the perks of being a florentine {pisa}

February 28, 2010
i think that one of the best parts about being in florence is that it's so central that it's possible to travel a lot and still experience florence itself. last tuesday i got up early for a doctor's appointment, wandered around florence to find souvenirs for my family back home, left for pisa around noon and was back in time for dinner.

going east, back to florence

going west

dear ol' giuseppe, per usual

a reference for its crookedness

the duomo and the baptistry

campostano cemetery

the baptistry

campo dei miracoli
or, field of miracles

i really love taking advantage of how close florence is to most everything.
take the train an hour or two west, and hit the mediterranean.
ride north, and find bologna and other lovely northern cities.
head south to find the loveliest hill towns.
or, head east through the mountains and
before you know it you'll hit the adriatic.

i feel like i'm getting such a well-rounded feel of
first and foremost, florentine life;
but after that- italian culture.
italy is so diverse.
it has so much to offer and no matter where i go
there are endless amounts of wonderful things to discover.

and just from florence,
unless you take a long weekend trip way down south or way up north,
everything is close enough to visit and still come home at night.
that's right: "home."


February 27, 2010
for those of you who don't know,
classical studies is one of my majors.
so, really ancient things are extremely exciting to me.
hence, pompeii (:

i would like to start out by saying that when we first got there early in the morning,
it was pouring rain for the first two hours.
and i forgot any umbrealla.
so i tried to cover my head with my scarf... which you can see was very effective.

first view of the town

one of my few successful photos during the rain

the little theatre
this seemed like a mini version of epidarous

where the town used to do laundry

typical street

in the amphitheater!
the acoustics were amazing, naturally

finally! the rain stopped and the sun came out to play

a bed...
in the brothel.

i have many photos from this,
but they are actually very inappropriate.

let's just say that the pompeiins...
added paintings.

pompeiin fast food
(it wasn't common to cook in their tiny houses
so they'd go to easy food stores, which would have
ready-to-eat things in those holes)

just a small glimpse of
the remains preserved by the ashes

the forum with vesuvius in the back

one of the most interesting archaeological sites i've ever been to!

southern hospitality

February 26, 2010
well, i am officially behind in posting photos in a timely manner,
but it's sort of difficult to keep up when you go to 5 cities in 5 days.

anyway, to write a little bit more about our wonderful first night in sorrento:

when we first got to sorrento, we wanted to eat at the "trattoria da emilia" (because 1- rick steves recommended it and 2- it only seemed perfect since we had an emily with us). unfortunately, once we found it it was closed.

however, things have a way of working out- and in a funny way. as mentioned earlier, we ended up getting pizza that night at a quaint little restaurant. we each got a pizza then traded a third with one another to get this:

it was tricky.. but we did it.

emily and her frutti di mare

annabelle and her vegetariana

me with my shrimp, pecorino, and arugula

we sat right next to the pizza-making station so we got to watch
the pizza-guy do his thing. since we all did a pizza-making session,
we joked that we could do the job ourselves.

being the friendly people that the southern italians are,
the restaurant staff spoke to us and asked friendly questions
then told us to take a photo next to the pizza oven

as seen here

then, we joked about how we each made italian pizza once,
and before we knew it...

emily was making pizza.
in the restaurant.

the finished product

and since we were way too full to eat anything more,
emily went around and offered slices to
the other customers in the restaurant.

i think they liked it (:

i don't think that anything like this would EVER happen in the north.
not that the people up here are mean,
just that southern italians are much more open and welcoming.

in this last photo,
we're all pretty astonished with what just happened,
holding our complimentary, first-ever limoncellos,
and happy as can be.

instant sunshine

today was a pretty normal day,
until i received my pen pal letter in the mail from angela beth...

then it was an AMAZING DAY.

i have felt this way for year and years,
and maybe this makes me a simple girl
but getting snail mail is pretty much instant sunshine in my book.

angela and i found each other through nicole's pen pal project
and i couldn't have asked for a sweeter pen pal.
just reading her cheerful letter brightens my day!

we make a funny pair because while i'm studying here in italy,
she just discovered that she has family over here
(in calabria (at the italian boot's tippy toes).. one of the most beautiful regions in italy...)
and will hopefully be coming here this summer (:

now... to write back...

five hours in napoli

February 25, 2010
i am saving pompeii for last, because it was my favorite. but after we slept in sorrento and galavanted around pompeii, the girls and i went to naples for the late afternoon/ night.

as we were pretty pressed for time, we didn't get to venture out to find
the beautiful naples coast :(
BUT we did eat yummy (and cheap!) pizza, head to the archaeological museum, and wander through the napolitana streets on a mission.

just a few photos..
(most of my pictures are from the museum and i figured
you didn't want to see naked statue upon naked statue)

little park right in the middle of the city

so simple but so good- marina pizza
oh, and it was only 2.50 euro

inside the museo archeologico

the ancient pompeiins used muffin pans!
(*teartear* stevenson coffee house)

cameo vase!
many people see the cameo portraits for earrings and pendants
but originally this style was used to portray a mythical scene.
they were traditionally etched onto precious gems.
needless to say.. i wanted to bring this home.

pompeii painting.
and no joke, i instantly recognized this as
a painting that i saw in an elementary school textbook!

mars and venus.
it's funny that i remembered this specifically and took a photo of it
because today it came up in class :)

on the streets of naples

inside a lemon store where everything is made from lemon (duh)
this is lemon pasta!

ok quick story:
one of the main reasons that emily wanted to come to naples was because her late grandmother was napolitana. her grandmother also used to make a pasta dish, which, until emily came to italy, did not know the proper name for. after we left the museum, we went on a search for a restaurant that had
pasta di genovese
so emily could have a little taste of home (she hadn't had it since she was a lot younger). we walked along countless busy busy streets, asked for recommendations from about 10 italians, and found so many restaurants that were either closed or that didn't carry the dish.

but.. eventually...


she said it was almost exactly the same as her grandmother's
and we were so happy that our mission was a success!
(the pasta is soooo good!)

also, since we ate at 730 (and people in naples don't eat dinner until around 9), the restaurant was completely empty. we made friends with the owner and he proceeded to bring us bread and cheese, yummy fried polenta-ish stuff, and red wine.. for free.

and i think that what they say is true:
southern italians are the absolutely most welcoming.