Monday, June 11, 2012

Venezia...Once is enough

(Bridge of Sighs)
Venice was my least favorite of the "big" Italian was much too crowded for my liking and it's next to impossible to get around.   
Don't get me's stunningly beautiful but it's so small that you almost feel trapped...and if you wanted to take a water taxi to get from the "front" of Venice to the "back" you'd be waiting in long long lines to catch one.  (and that's really the only way to get around)
(Doge's Palace)
(St. Mark's Basilica)

Our hotel was on the "back" side of the city so after the water taxi dropped us at the hotel we stayed on that side for the night.  We did a little shopping that evening then found a wonderful Trattoria for dinner.  I took the opportunity to practice my very broken Italian on the most adorable waitor ever...he laughed but then kindly corrected me when I spoke the words out of order while ordering my wine.
(Panoramic view of the city...see, too many people!)
Tom's grandfather told him, 'you only need to see Venice once'...boy, he sure knew what he was talking about!
Arrivederci Venice, Pronto Florence!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Simply Medievel...

Day 4 of our tour we headed to the Medievel town of Assisi, home of St. Francis...but first, we made a leisurely stop in the Umbrian town of Spello.
Spello was filled with it's own quaint little cobblestone streets, beautifully decorated doorways and breathtaking views!

When we arrived in Assisi, we were thrilled to find there was a medievel festival taking place, complete with jousting and all sorts of medievel merriment (which is why all the banners and flags are hanging from the windows.)
After lunch we headed to the Assisi Basilica that was actually built after St. Francis' death. The lower crypt of the Basilica holds his was somewhat creepy, but very neat to see!
 See the tiny mosiac (or possibly fresco) of St. Francis under the elaborate window?
 This is a view of the entire Basilica...there are three levels.
This is a view of Assisi from our hotel, Hotel Giotto (Giotto was the artist that created all the frescoes on the third level of the Basilica depicting St. Francis' life.)
And this is one of the little shops in which hangs the heads of the boars who's bodies are also hanging in the window...ready for purchase.  hmmm...too bad we already had dinner plans. =)
Another lovely view!  Arrivederci Assisi, Pronto Venice!

Monday, June 4, 2012

When in Rome...

(statue in the Vatican Museum)
 Tom and I got back from Italy about three weeks ago...but it seems like months.  I truly miss everything about it...the architecture, the sculptures, Tom's family, and most of all the food!
(Vatican Museum)
I took 740 photographs over the thirteen days we were traveling...I printed about 233 of those and then journaled around 100 of Italia journal is so big I'm thinking I should probably divide the next few days I'll post photos of the hugely oversized monster so you can tell me if I should leave it as is or divide it into three journals
(Random building we passed while walking)
Rome is stunningly beautiful but surprisingly filthy...(lots of garbage and graffiti that really bothered me at first but after a bit you sadly get used to it.)  Rome is simply amazing! Talk about eye candy! 
(another random building)

(Fontana di Trevi)
 One of the sights on my list of things I absolutely, positively, had to see was the Trevi Fountain. The first time we went was at was awesome!
 This shrine was on a corner of a building adjacent to Fontana di Trevi, it was one of my favorite shrines (and there were many!)
 This was a statue that probably marked the grave of a housed in the Vatican Museum.
(The dome of St. Peter's Basilica)
We were with a fun tour group for most of our trip...the first day we arrived consisted of free time so Tom and I got a map from the concierge and headed out on our own...and only got lost once!
(Michelangelo's famous "Pieta")
The second day we spent a good chunk of the day with the tour group and saw the Vatican Museum, St. Peter's Basilica, the Pieta (which is housed in the Basilica), The Sistine Chapel (which was much smaller than I envisioned in my head), the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Fontana di Trevi, The Spanish Steps (as made famous by Audrey Hepburn in "Roman Holiday"), the Pantheon and the Piazza Navona.  And many other marvelous buildings and statues.

(Vatican Museum)

We had lunch at a little trattoria in Vatican City.  We both had delicious Panini's and Coca-Cola (alas, no Diet Dr. Pepper in Italy.)  And we mailed our first postcard to the boys from Vatican City...even though we paid 2,60 Euro for ONE STAMP...FOR A POSTCARD!  (roughly $3.60 USD)
(Fountain in Piazza Navona)
We even had a gelato and sat on the Spanish the exact spot Audrey Hepburn sat (probably not) while eating her gelato...Tom had Limone (Lemon) and I had Fragole (Strawberry) was delicious!
(The Colosseum)
After 2 days in Roma, we were off to see the medievel towns of Spello and Assissi via l'autobus...stay tuned for more photos from our exciting adventure!