Saturday, November 18, 2017

Italy!!! With Diana and Cody!

Italy!  Just the name of this country elicits a smile on everyone's face!  From the ancient cities, their vast empire, wine and food, and impact on western civilization, Italy has something for everyone.  One area I have noticed since my first visit in 1978 is the level of chaos (for American's) has decreased significantly.  I recall having to run as drivers dodged traffic by driving on sidewalks, different money for each area of the country, and knowing that prices changed between listed prices and what was actually charged.  Now, Italy has joined the rest of Europe with more rational driving, standardized money and pricing, while retaining their unique culture.

We visited 4 cities this November- Rome, Cinque Terre, Florence, and Venice.  I had never been to Cinque Terre or Venice, so was thrilled at visiting these areas.  Returning to Rome and Florence was, of course, a thrill.  Sadly, it was a quick trip with 3 nights in each.  But in that time, we were able to cover a lot of territory!  And Diana and Cody joined us.  Because this was their first time, we saw the renewed beauty through their eyes!  There are joys to traveling in the way-off season- fewer crowds (but still crowded!).  But the weather became a factor- cold and rain, but that did not stop us from exploring!  But it did encourage us to drink more- coffee, wine and proseco!!

Rome!  2  full days led to seeing all the big sights, helped by the Hop On- Hop Off bus.

Entry into Rome airport- our first moments!
 As Cody slept, Diana, Rich and I explored the Spanish Steps




The first morning Rich and I walked the area around our hotel near the train station.



Us on the Hop On Hop Off, with the Colluseum in the background


At Castello Angelo and their wonderful bridge

Trevi Fountain!


Goofing off:-)




At the Pantheon


Piazza Navarro

Colluseum- hungry and too many photos- LOL


Dinner!!!

Of course!!  Truly descriptive:-)

Stopping for Proseco at the Vatican Museums!


Sneaking photos in the Sistine Chapel! (no photos)


St. Peters


Cinque Terre!  So beautiful!  We stayed in Monterosso!

Our hotel!

Cody goofing off in our room:-)


Wine at sunset
 Monterosso at night
 and in the morning

Vernazza!


Walking the Cinque Terre trail from Vernazza to Corniglia.  Of course, it is the hardest trail, taking over 2 hours of actual strenuous uphill stairs and trails.
I love this picture- Diana pointing out the sign says the trail is closed

On the trail


Riomaggiore!




Saying good-bye to Cinque Terre.   We had to leave a day early because of a train strike.  This is a place I will definitely return to!!
St. Francis statue over-looking a Roman tower and the Mediterranean
 Florence- one of the most beautiful cities EVER!!

Goofing off- again:-).  The David aprons were everywhere!

Il Duomo


Climbing the bell tower
 Sunset (and wine!) in Michelangelo park overlooking Florence!



Ponte Vecchio at night!
 The David- the actual, real David!



Rich and I climbing the Duomo Dome (no climbing for Diana and Cody)


Sunset and wine overlooking the River Arno!

Diana and her Tuscany steak!

and Cody with his chicken

Venice!!!!  Can you tell it was cold?  LOL
St. Marks Square


On a canal in Murano

Breakfast mamosa's with Proseco and blood orange- breakfast of travelers!  Well, these travelers:-)
St. Marks Square, Basilica climbing the Basillica,  climbing the tower, and sneaking pictures of St.Marks (no photos!)









Sunset on the St. Marks Promenade- our last night:-(