S: Italy and other places, with Friends Vol.1
BC: Musei Vaticani | Created by Francesca and Tami 2011 | Sketches by Francesca Front cover: Fresco, Amalfi; Barcelona; Lucca; Paris
FC: Italy and other places, with Friends | Volume 1 2005 2009 2010
1: Italy 2005 Carole Marta Francesca Tami | Italy 2009 Adele Marta Francesca Chrissantha Tami | Europe 2010 Francesca Tami | Hand-painted ceramic tile floor of Chiesa Monumentale di San Michele Anacapri., Italy 2009 | Verona | Amalfi | London
2: Marta, Francesca, Carol and Tami Fall 2005 Italy | Roman arena still stages opera productions | Dante
3: Verona Venice Florence Rome | Verona | Locanda Catullo | Giusti Gardens | Juliet's balcony | EWWwww! Appetizingly called 'musetta,' donkey is a specialty on local menus!
4: Venice | We stayed in the maids quarters on the topmost floor, where a note was posted: "Do not move furniture or floor might collapse!" | Doge's Palace | Grand Canal from Rialto Bridge | Basilica di San Marco, detail | Foresteria Valdese, Rialto?
5: Best thing about rain in Venice: seeing the floor of San Marco under water - so beautiful. | Worst thing about rain in Venice: the price of a latte. | San Marco, detail | View from Bridge of Sighs
6: Florence | The Oltrarno is a great across-the-river neighborhood, full of wonderful art, beautiful gardens, affordable accomodations and creative, delicious restaurants. For example: one dish was called Alici in Terra-Meravigliosa, "Alice" in Wonderland, (alici are fresh anchovies). | Il Porcellino, Mercato Nuovo | Fiesole | Soggiorno Pezzati, Oltrarno
7: copy | Remember hearing fireworks one night? | Arno River | David at the Palazzo Vecchio
8: Rome | Our last stay at Villa Bassi | Villa Sciarra on the Gianicolo | Trevi Fountain detail | St. Peter's | Pantheon
9: Jaipur in Trastevere | Bernini's Elephant Piazza di S. Maria Sopra Minerva | Forum
10: Marta, Adele, Francesca, Chrissantha, Tami Spring 2009 Italy | View from Ponte San Michele in Vicenza | Rome | Just arrived in Vicenza
11: Vicenza Venice Cinque Terre Lucca Sorrento with day trips to Amalfi Pompeii Capri Rome with day trips to Tivoli | Venice | Vicenza | Amalfi | Rome
12: Vicenza | La Rotonda, Andrea Palladio | Stradella Valmarana | Villa Valmarana | Hotel Due Mori
13: Walked from the hotel to Villa Valmarana ai Nani and La Rotonda. Bought lunch along the way, but took too long at Valmarana so La Rotonda was closing when we got there. Had our picnic lunch on the grounds. | Vicenza Street Market | We need to step up our game | Duomo, facade detail
14: Venice | Hotel La Caneva, Rialto | Grande Albergo, Lido | Lido di Venezia, Adriatic Sea
15: F lead us to our hotel like she'd been there before. We bought 3-day waterbus passes and made good use of them, visiting San Michele, Murano, Burano and Torcello. Also, F and T got up early to visit the Lido one morning. Favorites: Scuola Grande di San Rocco bellinis at Harry's Bar and meringues. | San Michele | Torcello | Santa Maria della Salute | Race on the lagoon interrupts vaporetto service | Adam and Eve detail, Doge's Palace
16: Cinque Terre | From train station up to Corniglia: 375 steps -- whew! | We stayed in La Spezia one night, somewhere near the train station. | Looking back at Corniglia | As the train pulled into La Spezia, Tami jumped up, gathered her luggage and was first onto the platform... ...a platform overgrown with weeds. Hmmm, that seemed rather odd. She turned around to see the doors slam shut with everyone else still on the train! We were pretty horrified, hands waving--come back, come back! Luckily, someone hit the emergency-door button and Tami was reunited with la famiglia. Two minutes farther down the tracks, the train stopped at La Spezia proper, with a non-grassy platform. Lesson learned: Always have a Plan B!
