Our first stop in Italy was Tirano, a small town on the border of Switzerland, where we switched trains to Milan. We were only there an hour, but enough time to hear the accordian player on the street and to grab the most AMAZING pasta from a little to-go shop. We stopped again in Milan, or Milano in Italian, which was a city I wasn't sad to by-pass. Crowded. Loud. Graffiti everywhere. Dirty. Finally we arrived in Genoa, or Genova. This is a port city in the Northwest of Italy. With over 600,000 people is was bustling as people walked the cobble-stone streets with old architecture towering overhead. The best part of this city, in my opinion, was an old street we stumbled upon that housed huge mansions once occupied by the nobles of the city. We went in one of them, which is now city hall, and it was very impressive. I pictured women walking the open halls of this residence with Victorian gowns boasting their cleavage. Genoa was a stopping point to reach the Cinque Terre, five small villages that were cut off from the rest of the world for quite some time. We hiked between some of them and took the train between others. We took dips in the Mediterranean Sea at two of the villages to cool down from the heat. (It is HOT in Europe right now!) We stopped in little cafes here and there to grab a snack and I even did a little shopping at a boutique run by a woman who was dressed like a gypsie in white. The Cinque Terre was beautiful, surrounded by vineyards and lemon tree orchards. I would definitely like to go back, but maybe not in the height of trourist season and HOT HOT weather.
Here is a picture of one of the villages where we took a dip in the small bay...
After the Cinque Terre we stopped in Pisa. The only reason to go there is to see the Leaning Tower, which we did. Besides that, it's just a small college town like McMinnville, Oregon. We saw the tower, hopped back on the train, and now we're in Rome. Rome is like ancient meets modern. We ate our grocery store lunch beside ancient temple ruins. We walked through the Colosseum and the Pantheon. Saw fountains and churches made by famous designers. There is so much to see!!!
Tomorrow the Christian Catacombs and the Vatican and anything else we stumble across, which will definitely happen in this city!