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Family Journey to Italy

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S: Family Journey Through Italy; May 8 - 31, 2012

BC: DEPARTED | ITALY | 31 May 2012

FC: Our Unforgettable Family Journey Through Italy May 8 - 31, 2012

1: ITALY | ITALY | ARRIVED 08 May 2012 | 3 nights Venice, 3 nights Lake Maggiore (Stresa), 2 nights Bologna, 3 nights Florence, 4 nights Tuscany (Siena), 4 nights Rome, & 4 nights Amalfi Coast (Positano)

2: We cannot believe after months of planning, the day has finally arrived!

3: V E N I C E

4: (right) The Grand Canal and the Rialto bridge (below) How the police get around


6: THE "STREETS" OF VENICE The day we arrived was beautiful. We spent the day exploring (and eating).

7: (right) Even the boats experience traffic jams!

10: Touring Venice | 9 May 2012 | (above) the oldest clock in Venice. It is a 24-hour clock with one hand and still works!

11: Saint Mark's Square, the Basilica, & the Doge Palace

12: St. Mark's Square | Oliver... always running!

14: The Bridge of Sighs

15: (below) This building is sinking about 2-inches per century

17: Our private gondola tour

19: The vegetable & fish markets of Rialto (left), the University (bottom left), and the Franciscan church (upper right).

20: BONDI BEACH is one of Australia's most famous beaches and among the world's most well-known beaches. The beach is roughly a kilometer long and is located on the east coast of Australia and is a suburb of the city of Sydney. | MURANO One of the three main islands of the Venetian Lagoon, known for glass

23: BURANO One of the three main islands of the Venetian Lagoon, known for the colorful houses & refined lace handwork

24: Goodbye Venice, Hello Milan!

25: *Leonardo DaVinci's Last Supper fresco painting is in the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie (created in the 15th century). *Within the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, there is a large central octagon under a glass dome. The floor in the center of the octagon shows the royal coat of arms of the Savoia family surrounded by the emblems of the 4 Italian cities: the she-wolf of Rome, the lily of Florence, the crossed shield of Milan, & the bull of Turin. Legend has it that if you place your right heel on the bull's unusually large endowments and turn 3 times around for good luck.

26: The Duomo Cathedral is the 3rd largest Catholic Church in the world after St. Peter's in Rome & the Seville Cathedral. The Duomo di Milano is the largest Gothic cathedral & the second largest Catholic cathedral in the world. | Cardinal Borromeo's tomb is in the Cathedral.

27: The Cathedral has more than 3,400 statues and took almost 600 years to build!!

28: LAKE MAGGIORE: The Borromean Islands | STRESA

29: Excavating granite | The three main Borromean Islands: (left) Isola dei Pescatori - fisherman's island, (middle) Isola Madre - the largest island with botanical gardens, (right) Isola Bella - the most famous island that is comprised of only the palace and palace gardens & looks like a ship sailing across the lake

30: ISOLA MADRE - the largest of the Borromean Islands & contains the botanical gardens. | Mom, what are you looking at during this picture?

33: ISOLA BELLA: the most famous island. It is entirely occupied by the Palace and its garden.

34: STRESA: The food was so good! We were lucky we walked everywhere.

36: BOLOGNA | The Basilica Santuario Santo Stefano in Bologna, is comprised of several holy buildings (also known as the complex of the "Seven Churches"). | Bologna is home to Europe's oldest university founded in 1088 (over 900 years old) and one of the world's largest churches. The city also has two leaning towers: the Asinelli Tower stands over 97 meters whiles the Garisenda Tower stands to around half that height. They both lean, but the shorter one so badly it is closed to the public.

37: The Basilica of San Petronio (below) is the main church of Bologna. It's the 15th largest church in the world, stretching for 132 meters in length & 60 meters in width.

38: ...what do you keep looking at during pictures? | One of our favorite restaurants in Bologna

40: ACETAIA MALPIGHI (Modena, Italy) has produced Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena for 5 generations.

42: Above: our appetizer before lunch after we toured the cheese and balsamic factories. After we had our drinks, this was the bathroom we had to contend with. Hope your aim is good!! Below: our last dinner in Bologna. We waited a long time while the restaurant sent for an English speaking waiter. What a fabulous meal...well worth the wait!

44: FLORENCE | 16 May 2012

45: Under the piazza sign there is a line that shows the 1966 flood line in the piazza di Santa Croce where the mud rose and ruined many art pieces (bottom right). | Instead of the milkman, someone comes & refills chianti bottles (upper left). We need this in the USA! A replica of David (upper right).

46: Duomo: began 1296, finished late 1400s. 18yrs to complete dome with 4 million bricks! | Plazzo Vecchio, the office for Medici, is the original standing place for Michelangelo's David (representing the exile of the Medici family). The statue next to it is Hercules (created by Michelangelo's nemesis) representing the Medici's return to Florence.