17: Sentiero Azzurro path connects five fishing villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore. Be sure to make it to Vernazza by 2 pm if you want to have some lunch. Try the Blue Marlin for Internet service while you eat. | Path weaves through Vernazza | Mediterranean Sea | Path maintenance above Vernazza
18: Lucca | Il Seminario | B&B courtyard | Biking around the city walls
19: Bay of Naples | Orto Botanico in Pompeii | Just missed the Giro in Herculaneum. Fantastic interactive museum here! | Sorrento | Vesuvius! | Remember the delightful restaurant M found in Sorrento, the 'Magic Garden of the Little Parrot,' and the schmoozy waiter there? | Hotel Nice in Sorrento
20: Pompeii | Villa of The Mysteries
21: Favorites were the hologram jewelry and 'splashing' in the impluvium at the virtual museum; also, a wonderful lunch of grilled vegetables in Ercolano; the orto botanico and the dogs at Pompeii; and finding fennel liqueur and tomato-basil gelato back in Sorrento. We stayed four nights at the Hotel Nice in Sorrento. | The Forum and the volcano
22: Amalfi | Rode the bus down the famous Amalfi Coast and had lunch on Piazza Duomo, next to the beautiful cathedral. Had to fight for seats on the 3:30 pm bus back to Sorrento. We got stuck at a tight corner too tight to make the turn in the heavy traffic.
23: Sant'Andrea | Along the Amalfi Coast | Mosaic detail, Duomo
24: Capri | Ferry back to Sorrento | Funivia from Anacapri to summit of Monte Solaro, the highest part of the island (589 meters above sea level) Today's favorites included the wide variety of transport (foot, ferry, bus and funicular (tram), in addition to the chairlift... | Monte Solaro | View from the top of the island | Monte Solaro
25: Chiesa Monumentale di San Michele , floor details, Anacapri. | La Piazzetta
26: Rome | Get my best side! | Piazza Navona | Apartment on Via Natale del Grande,
27: Tami's birthday cake,with spumante | Saint Peter's | Via della Gatta | In Rome, we stay at a lovely apartment on Via Natale del Grande, across the Tiber River in Trastevere. We were glad to see that the kitty who lives in the stairwell was still in residence, and as fat as ever. The first night we walked through Piazza S. Maria in Trastevere to meet Ariel and Massimiliano and Kim for dinner at Mario's. They all came to Rome for Matteo's baptism. | Chrissantha, Francesca and Tami spent hours in Rome searching for this little Egyptian cat statue, using vague guide book directions. So fun!
28: Tivoli | Villa Adriana
29: One of the two taxis driving our group dropped some of us off at Villa d'Este while the others went on to Villa Adriana, as planned. By a 'miracle of the Devil,' as M says, Ariel and Massimiliano ALSO showed up at the wrong place and rescued us! Took bus-subway-bus back to Rome, and concluded our adventure with a wonderful meal at Il Vascello (a Sardinian trattoria) up by Villa Bassi. (There was "much complaining from a certain quarter about being sick of rice and having to go all this extra way for dinner..." What we learned: Screen your travel companions carefully! | Villa d'Este
30: Francesca and Tami Spring 2010 Europe | designed by Antoni Gaudi. | At the top is a terraced area with a view of the park, the city and the Mediterannean. | There is a small, beautiful house in which Gaudi lived for a time. | Park Guell
31: Barcelona | Milano | London | Paris | March was not exacty warm . . . | . . . but it was very sunny.
