S: ITALY 2012
FC: Italy 2012
1: Arrival at Amsterdam airport April 23 | We then flew Air Italia to Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Rome.
2: Hotel in Rome
3: St. Peter's Square The Vatican April 24
4: St. Peter's Basilica
5: Paintings by Domenichino | Altar of St. Jerome | Chapel of St. Sebastian
6: Bronze statue of St. Peter | St. Helena
7: St. Peter's Basilica Dome
9: Pope John XX111 (d. 1963)
10: Michelangelo's Pieta | Tomb of St. Peter at the back of Basilica
11: St. Peter's Square
12: The Spanish Steps
16: Trevi Fountain
18: Victor Emmanuel 11 monument
19: Piazza Venezia
20: Views from atop the Victor Emmanuel 11 monument
21: Excavation site in the piazza
22: Temple of Castor and Pollux
24: April 25 View of the Tiber River from the bus | Entrance to the Vatican Museum. Statues of Michelangelo (left) and Raphael
25: Court of the Pigna Inside the Vatican
26: Diagrams of The Sistine Chapel. No photographs are allowed inside.
27: The Chariot Room
28: Painted Glass Window | Long Map Gallery
30: Vatican Residences and garden
31: Replica of Pieta by Michelangelo
32: Double Spiral staircase, exit of Vatican Museum
33: The Pope
34: Wall around the Vatican | The Pope's residence: second window from the right
35: The Tiber River | Site where Julius Caesar was assassinated | Circus Maximus, an ancient Roman chariot racing stadium
36: The Colosseum
38: Inside the Colosseum
40: Arch of Constantine
42: The Forum
44: April 26. Leaving Rome and heading north. Tyrrhenian Sea in background
46: Eating Pizza in Pisa
47: Photos of the Leaning Tower
48: The Duomo | The Baptistry | Melanie in front of the door of the Leaning Tower
49: Arriving in Florence, capital of Tuscany
52: Sylvia in front of a replica of Michelangelo's David
53: Dinner in the Tuscan hills with Chef Libero
56: April 27 - Florence | Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
57: Giotto's 14th century bell tower
58: The Great Dome
59: The Baptistry's "Gates of Paradise" | Narrow streets in Florence
61: Statue of Hercules & Cacus | Replica of Michelangelo's David (We viewed original at Academy of Fine Arts - photos prohibited)
62: Loggia dei Lanzi | Poseidon statue | Equestrian statue of Grand Duke Cosimo
65: The Ponte Vecchio, a Medieval arch bridge over the Arno River.
66: The tour bus. Pepe, the driver, is standing in front. | Our hotel in Florence
67: The headache statue | Tuscan countryside
68: Via Francigena, the major medieval pilgrimage route to Rome.
69: San Gimignano, a small walled medieval hill town in the province of Siena, Tuscany.
75: April 28 Arrival in Milan | The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele 11 | Leonardo da Vinci statue | Poster outside La Scala opera house
76: Duomo Cathedral
77: Melanie and Pat climbed the 463 spiral steps to the roof top of the cathedral.
79: Lake Como in Lombardy, Italy. George Clooney owns a villa along the shore
80: We crossed the border into Switzerland and visited Lugano in the afternoon.
81: The Swiss Alps in the background
87: We stayed at Grand Hotel Bristol, in the town of Stresa, Lake Maggiore, northern Italy.
88: April 29 We took a short boat ride to Isola Bella, one of the last privately owned islands open to visitors. This is the only day on the entire trip that it rained.
89: The Borromeo Palace on Isola Bella
94: That afternoon we went to a pub in Stresa and drank Guiness beer.
95: April 30 Heading east to Verona - the exposed slopes are marble quarries. | Verona and its families inspired Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. | Verona Arena - an enormous Roman amphitheatre built in the 1st Century AD.
96: Streets of Verona
97: Juliet's house and balcony as well as a bronze statue of Juliet.
98: Fountain in Piazza delle Erbe | Lamberti Tower | Dante - Piazza dei Signori
100: We entered the city by private boat. | Later in the afternoon we arrived in Venice.
102: We docked near St. Mark's Square. Our hotel was only 50 meters away.
103: Sylvia in front of the canal where boats brought our luggage to the lobby.
104: Views from our hotel rooms
105: We rode in a traditional gondola, gliding through centuries-old canals and under famous arched bridges.
107: Serenaded by live music - Santa Lucia, Ole Sole Mio
109: That evening we tasted local specialties at a traditional Venetian restaurant. Check out Pat's meal, cuttlefish with black ink served over pasta.
110: Rialto Bridge | Grand Canal Musicians playing Vivaldi
111: Piazza San Marco | Clocktower with archway into the Mercerie | The Campanile (tower)
112: Entrance of St. Mark's basilica | May 1 Tour of St. Mark's Square, the byzantine Basilica and the lavish Doge's palace.
113: The Doge's Palace
115: Equestrian Statue of Victor Emmanuel 11
116: St. Giorgio Maggiore Island | We boarded this vessel for a lagoon cruise past several islands on our way to Burano island.
