San Gimignano

Tuscany & Umbria Fun

In 2015 we took a week-long trip through some interesting cities of Tuscany and Umbria. This is a hilly area of Italy and the cities are hill towns with narrow streets and lots of stairs. It is Italy and the friendliness of the people and quality of the food and wine comes through.

The video below is an introduction to my Italian city videos.

 

Our trip was several weeks long but the first week was in Tuscany/Umbria and the rest was at our home in southern Campania. We flew into the Rome airport, Fiumicino, and rented a car.  Our itinerary was:

  1. Perugia – Chocolates – See are YouTube Video below
  2. Assisi – Home of Saint Francis – See are YouTube Video below
  3. Cortona – Home of Under the Tuscan Sun – See are YouTube Video below
  4. Montepulciano – The famous wine city – See are YouTube Video below
  5. Siena – Home of the famous Horse Race Il Palio – YouTube video coming soon
  6. San Gimignano – My favorite city anywhere – YouTube video coming soon
  7. Florence – Home of Italian art – See are YouTube Video below

There are so many more cities in this area worth seeing but we were limited to a week and wanted to spend time in Florence.

Perugia

This is home to the famous Italian chocolate Perugina. It is owned by Nestle now but in Italy it is made the original way with not as much sugar. The American version is sold with much more sugar. This small town has an old city center with very narrow streets that barely fit a car. See the video below for how narrow these streets actually are. As in most Italian towns, life takes place outside. Piazzas are places to sit at a bar or restaurant outside and enjoy and observe life around you.

Assisi

Assisi is a small hill town in Umbria that was home to Saint Francis and the Franciscan Monks. It is above all else an Italian city. The food and wine are great. Eating is done outside in piazzas and narrow streets. In our video we caught an Italian wedding as we were seated outside at a restaurant. You never know what will happen next but it will be fun and interesting.

Cortona

OK, we all know Cortona from the book and movie, Under the Tuscan Sun. Frances Mayes made this small town popular to tourists from all over the world. The city is high on a hill in Tuscany overlooking Lake Trasimeno. Frances Mayes has her real home here as well as Bramasole, the home used in the movie. Walk with us through this wonderful city in our YouTube video.

Montepulciano

Montepulciano is a famous Italian red wine city (by the same name). Here you can walk a wonderful hill-top city and drink this and other great Tuscan wines. We stayed at a great hotel outside the city called Borgo San Pietro Hotel Cortona. You can see this city and the hotel in the YouTube video.

Siena

This video will be available on YouTube on Monday January 30th. This is a larger city with a great old center that has a huge piazza that is used twice a year (on July 2 and August 16)  run a famous Italian horse race, il palio. People crowd into the center of the piazza and horses race around them. Mud flies and everyone has a fun time. Outside race times the piazza is a place to meet friends and family and sit and relax in the sun. The border of this piazza is loaded with bars and restaurants. The food is good but they are very touristy which means high prices.

San Gimignano

This video will be available on YouTube on a Monday two weeks after the above Siena video. San Gimignano is by far my favorite city anywhere. It is a walled hill city with two main gates. It has been preserved in time from its medieval beginnings. You will notice The famous town homes that help protect families from invaders. In medieval times there were 72 of these homes measuring as tall as 70 meters (230 feet). Today there are only 14 surviving towers. Tourists have found this city and with tourists came tourists stores like Gucci but it is a great town to walk. Get off the main two streets and see the real town.

Florence

Florence was the center of the renaissance and brought art, style, architecture and culture to medieval Italy. Books have been written about Florence. It is a very large city and one of Italy’s main cities. You come here for food, wine, views and art. In our YouTube video we walk around Florence and show you great museums like the Uffizi. Florence has something for everyone. Spend some time here and get to know the city and the people.

