Italy, Vatican · 12 Days · 40 Moments · May 2017

Italy 2017

22 May 2017

After Gelateria Santa Trinita in Florence the second best ice cream we ever had. Brivido Gelateria close to Piazza del Campo. The smallest cone is huge and basically double the standard portion of every other shop. We shared ours and it was great for the hot temperatures. You can even see the nuts in the picture - hmmmmm. To our surprise that shop has very bad ratings in the internet. Might be a bit pricier but the flavors we had were great.
Unfortunately we had to leave our B&B in Umbria and moved on to our next base in Tuscany. On our way was Siena, to many people the nicest town of Tuscany. Siena is famous for its cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year. Since there was no horse race while we were there we wandered around the fan-shaped central square, Piazza del Campo, the old town and the great cathedral / Duomo which was completed in 1348. After all, for us ranked number three in Tuscany.

21 May 2017

Another day of exploring the surroundings ahead. This time west through the picturesque valley Val d'Orcia and also visiting the wine city of Montepulciano and Pienza. The better pictures are on the bigger camera. We also noticed that we got a bit tired therefore we went home earlier than planned to enjoy the sun on our B&B terrace.

20 May 2017

Our favorite souvenirs are usually to eat or to drink therefore we made on our way home a stop by the Agricola Mariotti - Food Farm. A little farmers shop off the beaten path with self made produced salami, ham, wine and cheese. We tried half the shop and decided to bring home some salamis, ham and cheese.
City hopping day - since the weather forecast announced the first and only time of our holiday some rain, we decided to visit some of the towns in eastern Umbria. All somewhat similar but good to see on a not so perfect day. Our route brought us to Montefalco, Bevagna, Spello and Assisi. Montefalco was still dressed pink due to a stage visit of the bike race Giro d'Italia. Assisi is the biggest and busiest of those small towns being a christian pilgrim city.

19 May 2017

Nice quick Panini lunch at La Bottega di Perugia. Simple and good.
Perugia - to some known as the capital of Umbria but also as a main university town with abt. 34.000 students. The town is not that big but we still spent a couple hours up there as the famous Oldtimer car race Mille Miglia passed through. Unfortunately we only saw a Ferrari tribute as the wait got too long. In addition we visited the foundations of the shut/ burried fortress Rocca Paolina which is now lying under the city.
A visit in Perugia the capital of the region Umbria. Since the city, as so may in the area, lies on a hill and parking is limited we decided to park a bit out of the centre at the Porta Nova parking. From there we were able to take Perugias automatic Minimetro which brought us up into the city. After 10 min and six stops the little cars turn around again and keep looping. The first of it's kind we have seen. Cute!

18 May 2017

Dinner in our "hometown" Paciano at L'Oca Bruciata. Accompanied by many locals of this small town we had decent food and the best english speaking server of our whole trip.
Our third place to stay - Agriturismo Galetto di Marzo in Paciano, Umbria. With amazing views over the rolling hills we enjoyed 4 nights at this place as base for our day trips around. Sitting lonely on a hill you have to take 800 m up and down dirt road to get here. Being the only guests we were truly enjoying our time. Our room with about 40 qm over two levels with a big terasse. Also the breakfast served by the owners Luca and Veronica was the best we had during our stay! A wonderful place to stay!
On our way to our Umbria another brief stop in the hilltown Todi. We had some ice cream and some pizza for lunch. The city itself was not very big.
The actual reason for our night stopover in Montefiascone was the town of Civita. On our road to Umbria we had to stop by this extraordinary city. Founded BC by the Etruscans the town and its surroundings started to decline with time, making this town today an endangered island due to the erosions. After a steep and long hike up the town reveals quite a beauty.

