Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Tour of Italy Installment 7 Sorrento and Capri

On our way to Sorrento we saw that everyones yard was filled with fruit trees and vegetable gardens. The soil there is very fertile from the constant erupting of Mt Viscuvious. As we approached Sorrento we starting seeing more flowers and beautiful vistas.

Our hotel in Sorrento was amazing. not right down town (but I walked it in about 25 minutes). It was part of a complex that was once a villa on the cliff looking at the Bay of Naples, Mt Visuvious, and the Isle of Capri.

Our hotel Parco Dei Principi was all done in blue and white tile. Floor to ceiling windows that made me feel at home and the grounds and pool were amazing.

This is the gate entering the grounds.

The view from our hotel.

Love Limoncello!!

The grounds were full of beautiful flowers.

Our view of Mt  Viscuvious.

The Villa that the grounds belong to.

It'a a quick boat ride to Capri from Sorrento. Both Capri Town and AnaCapri made me feel like I was in Beverly Hills. Some people might not like that but it was beautiful and I would go back.

We went on a boat ride around the island looking at the blue lagoon, a natural bridge, places where the romans and Phoenicians were. 

They even found that there were Stone Age inhabitants.The Greeks were there in 800 BC.

The Phoenician Steps (they say they could not have been built by the Phoenicians but anyway that's what they are called) went from Capri Town to Anacapri. Can't imagine making that climb.

View from Anacapri.

An ancient door leading to the Phoenician Steps.

The flowers are beautiful, the views amazing, and air is sweet.   I’m told the best time is in the evening after all the day tourists have left. I’m sure that is the case in any tourist area.

Once we got back to Sorrento I had the bus drop me off downtown, the shopping streets are the typical tourist shops, but some were quite nice. And I got some nice photos. 

A puppet show was taking place in the square and and a flea market on one of the streets.

I’m trying to travel light so only buying small, mostly consumable, items. couldn’t leave without some limoncello and lemon soap. 

Limoncello capitol!

Amazing to me that so many places with beautiful art are open to the outside.

I did NOT climb the hill from the ferry landing to the town!

After leaving Sorrento we drove to Pompei on our way to Rome!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Tour of Italy Installment 6 Florence

The further south we traveled in Italy the more I liked it.

We arrived at our hotel in Florence in time to go for a quick bite, a walk, and an early night. The next morning we went to the the Duomo, saw David, and got a quick tour of the historic district.

Our guide Tony.

That afternoon we had free time and I walked across the bridge to see the Giardino Bardini which has just recently been opened to the public, and the Bobioli Gardens at the Pitti Palace. 

What a view of the city, wow. 

There wasn’t much in bloom, we’d missed some of the early flowers and it was to early for the summer flowers except those in window boxes. But I will say I would not want to go in July or August - too hot! The temperature was perfect.

You’ll see many photos of windows with flowers, in the cities there isn’t much land so their gardens are on in their window boxes and balconies. Florence is a beautiful city and I felt perfectly safe wandering around by myself, like I did in Venice, and I would in Sorrento and Rome.

The Bardini Garden is the green hill straight ahead.

Between the two gardens is Fort Belvedere which was built between 1590 and 1595 to defend the Medici Palace and the city of Florence. Galileo used the fort to do his astronomical observations. I walked by his house on the way up to the Bardini Garden.

The Boboili Gardens is behind the Pitti Palace.
The Pitti Palace was the 2nd home of the Medici's in Florence.
The garden was started over 400 years ago.

Then on the way back across the river I walked through the 
famous Ponte Vecchio - full of jewelry stores.

The Uffizi Museum is one of the most famous museums in the world, focusing on renaissance paintings. Some of the artists included in their collection are Botticelli, Giotto, Cimabue, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaello. Most works of art are from the 12th to 17th centuries.

The homes that do have yards have them in interior spaces. Once in a while you could see through the open door.

We took a little jaunt to a winery and stopped at this Military Cemetery full of US soldiers that lost their lives during World War II. The cemetery is located just south of Florence and is called the Florence American Cemetery.

At the winery. 
Interesting to note, most Italian grapes grow on roots imported from the US due to a blight that does not affect the American roots.

Next stop Sorrento and the Isle of Capri!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Tour of Italy Installment 5 Padua and Pisa and on to Florence

After leaving Venice we stopped at Padua.

Known as Padova in Italian, Padua may be the oldest city in northern Italy, with its 12th-century BC founding by Trojans. It has a famous University (one of Europe’s oldest, from 1222), the 13th-century Basilica di Sant'Antonio (resting place of St. Anthony), and Scrovegni Chapel, with Giotto’s 14th century frescos. 

The Prato della Valle, a 950,000-square-foot elliptical square, is Europe’s second-biggest.

The Basilica was stunning. 

All through Italy I was shocked to see so much grafitti, it puts ours to shame. Fortunately it wasn't in the historic districts.

During this tour we hit many of the major tourist areas of Italy, so could not miss the leaning tower. It was bigger than I imagined and surrounded by other beautiful buildings.

We also saw miles and miles of vineyards, and lots of intriguing looking hill towns.

Next stop Florence!