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Italian Escapade Trip

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BC: Thanks for a great ride Michala!



2: We board our flight in Chicago. Non stop to Rome arriving at 10Am Rome time.

3: Travelling | We check into our hotel, Meet Francesca our guide and take a walking tour of the area. first stop is St. Mary Major Basilica

4: The interior of St. Mary Major, the church of the Pope. The ceiling is goldleaf. The crypt holds wood from the cross. of Christ. We attended Mass in the chapel on the lower left. | Next stop St. Maria degil Angeli. The architect was Michelangelo. Building was started in 1562 adapted from some Roman baths. Features a meridian line used to check the accuracy of the Greek calendar, and predict Easter.

5: Our first excursion was a walking tour of the Trastevere Neighborhood. One of the oldest neighborhoods in Rome. Had supper in a local restaurant and great Gelato shops. | Santa Maria in Trastevere. Established in 340 AD and the first church dedicated to the Blessed Mother in Rome.

6: The entrance to the Vatican, From here you enter the Pigna courtyard and then to the museum. | The Pigna courtyard with St. Peters Dome and the Sistine Chapel Roof. | Views around the Pigna courtyard and areas inside the Vatican Museum. The gallery of maps, statues, mosaics and the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

7: Inside St. Peters. Clockwise. The Main Altar with the copper Baldachin by Bernini, , Sunlight entering the back wall, a mosaic at the side altar, Statue of St Peter, Michelangelo's Pieta, The Dove of the Holy Sprint window over the main altar, a Floor Mosaic.

8: St. Peters Square. The Swiss guards at the gate. Chosen because Switzerland was not at war with anyone.

9: The Coliseum. Clockwise; Portico with entrances to the Viewing ares of all levels, Looking into the coliseum, Pens underneath the partial floor, Exterior, Seating areas for royalty, Stairs to the upper levels, steps are knee high!

10: An evening stroll in the Pantheon Neighborhood of Rome. | The Pantheon dates back to 126 ad. It was built as a temple to the gods. It has been a Catholic church since the 7th century and has been in continuous use since it was built. | The dome height and diameter are the same 142 ft. It is still the largest unreinforced free standing dome. The center is open and drains to a mosaic in the floor

11: Trevi Fountain We added our three coins and wished. Our guides Francesca and Maria Jim drinking from the old fountain. | Romes BEST Gilato. | Night at Piazza di Pietra

12: We are up early and on the road heading for Florence with a few stops along the way. | CarraraMarble mine and yards north of Rome. | Mountain Village | Vineyards along the highway

13: The town of Siena in the Tuscan Hills. The cathedral with the City tower behind Streets of town. | City Hall and tower with the Campo(town square) in front. | Typical town street

14: The cathedral is covered in white and dark green marble. The Baptistery is located behind and under the church cut into the hillside. The main door represents the Glorification of the Virgin Mary.

15: Interior of the Siena Cathedral clockwise:The main altar, Asp with the colorful columns and dome. Piccolomini Library frescoes, ceiling of the library, Madonna del Voto side Altar painted by Duccio with real gold crown, the dome and inlaid allegories of the floor, Interior columns and in the center the come.

16: FLORENCE A view from the Piazzale Michelangelo overlook on the South bank of the Arno River. | Looking West to the church of San Lorenzo | North to the famous Duomo, The Cathedral Santa maria Del Flora | The Arno River Bridges. The covered bridge was the only one unharmed during the war. It has gold and leather shops on it.

17: St Mary off the Flowers The Cathedral and Duomo of Santa Maria Del Flor | The Cathedral is covered with pink, green, and white Tuscan Marble. It was begun in 1296 and completed and consecrated in 1463

18: Clockwise view of the Cathedral; The north side looking at the Duomo, the front facade showing the apostles and the Madonna and child, The bronze door depicting the life of the Madonna and the mosaic over the door representing Christ and Florentine residents, The door of the Baptistery.

19: Statues of the Plaza Vecchio. Clockwise: The fountain of Neptune by Ammanate 1575, Copy of David by Michelangelo (The original David is now housed in the Accedema Museum.) , The Rape of the Sabine Women by Gaimbologna, Hercules and Cacus by Bandinella 1533

20: Santa Croce Church. It is the largest Franciscan Church in the World. The main doors are beautiful carved wood. George and friend s"begging" in Santa Croce square while the rest of us shopped for Gold and Leather.

21: An afternoon trip to the ancient city of San Gigiamano | The village is high in the Tuscan countryside surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. they are famous for the medieval towers, red wine and wold boar sausages. The town gate and main road are only large enough for mid sized cars to pass. We encountered a wedding at the church and a rescue exercise by the local fire and rescue teams.