17 May 2017

Leaving Salerno we had to pick up our car for the next eleven days. As ordered we got a Fiat 500 and made our longest journey 4 hrs north towards Montefiascone north of Rome. Montefiascone served as a night stop to visit Civita the next day. Lying above lake Bolsegna we got splendid views of the valley. The castle of Montefiascone used to be the popes residence 16th century and is a pilgrimage stop especially in summer. Also checked in our fine enough B&B La Bertina.

16 May 2017

La Botte Pazza is an adorable little restaurant with free wine and water! The service was friendly and who doesn't like a self service wine tap or more like a fountain. The menu was simple and written on the wall. The appetizers consisted of 5 small dishes (grilled lemon leaves wrapped cheese, bruschetta, baked aubergine, salumi and cheese selection with pickled onion and olives, & bread puffs with salt) and for our mains we had entrecôte and pasta with pomodore. Of a course a Tiramisu and espresso for dessert!
A city lost for over 2000 years, Pompeii! Out of the volcanic ashes and dust emerged roads, houses and bodies of a once thriving city with a population of over 20,000 citizens. A short 35 minutes train ride from Salerno (super cheap too; only 2,20€ one way per person) we set foot on Pompeii. Nearly 5 hours was spent exploring this amazing city. It is interesting to see how techniques from long ago are still used today! Truly a place to see and relieve how it was to be Roman.

15 May 2017

Since Positano is fairly small we went a bit offside the tourist route up the hills for our lunch. We looked up Casa e Bottega and were not disappointed. Similar to our Barcelona Veggie/Vegan/Healthy experience we a found a menu going into the same direction. This non Pizza/Pasta experience gave us some very fresh well mixed salads and yummy smoothies. Worth walking a bit further up the hill than most others do!
The Amalfi Coast! We decided to visit Positano and Amalfi by taking the small ferry from Salerno. Overall we spent 28€ each but we enjoyed our little cruise on side of visiting the towns. For us Positano is a nice stop to do. Amalfi town itself seems overrated. Looking at the villages from the ferry we actually felt like being on lake Como where the some towns are built similar into the hills - just with a few lemon trees less.

14 May 2017

Since our evenings were the closest we had to being Naples we had to go for Pizza. Just a short walk down our street was one good outpost. Pizzeria La Smorfia - The tomato sauce tastes always fresher in Italy anyway but the Naples style is a very thin inner Pizza with thicker crust. We actually skipped on most of the crust and focussed on the inner part where the taste of the ingredients really came through! Not a fancy place but a great pizza in the old town!
After checkin we explored the city of Salerno. A small old town with the typical Duomo and several restaurants, a quite long pedestrian shopping zone and a very nice beachfront called Lungomare Triest. A good spot for our tours to the Amalfi Coast and to Pompeii. Here some impressions.
Our accommodation in Salerno - Il Campanile. A fine B&B in the middle of the old town. The days started with an Italian sweet breakfast and a cappuccino from the cafe bar. A nightmare though for parking but that is not only for the old town but rather for all Salerno.
Good bye Rome - it was a pleasure. Busy and loud but interesting like not many other. Our Frecciarossa High speed train brought us via Naples and the Vesuvio volcano to our second stop - Salerno

13 May 2017

After dinner a visit at the Colosseum at night. Great for our last evening in Rome!
With a Granita in our hands, relaxing again after our shopping stroll at the popular Spanish steps. The steps leading up to the church Trinità dei Monti are actually called Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti. The common name comes from square Piazza di Spagna below the steps
Back from the river we decided to explore the shopping in Rome. The main part is on and around Via del Corso stretching from Piazza Venezia up to Piazza del Popolo.
The Tiber river at Isola Tiberina. Going down to the riverbank of Rome's main river we allowed our feet and body a good rest. They actually created nice several kilometers bile path down there.
Pizza roman style at Florida Pizza - kind of a heat up concept but not bad!
After the Roman Forum we stopped by the The Altare della Patria or Altar of the Fatherland, also known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emmanuel is a monument built in honor of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy, located in Rome, Italy. We climbed up the stairs from the site and enjoyed the nice view onto Piazza Venezia and over the city. Much more imposing though when we stood in front of the monument looking up from the Piazza. 135m wide and 70m high is huge!
The Foro Romano and Palatine hill - once Rome's birthplace and the most celebrated meeting place in the world, today a great place to experience a hint of Rome back in the days. Many ruins of different important buildings dating back until the founding years. We spent hours wondering around the archeological excavations which are part of the Colosseum tickets - From the forum we also made our best shots of the Colosseum!

