S: ITALY 2012
FC: ITALY 2 0 1 2
1: Our Trip to Italy | May 27- June 8, 2012
2: We started our adventure along the Amalfi Coast where we were immediately charmed. Everywhere we went in Italy and everywhere we looked was another stunning vista or enchanting village. It was drizzling when we arrived in Sorrento, but that didn't dampen our spirits. We took a lovely walk down the mountain into town and darted into every church we saw (seems like there is one on every corner in Italy)! We took the treacherous stairs down to the marina just once, but took the elevator back up. | We spent a day on the Isle of Capri (Kah' pre, not Ca pree'), where we took a chair lift to the top of Mount Solaro and discovered intensely crowded Italian buses when we rode from Anacapri to Capri. The next day we took a boat to Amalfi and then a bus high above the sea edge to Positano. Gorgeous! We discovered the delights of Italian food at Inn Bufalito (where Tim discovered limoncello), Chez Black (where we learned it is cheaper to drink wine than to drink water) and Le Arcate, where we learned what coperto means.
4: Chair lift high above Anacapri
5: The hike from our villa into Sorrento
6: Amalfi Coast | Sunset view from our villa at The Grand Hotel Aminta
8: LOOKOUT TOWER ALONG THE TYRRHENIAN SEA
9: AMALFI COAST | La Arcate Restaurant
10: Ahh, Florence, celebrated for its art, history, and culture. And leather handbags, of course! We stayed at the Proconsolo, a bed & breakfast located at the Duomo’s doorstep. We visited the Uffizi, the Accademia, and the Basilica di San Lorenzo , where Donatello is buried. We crossed the The River Arno to shop the Ponte Vecchio and sightsee in The Oltrarno. When a strike closed the Uffizi Gallery, we had to make other plans and discovered the Boboli & Bardini gardens behind the Palazzo Pitti. | We arrived at the Mercato Centrale shortly before it closed, but did get a chance to grab a sandwich and picnic in the piazza outside. We dined at Fagiolis, which like many of our restaurant selections was recommended by the Rick Steves Italy Guidebook and we had a great meal in Piazza Santa Maria Novella. We tried a self serve cafeteria in Piazza della Signoria and had a tasty, but expensive lunch -- more than 20 euro for a salad (with a glass of wine, of course). Later, we found the famed Grom’s and had a creamy gelato.
11: Santa Maria del Fiore, The Duomo
12: Boboli & Bardini Gardens
14: There are 463 steps to the top of the Duomo and we climbed all of them to get this shot of the rooftops of Firenze, with the Basilica di St. Croce church spire towering above it all. We were amazed by the fresco of the Last Judgment on the dome ceiling (facing page, top). The Duomo was so stunningly beautiful that we couldn't stop taking pictures of it, as you can see in these pages. | Atop the Duomo
15: Stunningly beautiful art and architecture is everywhere you look in Firenze
16: Picnic at Mercato Centrale | Fagiolis
17: SUNSET ALONG THE RIVER ARNO, FIRENZE ITALY
20: Strolling along the Lover's Walk between Riomaggiore and Manarola in the Cinque Terre
21: Bianca alla spina
22: We fell in love with the Cinque Terre. It was incredibly colorful and because it is less touristy, we finally got a glimpse of the natives of Italy. We enjoyed watching the sun set from Pie de Ma where we discovered bianca alla spina. We strolled the seaside Lovers Walk and hiked the more challenging trail from Monterosso to Vernazza, which is very steep and a bit treacherous at points, but incredibly beautiful. We had fabulous meals at La Lampara and at Enoteca con Cucina.
25: The Cinque Terre | Vernazza | The marina at Riomaggiore
26: Hiking the trail between Monterosso and Vernazza
28: We stayed at the Hotel Nerva surrounded by the ruins of ancient Rome. You could almost touch the walls of the Forum from our window. We saw most of the major tourist spots: the Coliseum, Roman Forum, Palantine Hill, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, St. Peters Basilica and the Vatican Museum. We also discovered some best kept secrets including Basilica di San Clemente (which dates back to the first century), the Holy Stairs, and San Giovanni in Laterano, the first Vatican. | We crossed the Tiber over to Trastevere, where we strolled among the hip young people and had a delicious meal at La Scala. One of our favorite eateries was I Sarchiaponi, a neighborhood pizzeria near Via Cavour that we discovered while shopping. We also enjoyed dinner at Antica Enoteca near the Spanish Steps. We threw coins into the Trevi Fountain, so we know we're coming back.
30: Ludas Magnus Gladiator Training Grounds
31: San Giovanni in Laterano, Santa Scala, St. Peter's Basilica
32: Basilica of San Clemente | The Vatican Museum | His Holiness Pope Benedict | La Scala in Trestavere
33: The wall of the Roman Forum was right outside our room at the Hotel Nerva | The Tiber River
34: Papal Audience We had an audience with the Pope in St. Peters Square. There were thousands of people there from all over the world. Pope Benedict personally blessed the audience and made his address about the importance of families in a half dozen different languages. There were several choirs and bands who played while we waited his arrival. It was a long wait and the sun was very warm so Cheryl and I made hats out of our maps to protect the back of our necks.
35: A Tour of Frascati Wine Country | We took a tour of the Principe Pallavicini winery in the Frascati region just south of Rome. Our tour guide was Ectore, a roman native married to a Californian. We toured the winery grounds and learned how they make olive oil, then we went into the vineyard and Cheryl and Mary got to touch the very grapes they will someday drink! After that we visited heir shop in Colonna and tasted several wines poured by their agronomist. Very educational and very fun. We brought home a bottle of their cabernet sauvignon and a frascati.