Bella Italia

We just got back from almost 3 weeks in Bella Italia. As usual it was a great trip. We flew from Florida to Philadelphia to Rome and then drove the 4.5 hours south to our home in southern Campania.

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Our mountain through a screened window

As we opened up the house to face a years dust, we discovered that our refrigerator was not working. When we closed the place down last year, we turned off the main circuit breaker and opened the refrigerator door. As I thought about this new and frustrating problem, I remembered we had an air conditioner installed while we were gone. We also changed electric companies and had requested an automatic withdrawal from our account in Italy, which did not happen. The AC people told us that there was no electric in the house. Our electric was turned off since the bill was not paid. After many calls and emails the bill was paid and the electric turned back on. The AC people must have left the circuit breaker turned on. The refrigerator started up since the door was open and ran and ran until it burned out.

Oh well we were on vacation and needed a refrigerator. We bought a new one and a clothes washer and had them installed.

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New refrigerator and washer

Now we were ready to enjoy ourselves. As we did our wash, we were reminded of how nice it was to hang clothes outside to dry. They dry very quickly in the brisk mountain air and smell so good. OK now we needed a glass of wine …

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Views with a glass of wine

More to come on this magnificent trip!

– George

 

Categories: Driving in Italy, Europe, General Travel, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Mountain Towns, Mountains, Small Towns, Velina, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Magnificent Views of Italy

It doesn’t matter where you are in Italy. There are views and eye-catching sights everywhere. You can be in a big city looking at a famous monument, on a small street, looking at a small city high up on a mountain, at the beach, climbing stairs or sitting at a small trattoria. Italy is all about its architecture. It has a personality all to itself. Here you stand on ancient roads, some dating pre-Roman. You feel and see its history. At the same time there is a modern culture all around you. iPhones, iPad and computers are everywhere. Most bars have free wi-fi service.

We come to Italy for the food, the people and these views. I love the feeling of being in an ancient place. Thinking about those ancient people and what they did, what they felt. Was their life that different from ours? These views can talk to you! Just listen and hear what they are saying. This is not a country to be rushed. Stop, relax and take in these views. Listen to them. Imaging yourself back in those times. Soon your modern problems give way to an appreciation of this great history.

My wish to all my readers is to be able to travel. experience another culture. Enjoy life more. There is so much to experience and learn. Pick a place you are passionate about and visit it. Put it on your bucket list. life is short but memories are forever.

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My passion is Italy, what is yours?

George

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Ascea, Beaches, Campania, Capri, Casal Velino Marina, Coliseum, Driving in Italy, Duomo, Europe, Florence, General Travel, Greek Ruins, Italy, Mount Vesuvious, Mountain Towns, Mountains, Perugia, Planning a vacation, Ravello, Regions of Italy, Romance, Rome, Siena, Small Towns, Smart Phones, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Spanish Steps, Stairs, Traveling without a tour, Tulli, Tuscany, Umbria, Velina, Venice, Villa Brunella, WiFi | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Churches of Italy

Italy is famous for many things but its churches are old and magnificent. They are not just churches but art galleries, studies in architecture and beautiful places to visit. They provide a cool atmosphere from the hot sun. The frescoes are wonderful to study, telling of story of days long gone. Every city has at least one church. They may be called Chiesa, Catterdrale, Basilica or Duomo.

Do not pass up a chance to visit one of these marvels. Look at the floors, the splendor of its height, the walls and stained glass windows. Look for frescoes and tapestries. The alters are magnificent. The organs are fantastic and even the pulpits can be ornate.

Below is just a sampling of churches from some big and small cities around Italy:

 

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Duomo Florence

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Duomo Cortona

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Duomo Siena

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Assisi Cathedral (in Assisi)

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Church in Assisi

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Saint Francis (Outside Assisi)

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Pantheon Rome

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Church in Castelnuovo Cilento (Campania)

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Saint Peter’s Basillica – Vatican City

Post your pictures of your favorite Italian churches in the comments below.

