Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Castles abroad: Italy!

As I said in my previous post we did A LOT on our honeymoon. To give you the play by play would take awhile and probably be a bit boring. So I'm just going to give you some highlights from our trip instead. If anyone is interested in specific details or advice send me a message and I'd be happy to give you more information about our trip!

Personal Photos ahead!
First stop, Rome!
The Castles in front of the Colosseum on our ancient Rome tour
We arrived in Rome after an 8 hour over night flight from NYC. We got to our hotel too early to check in so we walked around a bit. We were so exhausted and only one thing could perk us up... gelato! I don't know what it is about Italian gelato but I want some everyday of my life. We went back to the same gelato place everyday we were in Rome. I need to find a good gelato place in NYC because I want some... like right now. I asked Mr. Castle why we didn't take any pictures of our gelato and he responded, "Because we had full hands." True. No time for photos we were eating gelato!

Other than the gelato, the biggest highlight in Rome for me was our tour of the Vatican.
The Castles in St. Peter's Basilica
As a born and raised Catholic this was an especially thrilling experience for me. I cried in St. Peter's Basilica and was awestruck in the Sistine chapel. All the art and history were amazing enough but one of the most memorable moments during our visit to the Vatican was climbing St. Peter's dome. It was 551 steps to the top! It's quite a hike but the views from the top and the experience is totally worth it.
Starting the climb...
Halfway there! Inside the top of the dome.
Towards the top things get a little narrow and the walls are slanted.
The view from the top.
On the way back down, letting that Italian wind blow through my hair.

We spent four days in Rome. We saw all the major sites, the Colosseum, the roman forum, Spanish steps and the Trevi Fountain. We also visited this awesome excavation site tour called the Le Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini. Check it out if your planning a trip to Rome anytime soon! I could go on and on about Rome. But I'd like to move on and talk about my new favorite city, Florence.
 The Duomo in Florence

I fell in love with Florence. It's such a special place full of art and beauty. One highlight from this part of our trip was our Florence sunset bike tour. We biked all over the city while learning about the different buildings, the history, and culture of Florence.
Ready for our bike tour. Our guide told us we got to wear "sexy vests" for the ride.
Rocking my orange vest while bike riding. Way to go Mr. Castle for getting an action shot.

After our bike tour we had our favorite meal of the whole honeymoon! It was at the restaurant Sasso Di Dante. It's right next to the Duomo so you would think it would be full of tourists but it totally wasn't! The food was amazing. Mr. Castle had gnocchi with truffles and I had some sort of beef pasta dish. I don't even remember what it was called but it was soo good!
Having some wine with the Duomo as our backdrop
Best Meal Ever
Our last night in Florence we walked up to the piazza Michelangelo to watch the sunset. It was very romantic. If you go, you have to go at sunset.
Our view
So Romantic....
...especially with some Duff beer! The Simpson's and Duff beer were strangely very popular in Italy!

Our last stop in Italy was Venice. We spent our first day exploring the city and ended the evening with dinner at our hotel. Our hotel was on top of a fabulous restaurant the Locanda Montin. The food was excellent, and it was nice knowing we didn't have to walk far to get to our hotel! In fact we could see our hotel room balcony from our table!
 Mr. Castle paying with his food. You can barely see it, but our hotel balcony is right above Mr. Castle's head in this picture.
Enjoying some wine after a full day in Venice
For our final day we booked a  Venice in one day tour.  The tour was great and included a Grand Canal boat cruise for later that same evening. In between the walking tour and the boat cruise we killed time by doing some shopping. Mr. Castle joked that Venice is sort of like a big shopping mall... there are alleys of little cute shops everywhere! I couldn't help but go into most of them... Finally the time came for our Grand Canal boat cruise. It was a great way to end our Italian adventure.
A shot from our tour. 
Side note: Most of our tours included a headphone so we could actually hear what our guide was saying. It was very helpful in the more crowded areas. :)
Boat tour with the Rialto Bridge behind us. I'm wearing some new earnings I had just bought. :)

I loved Italy and could have stayed forever, but it was time to move on. Next up, we jetted off to Paris! Anyone else visit Italy? What was your favorite "highlight?"

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