La Dolce Vita

Buona sera di Roma,

Hello from beautiful Italy, this time from a new home, Hotel Diana, in Rome. In a city so rich with history, creation, innovation, legend, and lore, we’re finding it hard to keep track of where we have already visited because each passing day brings more and more new sights and wonders to behold! It’s been a few days since we’ve recapped our adventure so let’s start off at the beginning of our Italian Job (Mini Coopers not included)!

Leaving Zermatt, we departed Switzerland and its beautiful Alps, and upon entering Italy, the border nestled between two mountains, it was clear to see the difference between the two countries. On one side, laid Switzerland–German speaking, nice folks, shepherding goats down city roads; on the other was Italy–laden with vineyards, olive trees, pasta, and pizza.


We headed South, straight to Venice, where we immediately set our routine for the next few days, in which we would catch a water taxi to the city and proceed to walk the pedestrian-friendly roads. Having visited Piazza San Marco a few times, more and more of our trip members became friends of the pigeons, famous for perching themselves on top of passers by. While at the Piazza, our trip members split into groups and initiated an old-world bartering competition, in which each group started with a pen and proceeded to trade their items for others increasing in value. Among the final items received were: a Venetian-panorama painting, gondolier hats, and even perfume. Following Piazza San Marco, we ventured through the city to Ponte Rialto, home of the jewellers-of-old; the Murano Glass factory for a master class in glass blowing; and a nice relaxing canal ride by singing and laughing gondoliers… fortunately, though, none of us even touched the water… “The gondola ride is a favorite moment from the trip for me, it was nice and cool and a new way to see the city,” said Jamie.


Afterward, we traveled to the Amalfi Coast, to the beach destination of Rimini for some fun in the sun and a surprise of Color War! Our two-day competition pitted four teams against each other, culminating in a tie-breaking skit of staff mimicry and mockery, giving way to our winning team, the Black Team, captained by Ali and Robbie! To some like Ethan, though, “the pizza really stood out as awesome.”IMG_9288

And then from Rimini, we made our way to the glorious city of Rome, once the glorious city state founded by the twins of legend, Remus and Romulus. While in Roma (read: Rome), we have visited the Vatican City, Campo di Fiori, Piazza Navono, the beautiful Trastavere, and Piazza Del Popolo, which was “so diverse,” according to Eli; for some independent exploration and sight seeing. On top of the exploration, we also toured the legendary Colosseum–colossal and impressive in size and stature; the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps.

As we prepare to leave the city cleaved by the Tiber River, we say prepareto say hello to Pisa, Sorrento, et. al.!


-The Westcoast Blogger


Human Bingo & History Lessons in Rome – Backpack Greece, the Islands & Italy

Friends and family of Backpack Greece and Italy,

After we checked into the hotel, we bit into our first destination of Roman history.  The Spanish Steps are the widest staircase in Europe and a great place for taking pictures.  We walked over to the peaceful Borghese Gardens where we played “Speed Dating” to get to know each other a little better.  Dinner was a spectacle in itself as we took our newly formed bonds to Papa Rex, to experience not only local Italian food, but authentic opera singing and a toga party.  After a  jam-packed first day, we called it a night!

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Human Bingo kicked off our busiest day in Rome.  We began with a guided tour of Vatican City, where the Trip Members absorbed a wealth of knowledge and interesting facts.  We wrapped up with a visit of the famous Sistine chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica.  With full brains, we proceeded to grab a quick lunch in Vatican City and use the rest of our downtime to rack up some Touch the Nun points.

Afternoon brought on the Coliseum!  Once the holder of 80, 000 seats, now one of the worlds greatest tourist attractions and performance grounds for the likes of Ray Charles, Billy Joel, and Elton John.  After extracting the last bit of gladiator within us, we moved across the street to the Roman Forum—ancient government buildings and main shopping complex.  Under the late afternoon sun, we welcomed the ice cold spring water fountain, one of many scattered across Rome.  For dinner, we went to famous site of Julia Roberts’ gelato in Eat Pray Love—Piazza Navona.  We walked along the side streets for a more authentic Italian cuisine, before returning to the square to enjoy some gelato, the impressive artists and street performers.


Alas, our last day in Rome.  The group woke up refreshed and ready to roll.  We started the day with a Bang—the icebreaker that is.  We headed over to the Trevi Fountain where, despite being under construction they were still able to throw coins into a pond—I guess that means we’re coming back to Rome!  The Trip Members then navigated the map like true backpackers and landed us in the Pantheon, a real geometric wonder as it illustrates the perfect relationship between the volume of cylinder and a sphere.  Here on backpack Greece and Italy, we stay sharp!  Campo Di Fiori was lunch; a mix outdoor markets and restaurants.  A large group after at Osteria Da Fortunata and raved about the Seniora that made their pasta dishes right in front of them.  Talk about authentic!  We kicked off our last evening in Rome in Trastevere where the crew dove into a trade-up game and had to trade a pen for various items to see what they could end up with.  We ate dinner in the narrow cobblestone streets before hiking up to Piazzale Giusseppe Garibaldi, where we took pictures and enjoyed a last breathtaking view of the Italian capital.

Now we’re off to Perugia and putting our backpacking skills to the test!

 The Westcoast Blogger

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