Italy – That’s Amore

This post is waaaaaaaaay overdue, but I finally got around to it 🙂 For my parents 30th anniversary, they had been talking for a long time about taking a European vacation. Well it just so happened that I was in Europe during for their 30th anniversary, so they made the trip over the pond for 11 days to see what my life is like over here and celebrate. We spent 3 days in Munich and 1 week in Italy, traveling by car to Florence, Rome and Venice. Lots of fun, good food, great wine, even better stories and just some good time catching up with mom and dad 🙂
Join me for the adventure.

My parents got it early Friday morning and we had a full day planned so they had no time to get rid of jet lag. Rented some bikes and rode around the city, seeing Marienplatz, Olympiapark, English Garden, and then capped off by trip to Haufbrahaus.

We sat next to two guys from the Phillipines who were a riot. This was one of my favorite pics of the trip.

Day two in Munich we went to Schloss Nymphenburg which was a palace built by German King in the 1800’s (can vaguely see in the background). This was the first time that I had been inside and the place is incredible. It’s amazing to see how extravagant these places are and learn about the life of kings.

Dad and I with some wishful thinking…

Had dinner on Saturday at the Augustiner Keller. How cool is this table??? When I get my own bar, this will be a must.


After weekend in Munich, we rented a car and left early Sunday morning for Florence. I tried renting a BMW so my dad could cruise the Autobahn in style, but the rental car place messed up and we were left with a Ford Kuga (only found in Europe), which is a small SUV. We didnt realize at the time but this made for some very interesting driving in Italy. The roads are so tiny and people walking everywhere, scooters veering in and out of traffic, and no room to park. Don’t think my dad will be driving in Italy again….
Below is the Florence cathedral called the Duomo (dome). Unfortunately we caught the aerial view on a rainy day, but you can still get a since of its size.
We spent one day in Florence by visiting two small towns in the Tuscany region: San Gimignano and Volterra. Below is a view of the Tuscan countryside which is filled with small houses and vineyards. Gorgeous.

This was in the center of San G, just glad it wasn’t in use anymore…

In a gift shop we saw a replica of the famous statue of David by Michelangelo. Can’t you see the resemblance?

Between Florence, Rome, and Venice, I thought Florence had by far the best food. Below is a picture of a lasagna dish…just looking at it makes me want to go back to Italy right now.

Drinking some wine outside, waiting for table on last night in Florence.

Before we headed out to Rome, we waked around Florence and checked out the inside and top of the Duomo. This is a shot from the top.

Our second stop in Italy was to Rome. Very different experience than Florence, but equally as exciting. I love history, so I was fascinated seeing and learning about the Roman Empire. Also, being Catholic, it was amazing to to see the home of the Church and walk through the streets of where so much has happened in the Church’s history.

Finding good food in Rome is a challenge because there are so many places that are tourist traps. Luckily one of my coworkers lived in Rome and suggested a few local places. Picture below is from the best place we went, and the second best dish of the whole trip – didnt get pic of the best one 😦

This is a very unique appetizer called squash blossom. I was actually introduced to this by my friend Caitlin who had them in Italy a few years ago and made them in Seattle, so I had to try them in Italy. Made with squash and goat cheese, and then breaded and cooked.

Because Rome has so much to see and a lot of people that want to see it, we got a private tour guide for a few hours. We hit all the major sites and got all the inside scoop. As you see, my dad and I were listening very attentively

Throwing coins over our shoulder in the Trevi fountain for some good luck!

For those that have seen Angels and Demons, remember where the last Cardinal was put into the fountain? This is it, in Piazza Navona.

A priest from our local parish in Michigan, Fr. Jerry Vincke, recently moved to Rome as the Spiritual Director for Seminarians at the North American College. He invited to lunch at the seminary.

He also gave us a tour of the college which has an unbelievable aerial view of the Vatican.

In front of the Victor Emmanuel Monument, which was built as tribute to Italy becoming independent state.

Pretending to be a gladiator outside the Colosseum.


Last stop on our Italy trip brought us to Venice. Easily the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen. It’s easy to get lost, but that is what makes it fun. You can wander through the streets and bridges connecting land and just experience what the city has to offer.

Picture from first night in Venice on the Rialto Bridge.Rialto Bridge from our hotel balcony. Nice find mom!

For anyone that has seen Hannibal, tell me this doesnt look like Anthony Hopkins in the last seen where he escapes to Florence? I seriously thought it was him when I saw this guy sitting on a bench in St. Mark square.

Enjoying some beers on patio underneath the Rialto.

Rowing competition on the Grand Canal.

One of the great things about Italy is the cheap wine. You can walk into a shop like this and get a 1liter bottle of wine for 2 euro, and its some of the best wine you will ever drink. This was the owner of the shop.
Have you seen the new UPS commercial about logistics and notice a UPS boat in Venice?

Just a couple canal shots that I liked.

Have a ton more pictures but these were the best. Send me a message if you want to see more. Also, my mom made me scrapbook of the trip, so if you visit me you can see them in print!
Time to get a little sappy, but wanted to send shot out to my parents. Part of reason of trip was for their 30th wedding anniversary. I am lucky to have parents that been together for so long and truly love each other. Thanks for everything and for making the trip to see me. Will never forget this vacation.


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