Italia: Venice & Florence

Friday, April 08, 2011

Finally! I've done enough laundry to sit down and do this.

I'll split the trip into two cities per each post, so the photos + commentary won't be too laborious.

Please indulge me in this precursory comment: I really dislike all of the photos taken of me during this trip (or any time in recent months). But alas, I am pregnant, and I am larger (everywhere) than I've ever been in my entire life. I know that sacrificing your vanity is just part of carrying a child. This doesn't mean I have to like these photos. But this is my blog, so I get to say my piece if I want to. can safely assume that the good, high-resolution photos were taken by Jonathan.

We left Memphis Saturday around 10: 30 in the morning, flew to Atlanta, then flew to New York. We left New York around 7:30 pm ET, and got to Venice around 11 a.m. their time on Sunday morning.

We took a water bus into town from the airport... it was fun to see this storied city built on the water with my own two eyes. And thus began the mind-blowing that happens when you realize how old everything is.

{not far from where we saw a local teenage couple TOTALLY MAKING OUT in one of these doorways, oblivious to the world. Our baptism into seeing public makeout sessions all over the place.}

So, what I learned in Venice: maps are useless. Any sort of strong directional sense is largely futile. You WILL get lost and you WILL have no clue where you're going. And yes, we did make a circle once or twice. But, it was fun wandering around, and we managed to stay awake all day until about 8:30 Sunday night.

We went to St. Mark's Square (the "big" thing there, right?), where part of the front facade was under scaffolding.

{those little boys in the green jackets were trying to get pigeons to sit on their head and arms and stuff. gross.}

Jonny making a pigeon-face (and you can see the beautiful church and scaffolding):

So, we meandered around, had some not-so-great/touristy pizza (better pizza was to come) and went to sleep. Funny, we both woke up around 2:30 am and realized the other was awake. We ate snacks, and went back to sleep until 8 am.

That morning, I got this best gelato pic (grapefruit...MMM!):

And then we packed up and headed to the train station for FIRENZE!

Jonathan downloaded this new app slash toy, Autostitch, and had fun playing with it.

Here's the Duomo in Florence (which is so jammed into the city, it's hard to get a comprehensive picture while you're standing next to it):


Those famous "Gates of Paradise" on the Baptistry doors, (so beautiful in person, even on a grey day!):

While in Florence, we were SO graciously hosted by our friends Laura & Ryan Stephens, who are participating in mission work through Avanti Italia.

Here's the 4 of us from the Piazza di Michelangelo (a wonderful view of the city and a better idea of the size of the Duomo):

Ryan & Laura's apartment was so cozy and comfortable, and we got to enjoy some of Laura's Italian-refined culinary skills. They also took us to visit two of their artisan friends they've met while there, one makes intricate jewelry and detailed metal accoutrements, and one works mainly in watercolor...we bought 3 small watercolors of his (two for the baby's room!).

THANK YOU so much, Stephens, for hosting us! We had such a great time with you both.

Also in Florence, Laura took us to Harding University's Villa where Jonathan spent a summer in college. We ate a delicious lunch, and I got to meet Robbie, the longtime famous program director:

We finished off our trip to Florence with visits to the Uffizi Art Gallery and the Accademia, where I got this illegal phone pic of the David:

So formidable and so much larger in person than I expected. We walked into the gallery where he stands, and I just said, "Whoa!" Completely beautiful. We also liked seeing Michelangelo's "unfinished" slave sculptures there.

Of course, before getting on the train to Cinque Terre, one more stop at J's favorite gelato place from his college days, FESTIVAL!

Next we go to Vernazza (Cinque Terre) and Roma! Stay tuned!


  1. Italy through gelato! What a treat!!

  2. Leslie, I feel you on the preggo pics. I still do not think any of mine are cute at ALL. Moving forward love all the pics, especially the baptistry doors and david (he is huge and not in a pun sort of way). Looking forward toward your next post.

  3. love the pics, Leslie. Especially the gelato. Way to go Jonny!

    So glad you got to see the Villa and can't wait to see your CT pictures!

    oh, and you looked great in these pictures! But I feel you, Im trying to embrace it, too :)

  4. Thanks for the tour! That gelato looks delicious. You look wonderful. I am sorry you feel blue about your body changes. It's difficult to go through all these changes and symptoms, isn't it? Will you think bad thoughts of me if I remind you that it is indeed temporary? You'll get your body back soon and you'll have a sweet baby girl to love on for the rest of your life.

  5. Jenny1:10 PM

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us! Looking forward to the next installment. I think you look great in all the pictures! I have top secret ones to show you, when you need cheering up. . . and I can promise you that every pound is worth it!! Re: illegal pics of David? Have they changed the rules? I have bunches from our visit. . . legal. The sculpture IS AMAZING. We were in awe of all of the artwork surrounding us. But can I say, I'm glad you guys are home?? Love you both!!

  6. You are so right about Venice...getting lost is the rule rather than the exception! And you summarized the David perfectly...I'll never forget the moment of coming around that corner and having my breath taken away by its massiveness!


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