Throwback Thursday: Italian Grand Tour

Today’s Throwback Thursday is going way, way back – to when I was in high school. Ten years ago this summer, I had the amazing opportunity to go to Italy for about two weeks. My high school AP art history teacher organized a couple students to go as part of an EF tour, and my mom came along as well, which made it very fun.

Sorrento, Italy flags
The World Cup was going on during our trip to Italy, so the entire country was decked out in their national colors.

Italy has been on my mind a lot lately – not only because I’ll be back there in just over a week, but because of the tragic earthquake earlier this week. My heart aches for the lives lost, the friends and family they left behind, and those who have lost so much. I fell in love with Italy, starting on that first trip there ten years ago. I’m sure I’ll feature each of these cities in their own right one day, but for today, here’s a quick overview of the fabulous trip I took in 2006:

Rome

Rome is one of my favorite places in the entire world. It was a whirlwind of history, art, and architecture. In just a couple days, we squeezed in the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s, the Colosseum and Roman Forum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Capitoline Hill, St. Paul’s Outside the Walls, and more. We also took a quick trip to Villa d’Este in Tivoli, which was absolutely beautiful.

Capri & Sorrento

Capri, Italy

In Southern Italy, we stayed in Sorrento and took a day trip to Capri. Sorrento was simply beautiful. It’s a smaller city right on the coast, which was perfect for heading to Capri. I’m excited to go to Capri again – it’s honestly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. We even took a boat tour around the island.

Road in Sorrento, Italy

Sicily

We spent the majority of our time on Sicily in Taormina. This is a fun town with lovely shops, beautiful views, and an amazing ancient Greek theatre that overlooks the shore. By the way, I HIGHLY recommend Sicilian cannoli. Life changing.

Padua

Prato della Valle, Padua

We spent less than a full day in Padua, but we saw the University of Padua, where Galileo taught. We also walked through the Prato della Valle, with its canal and ring of statues.

Florence

Florence Piazza della Signoria

Where do I start? The Duomo is stunning, Ghiberti’s doors on the baptistery are sublime, Michelangelo’s David is breathtaking, Piazza della Signoria is delightful, and Santa Croce is exquisite.

Pisa

Cathedral in Pisa, Italy

While in Florence, we took a day trip to Pisa. Of course it was fun to see the Leaning Tower, but we also got to tour the cathedral and baptistery.

Venice

Venice, Italy Grand Canal

Ah, Venice. We only spent just over a day in Venice (it was truly a whirlwind tour through Italy), but we managed to visit St. Mark’s Basilica, spend some time in Piazza San Marco, watch a glass-blowing demonstration, and take a gondola ride. Sadly, our gondolier insisted that gondoliers only sing in the movies.

Milan

Cathedral in Milan, Italy

Milan was another very quick stop – we arrived there in the afternoon, spent the evening in the city, and left the country the next morning. On our one night there, we went to the Milan Cathedral. Tours inside had already stopped for the day, but we got lucky and were able to climb up to the top of the cathedral and walk along the roof. If you want an up-close look at Gothic architecture and a great view of Milan, I recommend this.

All I can say is I’m beyond excited to go back to Italy in a week and a half!

Written by Caroline Larson.

*All photos in this blog article are taken by and property of Caroline Larson. Allow me to apologize for some the photos in this article – my 16-year-old self wasn’t the best photographer. I like to think I’ve improved somewhat in the last ten years!

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