As far as cities go, Florence was probably my favorite. It was less busy and crowded than Rome, and less claustrophobic than Venice. And we found the best food of our trip in Florence.
We spent the two days in Florence exploring and eating. We also visited Michaelangelo's David (unfortunately no pictures allowed) which was much more impressive than you would expect from seeing his pictures in books and postcard. We also spent time at the Ufizzi gallery looking at famous and not-so-famous Renaissance paintings.
The Duomo (the 4th largest cathedral in the world) dominates the city (and my pictures of Florence) and it's dome, marblework, and baptistry doors were simply amazing.
We also maintained our new afternoon routine of stopping for gelato. Everything about the food in Italy was just...better. The pastas and sauces were all homemade, and the ingredients so much fresher. While I don't know a lot about wine, we stuck with the house wine with our dinners and were never disappointed.
Sadly, this is the only picture of food that we actually took. Harmony demonstrates how to eat "Big Salad with Tunafish"
While Florence may have been my favorite city based on the people and it's character, Rome certainly wins out in terms of sights to see. Our first day we devoted to exploring ancient Rome - the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill.
The Roman Forum...the arch in the background is the Arch of Titus commemorating among other victories the Siege of Jerusalem and destruction of the Temple in 70 AD
And we made sure to stay well hydrated...since it was about 90 degrees in the shade.
The following day (and our last in Italy) we traveled across the Tiber River to the Vatican. We spent the morning in the Vatican museum, which is filled with sculpture and art, including many paintings by Raphael. Unfortunately the Sistine Chapel was another "no pictures allowed" destination.
We then spent the afternoon at St. Peter's Basilica, which is breathtaking. The pictures just don't do justice to the immense scale of the cathedral.
The next day Harmony parted ways for our trips home. In an unexpected turn of events though, it turned out that my sister and her boyfriend were in London during my 18 hour layover.
After finally making it to London I was able to enjoy some pub food and a Guinness with Sara and Marty, though unfortunately we all forgot to get a picture. The next morning Sara and I were able to walk around and see some sights and catch up. Note Big Ben in the background.
And later that day the backpack and I were on a plane headed back home.