September 2017
  • Day21

    Arrivederci, Italy

    September 28, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Our last scheduled day in Rome was spent at St. Peter's in the morning. Yesterday we saw the Pope in the square and today we toured the Sistin Chapel, St. Peter's and attached museums. We got to enter an hour early, beating some of the crowds into the chapel, but eventually they caught up to us!
    As you could imagine, the beauty of the chapel, church and artifacts can be overwhelming. The Pieta was my favorite as I had seen it as a 12 year old in NY when it was at the Metropolitan Museum.
    In the evening we took in an interesting light show which took us through the ruins of ancient Rome with highlights of life over 2,000 years ago, using light and video cleverly. A great closer to a wonderful trip.
    Long travel day coming on Friday. Maybe a stop at In&Out on the way home?
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  • Day20

    Rome now and in the past

    September 27, 2017 in Italy ⋅ 🌙 21 °C

    Yup, that's the Pope! We got up early to get to Saint Peter's Square for a papal audience today. We followed the advice of the priest who handled the tickets and got into a position for a close up photo op. Very exciting day. The man was about 6 feet from us.
    We also took a walking tour of the Colosseum and other historic sites this evening. We are tired, but content. Sistin Chapel tomorrow.Read more

  • Day19

    Florence to Rome

    September 26, 2017 in Italy ⋅ 🌙 18 °C

    We took the speed train to Rome this morning, arriving in early afternoon. The trains travel at a speed of over 200 mph, but it never felt like it. On the other hand, the taxi ride to our hotel was much more exciting. We only had a short opportunity to sightsee today as we picked up our tickets for tomorrow's Papal audience! Early start in the morning.Read more

  • Day18


    September 25, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    We took a ride from Florence to Lucca, a very pleasant village about 80 minutes West by train. This is the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini, my favorite operatic composer. We toured the Puccini museum and learned quite a bit about the maestro. We saw some original costumes from "Madame Butterfly" as well as some original compositions with his hand written notes.
    We enjoyed some pizza and beverages and did a little shopping and sightseeing of local churches. Beautiful day. On to a little place we call Rome tomorrow.
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  • Day17

    Tour of Florence

    September 24, 2017 in Italy ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    So, I met this cute girl named Sparky on the Ponte Vecchio, and we decided to hang out and tour some sights in Florence. (The Ponte Vecchio is the most significant bridge crossing the Arno.) It was a rainy day, but our guide was excellent and we learned quite a bit about the city and it's history. The Florence cathedral was incredible.
    We also went to the Galleria Dell Academia and saw Michaelangelo's David along with some of his unfinished works. (We saw a small musical instrument museum attached to the Galleria.) I have included a picture of the world's oldest upright piano! (For some reason this impressed me.)
    The rain didn't slow us down, but pre-ordering tickets is a must to avoid hours long queues.
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  • Day16

    First day in Florence

    September 23, 2017 in Italy ⋅ 🌙 17 °C

    Today we drove to the Chiusi train station, dropped off the car and took the train to Florence. We arrived in mid-afternoon and immediately took off for the Uffizi Gallery where we spent a few hours gazing at works by Botticelli, Michaelangelo and da Vinci. Hey, those guys were good - and they all came from this area within the same century! We'll take a tour of Florence tomorrow and look forward to enjoying more of this city's culture.Read more

  • Day15

    Cooking in Tuscany

    September 22, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    A bit of a lazy day Friday. Linda and I took a hands-on cooking class under the direction of our host Barbara and her mother at Villa Rosa Dei Venti in Creti. We made tiramisu and pasta noodles from scratch. Of course we needed antipasti and the right sauce. After 4 hours or so, we enjoyed the meal (along with wine from their vineyard) with our hosts and their family. It was the best!Read more

  • Day14


    September 21, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Cortona is the walled city made famous by the book and movie "Under the Tuscan Sun" (with the ever homely Diane Lane). We didn't see Diane, but did stroll the streets and had an opportunity to hike up to the Church of Santa Margherita (the path leading to the church is captured in a couple of today's pics.) Beautiful day in the low 70's and sunshine. We also spent some time in Foiano, where we sought out another gelato shop. Ay caramba!Read more

  • Day13

    Touring Tuscany

    September 20, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    On Wednesday we took a private scenery/wine/cheese tour of the immediate Tuscan area. Beautiful rolling hills, somewhat reminiscent of California. It's a bit drier than Asolo where everything was still green. Great wine tour today along with the best gelato we have found - in the small village of Lucignano.Read more

  • Day12

    On to Tuscany!

    September 19, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    We started our day in Rivotella, the town where Linda's maternal grandfather was born. Linda took a photo of gray Lake Garda. We then took a long drive to Creti in Tuscany, where we will stay for four nights. The Italian drivers all think they are Mario Andretti, but they appear to be consistent about it. We did some shopping after the long drive and made some salmon and salad for dinner. Touring Tuscany tomorrow.Read more