Enjoy your travels and enjoy your life…

– George

Categories: Architecture, Assisi, Bars, Cortona, Duomo, Eating, Eating Italian, Enoteca, Europe, Florence, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Hotels, Il Palio, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Lakes of Italy, Montepulciano, Mountain Towns, Perugia, Perugina Chocolate, Ristorante, Romance, Saint Francis, Saint Peter's Basilica, San Gimignano, Siena, Towns, Traveling without a tour, Tuscany, Uffizi, Umbria, Under the Tuscan Sun, VLOG, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Top ten Destinations in Italy

More and more travelers are headed to Italy. It is romantic, it has great food, the scenery is beautiful and the wine is world-class. These are the top destinations people are headed to:

  1. Venice – What can we say about Venice? It is truly a unique place on this Earth. To visit a city with canals instead of roads is unique. There are small pathways for pedestrians to walk on. You can find large and small piazzas. Saint Mark’s Square is the largest.
  2. Rome – Rome is ancient with evidence of the early Romans everywhere. The Colosseum, Old Rome, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Villa Borghese and Vatican City are a few of its main attractions. Rome has many piazzas that full of flowers, statues and markets.
  3. Florence – This is the true city of enlightenment. It is where the renaissance started. Attractions to see are Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Uffizzi Gallery, Uffizzi Palace, The David Statue and the many piazzas like Piazza della signora.
  4. Siena – Siena is a big small town with a lot of character. The duomo here is far more magnificent than its counterpart in Florence. Attractions here include Piazza del Campo where the annual horse race takes place (Palio of Siena), Duomo and its many churches. Siena has small streets with shops and great restaurants. Explore and enjoy it.
  5. Pompeii – This is not a current living city but a dead archaeological one. The original was Etruscan and then Roman before it was wiped out by a volcano (Mount Vesuvius) in 79 AD. It is just south of Naples and north of the Amalfi Coast. There are many homes you can visit here as well as hotels, shops and piazzas.
  6. Positano – This is one of our favorite cities in southern Italy. It is on the Amalfi Coast Road. This is a city of one road (one way down) and one million steps. It is not a place for the handicapped. Even staying on the road is a steep climb back up but there is a city bus that loops around from the bottom of this road. The two beaches are worth visits. Its restaurants and hotels are world-class. Most hotels have million dollar sea views.
  7. The Italian Lake District – Italy’s lakes are at the foot of the alps. With magnificent views and romantic small towns this is a must for anyone’s bucket list. The lakes are: Lake Como, Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano, Visit the cities of Bellagio, Luzern and Ticino.
  8. Pisa – No trip should be without a visit to the famous leaning tower of Pisa. The duomo and baptistery near it are also worth seeing.
  9. Cinque Terre – The five lands! Here there are five cities on the mountain above the sea. You can take a ferry to some or train. There is a footpath between each town. These are very romantic with great views.
  10. San Gimignano – This is our favorite town in Tuscany and maybe in the world. It is preserved from the middle ages. You park or get off your bus outside the city walls and walk in. You can easily walk this entire town. It has towers that used to represent power, a duomo, piazzas and great restaurants and bars.

All of these and so many more should be on your bucket list. Tomorrow we will look at top places to visit in Italy’s south. Most tourists never make it here!

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre, Duomo, Etruscan, Europe, Ferries, Florence, Food, General Travel, Il Palio, Italy, Museums, Pantheon, Pisa, Pompeii, Positano, Ristorante, Romance, Rome, San Gimignano, Siena, Spanish Steps, Stairs, Trains, Traveling without a tour, Trevi Fountain, Tuscany, Vatican City, Venice, Villa Borghese, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

San Gimignano Pictorial

San Gimignano is our favorite town in the world. It is old and untouched by modern times until very recently. It used to be a major stop on the trade routes to Florence until Florence changed the routes and basically put this small town out of business. It is in the region of Tuscany and Province of Siena. Its population is just under 8,000 people.

This is a walled medieval town that restricts traffic inside the walls to local residents only. There are many parking areas outside the walls and you walk in. The city is not that big and easily walkable. The architecture is beautiful.

During the medieval period there were 72 tall slender towers. This is one of the towns most distinguishing features. They represented wealth. The taller the tower the more your wealth. The tallest was 230 feet tall. Today there are only 14 towers left and preserved.

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Streets of San Gimignano

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Old small church in back of town

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4 of the towers

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Small street

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Narrow street

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A tower

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Main street in town with many tourists

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One of the gates through the Medieval Wall

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Main piazza with water well

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Main church in center of town

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Having a prosecco overlooking the wall

San Gimignano is a very romantic and ancient city. Don’t miss this city. It is just off the autostrada from Siena to Florence. Spend a day walking this city and being back in time.

You will see old towers and homes with the entrance on the second floor. In medieval times they would lower a letter to let people in and out and raise it at night to prevent invaders from getting in. Time runs much slower here so stop, take a breath and enjoy your life.