22: September 23'rd Happy Birthday Kriss. Ristorante I Tre Pini in the hills of Chianti Classic outside Florence. 5 Types of Wine, Three desserts and new friends to celebrate with!

23: Next stop, PISA! | The leaning tower is located in the Field of Miracles in Pisa. Much to our surprise! The area is surrounded by an ancient wall enclosing the tower, cathedral, baptistery, Camposanto Cemetery and open tourist shops! | The leaning tower is actually the bell tower of the cathedral

24: The sights of Pisa! Clockwise: Entering the filed of Miracles, The Leaning Tower, The Baptistery and side of Cathedral, The baptistery with its unfinished dome, The Camposanto Cemetery, The ancient wall, Front of the Cathedral.

25: After fighting off the hawkers in the parking area we are back on the Bus. Nest stop MILAN | The Milan Cathedral. We thought the most beautiful we saw in Italy. It was begun in 1386 and consecrated by Archbishop Carlo Borromeo in 1577. We were there the day before a new bishop was installed. | Art in the park

26: The exterior of the cathedral. It features 135 spires each topped with a statue, 150 gargoyles who carry water off the roof, and 3200 statues. The roof has a maize of walkways to get an up close view of the artwork. | Interior of the Cathedral. Clockwise showing the presbytery, Center a window of the Apse, the mail altar, the tomb of St. Carol (Archbishop Carlo Borrmeo), and a side window. We were not allowed to take picture of many areas.

27: The Galleria. A very ornate covered shopping mall featuring may of the big name designer stores, Marble floors with beautiful inlaid designs and pictures. | Milan Scenery Clockwise: The Flower Market, Napoleons gate, LaScalla Opera House, Statue of Leonardo Da Vinci , Jim at the wishing bull, the girls at Prada, various scenery of the Galleria.

28: We arrive in the beautiful lakes county town of Stressa . It is in the far North with the Alps in the background. | Our Hotel in Stressa. We overlooked the lake. | Stressa from the cable gondola.

29: Our cable car trip to the Alps Mountain top. Our lunch in the mountaintop town of Montarone. The luge type roller coaster was very interesting!! | We visited Isola Bella island. The summer home of the Barromeo family. They still live in the upper floors of the palace. Gardens were spectacular

30: A quick stop in Lugano Switzerland for Chocolate! Clockwise below: Boats tied at the shoe of Lake Comi, Frescos in the Church of Santa Marie of the Angels, nice lunch!! Shopping district of Lugano.

31: Juliet's' city, Verona | The area around Piazza Erbe. Clockwise: A home along the street, The arches linking the buildings around the square. A stall in the market in the center of the square. An ancient street exposed. Buildings of the square. The Hospital of the Innocents

32: Piazza del Signori and Juliets Courtyard Left Side, the tombs of the Scaligaeri family built so the citizens would still have to look up to them. Center, Juliets Balcony and courtyard with her statue. Right top Girabaldi in the square. Lower, another Scaligeri and Dante.

33: ON TO TODAYS FINAL DESTINATION. VENICE | An ancient town perched on the mountainside on the road to Venice. | Cruise ships docked along the outer harbor of Venice.

34: We arrive and walk from the bus parking lot over two bridges to our hotel along the Grand Canal. | We check into our hotel, | take a walk over the Scalzi Bridge, | and have dinner at a restaurant on the Grand Canal

35: Evening at St. Marks Square. Great Jazz Band. | Afternoon Gondola ride. Clockwise" A freight barge, ducking under on of the small bridges, homes along the waterway, two in a boat, balcony's on the canal, bridge of sighs from the doges Palace to the prison.

36: Views of the Basilica Clockwise: The square in front., the domes, Main Portal with the mosaic of the last judgment, South side of the building, The multicolor Mable columns at each entry. | St Marks Basilica consecrated in 1094. It has over 4700 Sq.Yd's of mosaics.

37: St Marks Square views. Clockwise: Views after elevator ride to the top of the bell tower Neighborhood , St. Marks square. The clocktower (1496)that leads to the main shopping area. The bronze statues swing clappers striking the bell at each hour. the side oft the Doges Palace. Bell tower of St. Marks with a weather vain of the Archangel Gabriel on top, Sidewalk with the walking tables used to walk on during flooding, Canal from the bell tower. | Mighty bells of St. Marks Bell tower. | Friends at rest!

38: Jim's favorite scenery on the way to the Island of Murano. | Murano Island is the home of Murano Glass. We watched the blower make a horse and then these two birds flew back to Baileys Harbor!

