Posts Tagged With: Italy

Substitute Italian Cats

Niko watching me make tea

When we went to Italy, there were cats everywhere!

We rented an apartment in Positano, where 2 cats

were hanging out in the front courtyard.  We have two

cats at home, and when we travel, I miss them terribly.

I decided these were going to be our Substitute

Italian Cats.  I even named them.  The black one is

Luciano, and the other is Niko.  I don’t know if

they were stray, or just belonged to the neighbors.

We were very high up on the cliff, so that’s quite a

Niko by front gate

climb for stray cats, I think. 

Categories: Cats, fun pics, Italy | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Room with a view

view from the front gate

We went to Italy last month, and it was one of the best

vacations we ever had!  I will start off with the first place we

stayed:  Positano.  We rented this lovely apartment

from www.vrbo.com called Villa Fior di Limone.  We

had the best view from our balcony.  I would make tea

every morning, and just sit out there and enjoy the

boats on the water, or the village below.  At night, we

could hear music from one of the restaurants.  One

night we even heard a party boat in the water.  They

were blasting dance music, and I am sure the whole

town heard it!  Positano is a vertical city, with many

levels.  One day my husband decided to count the steps

up to our apartment from the main street level (the beach is

a few levels down), and there were 443 steps!  I can walk

on flat ground forever, but I was never good with uphill, or steps,

so it was a little challenge for me.  But the view was so worth it!

If you go to the Amalfi coast, I recommend this place, or at least

this town!

me enjoying the view

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Beautiful Venice

Bridge of Sighs

Continuing Countdown to Italy 2012, I thought I would share a few pics from 2006.

Venice is a very beautiful city.  We were surprised to see a lot graffiti in different

places, but that still didn’t affect its beauty.  We stayed 3 nights, and it was bright and sunny

every day.  A highlight of the trip includes discovering gnocci.  Now I make it all the time!

Watching a glass-blowing demonstration on the island of Murano, where I bought my still

favorite earrings, going to the Venice film festival (but didn’t see anyone famous), and taking

a cruise down the Grand Canal.  Now being in Venice, they say you should take a gondola ride.

We didn’t.  It was really expensive, and just riding boats down the Grand Canal, and to other islands

was enough for us.  One of the famous bridges in Venice include the Bridge of Sighs, which was

built in 1602. It connects the prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace.  They say

prisoners passing over the bridge on their way to lock-up would sigh, knowing it was the last

time they would see the beautiful sights of Venice.  One of the things that really helped me

appreciate the beauty and history of Venice was reading a book by John Berendt, called

The City of Falling Angels.  He also wrote Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  He lived

there for 10 years and really got to know people in the city, which the characters in his book

are based on.    I highly recommend a trip to Venice.  It is truly a unique city.

St. Mark’s right before sunrise
Batman?
St. Mark’s at night
La Fenice Opera House

laundry day
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Siena, Italy

            Continuing the countdown to Italy 2012, I am looking back at Italy 2006.  We decided to stay in

Siena, which is not far from Florence.  We wanted a smaller, more relaxing town to stay in, rather than navigating through a large city like Florence.  One of my favorite days on this trip was the wine tasting

lunch.  We booked it from home with a walking tour before arriving in Italy.  I remember having lobster tail, I never eat lobster, but this was the best I ever had.  It’s too easy to make it rubbery, but this was

perfect.  We were in the Chianti region, so we were to taste 4 wines.  Our hostess was Alessandra, and she treated us like we were her family.  I apologize, I can’t find the name of the company we used.

I mentioned that I like dessert wine, so she went down to the cellar and brought a red and white up.  Yum.  We ended up shipping about 10 bottles of wine home, a couple we still haven’t opened!

Siena is a medieval town, surrounded by walls  that is famous for its twice yearly horse race, Corsa del Palio,  which goes around the  main square, Piazza del Campo.  One of the most beautiful churches in the town is the

Siena Duomo, which was built between 1215 and 1263.  A distinguishing feature is the black and white striped pillars along with the walls of the clerestory.  Part of our walking tour included a tour of the

nearby medieval hill town in Tuscany, San Gimignano.  Since it is high in the hills, there are beautiful views of the Tuscan landscape.  We were going to take a day trip to Florence, but never made it.

Instead, we rented a car and toured the Tuscan countryside, where we ended up in Pisa and Volterra (previous post).  First time I had ever seen grape vines!  So if you ever decide to visit Tuscany,

I recommend renting a car to explore on your own, if you don’t take part of a tour.

view from San Gimignano

yes, we tasted all that wine!
Main square
Siena Duomo
Bike in front of shop window
street in Seina
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An unexpected surprise-Volterra

Volterra street

Sunset over Volterra
Jim on a Volterra street
Volterra up ahead
View from Volterra, Italy

As my countdown to Italy continues, I am looking back at our first trip

together to Italy in 2006.  We were staying in Siena for a few days, and decided

to rent a Smart car to explore Tuscany.  We headed north to Pisa, and on the way

back, took a route closer to the coast.  We were driving along and saw this town

high in the hills.  We decided to stop and check it out.  Wow, Volterra is a

beautiful little town overlooking Tuscany.  We parked in a garage and started

walking around.   Above the town, we saw a really cool  building and wondered

what it was.  It turned out to be the Medici Fortress, a high-security prison.

I found out later, that on Fridays, a gourmet restaurant inside is open to the

public served by inmates!  It is quite popular, and reservations are required.

But we ate a different restaurant, and it was one of the best meals I had in Italy.

Volterra is known for selling items made of alabaster. Personally, I was not

interested in those souvenirs, even though they had some really nice things.

My favorite part was being able to see the sunset over the hills of Tuscany.

Some of the best things that happen on a trip were never planned!

high security prison in Volterra

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Cinque Terre, Italy

Portofino, Italy
Vernazza, Italy
sun shining through the clouds
walking the Cinque Terre
Corniglia, Italy
Cinque Terre, Italy
Rapallo, Italy-view from our room

I have Italy on the brain!  In two months we are off for our second trip to Italy!  The first

time was in 2006 where we toured northern Italy, and these are some photos from the

Cinque Terre, also known as the Italian Riviera.  We stayed in a town outside of that region

called Rapello, and took a train to see the villages of the Cinque Terre which consists of

Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.   There is hiking

along the coast that connects these small, picturesque villages.  The cliffs overlooking

the Ligurian Sea are pretty rugged.  But people live here with their vineyards, and even

have roosters!  One day we took a short boat ride from Rapallo to Portofino.  I believe

people with money hang out here 🙂  We saw many large yachts.  Some people were  doing a photo

or video shoot with some model walking around the upper deck of one of those yachts.

And the stores were all high-end designers.  I did not get any souvenirs there 🙂  When we

go back, we will be doing the Amalfi coast, which I believe will be even more beautiful.

Categories: Beach, fun pics, Italy, Nature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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