47: Battistero with guilded bronze doors by Ghiberti (Gates of Paridise, named by Michelangelo) | This entry was created to impress their future daughter-in-law and her family.


49: P I S A

50: The narrow climb up & down the leaning tower of Pisa

51: view: 1/2 up --- top of t o w e r | Notice the clenched fists on Don...vertigo, narrow & slanted stairways, and being so far up did not make this easy! The top of the bell tower is about 17 feet off the vertical. Construction of the bell tower began in 1173 & was completed in 1399. There are 297 steps. The cathedral (Duomo di Pisa) and baptistery are also sinking.

52: The Duomo and baptistery in Pisa

53: Grandma finally ate tripe for lunch. She had been looking forward to it. | Can't be grumpy in Italy!! <= Mom, where are you looking?

55: Basilica di Santa Croce, Florence is the principal Franciscan church & a minor basilica of the Roman Catholic Church. It is the burial place of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Gentile, & Rossini. It is the largest Franciscan church in the world. It has 16 chapels. Legend says that Santa Croce was founded by St. Francis himself. A Jewish architect designed the church's facade, so a prominent Star of David can be seen (he was buried under the porch and not within the walls of the church because he was Jewish). (upper left) The tomb of Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) (upper right) The tomb of Galilaevs Galileivs: Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

56: Let's Make PIZZA!!

59: Let's Make Gelato!! | Let's Make Gelato!!

60: We were able to drive a sweet, manual Fiat 9-passenger van from Florence to Siena. We made an unexpected stop at Monteriggioni...beautiful!!

61: Monteriggioni is a walled village in Tuscany near Siena. The castle of Monteriggioni was constructed in the second decade of the 13C but there was mention of the place as early as 1126 & 1154. There are business, homes, public gardens, & a church.

62: With help from Grandpa & his ability to speak Italian & ask for directions, we made it to our hotel just outside Siena. | The hills are alive... with the sound of music... right mom? | This church was mentioned in the 12th century: Chiesa dei Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio

63: Chasing pigeons! One of Oliver's favorite things to do. Eating! One of our favorite things to do.

64: SIENA a town of medieval origin | <= The local church for the neighborhood (Contrada) where special events are celebrated. This neighborhood "colors" are red, green, & yellow. Horses for the annual race (Palio) are blessed in Contradas. If they poop in the church, it's considered good luck. This neighborhood symbol is the "dragon". | The statue of Sallustio Bandini is in front of the oldest bank on record & is still in business. (below)

65: Above a door at the Palazzo Chigi Saracini shows the sword in the stone with Saint Galgano | Palazzo Chigi Saracini, Siena

66: Battistero di Siena 20 May 2012 | (right=>) Palazzo Pubblico & its tower built between 1297-1310 still houses the city's municipal offices in the main Campo of Siena

67: (above) Basilica of San Domenico: founded by the Dominicans in 1125. San Domenico is closely associated with St. Catherine of Siena and contains her head & finger in a reliquary. | Duomo of Siena: Siena's Gothic Cathedral

68: Abbey of San Galgano built between the 1220s & the 1280s by the Cistercian monks.

70: Cappella di San Galgano Montesiepi Walked 500 meters uphill to see this cylindrical church

71: Galgano Guidotti was a dissolute knight who lived in Chiusdino in the 2nd half of the 12th century. The Archangel Michael appeared to him one day, convinced him to repent & showed him the way to salvation. Sir Galgano announced his intention to become a hermit & live in a cave. He had a vision of a round temple & of Jesus & the Holy Virgin Mary with the Apostles. A voice led him to a rugged hill & invited him to give up his sinful life. The knight was hesitant & replied that even if he thought he should change, changing would be as hard as splitting rocks with his sword - and in saying that, he drew his weapon & thrust at a stone. To his surprise, the sword cut the stone & entered into the rock to the hilt. Sir Galgano did not leave the hill ever again.

72: Valdipiatia Winery Montepulciano, Italy

74: PIENZA Home of Piccerino cheese | Our view at lunch...spectacular! | Biondi Santi Winery Montaicino, Italy

76: Ciao Siena! We had a wonderful time here. Off to Rome!

77: R O M E | After a long drive from Tuscany, we were ready for lunch (and a nap). We had the best time at this restaurant!

78: ROME! | Hotel 47: our room has the corner full balcony on the upper right of the building! We had a view of Circus Maximus too (behind Dominic).

79: (upper right) A walk along the Fiume Tevere (river Tiber) (below) Circi Massimo [Circus Maximus]: held approx. 350,000 people. Built in 196 BC; last races were in 549 AD.

80: Ancient aqueduct | The Colosseum | <= This is what the original Colosseum looked like

81: The Vatican took the marble from the Colosseum to build St. Peter's. That is why there are so many holes on the outside of the building.

82: Flavian Palace (Caesar's Palace) had its own Palatine Stadium that was to replicate Circus Maximus & had views of the Colosseo | (below) An original road at Flavian Palace from ~ 2,500 years ago!