When George was first here in 1980 it was unknown to tourists. There were few tourist shops and no-one spoke English. The streets were empty. Today tour busses line up outside the walls and there are many shops along the main street. Most tourist never wonder beyond the main street and the piazza. Wonder down the side streets and see the real city. There is a restaurant with outdoor seating up on the wall. This is a city to wonder through and escape the tourist crowds.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Driving in Italy, Europe, Florence, Italy, Parking Garage, San Gimignano, Siena, Small Towns, Tuscany | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Why do Americans Love Italy?

Why do so many Americans vacation in Italy and buy homes there? There is a love affair going on between America and Italy. Maybe it’s that we have so many Italians in America and even more Italian restaurants that it feels familiar. I think it goes deeper than that. Italy has obvious charm:

  1. Old cities with buildings we can’t see in America
  2. Famous places we read about
  3. Clean beaches
  4. Majestic mountains
  5. Walled mountain top cities that are so unique to us
  6. Cities like Venice that are unbelievable
  7. Food that is so much better than anything we get back home
  8. Cheap table wine that rivals the best of wines
  9. Italians love for life
  10. Italians love for Americans

Is it any wonder we love Italy? Where else can you get people who love us, food that is the best, wine that is superb and views that rival any other place? Italy is unique. It was created by violent earthquakes and volcanoes millions of years ago. Today it is a pl;ace artist go to see the wonders of nature. Even places like Vesuvius, a still very active volcano, attracts us like a moth to the flame.

Is it any wonder we look to visits this country over and over again? The views take our breath away. We want a piece of it. If you haven’t yet been to Italy, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Go and see the major cities: Rome, Florence, Naples, Venice and Milan. See smaller cities like Capri, Positano, Amalfi, Verona (Romeo & Juliet). Get off the beaten path and see small walled cities with fantastic views. Experience chocolate in Perugia (home of Perugina chocolates – Baci). Go to Assisi and Siena and our favorite San Gimignano.  Don’t miss Tuscany, Orvieto and Pompeii.

Many towns, such as San Gimignano, were enclos...

Many towns, such as San Gimignano, were enclosed with walls, causing crowding and the building of tower houses. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Italy has so much to offer it would take a life time to see it all. So don’t wait, get started on your adventure. Be adventuresome, be romantic and enjoy your life.

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Beaches, Chocolate, Eating Italian, Europe, Florence, Food, General Travel, Italy, Milan, Mount Vesuvious, Mountain Towns, Naples, Owning a home in Italy, Perugia, Perugina Chocolate, Pompeii, Positano, Romance, Rome, San Gimignano, Small Towns, Tuscany, Venice, Verona, Vesuvius, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tuscany Wine Tasting

OK you know we love wine. George has enjoyed and collected the great French first growths and has sampled local wines all over Europe. Wine is a living thing and like our children, we never know how they will turn out. All you can do is raise them properly and give them love. Most of the time the wines turns our great but every once in a while you get a bad bottle. In Italy I find the local non bottled wines are very good. We have enjoyed many a meal with a half or full liter of wine. Italy also makes some great wines. Tuscany is most well-known in America for wines like Chianti, Barolo and Brunello. Brunello may be Italy’s best wine. It is expensive here but it is one of the great wines of the world.

The famous wines come from regions in Tuscany with one city at the center:

  1. Chianti – This area is not a town but a wine growing region. It is near Sienna and San Gimignano.
  2. Montalcino – This is a city famous for Italy’s great Brunello wine. It is located about one hour south of Siena. It is a mountain town that is fun to visit. Brunei flows here like water.
  3. Montepulciano – This mountain town is known for the great Montepulciano wines. It is located about one hour south-east of Siena and about one hour East of Montalcino.

Wine tours in Tuscany lists 26 one day tours you can take. Wine is a staple of life in Europe. Children taste it and adults drink it at most meals. Enjoy your food with wine. Sip it and watch the locals go by. Life is slower in Italy. It’s about people, food, wine and of course love and romance.  My only rule in Italy is to taste the local unbolted wines where ever I am. If I am in Tuscany I taste the Tuscan great wines. A great place to taste various local wines is in a local Enoteca. These are small wine tasting places that may have small plates of food as well. Enjoy!