12 May 2017

After another nice walk from the Spanish steps via Piazza del Popolo we found ourselves in an ice cream shop again 🍦 According to the mass in our travel apps officially the best in the city. Our well experienced tongues rated it as too creamy for those hot temperatures despite the very interesting selection of flavors. Even though we did not get any smiles from any server again we tried in addition a new thing for this trip. Refreshing Granita - basically a fruity slush. More water, more sugar, more refreshing 😆
La Prosciutteria close to the Trevi fountain. A small chain originated in Florence offering plates full of the best of italian deli and some Antipasti. A long board for 20€ plus some wine fullfilled our dinner cravings 🎉Bella Italia 🇮🇹🇮🇹
G. Fassi gelateria - apparently one of the best gelaterias in town. After paying we were able to choose out of a big selection of inhouse made ice cream 🍦. With one Euro per ball quite cheap and very refreshing!
The Colosseum- what else to say. Also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre the largest Amphitheatre ever built stands at it's spot since 80 n.C. The massive Oval of stones and marbel was able to hold up to 80.000 people. The Arena (latin for sand) was a wooden floor covered with sand which had some mechanical doors and elevations. The two day-Tickets are valid also for the Roman forum which will be explored tomorrow along with the foundation hill - the Palatino

11 May 2017

We had dinner at Mercate Centrale Roma. A stylish food market / hall with all kind of foods and drinks in Roma Termini station. We choose fried calamari and a classic Pizza 🍕 at good quality but also at high prices
The Fontana di Trevi built in 1762 is the most famous and biggest fountain of the city. An estimated 3,000 Euros are thrown into the fountain each day. In 2016, an estimated US$ 1.5 million was thrown into the fountain. We did not add on that 😊
The Pantheon - Former a tempel and now a church built around 126 n.C. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. The height and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 43 m. Very impressive 😳
After the museum and lunch we entered the Vatican again exploring Piazza San Pietro and Basilica di San Pietro with the popes window to the Catholics. We skipped the actual Basilica and simply enjoyed the impressive architecture. Since the museum some clouds came in which After all quite nice as the sun is already strong. Though no real blue skies for the pictures therefore i had to add some 🤓 (2nd pic is a Pano when tabbing it)
Time for lunch right after the museum at Duecentogradi. We had two very nice sandwiches out of the huge list of options. Definitely recommended as it is close to the museum, with fresh ingredients and very yummy!
Day 1 - Public transportation on strike and busses stuck in traffic so that we decided to walk to the Vatican. With 23 degrees and sunshine not much of a problem 😎 The line we skipped with buying a ticket online was very short - not any close to 2 hours. The museums highlight is access to the Sistine Chapel completed in 1481 which holds Papal conclave whenever needed. The rest is mostly sculptures and paintings. For us very interesting the gallery of maps with 40 Danti paintings of Italy in 1583 in a 120 m long hall.

10 May 2017

Our place to stay for our first four nights until Sunday morning - The Generator in Rome. Opened just a year ago it is located close to Romes central train station. The direct area is not the greatest but all sights are in walking or tram distance!
🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹After about one year we are excited to have a longer holiday again. We will enjoy a couple days of Rome before heading south by train to the Amalfi. After that we will head up with our rental car through the hills and villages of Italy all the way into Umbria and Tuscany! 2 1/2 weeks of romance great food and a lot of wine would lying ahead !🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