83: Arco di Tito: shows the defeat of the Jewish people and the origination of the Nike symbol (the winged woman behind Titus called Nike [pronounced Neek-ee]).

84: Basilica of Maxentitus was completed sometime after 312 AD under Constantine | Oliver with the "wedding cake" in the background | (above) Tempio di Romolo: tomb for an emperor's young son, Romolo, in 305 AD. These are original doors & the key still works!

85: Ruins around the area the senators & people would meet to get information, shop, & bank. Area Julius Cesare was killed by Brutus

86: (upper left) Statue of Julius Caesar (upper right) The area where Julius Caesar was cremated after Brutus killed him. People still leave notes & flowers. (lower left) So odd to see ruins among the newer buildings. Rome just kept building on top of the ruins.

87: A view of Rome from the hills. These cars cracked us up! | The monument is to honor Ciuseppe Caribaldi.

89: Pantheon Basilica Santa Maria contains the tombs of King Umberto I, Victor Emanuel II, & Raphael | (above) Tomb of Raphael (1483-1520)

90: Trevi Fountain: largest Baroque fountain in the city. Legend: throw a coin with your right hand over left shoulder to ensure a return to Rome.

91: Spanish Stairs 24May2012 | Bernini Fountain at base of Spanish Stairs

92: The Vatican 25 May 2012 | Rare wood panel ceiling

93: (below) Sala dell'Immacolata Concezione | (above) Hall of Maps

94: Raphael's The School of Athens (1510-11): glorifies the philosophers of antiquity. Plato (pointing upward) & Aristotle are central, joined by Socrates (to Plato's left), Euclid, Pythagoras & Epicurus.

95: St. Peter's Basilica | The Holy Door or "Porta Sancta" is only opened during a Holy Year (Jubilee), which occur every 25 years (the last one in 2000). One the 1st day of a holy year, the Pope strikes the brick wall with a silver hammer & opens it to the pilgrims.

96: The Holy Cross This is on the other side of the Holy Door.

97: Michelangelo's Pieta St. Peter's tomb is directly below the Papal alter. No one other than the Pope can say mass at this alter. The catacombs are located in the lower lever of the basilica and this open grate in the floor looks down on it.

98: Tomb of San Pio Papa X (a sainted Pope). Only saints bodies can be displayed out in public.

100: Grandpa looked forward to seeing the Swiss Army guards. How exciting Dominic was able to get a picture next to one of them! (below) Statue of St. Peter in front of the Basilica

101: Statues of saints line the top walls at the Vatican | The Obelisk from Egypt was brought to Rome in 37 AD. It was moved to the center of St. Peter's square in 1586. It is also a sun dial.

102: (below) Castle Sant' Angelo (castle of the holy angel) - built in 135-139 AD & the Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II bridge over the river Tiber

103: The tomb of the unknown soldier, otherwise known as the "wedding cake" by locals.

104: Archaeological area of the Theater of Marcellus & the Portico of Octavia | ancient aqueduct | (left) Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. It was consecrated ~325 AD to house the Passion Relics brought to Rome from the Holy Land by St. Helena (mother of Emperor Constantine I). Some Passion Relics include: 2 thorns of the crown, an incomplete nail, & 3 small wooden pieces of the True Cross. | (right) The pope stayed here before the Vatican in Rome

105: Grandpa finally got his McDonald's! Oliver tried his first french fry and liked it.

107: This restaurant is as good as remembered it to be the last time we were in Rome - Ambasciata D'Abruzzo

108: POMPEII 27 May 2012 | Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD

110: Cave Canem mosaic

111: A lead pipe that hooks to a fountain


113: Santa Maria Assunta

114: AMALFI COAST | These little model houses are in the mountain side. They're lit up at x-mas.

115: Traffic along narrow roads & an unexpected traffic signal!

116: The Cathedral of Amalfi: A 9th century structure dedicated to the Apostle Saint Andrew, who is buried there. 62 steps lead up to the bronze doors that were cast in Constantinople before 1066 & signed by Simeon of Syria.

117: A mother-of-pearl crucifix was brought back from the Holy Land | (above) Saint Andrew with his relics | (above) Many Relics


119: Lemons everywhere. Plenty of limoncello to go around!

121: CAPRI: Full day private boat excursion

125: Lunch!

128: BLUE GROTTO, CAPRI | Duck! Getting in & out...

129: The water glows

130: Our last night in Italy. We spent the last 24 days/23 nights together and it seemed to go so fast. The accommodations, tours, guides, and drivers were all wonderful! Thank you Don for planning such a wonderful trip for our family and creating such wonderful memories for the boys. It was absolutely perfect.

132: And we are off...soon back to reality & missing this wonderful trip. | Sorry guys, but these pictures are part of the fun and the memories of the trip. Feel free to bring a camera next time if you do not like them! ;)

133: We made it safe & sound, missing all the earthquakes that hit Modena a few days after we left that town.

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