/ham

Yummy pasta. I tried the common carbonara but I assure you it looked and tasted different from the ones we get from home. Look at the larger chunks of meat and dry but tasty pasta. YUMMY!! Costs about €10.00 - €12.00

Common penne all'arrabbiata (pasta in tomato and chilli sauce). Absolutely delicious!

Oh well! We still will indulge in some McDonald's wherever we go. But hey, cheese and bacon nuggets. See the bacon?

And beef burger with bacon. See the bacon?

As far as shopping is concerned, shop in Venice or Florence. I regretted not buying the beautiful bags I've seen because I thought I'd leave it till the end, which was Rome. Ah, never do that! I didn't find the street stuff in Rome as I did in other cities except for branded goods. My only hope is to go back one day and buy my heart out! Arghh!

And if you're a brand freak, this is THE place with a capital T. The goods are so much cheaper as compared to home PLUS you get VAT 12% cash back on your way out at the airport. Since I missed so much shopping at other cities, I splurged on an expensive bag. Well, why not? Everybody seemed to be drowning themselves in luxurious Gucci, Prada, Ferragamo etc. and I was also made victim. I got me this.

The Louis Vuitton Monogram canvas MONTORGUEIL from the latest collection for €495.00 (minus 12% VAT is €436.00). Yeah, yeah, expensive I know but lei chui meh? I know it's not Italian but oh well, French is fine by me too!

The trip has come to an end on 7 June 2008. Wonderful trip altogether. How can it not be when it's Italy? With so many pictures posted, I hope these spoke more than a thousand words.

Ciao bella Italia!!

10 flowers for this post
I am SO envious....sigh!
Bkworm | Homepage | 11.06.08 - 10:42 am | #


whoa, u went Italy. can't wait for your story
kruy | Homepage | 11.06.08 - 5:19 pm | #



Got any leng jai Italian over there or not sin?
titoki | Homepage | 12.06.08 - 11:30 am | #


Very very nice!! Sweetie, quick quick update. I want to see the foods too. LOL
fish fish | Homepage | 13.06.08 - 2:05 am | #


charlene | Homepage | 16.06.08 - 12:23 pm | #


aiyaiyaiyai ! U must have enjoyed urself dy . . . .let us now of ur makab spree there . . .
foodcrazee | 16.06.08 - 3:06 pm | #


yes. rome and pisa nice place. did you go to tivoli ?
Patrick Leong | Homepage | 24.06.08 - 12:59 am | #


I'm breathless! ha ha Just by reading your post, it seemed that I toured around Italy too.

Ahhh, you've been to Florence. Thank you for sharing your photos and stories with us!
Lene | 29.06.08 - 12:43 pm | #


Hello Primrose, Good to have you back. Cool on Italy. My next stop here.

I am back from Dublin, Ireland. more pictures soon too. Cheers.
charlene | Homepage | 01.07.08 - 2:53 pm | #

Thanks for the very very nice pics. Did you have time to go to Genoa? It's also very nice.
fishtail | Homepage | 29.09.08 - 2:19 pm | #


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