119: Burano Island - renowned for lace-making
122: We ate a huge lunch at a local restaurant. The waiter made sure our plates were never empty.
124: Venice had many mask shops
125: May 2 We left Venice by water taxi and headed back onto the bus for a trip down the Adriatic coast to Ravenna.
127: One of the many lengthy tunnels we went through on the Autostrada between Ravenna and Assisi. | Assisi, a town and commune in the province of Perugia in the Umbria region.
129: Assisi is the birthplace of St. Francis, who founded the Franciscan religious order in the town in 1208.
130: St. Francis' Basilica, a World Heritage Site
132: Our hotel in Assisi, an 800 year old building
133: The streets of Assisi
136: The Temple of Minerva, with its ancient Roman columns
137: Olive trees | A bakery shop window | A wooden Pinocchio
138: The Piazza del Comune (Main Square)
139: Rocca Maggiore, a medieval castle built in the 12th century. | St. Francis' Basilica - evening photograph taken from the roof of our hotel.
140: May 3 We left Assisi and traveled south to Pompeii. This partially buried Roman city is near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania.
141: Pompeii was partially destroyed and buried under 13 to 20 feet of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. | Tombs
142: The ancient amphitheater
143: Melanie, with Mount Vesuvius in the background
144: This building was erected above Pompeii a few centuries ago, before the city was rediscovered in 1748.
145: Streets of Pompeii
146: Brick ovens at a commercial bakery | A food stall for "takeout" food
147: Plaster body cast of a Pompeii victim.
148: The Forum, with Vesuvius in the background
149: The Temple of Jupiter
150: Inside the Stabian Baths
151: Wall frescoes in Villa of the Mysteries | Storage of archaeological artifacts
152: City of Naples in the background | Picture on the right shows the depth of the volcanic ash.
153: That afternoon we headed south to the the seaside resort of Sorrento.
155: Our hotel in Sorrento | This ancient building was in a gully we passed on our walk to a restaurant.
157: Our tour group
158: May 4 We went down to the dock to catch a jetfoil to the Isle of Capri.
159: The Marina Grande on Capri
160: We rode the funicular railway up the hill to the village of Capri.
162: The shop where Capri pants were first made
163: We walked through the village to the south side of the island. | The Gardens of Augustus
166: A typical vehicle used in the village | We rode the funicular back down to the waterfront where we enjoyed caprese sandwiches.
167: We left by boat for a one hour cruise around the island | Sea nymph statue on a rock near the harbour
168: There were many grottos (caves) along the shoreline | This one has a rock formation that looks like a statue of the Virgin Mary.
169: The Arco Naturale, a rock formation that resembles an elephant | The Faraglioni rock formations
170: The Faraglioni di Mezzo with its natural tunnel
171: Sofia Loren's house | Castiglione Castle. This is the setting of one of the twelve villas built by Emperor Tiberius in the first century AD. | Giorgio Armani's house
172: Marina Piccola
173: Grotta Verde (green cave)
174: Punta Carena lighthouse | Entrance to the Blue Grotto, a famous cave that is flooded with a brilliant blue light. The lineup was too long for us to enter the cave by rowboat.
175: That afternoon we returned to our hotel in Sorrento and spent some leisure time at the roof top pool. | In the distance is the city of Naples with Mount Vesuvius behind it.
176: We took the staircase and alleyway down to the harbour. | Sorrento's Piazza Tasso
177: We enjoyed dinner at a seaside restaurant
178: A three wheeled scooter truck called Ape (Ah-Pee), a common site in the countryside and small towns. | We finished off that night by doing some shopping near the town center.
179: May 5 | We took a scenic drive along the Amalfi Coast, a stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno. | The road, centuries old, was very narrow and winding. Our tour bus was too large so we road two smaller vehicles.
180: We stopped at a lookout for photos and Sylvia bought a tablecloth from a local.
181: We stopped at the Madonnina, a viewpoint close to the town of Positano.
182: Statue of Madonna di Lourdes | Lemons of various sizes. With its Mediterranean climate the region is known for its production of limoncello liqueur.
183: Positano, a village on the Amalfi Coast in Campania. The main part of the town sits in an enclave in the hills leading down to the coast.
184: The road running through Positano was a one way and was very narrow. Here we passed a nativity scene built into the side of the hill. | A sign near the entrance of the town outlining some of the local regulations. These included: No walking around in your bathing suit. No laying down to rest or sleep. No disturbing the public with singing.
185: A local delicatessen | Children in front of the church of Santa Maria Assunta | A map on the beach
186: Positano has been featured in several films including Under the Tuscan Sun.
187: Graham and Sylvia standing in the Mediterranean Sea
190: Leaving Positano and heading back to Rome | We traveled over this two thousand year old Roman bridge. Picture taken from the bus.
191: Our hotel in Rome - out front was a huge birdhouse built in an old tree. | Typical vehicles in Rome and how they park.
192: Our farewell dinner featuring live Opera. | Graham seduced by "Carmen"
193: Angie and Geoff from Perth, Australia | Fabrizio, the tour guide | Beverly from Texas | Ann and Virginia from Louisiana
195: Globus Italian Mosaic Tour