A Travellerspoint blog

Under the Tuscan Sun

Well, this is my last town before I head home -- Cortona -- where Under the Tuscan Sun was filmed. It is a quaint medieval town with a wall around it. I arrived yesterday and they are having a 2 day STEAKFEST...which is pretty darn hilarious since I don't eat meat! (well, pork or beef anyway)

My hostel is nice. It feels like a summer camp because of the bunkbeds. I picked a top one by the window so I can see the Tuscany countryside during the day and the twinking lights at night. However, my window is less than 5 feet from a church's belltower and when that thing goes off, you pretty much jump out of bed! I am on the 3rd floor so I am eye level with the ringing things!

The shops are nice here. They are full of unique handmade items or foods from the area. The galleries are nice, too. I am enjoying just wandering the streets since everything, even the buildings, seems to catch my eye. City streets lead to archways taking you to the outside for a nice view. The sunset is impossible to describe here, but eveything gets this golden glow about it. No wonder people want to move here!

I visited the church at the top of the hill today and what a climb it was! I was huffing and puffing because it was so steep. Then I went further up (because I am glutton for punishment) and went into the fort that was built in the 1500's. The views from the top of that are unbelievable. Eveything is green or yellow or gold and the houses have old orange tiles. Inside the fort was a temporary art exhibit and they had Impressionist works -- my favorite! I was the only one there then so I had the gallery all to myself.

I plan to meander some more today and tomorrow and then I fly back home on Friday so this may be my last post for this trip. I had a great time and can't wait to plan my Greece trip....and my Central America trip....and my...... :) You get the picture.........

Posted by thedcgroup 02:22 Comments (1)

Florence

I made it to Firenze as they call it. The architecture is fabulous and the sun setting was amazing!! I listened to a violinist in a piazza play classical. I windowshopped at Prada, Dolce and Gabbana, and all the other designers. I was more interested in the buildings than what they are selling! The view from the Ponte Vecchio bridge is great. It is the only bridge not destroyed in 1944...the enemy thought it was too beautiful! They have little shops on it, mostly selling jewelry.

Firenze seems small, clean, quiet, and friendly....unless it is just because of their holiday month. I may visit some museums tomorrow and then I am off to another town in Tuscany......

Posted by thedcgroup 12:06 Comments (0)

Rome and more!

I spent Wed. in Rome. I got to see the Vatican Museum where I raced through to see the Sistine Chapel. My neck hurt...they should give you a mirror! Then, I went to St. Peter's Basilica where I stood in a line that stretched all the way around the square only to get inside and find out it was the line to see the popes' tombs!!!! I didn't care about that at all as I am not Catholic! From now on, I will ask where the line goes! I did get inside and it was impressive. I also took pics of the colorful Swiss guards...you couldn't pay me to wear that outfit!

Then, I took a train to Sulmona. It is in the Appennine mountains east of Rome. The town is in a valley and the mountains tower in the background. I visited Pacentro, a truly quaint medival town complete with the remains of a castle. Sulmona was small and clean and quiet. You can hike nearby in the national park, but I wasn't there long enough. They have a large public garden with gravel trails and many benches...I really liked this area.

I ended up in Venice on Friday night. WOW! It is beautiful. I met up with a fellow traveller from my country and we went sightseeing and had dinner next to the canal. We rode a water taxi through the canals today and have walked many winding streets and alleys. It is great...there are no cars! We may do a gondola ride if we can find others to share the cost and we may go to a Vivaldi concert tonight.

Right now, I am starving and ready for lunch! Tomorrow we leave for Florence. How many people can say they spent their birthday in Venice?!

Posted by thedcgroup 04:20 Comments (0)

Naples for the last time!

Today, I went to the Duomo, the Naples Cathedral. It was impressive inside. St. Gennaro's bones are underneath the altar and you can go downstairs to see them. (He is VERY famous here.) I even went to the excavation site underneath the church. It was neat to see old Roman walls and roads that were covered up by other buildings over the last few centuries....

Then I went to San Lorenzo Maggiore...another church with better ruins underneath. You could see the shop walls and areas where they collected water, did laundry, the town bank, etc. I really liked this site better.

I windowshopped for awhile, cruising down the back streets with the locals. Headed home on a train, ate lunch at my favorite veggie place for the last time, and started to do my laundry.

Tomorrow I may go to Vesuvius and then pack since I leave early Wed. morning for other parts of Italy.

Posted by thedcgroup 06:03 Comments (0)

Amalfi Coast

Well, Friday I got to go to Bagnoli to "Turlte Point" to see the aquarium where they keep injured sea turtles. I love turtles so I was thrilled to see so many (about 30) up close. Several weighed twice what I do and had heads larger than my hand! One was missing a flipper, another lost an eye, one couldn't swim, one couldn't dive, etc. They stay there until healed or until they die.

Yesterday, I took a ski-boat from Pozzuoli to Positano. It took about 2 hours, but the coastline just kept getting more amazing the further we went. The cliffs rise straight up -- no gentle slopes there! The houses are stacked on top of each other. I visited the somewhat famous homemade lemon granita sand in the main plaza. I must say it was the best so far -- not too tart, not too sweet..... I walked around a little and then caught a bus to Amalfi.

I got to sit on the right (so I could see the cliffs drop to the sea) and in the front row! The only thing in front of me was the windshield. Whee! It was crazy! Twice it looked like the front of the bus was hanging off of the edge! I loved it and took several pictures. Just don't turn your head to look at something because then the bus driver has to whip the bus back the other way and you feel lightheaded.

The bus takes you right to the port in Amalfi and that is where the action takes place. You can sit outside and look at the ocean and the bathers and the blue water. I went to a sandwich place and had a bite to eat before I visited the Church of St. Andrew. I got to see the small cloister, the museum, the crypt, and the cathedral for 2.50 euro....cheap! The museum has a pope's hat looking thing (sorry, not Catholic) with over 20,000 small pearls on it from the 13th century. The cathedral actually had a piece of St. Andrew's skull on display. Why? I don't know...remember I'm not Catholic.

The fountain in the plaza is somewhat famous. It is in front of the massive steps that lead to the aforementioned church. Here is what I find funny....the marble lady has fountains coming out of her breasts....around here, people just tip their head to drink out of fountains all over Italy, but never have I seen one like this! I wanted a picture of someone doing that, but the water wasn't running from there that day...oh, well, I took a picture anyway.....
So, let's see, in the same area, you have nipple fountains and saint's skull bones.....hmmmmm

I walked around the winding roads, up and down several flights of stairs (it is a cliff town) adn then, tired, I took a ski-boat all the way back to Pozzuoli. I headed to my favorite veggie place and ordered everything green that they had. You must understand, Italy is a great place, but I must have more veggies and salads! I cannot live on pasta, pastry, and cappuchino alone!!

I head out Wednesday for more travels. I have enjoyed staying in the Campi Flegrei area. It translates to Flaming Country because of the history of volcanoes and sulfur pits and thermal springs. Also, I am staying near one volcano and can see Mt. Vesuvius from here!

My blog mentions Greece in the title, but I won't make it this time. I will save that for another trip...a much cooler, less costly, much less crowded trip......In other words, I will go there off season!

Posted by thedcgroup 02:14 Comments (0)

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