My second trip to Europe was primarily to northern Italy, plus Nice and Monaco.  We started in Nice on March 9.  We didn't do much that day except wander around the area near the beach.  The next day we went first to Eze, where we toured the Fragonard perfumery there.  Then we continued on to Monaco, where we mostly just wandered around the area around the Oceanographic Institute.

March 11 was spent mostly driving halfway across Italy to Milan.  We arrived there late in the afternoon, and didn't really do much except look around in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II for a while.  I noted that there were a lot of streetcars there, but had no time to even get some decent photos of them.

At some point before we got to Milan, we started traveling through a broad, flat plain.  As I discovered, this plain covers much of northern Italy, and it was several days before I saw a hill again.  This has always seemed very odd to me, probably because I'm from New England and I expect there to be hills around me.

After a night at a hotel just outside of Milan, we continued heading east.  Our first stop was Verona, a town best known for being the setting of Romeo & Juliet.  The two major things to see there are the 1st Century AD ampitheater, and the house (and balcony) that tradition holds belonged to Juliet's family.  We then continued onwards to our next hotel, which was half an hour outside of Venice.

We went to Venice on the 13th, taking a water taxi over to the city itself.  First we visited a murano glass factory, where aa glassblower demonstrated making a vase and a horse.  Then we went on a tour of St. Mark's Basilica and the palace of the Doges, the leaders of the old Venetian Republic.  Afterwards, a number of us decided to go on gondola rides.  During the afternoon we most wandered around St. Mark's Square.  It turns out the pigeons in Venice are very comfortable around people, and will happily fly onto someone's hand to eat food; there are a number of street vendors in the square who just sell bird food to tourists for this purpose.  The pigeons alos know not to poop on people; judging by how clean the square was, I presume they do so in the canals.

Occasionally in my travel journal I'll write down some random, trivial thing that I noticed.  At the end of my entry for the 13th, I have a note that Kit Kat bars are longer in Italy.  This is one of several candy-related observations I have made in Europe.  Another is that what we Americans call a Milky Way bar is a Mars bar in Europe, while a European Milky Way is equivalent to a 3 Musketeers bar.  During the period when I made my trips to Europe, Tic Tacs were bigger over there; since then American Tic Tacs have become larger, though I don't know if they match the European ones in size.

On the 14th we left Venice and headed southwest into Tuscany, finally seeing hills again.  Our first stop was Pisa, where we of course saw the Leaning Tower.  That was about it for the day, other than having dinner in Florence before heading to our hotel, which was some distance outside of Florence.

The next day we went first to Siena, a classic Tuscan hill town.  We started in the Piazza del Campo, where the horse races are held each summer, then went on a walking tour of the town and two of the three cathedrals there.  The first one we visited, the Duomo, is unique in that it has a north-south axis, rather than the usual east-west one.  This is because it's actually the transept of what was planned to be the largest cathedral in the world before money ran out.  Some of the uncompleted sections of the cathedral were incorporated into oter buildings.  We also visited the Basilica of San Domenico.

From Siena we went back to Florence, where we saw the Piazza del Signoria and the replica of the statue David there; the Duomo; the medieval house where Dante lived, the Basilica of Santa Croce, where Galileo's tomb is located; and we also visited a leather workshop.

March 16th we headed south into Umbria, eventually arriving in Orvieto, a hill town dating from Etruscan times.  We took a funicular up from where the bus parked to the town itself.  After a tour of the cathedral, we had plenty of free time to wander around the town.  I discovered several places around the edge of the town with views of the surrounding countryside.  Later we went on a tour of St. Patrick's Well, which is interesting in that it has a pair of staircases spiraling around it all the way to the bottom.  This allowed people (and pack animals) to go down one stair and up the other without getting in each other's way.  After that, we continued on down to Rome.

The 17th and 18th we spent in Rome.  We went through or saw numerous sights there, including the Vatican, the Forum, Trajan's Column, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps.