North America, Europe · 21 Days · 41 Moments · August 2017

Pat, Terry, & Mary's Adventure in Italy

12 September 2017

On Tuesday, we took the train to Venice. We got of the train and right onto a water taxi since there are no roads or cars in the entire city. We ate lunch at the Rialto Bridge, where I paid $100 euro for a fish, 🐟and toured a Cathedral where you couldn't take pictures. We spent most of the day on the water, admiring the beautiful architecture and wondering how the heck the buildings were ever built!?

6 September 2017

On Wednesday, we spent my last day in Florence touring il Duomo, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. The original was built in 1296. We toured the baptistery, church, and museum. Each church we have seen in Italy is able to have its own museum because of all the priceless works of art the original churches contained. In Il duomo, we saw a partially completed statue of Michelangelo's Pieta. This was a favorite subject of his and several renditions are in churches across Italy. This church was much less grandiose than some we have seen, but the tilework on the floor was amazing. So intricate and small, the floor alone had to take years to complete.

5 September 2017

Venice Photos

4 September 2017

This morning we went to Basilica de Santa Maria del Croce. This church was filled with the crypts of very wealthy Florentines. Each was decorated with enormous amounts of marble. After the Basilica, we went on a bus to Pisa. We toured the Square of Miracles which contained a hospital, a crypt of wealthy Pisans, a cathedral, a baptistery, (Galileo was baptized here), and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The tower was built in 1135! The tower is actually the bell tower for the church that is leaning because: 1-it was built on sand, 2- it was constructed entirely of marble which made it too heavy 3- it was built without windows making even heavier 4- even the stairs on the inside (217 stairs) were made of marble, and 5- there were seven bells in the tower instead of 1. The vibrations from the bells added to the tower's instability. When the Pisans figured out the tower was sinking, the hired engineers from the Middle East (familiar with building on sand) to help solve the problem.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Square of Miracles: Pisa
TodayPat lost her camera. She walked back to Ponte Vecchio to see if she left it at the cafe there while I walked to piazza del republics. We toured the anthropology museum, had Aperol Spritz on a rooftop deck, and went to cooking class at the Food and Wine academy where we made and ate pizza and gelato. We had to take a taxi home because we walked in the wrong direction and if there was any doubt, we found Italians (other than those who were taking your money) to be extremely rude. I wish I knew the language just to cus some of them out.

3 September 2017

Today we learned how to make pizza and gelato.
Yesterday we took a taxi to Ponte Vecchio. It is a bridge that is covered with jewelry stores. The bridge was built in 1345. We walked across and ate delicious gelato.
Florence is a beautiful city. The City Center is bustling from dawn til after midnight. There are sidewalk cafes everywhere that serve drinks with complimentary snacks. Our apartment is adorable. Most importantly, it has a great air conditioner.

2 September 2017

Ponte Vecchio

1 September 2017

Today we took il frecciarossa to Florence. The city is beautiful with its cathedrals and piazzas. It feels a bit younger than Rome but not much. The food is ridiculous. Pat and I at dinner with a drink include for 8 euros. Cheap and plentiful. There are more cafes than you could eat at in a lifetime.
Our last day in Rome😢. We toured the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica. I can't even put into words how spectacular this is. Every room had priceless paintings and sculptures and artifacts.
We left our luggage in the terminal after a delicious lunch at Mercato Centrale. There was every kind of food or drink you could think of and molto delicioso! We hopped on a bus to take a quick tour around the city to see which sites we wanted to visit. Rome is amazing! Right next to an average looking apartment is the burial site where Julius Caesar was murdered! Down the next road was the ruins of the track where chariot races were held. The colosseum has so many features you can still see in modern stadiums, but people were killed for sport here. We visited the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain also. Molto Bella!!

31 August 2017

The Vatican: Swiss guards protect the entrance to St. Peter's Basilica. The statue is Michalangelo's Pieta.

30 August 2017

Rome Train Station. Aperol Spritz is my new favorite drink.
After Alberobello, we went to the for a wine tasting at Cantine del Notaio. Sonia took us to their wine cellars that were hand dug by Franciscan monks around 1400. After the tour we tasted (and purchased) their wines and ate local food that was delicioso. The countryside in the Vulture region looked like a Monet painting. Molto Bella!!

29 August 2017

Alberobello. All of the buildings are white and have conical roofs. This town is right out of a fairytale. (I'm pretty sure the Smurfs live here.)

28 August 2017

What an awesome day! We started early with a boat ride from Salerno to Capri. We took a hydrofoil that went along the coast, stopping in Amalfi and Positano. These towns are amazing as they are carved from the hillside. We stopped in Capri where we got on a smaller boat to travel around the island, then to a rowboat to go inside the Blue Grotto. My pictures do not do this justice. An old Italian man rowed us in as he sang "O solo mio". The Amalfi Coast is a must see. Truly and Italian experience. Tomorrow we go to Aberobella, then on to tour a vineyard.

27 August 2017

Playing cards and eating pastry on Il frecciarossa. (high-speed train)
Today we started our day with a boat ride from Salerno to Amalfi. The boat went along the coast so we had an awesome view of all the buildings that hang off of the hillsides. In Amalfi, we had lunch outside in a cafe in front of St. Andrew's Basilica. There was a band singing old Italian songs. We went from Amalfi on a bus to Positano and several other towns (who shall remain nameless) that are tucked along the coast. Each town has a beach the size of a postage stamp with really dark sand. The bus tour ended in Sorrento where we went to Chef Carmen's cooking class. We made homemade ravioli, sea bass, and calamari. YUM! Tomorrow we are headed to Capri. So many trains, so many bus rides, and so much more food to eat.
Salerno: Yesterday, we drove from Rome to Salerno. First observation: Italian drivers are crazy! They speed everywhere. They drive in 2 lanes at the same time. Turn signals are always optional. And nobody pays any attention to right of way. (Pat seems to be acclimating to the roads here quite well.) We saw several wildfires caused by the drought. A lot of the landscape looks scorched. First stop, appetizers at one of Pat's favorite restaurants. First Aperol Spritz of my life. Game changer. Next stop, we visited Il duomo. This is the church where St. Matthew was originally buried. The burial crypt is the most ornate mosaic room I have ever seen. In Salerno, we had dinner at Criscumunno. Pat knows the owner, Francesco. They are now friends on Facebook. Pat invited him and his girlfriend to visit Florida. He said he will come once he gets over his fear of flying😎. After being awake for the better part of 2 days, Terry and I are done. Day 2 here we go.

26 August 2017

We stopped for lunch in Anagni. The town is built on top of a mountain. All of the streets are steep and narrow. We had to look hard for a restaurant because we arrived during midday when the shopkeepers go home to rest.
Finally we have landed in Rome. Customs and security are much more relaxed than in the US. I was wanted and tested for GSR three times before we left home. Really? Traveling is done for now. Terry and I are ready to be tourists. Here we go!

25 August 2017

Pizza in Chicago. Last stop before overnighting to Rome. This flight calls for a couple cocktails, a fluffy pillow, and an inflight movie.
Day 2 has started more promising than Day 1. We left the Keys at 5 am. (Thanks to Michelle and Jeffrey for housing us for the evening.) Good thing we left early because Miami traffic is INSANE!! We returned the rental, checked our bags, got boarding passes, and made it to the gate with 2 hours to spare. ( I was not having a repeat of yesterday!) We are now waiting to board our flight to Chicago, then on to Rome. I am ready to be gone from Miami. I am pretty sure Terry and I are the only 2 people in this airport who speak English. It's so confusing!

24 August 2017

Waiting for Italy
Day 1 drama!! So we get to Jacksonville airport ten minutes late for bringing a checked bag (who knew?) and we are bumped to a later flight to mia which causes to miss our connection to ord so we are now scheduled to leave Miami on the same flight tomorrow. We rented a car at the airport and drove to Michelle and Jeffrey's house in the keys to overnight. Hopefully do 2 will bring less drama.

23 August 2017

The packing is done. The euros are purchased. Terry and I are flying tomorrow at 6:30 am to join Pat in Rome some short 17 hours later! Small price to pay for 2 weeks in Italia.