39: Next stop, the Island of Burano. Famous for its lace. the other industry is fishing. Had a great lunch of local fish and pasta. Even had a serenade from the waiters. | Took a stroll after dinner to see the Rialto Bridge with its shops. Our short walk took 45min and took us through several neighborhoods and down many interesting streets, alleys and "hallways and over bridges.

40: We're on the road again this morning. Todays destination is Assisi. | Our luggage was loaded on a transport Gondola, while walked to the bus. | Typical plowed fields along the way. they all had huge chunks! | We stopped for lunch in Ravena. Visited the Basilica of St. Apollinaire Nuovo built in the 6th century. The church and surrounding area were damaged during the war. The small altar and floor show the original church. Beautiful original fresco's cover the dome over the altar.

41: Crossing the beautiful Apennine Mountains again as we head for Sorrento with a stop in between.

42: We arrive in Assisi, the city of St. Francis | The city is high on the mountain and built into the side. The entrance gate has fish tails on top indicating it is a Christian town. | Cathedral of St. Clair founder of the Poor Clairs. | Scenes from the central Piazza Commune. Clockwise: Typical shops selling religious goods and souvenirs. The Roman Forum. Looking down a street. Mosaic over a doorway. Water fountain still bringing water from a mountain spring, Strolling. Typical adornment over a shop door. The convent of the Poor Clairs.

43: The Cathedral of St. Francis situated on the hill of paradise. HIs tomb is in the lowest level, nest is the lower basilica and above that the upper basilica. | The area around the cathedral clockwise: Our first view from the street. Religious and lay people gathering in the courtyard to enter the Cathedral for prayer. The yard in front with the Tau cross and statue, Bell tower. Priests in new and old color of garments., The courtyard showing the cloister that housed 200 monks at one time.

44: Our stop is the city of Pompeii. In 79AC Mt Vesuvius erupted and buried this city of 20,000 in ash. It was rediscovered in 1600 and the excavation began in 1748 and is ongoing yet today. | Mt. Vesuvius today! | The outer walls of the city once at the edge of the sea. | Lunch. Pizza Italian style!

45: Uncovered ruins of the Forum of Pompeii. City Hall, Pedestals that held statues, Hall of Justice, center of the forum, overlook of the walls, Sacrificial altar, and the Temple of Jupiter.

46: The Daily life of Pompeii residents | Clockwise: Water fountain bringing running water from the mountains. Still functioning. Remains of a residence. Shops along the street. Courtyard and remains of a home. Placard over the entry to a home. The area that was once the port. City street with stops to prevent carts from entering the forum. Center is remains of a home with the roof still there. | "Fast food" restaurant Pompeii style | Cobblestone street with stepping rocks to cross. Chariot ruts worn in the stone.

47: The remains of lives in Pompeii | A very moving display in the baths. As they were excavating, voids in the ash were found. They were filled with plaster and remains of residents and animals were formed. Hundreds of vessels, urns and other pottery were gathered and categorized.

48: On to the Bay of Napoli and coastal town of Sorrento | Our hotel overlooked the city and the harbor. The rooms were beautiful with a private patio overlooking the pool. One of the nicer we had. | Dinner was at a family restaurant up on the mountain. Quite a ride on a big bus! | Looking down on Sorrento

49: We are on the water going to the Isle of Capri! | A hydro plane to Capri Harbor and we are ready for the day. | A local captain gave us a boat tour of the island. The Faraglione rocks. A house perched cliffside with not roads in. The statue welcoming all to the island. The famous blue grotto and a close up of the Faraglione rocks.

50: The Capri harbor from the upper town of Capri. We rode the funicular up, We took a walking tour the pas the shops that mimic Rodeo Drive! | The end of the path was the beautiful Giardini Augusto garden. Great views , lovely flowers and beautiful sculptures.

51: On to Positano for an afternoon excursion. | Looking North on the Amalfi coast | Love the bird! | Positano from the cliffs above. | Positano has one road in and one road that allows cars through the city, otherwise you walk. It is known for its beautiful decorated light cotton clothing. The beach is dark volcanic sand. The houses look like they are hanging on for dear life.

52: We are heading back to Rome today with one stop along the way. The Cassino War Cemetery. | The cemetery was very awe inspiring. Everyone wandered among the stones and ponds and spent time in silent reflection. The abbey in the lower corner is the Benedictine Monks abbey of St. Benedict.

53: Tonight we are back in Rome, Our escapade is at an end. | A Roman Gladiator welcomed us to our last supper together. Great fun eating, singing, laughing, reminiscing and enjoying our last time together.

54: And the good times rolled on together!!

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  • Title: Italian Escapade Trip
  • Group tour of Italy. Two weeks, September 2011
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  • Started: about 7 years ago
  • Updated: over 6 years ago