32: Barcelona | Palm Sunday outside the church | Arc de Triomf, Parc de la Ciutadella, site of purse snatching. | Sagrada Familia | Hostel Felipe II, L’Eixample, 6 nights | Nativity Facade:, detail: sea turtle holds pillar on the water side; tortoise supports pillar on the mountain side | designed by Gaudi
33: Passion Facade, designed by Josep Maria Subirachs, 1987 | Barcelona from Park Guell
34: copy | On Passeig de Gracia, not far from our hostel. | Percebe is the name of this seafood; In English, they are called gooseneck barnacles. | Boqueria Market on La Rambla | Finca Guell. Gaudí's first work for his patron Eusebi Güell
35: Cloister of the Catedral de Santa Eulalia. | Casa Batlló
36: Milano | La pasqua nel milano | Hotel Atena,, 2 nights (better of the two) and the fancy-schmancy Hotel Manin, 3 nights | The Cimitero Monumentale is stunning and not to be missed. Here the spirit of a small black cat showed herself to us. In the world's first 'shopping mall,' La Galleria, people spin for good luck upon the balls of the little bull, which represents Torino.
37: Untangling a line from the feet of a pigeon caught by hand | We participated in a dramatic candlelight procession on Good Friday . . . | . . . but there were no bells on Easter morning . . .
38: London | Loved the shoe stores on fashion-famous Carnaby Street in Soho! | Alhambra Hotel B&B in Kings Cross, 5 nights | Tower Bridge
39: Carnaby Street | Tower of London, Traitors Gate detail | Francesca risked a stay in the Tower to make this sketch!
40: We tracked down SIX Caravaggios on this trip! Was this one in the National Gallery? | Houses of Parliament and Big Ben from river. | Chihuly chandelier under the dome, main entrance of Victoria and Albert Museum
41: Highgate Cemetery, north of London | Our view of Christopher Wren's Cathedral of St. Paul, from a little teashop around the side, where we had a proper English 'high tea' while waiting for the evensong service. Lovely jammy scones and clotted cream! | St. Paul Dome
42: From the Millennium Bridge, with St. Paul's behind | View of the Millennium Bridge, a steel suspension footbridge crossing the River Thames, from top of St. Paul's | View of the River Thames and the London Eye, from the top of St Paul's dome, the third largest in the world | Beginning of the climb from the Whisper Gallery inside the dome of St. Paul Cathedral up to the Golden Gallery and incredible views of London. | When WWII bomb damage to the St. Paul's was being repaired, the affecting American Chapel was added. We were fortunate to meet there an elderly gentleman, a docent of the cathedral, who explained the chapel to us. He pointed out the small stained glass shields representing Montana and Idaho among the fifty states and also a rocket ship blasting off for the stars, among the American innovations carved on the wooden half-pilasters between the stained glass panels. There is a large open tome in which are written the names of Americans who died defending the British. | River Thames
43: Coventry Street, near Leicester Square | Friday, 4/9, 5:25am We are sitting on the Eurostar, waiting to take off through the Chunnel to Paris . . . no more of this English B&B "charm"! There's an old crescent moon, it was full in Barcelona. | -- from travel journal
44: Paris | Almost every bistro, restaurant and cafe welcomes dogs. | Hotel Daguerre,, Montparnasse, 7 nights + 3 bonus volcano days! | Les enfants en parade down the Rue Daguerre
45: Narrowest building in the city, just over one meter wide, about ten meters high Rue Saint Severin, Latin Quarter | Centre Georges Pompidou | Our own "Midnight in Portici": We'll always have Springtime in Paris"! | Centre Georges Pompidou
46: Notre Dame | Notre Dame bell towers
47: Francesca sketching the cathedral | Fornicating gargoyles! (Where did you think little baby gargoyles come from?)
48: Sacré-Coeur Basilica | Hot, crusty croque-monsieurs for lunch and sitting on the steps here, soaking up the early spring sunshine, listening to the local street musicians, watching the acrobats and illegal shell game hustlers (who forced us to stop taking photos) --un experience tres magnifique! | We noticed merry-go-rounds all over Paris
49: Versailles | Marie Antoinette's | gardening tools
50: Eyjafjallajkull volcano in Iceland, April 15 -- four extra days in Paris! | LeLouvre | Room full of columns with amazing animal capitals | About how close we go to the Mona Lisa
51: The tomb of Oscar Wilde at Cimitiere Pere LaChaise | The beautiful Montparnasse cemetery was right behind our sweet little hotel on the Rue Daguerre. | Chopin