I kicked over the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Yesterday I visited the ever-so-famous Leaning Tower of Pisa...and kicked it over.

RAWR. Anyway, it was a fun trip. One of the most hilarious sights was looking at the line of people holding funny poses with their hands up in what looks like the middle of nowhere in order to capture the oh-so-desired cheesy tourist photos. (Of course, I was one of them too — but I’m pretty sure I’m the only badass who kicked down the tower :P)

Apparently, the lower leans about 5 meters. It originally started shifting mostly due to natural causes, because it was constructed without a basement. Apparently it stopped continuing to shift at some point though. I stood on the side that it didn’t lean down on to be safe, as I promised my Grandpa I would 🙂

There are other amazing monuments in the "Field of Miracles" where the Leaning Tower exists -- the Duomo (cathedral) and a huge Baptistery.

But let's face it...Pisa is primarily visited with one purpose in mind: take really fun photos with the tower! 😀

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From Florence to Fiesole by foot!

A few weeks ago on a beautiful sunny, warm day, some friends and I ventured out to take a walk to Fiesole--a historic town located up on a hill only ~6 miles from the center of Florence.

This is maybe ~20 minutes into our journey... You can see Fiesole on those mountains in the background 😮

...We're getting there! The ascension up the mountain reminded me a lot of climbing up to the castle atop the city of Assisi--winding roads back and forth.

Buon giorno! 🙂

When we finally reached the main city of Fiesole, we entered a charming, old piazza with this statue to commemorate Liberation Day.

We ate outside at a delightful Italian restaurant, and were very happy that they actually played classic Italian music! (as opposed to the American music you often hear at public places in Florence)

The view of the Tuscan countryside was beautiful, and a nice change in pace from the city environment of Florence.

I loved all the little villas dispersed throughout the green countryside 🙂

Ciao for now! I have many more adventures to catch up on sharing soon, like a trip to Verona and a hike through the Alps! 😀

Siena & The Mazzei Winery

Last weekend when my family was visiting, we took a day trip to Siena -- a little under a two-hour train ride from Florence.

Specifically, we ventured into the beautiful Tuscan area on the outskirts of the city of Siena -- by Castellina di Chianti -- to attend a wine tasting & tour of the Mazzei winery. It took a few transportation setbacks between being told to take the wrong buses and not having buses show up, but we made it!

After a lovely wine-tasting (Zisola is possibly my new favorite red wine), our guide Vittoro led us through the enchanting little village of the winery.

I was so happy that my mom could see the picturesque countryside of Italy that we always sigh over in chickflicks 🙂

There were barrels and barrels of vino stored away in the rustic cellars... The Mazzei winery is still family-run from the original family line that started the business in 1435!

This is the "library." (Now that's my kind of library!) Vittoro was telling us how part of his job is to test these wines. "It is good job" he remarked in a tone as if we needed convincing.

Even the gloomy weather couldn't take away from the village's quaint beauty.

Adventures in Assisi

March 3, 2012 - I decided not to look up anything about Assisi before boarding the train, so that everything I saw would be a complete surprise and adventure. That's the way to do it.

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When we arrived in the Assisi train station, we looked out at the medieval city up on the afar hills. The castle on top seemed so high and far away that we had some doubts about reaching it, at first. There was one desolate road that went towards that city, so we started walking, unsure of exactly how long and direct this journey would be.

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...It was a beautiful walk.

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(Photo credit: Heather Ayvazian) As we entered this medieval city, every winding layer of road we climbed only became more and more impressive. I kind of felt like I was climbing up the city of Gondor, except with an atmosphere of warmth instead of gloom.

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This was my first visit to a Tuscan countryside area, and it truly was picturesque.

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I love Italy 🙂

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As we approached the top of the hills, we ventured off a main road and through a dirt pathway that lead us through the woods and up to the castle. Along the way, I spotted so many intriguing encounters, like this.

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STORM THE CASTLE!

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Feeling on top of the world.

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Rocco Maggiore

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oh hai there 😀

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Rob the Majestic

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I love feeling like I'm in Robin Hood...

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Basilica Papale di San Francesco

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...The most incredible sunset I've ever seen.

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And that concludes my adventures in Assisi...