Final Italy Posts

We arrived back in Tucson last night after a grueling day (a whole 24 hours) getting back to Tucson. But this means that my now is working, so I am posting the rest of our trip back on that site. So go over there to finish our trip with us.

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Off to Venice

Tuesday morning we head out for a 190 mile drive to Venice with a stop at Padua to view St Anthony Church (I’ve lost track of how many churches we have seen and we are not done yet).

Then onto Venice where you take a water taxi into the city. Where after checking into our hotel, which is right on the Grand Canal, we go for a gondola ride.

Here is our majestic hotel room.

After our gondola ride Jim and I took off walking the streets, alleyways just meandering. We came across this secluded little tavern so decided to stop for a little vino, which we ended up eating dinner there, it was very good. It turned out to be a quite pleasant evening.

After dinner we just walked around trying to find our way back to the hotel. There are so many alleys, streets that it’s impossible to use a map-just keep walking and eventually you’ll figure it out. Venice is just fascinating to me with no cars, it’s just one big labyrinth.

Another full day is done.

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How can you go to Italy and not see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, so our tour for Monday is drive to Pisa, about 2 hours west of Florence.  And yes you can say it, we are not very good photographers as we can not get our picture to look like we are holding up the tower.

Next we went southeast into the Tuscany area to do a little more wine tasting and dinner.

It was a fun time with many laughs, good food and some good wines, but not as good as the day before. Then a 1 1/2 hour drive back to our hotel in Florence.

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Wine Tasting 

Sunday afternoon was free time so Jim and I set up a private wine tasting tour. Our guide stopped at the American cemetery where over 4,000 WWII soldiers are buried.

Next onto a Piazza in the small town of Chianti. We complained that we wanted wine tasting not shopping, so headed to a winery. Tasted 3 of their wines which were OK but not great. We are in the Chianti Classico wine region.

Our main stop was at the Brogioni Maurizio winery where we met with the owner of this very small winery. He took us into the vineyard to see the grapes that will be harvested within the next month and also the olive trees that they produce olive oil from. From there we saw his processing operation then to the most important part tasting.

He served us bread with olive oil, cheeses and tasted 5 wines. We really enjoyed the wines so much that we are having a case shipped to us.

It was a most enjoyable afternoon spending time in the country side drinking wines. I sure glad we spent the extra money to do this side tour.

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Firenze Day Two

We started our day with a panoramic tour of the city. It’s just breathtaking.

Then walking through Piazza Michelangelo ending up at Piazza Santa Croce. Here are some other pictures of other churches etc. also.

Unfortunately we are seeing so much that I am unable to keep track of what church is what. Oh well it’s all breathtaking.

Need to download more pictures before I can finish the day – so see you in the next post.

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Firenze (Florence)

Saturday was travel day to Florence leaving at 7:15 to overcast skies. We ran into rain, accidents that slowed us down but finally made it there in time to do a tour of the art museum. Here is the most famous sculpture of David by Michelangelo. It is as fascinating and awesome as it looks.

Our hotel is old on the outside but very modern and beautiful on the inside, best hotel so far. There is a piazza outside our window where musicians perform. So in our room we opened the window to enjoy the music, then the hotel delivered a very nice bottle of sparkling wine I guess as a gift for our anniversary (8/27) so we had a quite wonderful time before dinner.

Here is a menu of our typical dinner and our schedule.

Next post -day two.

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Island of Capri

The Island of Capri is only about 20 minute boat ride from Sorrento. Once off the ferry our group took a private boat tour of the island, which is mostly steep rock cliffs.

The island consists of 4 levels, marina/docks – Capri proper (expensive shops) – upper Capri more touristy shops then top of mountain. Jim and I took the train up to the 2nd level then figured out how to get the bus up to the 3rd. Walked around for awhile then took the chairlift up to the top. But unfortunately at the top we were in a cloud and couldn’t see a thing.

After back at the hotel we went to this beautiful restaurant for a lovely dinner. Each night we get to experience the local wines. Some have been great, some not so. But overall very good.

So far we have been quite impressed and satisfied with this tour. The hotels have been quite good, food plentiful and good, good wine, great local tour guides and comfortable bus. In next post we travel to our next location.

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Road to Sorrento

Thursday we left the beautiful city of Rome to travel south to Sorrento. A stop at Pompei to view the excavations of the city that was destroyed and buried under 20 ft of volcanic ash and pumice in the AD 79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius. It was hot, humid and dusty, but enjoyed the tour.

On to Sorrento by way of Bay of Naple. Such beautiful scenery along the coast.

We arrive at our hotel right on the coast surrounded by beautiful lush gardens.

Jim and I enjoyed a glass of wine every evening on the patio overlooking the water. The meals were great usually one night at the hotel then next night at a local restaurant. 

I’ll continue Sorrento in the next post.

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The tour keeps us so busy it’s hard to find time for posting to the blog, so sorry I’m running so far behind. So Wednesday afternoon the Colosseum was on our schedule. Our local guides they have provided are wonderful, just full of knowledge. It’s been quite hot and humid, so it was a bit uncomfortable being at the Colosseum but survived to see it all. Jim and I walked around the whole inside. Just walking around in a structure that was constructed in AD 72 is just beyond belief.

The pictures are in reverse order so look at the bottom ones in each section first. I am taking advantage of traveling time to do some posting and the internet is quite slow so will be doing small posts at a time to get them through. We have been having a great time, seen a lot, eating way too much, tasted Italian wines. 

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Trevi Fountain, Pantheon 

We hit the streets again this morning at 7:45 to cover a bit of ground before all the crowds. We found the famous Trevi Fountain which was featured in the movie Three Coins in a Fountain.

After leaving there we just meandered around the streets, came across Piazza Navona with a pretty Fountain.

We found the Pantheon which is a former Roman temple,now a church that dates back to 126 AD. As before, pictures just doesn’t do it justice.

From there we wound our way back to the hotel for a break, a little lunch. Now we are about to leave on our afternoon tour of the Colosseum, Forum ruins. Will post that later.

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