George

Categories: Assisi, Campania, Castelnuovo Cilento, Church, Cilento, Cortona, Duomo, Europe, Florence, General Travel, Italy, Pantheon, Rome, Saint Peter's Basilica, Small Towns, Vatican City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Bufala Mozzarella

Bufala Mozzarella is a cheese made from the milk of the Italian water buffalo. It is a product of Italy, in the region of Campania and mainly from the provinces of Caserta and Salerno. It is a fresh delicious cheese that is soft and milky. It is typically stored in water to keep it fresh. It is never refrigerated. We have a home in the province of Salerno so there is a lot of Bufala Mozzarella around us. Along the road from the A3 Autostrada to Agropoli there are many places that make it. In every town there is someone who sells it.

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This is the way mozzarella cheese was meant to be. If you are in Campania, try it. Feel the softness of its texture, taste the flavor and enjoy a really great cheese. We love it with fresh picked tomatoes and a little olive oil but on a panini (sandwich) it is also great. It is one of the many things we look forward to when we arrive back in this region of Italy. It is the main these of Naples in Campania and is used on pizza in this region.

George

 

Categories: Agropoli, Campania, Caserta, Cheese, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Naples, Salerno, Southern Italy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Eat Pray Love – ROME

Castel Sant' Angelo, Roma.

Castel Sant’ Angelo, Roma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love the movie and the saying ” Dolce far niente” The sweetness of doing nothing.  Read this BLOG about one persons experience in Roma. They said Rome was “healing”! Italians really do better than we Americans do on how to live in the moment. How to appreciate your life and what you have. How to be thankful for what you have. Remember this when you are with your family and friends. Thank the family and friends in your life. Sit back and enjoy your life. DO NOT THINK ONCE ABOUT WORK. Be into Dolce Far Niente!

Life is meant to be enjoyed. Enjoy the small things as well as the large things. Enjoy the beauty around you, the food you eat, the wine you drink, the people you meet and everything you experience. When you travel to Italy remember this. Practice it not only in large cities like Rome but each little city you visit. These will be the memories you will never forget. Enjoy & be romantic …

George

 

Categories: Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, Italy, Mountain Towns, Romance, Rome, Small Towns, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Italy’s Laundry

What is it about laundry out to dry? It is colorful and different shapes. It is against the backdrop of an ancient building. Maybe it is because it is not seen here in America any more. I find myself attracted to it from a photography point of view. I end up always taking pictures of it. I think it has a message. Life goes on here as it always did. Life is good here.

I know some of my fellow bloggers also take a lot of these pictures. It must be a common thing for tourists to this wonderful country. It doesn’t matter if you are in a tiny mountain town, a beach town or a large city, it is everywhere around you as you walk. Italy is all about walking. You meet people this way, you see things you would have missed in a car or bus. It allows you to slow down and enjoy where you are. Enjoy!

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George

 

Categories: Driving in Italy, Europe, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Laundry, Mountain Towns, Small Towns, Traveling without a tour | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Bread in Italy

Bread has a bad name in America. It is fattening and for the most part has no taste. We became the white bread generation. Soft bread with no real crust or taste. Rye and wheats are not any better. Then you go to Italy (or most of Europe) and you get real bread. It is soft inside but crusty outside. It is always fresh baked. This is the real thing. No preservatives, no Monsanto wheat (at least not yet) and a taste to die for.

Bread in Italy is broken by hand never by a knife. You break a small piece by hand and eat it. You begin to wonder where has this delicious morsel been all your life. Italians eat it plain or in a little olive oil or as a spoon to pick up the left over gravy. In America, we load it with butter because it has no taste. When you try it in Italy try a piece without butter or oil. This is how you taste the bread. It is wonderful.

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You can find this wonderful food everywhere. Restaurants serve it, local supermarkets and small stores sell it. Delis have it as well. It is not hard to find and it is cheap. Enjoy it on your vacation. It will cause you to think of Italy each time you remember the bread.

There is usually a charge for bread even though it is brought out to your table. The charge is not much and worth it. This charge is called a Coperta (blanket or cover charge) on your bill.

Enjoy …

George

 

Categories: Bread, Coperta, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italy, Traveling without a tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

The Streets of Italy

Big cities or small, Italy has interesting streets. I love walking the small streets as they wind through a city. Some are pedestrian only which means people and scooters, Scooters are everywhere in Italy. It is a way of life. As you walk along a small street, especially in a small town, you see other small streets off to the left or right. Some curve and disappear out of sight. Others are steep or turn into a set of stairs. You don’t have to be in Positano to find stairs. Italians love them. It is what keeps them in shape as they walk their cities (passeggiata).

