S: Italy 2010
FC: Italy September 2010 17 Days
1: Lake Como Dolomites Venice Florence Chinque Terre Sienna Orvieto Rome | Rick Steves' 2010 | Italy in 17 days
3: With airline tickets, passport, and tour books in hand we were ready for Italy! Well almost, I forgot my visa and ID so we had to make a quick trip back to the house.
5: Milan | Plenty of pictures and a quick bite to eat and we were on our way to the train station. We managed to get our tickets with the help of a friendly stranger and waited for the train to Varenna.
6: Dinner with wine, and tirimasu followed by a walk through town and a beautiful sunset. | It was still a little surreal that we were really in Italy! | Varenna
9: A pre-tour cooking class introduced us to the art of homemade pasta and left us yearning for a really good rolling pin.
11: Lake Como offered us a great introduction to Italy. We met our group, began to speak Italian words (especially Grazia), and adjusted to the time zone. Quick e-mails home to let them know we were here and having fun and now we are ready for more!
13: A day to explore Lake Como, we took the ferry to Belaggio and Menaggio.
20: A stop in Verona to see the Roman arena and Juliet's balcony, as well as many other great sights.
22: We went on a scenic hike through the mountains and just in time the skies began to clear for some great views. Our nights were spent in the cozy lodge atmosphere enjoying stories and our first shots of grappa. | Dolomites
27: We rode the tram which we called the blue bubble down to explore Castelrotto.
29: Bolzano's market had such beautiful flowers, fruit and vegetables, even the meat looked wonderful. | Otzi the Ice Man was incredible We couldn't have believed it if we wouldn't have seen it with our own eyes.
31: Our first night in Venice and we were serenaded on a gondala ride. Could it get any better?
32: The next morning there was an intense thunderstorm and the Acqua Alta was rising. We took it in stride and off came the shoes and socks and we waded our way through the streets.
34: A mask making demonstration got us out of the rain.
35: After the skies cleared we were off to the Doge's palace, and more sightseeing.
41: Magnificent statues were all over Florence and by the end of our tour we were almost able to tell the masters work from their students.
44: The Uffizi Gallery, Leonardo and Galileo museums, and Pallazo Vecchio filled our time with fasinating art, history, and inventions.
45: We did a lot in Florence yet there is plenty more to do on our next trip here. The Ponte Vecchio and climbing the dome may be in our next adventures.
48: There may not be a lot to see in Pisa but it's worth the stop.
49: We were not going to do this... | Yet we did.
50: Chinque Terre
54: A vacation in a vacation! | Fresh seafood, Recioto, a birthday celebration, Limoncello, just the beginning...
56: We finished our time in Chinque Terre with a fresh pesto lesson and a wonderful dinner.
59: There are several ways to travel around Lucca, bike, horse, buggy, or walk.
61: Lucca was a fun place to stop on our way to Sienna.
64: A few of the lamps and wall plaques of the contrade (neighborhoods) in Siena.
65: We went to the church and museum to get a better sense of the festival Palio. There is a long history to this horse race and everything from blessing the horse before the race to bribing the jockey of another contrada are done in the name of the Virgin Mary. | We spent time in the Tartuca (tortise) contrada.
69: We watched a technique for making stained glass. Beginning with drawings then cutting the glass and putting all the pieces together. It made us appreciate this intricate art so much more.
73: A stop in Assisi to walk around and see the historic buildings along with the beautiful Basilica of St. Francis.
75: The views of the valley below were breath-taking and the food choices, especially the meats were quite exotic.
78: We walked around the grounds of the agriturismo we were staying at and viewed the vineyards and olive trees.
81: After visiting the Duomo we took a tour of the Underground. This excavated Etruscan city filled with caves, wells, and pigeon holes was a little eerie yet fascinating.
83: Back at the agriturismo we had a friendly game of Bocce ball then enjoyed relaxing in the sun.
87: We watched how the wine was produced then enjoyed tasting several glasses of the family's favorites. Dinner with the group completed our time in Orvieto.
89: A guided tour through the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palantine Hill started our adventure in Rome. One of the first things we learned was to look up, as the buildings were built on top of each other over the centuries.
95: With so much history there was a lot to see in Rome, we could have stayed here a month and still not seen everything. We took pleasure in walking past the lines of people waiting to get into the Vatican, seeing as we already had our tickets.
96: Our night walk through the streets always seemed to lead to a glowing fountain.
97: After going through the Borghese we decided to go back and take a picture of the Trevi fountain in the daylight. There were still a lot of tourists tossing coins over their shoulders as we had done.
99: We LOVED Italy and we will return.