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Chianti, Driving in Italy, Enoteca, Europe, General Travel, Italy, Montalcino, Montepulciano, Mountain Towns, Romance, San Gimignano, Siena, Small Towns, Tuscany, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Medieval San Gimignano

San Gimignano is our favorite small town anywhere. It is medieval, quaint and hasn’t changed much since medieval times. This is a walled city with ancient gates that access the main road inside. Driving inside is limited to residents only. You park outside and walk in. Parking is easy.

This city had 72 towers that signified wealth. Today only a few are left.

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It has one main road that goes from one gate to the other. Most of the shops are along this road along with restaurants. In the middle of this road (half way between gates is the main piazza. There is a church, restaurants and an old well in the piazza. Of course being Italy, there is also a gelato store.

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You can easily walk all of San Gimignano. At the southern end is a small road off the main one that leads to an outdoor restaurant up on the city wall.

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Step way back in time and enjoy San Gimignano. Tomorrow we go to Florence.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Florence, Gelato, General Travel, Italy, Mountain Towns, Romance, San Gimignano, Tuscany | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Our Top Ten Works of Art in Italy

Italy is loaded with wonderful works of art. Every city you go into has a museum with beautiful paintings and sculptures. The largest cities have many of these museums. If you are an art lover, they are all worth seeing. The following is our list of must see:

  • Leonardo di Vinci’s Last Supper – This wonderful painting is hanging in a small former refectory of a convent (Santa Maria delle Grazie) in Milan. It is being restored to its former glory.

Da Vinci's Last Supper

  • Leonardo di Vinci’s Museum of Science in Milan – This is a wonderful museum with the creations of Leonardo. You can see his tank, an airplane (without a motor), a modern looking speed boat (without a motor) and so much more. He clearly understood motion in air and water.

leonardo

  • Michelangelo’s David in Florence – It is located in the Galleria dell’Accademia. This is a fantastic statue showing muscles made of marble that look like flesh. Don’t miss his unfinished pieces in this museum.

David by Michelangelo

  • Apollo and Daphne in Rome – This work of art is located in the Galleria Borghese in Rome. This beautiful marble statue looks like flesh. It is hard to believe you are seeing stone.

Apollo daphine

  • The Vatican Staircase in Vatican City – Located in the Vatican Museum. This staircase is a wonder of architecture.

Vatacan Staircase

  • Leonardo di Vinci’s Annunciation – This great work is in the Uffizi Museum in Florence. This is the bible story of the angel sent by God to tell Mary she would be the mother of God.

Leonardo_da_Vinci_-_Annunciazione_-_Google_Art_Project

  • The Greek Ruins at Paestum  – These are beautiful Greek ruins in better shape than the ones in Greece. Pastime is just south of Salerno Italy which is at the Eastern end of the Amalfi Coast.

Paestum

  • Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam – This is a wonderful painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.

Creation of Adam

  • Botticelli’s Birth of Venus – This great work is in the Uffizi Museum in Florence. You can spend hours in this museum and hours waiting to get in. The Florence City Pass is well worth the savings in time as you bypass all lines.

birth of venus

  • Duomo in San Gimignano – San Giminagno is George’s favorite town in the world. It is preserved as a perfect medieval city. In the main piazza is this duomo. This church and town are well worth a visit. Park outside the ancient walls and walk into the past.

duomo San Gimigano

Wherever you go in Italy you will find great art. Enjoy it.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Duomo, Florence, Italy, Milan, Paestum, Rome, San Gimignano, Vatican City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What to see in Italy?

Italy has unending beauty and places to visit. Do your homework and pick places that have an interest to you. Rail Europe lists the top ten cities to visit in Italy in reverse order:

10. Ventimiglia

Many people hop between the neighboring border towns of Nice and Ventimiglia with a train ticket. A trip so close, and made even easier with a France-Italy Rail Pass. You’ll find both French and Italian regional lines service Ventimiglia. More than a train hub, Ventimiglia has a stunning, quintessentially Italian medieval city center. As it always has, its classic architecture stands guard on a hilltop over the Gulf of Genoa, but now with the new city between them. Make sure you visit Ventimiglia’s famous Friday Outdoor Market!

9. Bologna

Why not visit the oldest university in the world, the University of Bologna, founded in 1088? Naturally, there’s plenty to study: from medieval, renaissance and baroque monuments to modern-day industrial marvels like Ducati, headquartered there. More high-speed thrills? Travel by train from Bologna to Verona in just under an hour.