It appeals to my sense of adventure to follow these small streets. I love to find out where they go. I also love just getting lost on my small adventures. Don’t worry, we have modern technology in our pockets that can GPS us back to our cars or hotels. I think getting lost is a primordial need we all have. Just give in an do it. You know you want to find out where that street goes to.

I have been in small towns where most of the streets are stairs. You climb and climb until you get to the top. There you usually find a church or a castle. No matter how small a town you are in, you will always find a bar. You can stop for a cafè, drink or sandwich. This is Italy. This is how life is lived. Enjoy it!

Along your adventure look at the doors, the windows and the laundry. It is colorful and photogenic. There is always a new surprise just around the next bend. Discover it.

George

 

Categories: Christmas Lights, Europe, General Travel, GPS, Italy, Mountain Towns, Passegiata, Romance, Small Towns, Smart Phones, Stairs, Traveling without a tour, Walking | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

My Italian Bucket List

I have been very lucky in my travels to Italy. I did a lot of work there and got to see a lot of the country and have lived both in the north and now in the south. I love everything about Italy. In so many ways it has figured out how to live happily. It is no wonder so many people want to go there. There is so much to see.

I have enjoyed its big cities:

  • Milan
  • Verona
  • Venice
  • Bologna
  • Florence
  • Rome
  • Naples

I have also enjoyed its diverse areas:

  • The lakes in the north
  • Tuscany
  • The Adriatic Coast
  • The Tyrrhenian Coast
  • The Amalfi Coast

There are still some places I want to see so this is my current Bucket List:

  • Cinque Terra (north) – These five small towns were once very remote and unseen by most tourists. Then the train came and brought many tourists to this region. There is a walking path connecting each of the five villages. You can also take a boat, Life here is simple and enjoyable.
  • Portofino (north) – This Italian fishing community and high-end vacation resort is famous the world over. The cove here is very picturesque. When I think of Portofino I can hear Andrea Bocelli singing here.
  • Lucca (Central) – A city in tuscany near the sea. It is famous for its intact Renaissance-era city walls.
  • The Tulli Homes of Alberobello (south) – These unique homes are round with pointy roofs. This is a very unique architecture that is strongly enforced in this city.

trulli italy

  • Matera – Italy’s cave town (south) – Originated in the Paleolithic Period. The cave dwellings here were once slums and have been transformed into luxury housing and rentals. This is one of the most un pique cities in Italy and maybe the world.
  • Sicily (south) – This unique island has so much to offer. From the volcano to its magnificent towns to its Greek ruins. Sicily is easily reached by ferry, train or car. All three methods of travel cross to the island on the ferry.

What is your bucket list for Italy?

George

 

Categories: Alberobello, Amalfi Coast, Bologna, Caves, Cinque Terra, Cinque Terre, Europe, Florence, General Travel, Greek Ruins, Italy, Matera, Milan, Naples, Portofino, Rome, Sicily, Tulli, Venice, Verona | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Vasarian Corridor Florence Italy

Many people go to Florence for the sites, the museums and the food. Most tourists end up on Ponte Vecchio (the old bridge). Few realize that there is an ancient passage above the bridge. It is 1 km long going from  the Medici offices in the Uffizi Museum to their palace home (Palazzo Pitti) on the other side of the bridge. These were bankers and business men that needed to be able to pass safely from home to their offices and back again.

If you look at the Ponte Vecchio on the Uffizi side of the river, you can see a passage go from the museum over the street and then along the river to the bridge. Looking at the top of the bridge you can see the windows of the passage. On the other side of the bridge you can see this ancient passage go inland to the palace.

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Ponte Vecchio

It is still possible to walk it as the Medici once did but you will need a reservation. You have to book it in advance of your trip to Florence. It includes an English-speaking guide and admission to the Uffizi Museum. The price is 89 euros per person. You can book it at this site.

George

Categories: Architecture, Europe, Florence, General Travel, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Medici, Museums, Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi, Vasarian Corridor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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