Welcome to Part 2 of our Italian Rendezvous! 😀 Hope you are enjoying the series so far. If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, you can catch up on it here.
Now that you are all caught up, let’s go ahead and virtually explore the next few cities we visited in Italy! 🙂
Manarola (Cinque Terre)
Having seen Cinque Terre on numerous travel pages and lists, we knew we wanted this beautiful village to be a part of our itinerary this time. It is about 2 hrs from Pisa and since we were halting at Pisa that night, we wanted to see Manarola on the way.
I was quite apprehensive about driving to Manarola so late in the day since it was slightly out of the way and we were of course in an unknown country. But my husband was quite certain he wanted to go there since it’s not everyday you get an opportunity like this and who knows when we would come back to Italy again! 🙂
So we went for it… And boy, am I glad we did! 🙂 We had such a fabulous time!
Manarola is a quiet little village in the province of La Spezia in Northern Italy. It is one among the 5 villages that form the Cinque Terre. The other villages (Riomaggiore, Vernazza, Monterosso al Mare and Corniglia) are quite near and well connected to each other. We would have probably visited all 5 of them if we had time.
We reached Manarola quite late in the evening and just walked down to the village. I’m not sure what it was about that night, but everything felt special. 🙂 A simple Italian meal, beautiful stars over head, and huge waves crashing onto the rocks. It was magic! 🙂 We just sat there for a long time doing nothing but stare at the beauty around us! 🙂
Sometimes, the most delicious meal you eat or the most memorable experience you have might not be in fancy places, but in small, little villages like Manarola! 🙂
We had an incredible night and will probably cherish that memory for a really long time! 🙂
After chilling in Manarola for a while, we finally headed back to our car and drove to Pisa and settled in for the night.
The leaning tower of Pisa was not too far from our hotel and hence we headed there first thing the next morning. I cannot begin to describe the feeling I had when I saw these monuments for the first time. It was so surreal and definitely a ‘pinch me’ moment! 🙂 I felt incredibly lucky! 🙂
I always knew I would be able to see at least some of the places from my bucket list, but being able to see so many of them in one go is an incredible feeling! 🙂
Climbing on top of the leaning tower of Pisa was pretty cool. Since it’s obviously ‘leaning’, 😛 you can feel gravity pulling you towards your right. You feel like you might fall over at first, but you get the hang of it after a while. It’s definitely an experience in itself. The view of the city of Pisa from the top is incredible and is worth all the effort in the end. 🙂
After spending a couple of hours exploring Pisa, we headed straight towards the spectacular city of Florence! 😀
Firenzé/Florence was featured in Condé nast Traveler and multiple other travel lists as the #1 city in Europe! We were quite excited and couldn’t wait to explore the city by ourselves. 🙂
The first place we went to was of course the Firenzé Cathedral, also known as Santa Maria del Fioré. It is absolutely stunning! 🙂
I really feel Europe has some of the prettiest cathedrals. Every single one of them I have seen so far have outdone each other. The architecture and attention to detail is mind-blowing!
Florence has such an old world appeal to it that we absolutely loved it! 🙂 Musicians playing at every street corner, tourists sunning themselves in sun splashed piazzas – gelato in hand of course, 😀 and a display of some the finest art everywhere you look! 🙂 Ah, Pure Magic! Who wants to leave this place! 😀
After exploring the cathedral, my husband was talking to me about wanting to see Michelangelo’s David statue but he wasn’t sure where in Italy it was. We googled it and as you know it, the statue was housed in a gallery that was a 5 minute walk from where we were standing! 😀 Talk about ‘meant to be’! 😀
So like a bunch of excited kids, we headed straight to Accademia Gallery and stood in line to get in! 🙂
The Accademia Gallery is one of the most visited museums in the world. The most famous and interesting works of art that make this place famous are of course the ones created by Michelangelo, especially the statue of David.
Carved completely out of marble, the David statue is incredibly stunning. It stands out among all other sculptures and paintings around the gallery. I was quite surprised to see how tall the statue really is. It stands at almost 16.46 feet!
They say the David statue stood tall for almost 400 years in front of Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza della Signoria. But after being exposed to the weather and to acts of vandalism through the centuries, the statue was finally moved to the museum in 1873.
Another sculpture that really caught my eye was the original plaster model of the Rape of the Sabines by Giambologna.
This sculptural monument was commissioned by Francesco I de’ Medici and completed between 1583-1585. You can admire the original marble statue under the Loggia dei Lanzi in Piazza della Signoria. They have mentioned the entire story behind this sculpture in the gallery. Do google it if you have the time!
Overall, Firenzé was spectacular! 🙂 So much history and such wonderful architecture everywhere you look. It felt absolutely surreal to walk around a city that was once home to masters and geniuses like Da Vinci and Michelangelo! 🙂
I hope you guys are enjoying this series. 🙂 Do come back again to read the final part of our Italian adventure in Roma and Vaticano!
Until next time.. Ciao! 🙂