8. Verona

What do you call a city dramatic enough to be the setting of three Shakespearean plays, and interesting enough to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site? This is Verona. Along the Adige River, this picture-perfect city of cobblestone streets lined with medieval buildings, Roman sites and churches is second to none for inspiration. Known for its pink buildings and Juliet balcony (yes, one of those plays was Romeo and Juliet), a visit to this city will immerse you in the classic Italian experience. Want more inspiration? Venice is one of the perfect destinations for it. Verona to Venice is about an hour by train.

7. La Spezia

Located on the Gulf of La Spezia, this port city is a bustling mix of old and new. This scenic waterfront is perfect for arrival by train from Verona (via Milan) with a Eurail Italy Pass. Today, this modern-day port stands in stunning contrast to the spectacle of its antiquity and charm. So much charm that many poets have found inspiration here, from Byron to Shelley to DH Lawrence. It is, in fact, referred to as “the Gulf of Poets.” What will it inspire in you?

6. Turin

Baroque architecture with the Alps as the ultimate photo backdrop. Site of the 2006 winter games. And, of course, the Shroud of Turin. The amazing city of Turin is one of contrasts that include a café society of truffles, wine and other extravagances, and Turin Cathedral, home to the Shroud of Turin. (Please note that while The Museum of the Holy Shroud is open daily, the shroud is only displayed once every ten years.) Next stop? Milan. Aboard Frecciarossa trains, Turin to Milan is just about an hour’s journey.

5. Milan

High style all around. The Italian center of finance, industry and commerce, as well as a global capital of fashion, industrial design and architecture. Milan is also the home of “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci in the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Don’t miss the spectacular Duomo, which took over 6 centuries to complete. (And don’t forget to get your Milano Card for easy transportation and discounts all over town.) Also, remember it’s just as easy to arrive from Paris to Milan by the high-speed TGV trains.

4. Naples

The birthplace of pizza has drawn many hungry visitors, including those hungry for culture: its historic center is the largest in Europe, covering over 4,000 acres and 27 centuries. It’s almost unreal how much this port city has to offer — including hydrofoils to the Isle of Capri and the Blue Grotto. Naples is a must-see for every history/arts/culinary/naval/political/cinema-buff. And so is Venice. Naples to Venice is about a 4 hours and 45 minutes journey by train.

3. Venice

Venice, the land of gondola-filled canals, ancient trades and water taxis. Enjoy a Grand Canal boat tour and views that have remained basically unchanged for centuries. See how Venetian glass and Venetian paper is made. Shop on the Rialto and along the waterways to roving (and rowing) tenors, as well as the occasional accordion. There is only one Venice, so how could it be #3?

2. Florence

Florence is Italian perfection: the Duomo, the Uffizi Museum Tour, crossing the Arno River on the Ponte Vecchio, the Pitti Palace… everything that makes Italy, Italy, is here in the appropriately titled “cradle of the Renaissance”– except you! You’re not here yet, and nothing makes it easier to get here than the train. On Italo trains, Venice to Florence is about a 2 hours trip, while Florence to Rome is an about 1 hour and 30 minutes of relaxing, stress-free enjoyment. Which is perfect since…

1. Rome

Well, the saying is “all roads lead to Rome”. Fortunately, so do the trains! Travel from Vienna, Innsbruck or Munich to Rome via direct overnight trains. All those “Roman ruins” around Europe, why not visit their birthplace? And where else can you see the Colosseum? Classical architecture buffs will enjoy researching the arch, the dome, and the vault—all developed here. Of course, a Vatican Sistine Chapel Tour is guaranteed to provide a most divine experience. This is it people. This is where the world changed. And when you visit, well, it can change your world too.

We also add:

  1. Capri
  2. Positano
  3. Paestum
  4. Cinque Terre (5 cities)
  5. Siena
  6. Assisi
  7. Perugia
  8. San Gimignano
  9. Matera
  10. Bari
  11. Agropoli (old city)
  12. Castellabate
  13. Amalfi
  14. Sorrento
  15. Orvieto
  16. Pompeii

There are so many interesting places in Italy to enjoy!

