FC: Italy 2012
1: And we're off...
2: March 23, 2012 | New York to...
3: the Alps...
4: Stop #1 - Regina Palace Hotel Stresa, Italy (Piedmont Region in Northern Italy)
5: 7:30am, Sunday morning | After flying all night... | A chance to explore Stresa while waiting for our hotel room
6: Great day of strolling along the seaside followed by lunch on the piazza... a nice way to ease into the week after a long day of traveling.
7: Locarno, Switzerland
8: Stresa | Day 1....
9: ... begins with wine tasting at La Cambusa followed by a boat ride to dinner on Isola dei Pescatori , a small fishing village that is part of the beauriful Borromean Islands, summer home to Napoleon and Josephine.
10: Day 2 Stresa - Lago Maggiore, Locarno Switzerland - Stresa | Lago Maggiore | The Italian Alps
11: We climbed aboard the Centovalli express for a train journey through mountain villages and vineyards to the Swiss town of Locarno nestled in the northern bay of Lago Maggiore
12: Lago Orta | Day 3 | After a short ride from Stresa we arrive at beautiful Lago Orta, oldest preserved village from Middle Ages.
13: Beautiful old churches, panoramic mountain views, and beautiful public gardens made this seaside town one of our favorites | We also found a 14th century tavern still in use.
15: Isola di San Giulio - oldest working convent located a short boat ride from Orta
16: We arrive in Sestri Livanti, a seaside town on the Ligurian Coast of the Italian Riviera | Day 3
17: Grand Hotel dei Castelli | Room with a view....
18: The Castelli
19: Exterior view...
20: Interior view...
22: Wonderful meals, new friends
23: amazing sunsets... | & a beautiful coast line!
24: Day 4: We start our day with a bus ride to the seaside town of Santa Margherita Ligure .....
25: Our first experience with Italian public transportation with public busses and ferrys... quite an experience for our eclectic little band of travelers. | ... followed by a boat ride to the glamorous seaside town of Portofino
26: Prawns, clams, and mussels fresh from the sea -
27: Cinque Terre First stop - seafood at Riomaggiore
28: Hiking the Via Amora from Riomaggiore to Manarola....
29: ...Ending on the beach at Monterrosso al Mare for a little sun bathing and gelato followed by a train ride back to Sestri Levante
31: Luca, a 16th century Renaissance walled city & our first stop in Tuscany . The birthplace of Puccini, Luca was a financial power during the Renaissance - perfectly preserved.
32: On to Tuscany after a great day in Luca, shopping at the Pierotucci Leather shop and finally our first view of the Tuscan Countryside - all in one day! | ...AND a side trip to Pisa? Bill - that's not Pisa!
33: Ou first view of Cortona - setting for Under the Tuscan Sun and our home for the next 4 days -Amazing!
35: Villa Piazzano, a beautiful villa on the outskirts of Cortona and our home base for our stay in Tuscany
36: Once A working tobacco farm , the villa now houses this beautiful bed and breakfast | Complete with amazing wood working and a beautiful tasting room - salute!
41: Piazza del Duomo Center of religious life in Midieval Florence
42: Hand crafted bronze door adorns one of the entrances to the Duomo. Each panel depicts a scene from the old testament.
43: Piazza della Signoria Home to Dante, Neptune and numerous midieval & 14th century sculptures
44: Ahhh David & friends....
45: Some of our favorite things... | lasagna & local wine on the piazza | 14th C Market | historic carousel | hot cocoa | gelato | Ponte Vecchio | 14C Gold Market
46: Cortona | A beautiful hill town south east of Florance | We had only a short time for a walk and dinner after a long day touring Florance. Hill towns are a great change of pace after a long day in a bustling city!
47: Nothing is more beautiful than springtime in Tuscany
48: Day 7 San Gimignano, a hill tow town punctuated by tall midieval towers that provided spectacular views of the countryside - one of our favorite places.
52: From beautiful cathedrals and artwork to end of semester celebrations on the piazza Sienna was a fun way to end a beautiful day.
54: Finally - a day at a winery. What would a trip to Italy be without tasting Brunello de Montalcino at it's source - amazing day of cooking, tasting, and eating!
55: The wine cellar... | ... and pasta making
56: Lunch and wine tasting mmmmm......
57: And finally the vineyard - early spring before bud burst but still beautiful.
58: Bologna - financial stronghold of the renaissance - our mission - the markets and food.
59: The university was one of the first business schools - anyone could attend as long as they worked hard. The first American student dated to the 1400's.
60: Amazing markets really showcase the meats and cheeses Bologna is noted for not to mention amazing produce
61: And finally, lunch and a stroll through the city before we leave for our final destination... Venice
62: Last stop - Venice City of canals - probably our most romantic destination - truly a city of romance
63: Our hotel on the canal - the Hotel Splendid Love the roof top view and sound of church bells from the surrounding steeples
64: Our first night in Venice - a gondola ride is the perfect way to start the adventure!
66: Our first look at St Marks Square - most beautiful at night
70: D o g e | P a l a c e
72: Guardians of the Doge Palace | ... and the Island of Mirano and it's famous glass factory
75: They say getting lost in Venice is the best way to see the city. The next couple of pages are what happens when you let yourself wander !
77: And finally - our last night in Venice. After a great farewell dinner we were off to find Harry's Bar - home of the $10 Belini and hangout of Hemmingway
79: Thank you for a wonderful trip - Merry Christmas Love, Me!