When you go on a cruise, you have the option of purchasing land excursions through the ship. For the majority of our vacation, we decided not to book excursions and instead decided to go with the flow.
However, we did book excursions for two different ports: Florence and Rome.
Rather than visiting the city of Florence (which I’m sure was beautiful, as well), Brandon and I decided to go wine tasting in nearby Tuscany.
We took a bus from our ship to a small vineyard in the heart of Tuscany.
Everything about this winery was picturesque.
Our hostess at the vineyard was warm, funny, and very knowledgeable.
She took us on a quick tour, which included seeing the grapes and the presses they use to make olive oils.
After the tour, we were all seated at beautiful, long picnic tables.
They had several bottles of wine on each table …
… along with cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh bread, sun-dried tomatoes, cured meats, cheeses, olives, and biscotti cookies.
It was an absolutely perfect day. We chatted with new friends, enjoyed the gorgeous scenery, and savored the incredible treats we were given!
This was definitely the best excursion we went on.
If you enjoy wine tasting and you’re going to be in Italy, I would recommend visiting Tuscany! You won’t be disappointed!
The next day, we had a full day excursion in Rome.
We started out visiting the Colosseum …
… which is considered to be one of the greatest works of Roman architecture.
It was even bigger than I had expected it to be!
And much more crowded, too.
Next, we drove toward the Vatican.
(That’s not the Vatican … just a pretty shot!)
There’s the Vatican!
In order to be allowed in to the Vatican, you have to have your knees and shoulders covered. So I wore a long dress (which made me sweat on that hot hot day!) and I brought a small sweater to wear inside.
The pictures really don’t do this place justice. There aren’t even words to describe the beauty of this church!
After seeing the Vatican, we broke off from our group to do our own exploring.
We only had a few hours to eat lunch and explore, so we had to hurry to see everything we wanted to see.
First we saw the Pantheon.
The Pantheon was originally built as a pagan temple, but was later used as a Catholic church.
Next we hurried over to the Trevi Fountain.
This was probably the tourist attraction that I was most excited to see. Isn’t it gorgeous??
The only downside was how many people were standing around! I just could not get over the amount of tourists everywhere we went.
I think the time of year you go makes a difference. July is obviously quite a popular month!
So next, we visited the Spanish steps.
The steps were built in 1723, in order to connect the Spanish square at the bottom of the stairs to the French church at the top. Since that time, they have become one of the top “must sees” in Rome.
But honestly? I just thought they looked like normal steps.
But what do I know?
Overall, I’m really glad that we visited Rome. It is a beautiful city, rich in history and gorgeous architecture. But I do think that we tried to cram too much into one day.
If I were to go back again, I would either: a. Plan to be in Rome for several days or b. Make it a more leisurely day, and not worry about seeing all of the major tourist attractions!
So that recaps our days in Tuscany and Rome. I know I said that this was the last Europe-focused post, but I do want to write just one more. I still have pictures to share from Capri, plus I want to give some more tips that I learned from our trip! Several of you have commented that you might want to do a similar vacation, and I would love to pass on some of the knowledge that I have now acquired!
Question for ya …
What are you doing this weekend?
I have a baby shower to attend tomorrow for a friend from church … can’t wait!!
Ever gone to a wine tasting?
When you go on vacation, are you more “go with the flow” or “hurry and see everything!”?