BC: San Gimignano Toscano, Italia - Summer 2012
1: In celebration of the birthdays ending in 0 in 2011/2012 Sylvia Klenz - 70 John Bianucci - 60 Julie Bianucci - 50 Glen Regier - 40 | June 22 - July 3, 2012 Sylvia's 70th Birthday Family Trip Gabbiano, Toscano, Italia Sylvia & Walt Klenz John, Julie, Johnny & Jessica Bianucci Glen, Heidi, Alex & Matthew Regier
2: Saturday, June 23rd Day 1 - ROME John, Julie, Johnny & Jessica spent the first weekend in Rome. | We arrived at our apartment midday and took off on the first of many walking excursions. | If you throw three coins into the Trevi Fountain, you will return to Rome!
4: Rome tried to get the best of us, from the rose for "bellissimo" (Jessica) - 3 Euros - to the "great" picture of the four of us at the Fontana di Trevi - 5 Euros.
5: Scenes at/from our apartment at 99 Via Francesco Crispi
6: Sunday, June 24th Day 2 - Rome When in Rome, do as the Romans do... So we learned to use the subway. First stop, the Colosseo. Yet more attempts to take us, an elder lady tried to pickpocket Johnny, and a young lady tried to pickpocket Julie, both attempts unsuccessful!
8: We had dinner at this pizza place because they had "wireless". We sat next to a lady from the midwest, also trying to access the "wireless" on her iphone...no wireless! | Next stop, Piazza St. Pietro and the Museo Vaticano, whoops, last Sunday of the month, Museo Vaticano closed early!
9: On Sunday, Glen, Heidi, Alex and Matthew arrived. We all had dinner that evening. This is the view from their suite. The next morning we spotted them walking down our street, from our apartment window.
10: Monday, June 25th Day 3 - Rome to Gabbiano via Nodica We drove from Rome north to Nodica to visit the Bianucci relatives. Along the way. there was an accident that caused us to take an unauthorized detour under the freeway and through a field.
11: Rome | Nodica | Detour | Francisco Bianucci grew up in this house. He came to America with his brother in 1910. Rosanna & Giovanni live on the top two floors. Massimilano & Paola and the girls live on the bottom floor. | Gabbiano
13: Giovanni, Rosanna, John, Julie, Johnny, Massimilano, Paola, Jessica, Martina, Giulia and Chiara (holding hands with Jessica - Chiara loved Jessica). From Nodica we were off to meet up with Sylvia & Walt, and Glen, Heidi, Alex & Matthew at Gabbiano for our week in Toscano.
14: Tuesday, June 26th Day 4 - Pisa & Lucca Max, our English-speaking bus driver, took us to Pisa and Lucca. First stop Pisa with the Torre de Pisa, Duomo and Bapistry. And the wonderful miniature Leaning Tower shops!
15: John waited at the bottom while the 9 of us climbed to the top. View from the top (above).
17: Pisa Duomo ceiling with street shots taken in Florence. | Wednesday, June 27th - Day 5 - Florence
19: Ponte Vecchio in Firenze Legend has it that if you and your loved one attach a padlock and throw the key into the River Arno, your love will last forever. Heidi brought each of us a lock to attach to the fence surrounding the Benvenuto Cellini statue. We each wrote a note on our padlock and attached them to each other. Our love is sure to last forever!
21: Thursday, June 28th Day 6 - Sam Gimignano & Sienna Jessica and Julie loved the shopping in San Gimignano. John & Johnny visited the duomo and then read in the shade. Most of us enjoyed a gelato from the world's best gelato gelateria. San Gimignano is atop a hill with views of the Tuscan countryside all around.
22: Walt Age 67 | Sylvia Age 70 | John Age 60 | Julie Age 51 | Johnny Age 18
23: Jessica Age 17 | Glen Age 40 | Heidi Age 45 | Alex Age 11 | Matthew Age 9 | S a n G i m i g n a n o
24: Next stop Siena! Siena is home of Il Palio, a horse race run twice a year in the Piazza del Campo with jockeys and horses dressed to match one of the 12 districts of Siena. Each district has a a color scheme, mascot and flag. Il Palio was run on July 2nd so we were there during the pre-event celebrations.
26: A magnificent church stands in Siena, the Duomo di Siena, built over 700 years ago with local black, white and red marble, endless stained glass, a gilded dome, and a spectacular altar.
28: Tuscan sunsets. Many evenings spent with a glass of Gabbiano chianti and a football game, while the sun set...
30: Friday, June 29th - Day 7 Relax at Castello di Gabbiano day! We were treated to a private tour and tasting of the wonderful wines of Gabbiano, and the balsamic vinegar aging room (above right). To the right is the view from our apartment, sunny and bright everyday!
33: Saturday, June 30th Day 8 - Return to Firenze We spent a second day in Florence. The original Michelangelo's David stands in the Galleria dell'Accademia and replicas are found around the city. The Galleria degli Uffizi, and "the" duomo, Duomo di Firenze, Santa Maria del Fiore, the sanctuary alone is 32,000 square feet. Everyone except John and Julie climbed the 463 steps to the top of the dome.
34: Statue Buskers...
35: Views from the | Watching the buskers...
36: Sylvia (Grammie) started a tradition many years ago. On family trips her grandchildren perform a Shakespeare play! This trip was...Merchant of Venice!
38: Sunday, July 1st Day 9 - Relaxing on our last day in Toscano, and Glen's 40th birthday!
39: Signs of Italia
40: Many great meals were consumed by all. Both those we ate in restaurants and the delicious dinners we cooked in our three apartment kitchens and, of course, the BBQ that was ignited by rubbing sticks together....
42: But the best meal of all was on Sunday night, at the Gabbiano restaurant....the evening began with champagne on the veranda, presents and personal poems written and read aloud by Sylvia | for each of the birthday peeps: John - 60, Julie - 51, Glen - 40, and Sylvia - 70, the real reason we are all in Italy! We then moved up above the castello (castle) for dinner.....
43: This was truly one of those Italian meals that you read about. We were there for hours and the courses seemed to never end!
44: Monday, July 2nd - Day 10 Now it's time to say Ciao! to Toscano and head south to Rome before flying home tomorrow..
45: We drove to the Rome airport, checked into our hotel, returned our rental car, took the train to Rome, changed platforms for the subway, and made it to the Vatican, as evidenced by the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (right)! Then the same in reverse to meet Sylvia and Walt at their hotel for our last dinner in Italia...
46: Ciao Italia! We had a wonderful unforgettable once-in-a-very-lucky-lifetime time! Thank you Sylvia and Walt for making these memories for us, we love you! John, Julie, Johnny & jessica
47: Walt & Sylvia John, Julie, Johnny & Jessica Glen, Heidi, Alex & Matthew | June 22 to July 3, 2012