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Bari, Campania, Capri, Castellabate, Europe, Italy, Milan, Mountain Towns, Naples, Orvieto, Paestum, Perugia, Pompeii, Positano, Regions of Italy, Rome, San Gimignano, Siena, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Venice, Verona | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top 10 Things to See in Italy

Touropia lists the top 10 recommended places (in reverse order) to see in Italy:

  1. San Gimignano – This is George’s favorite city in the world. He saw it first before the tourists came. Even with tourists it is a spectacular walled mountain town.
  2. Manarola (Cinque Terre) – The cinque terre are 5 cities in the mountains that you can walk between on mountain paths. There is now train service to cinque terre.
  3. Leaning Tower of Pisa – This is very unique to see a building falling over that has become such a major tourist attraction.
  4. Lake Como – One of Italy’s most beautiful lakes at the base of the Alps.
  5. Positano (Amalfi Coast) – Positano is a unique town of a million steps and one road. The two beaches are beautiful and the restaurants are great.
  6. Pompeii – It took a major volcano eruption to make this Etruscan town a tourist trap. It is unbelievable to see what they had back then. Self cleaning streets, speed bumps, indoor plumbing, and homes you would die for today.
  7. Piazza del Campo (Siena) – This is one of Italy’s most impressive piazza’s.
  8. Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence) – This is an impressive cathedral in one of Italy’s most impressive cities.
  9. Colosseum (Rome) – Even with all of its marble facade stripped away, this is an impressive structure. Inside you feel like you are part of old Rome waiting to watch a gladiator fight.
  10. Canals of Venice – Venice is one of the most unusual cities in the world. An entire city of buildings atop millions of tree trunks sunk in the water. A city of canals and boats instead of streets and cars. Let your imagination run wild!

After you have seen the top ten above go to small towns and mountain cities. Swim at some of Europe’s best beaches. Have a pizza in Naples. Italy is unique and very romantic. Enjoy it… How many of these have you seen?

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Amalfi Coast, Beaches, Cinque Terre, Europe, Florence, General Travel, Italy, Naples, Pisa, Pompeii, Romance, San Gimignano, Siena, Small Towns, Venice | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some of our Favorite Italian Cities

We love large and small Italian cities. We love both mountain cities and beach cities. Italy has it all! Rome, Naples, Venice and Florence are must see cities. They have great museums, architecture and food but after you have seen the top touristic cities where do you go? Italy has a second level of great cities and after those there are thousands of small cities some have never seen tourists. Here are my top second run cities in Italy:

  1. San Gimignano – This is George’s favorite city anywhere. He fell in love with it long before it became a tourist destination. It originally started as an Etruscan village in 3 century BC. This should be on everyone’s bucket list.
  2. Trastevere Rome – This is not a city but a section of Rome often overlooked. It is a maze of small streets that are now home to many artists and great restaurants. There is good night life here as well. We allowed ourselves to wonder and get lost. When it was time to return to our hotel, we turned on a map app on our iPhones and in walk mode just walked out and back to our hotel.
  3. Orvieto –  This is a small walkable city on top of a butte of volcanic tuff. It is in the province of Umbria north of Rome. In the center is a huge Duomo (Cathedral) of marble. There are great shops and restaurants here as well. From the train stain at the bottom of the butte, is a funicular to the city above. The views are amazing.
  4. Ravello – This is another city high up above the city of Amalfi on the Amalfi Coast. There is a winding road up but the views and food are worth the trip. You can take a bus (often very crowded) or a taxi.
  5. Largo (Lake) Maggiore –  The second largest lake in Italy (the first is Largo Garda). It boarders Italy on the south and Switzerland and the Alps on the north. This is home of the rich and famous. Small Italian wooden boats cruise the lake in the warm summer while you can still see snow high up in the Alps.
  6. Abruzza – This is a region of Italy with many towns in it. It lies on Italy’s East coast (bordering the Adriatic Sea). The western border of Abuzzi is only 50 miles from Rome. On its Adriatic shores are many resorts and beaches.
  7. Genoa – Is part of the Italian Riviera. It is close to the French border and the French Riviera. It was founded by the Greeks but probably served as a small port for the Etruscans as well.

Go to Italy and relive history. Take your history out of the books and onto Ita;y’s beautiful landscapes. Enjoy and be romantic!

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Beaches, Eating Italian, Europe, General Travel, GPS, Italy, Mountain Towns, Naples, Orvieto, Rome, San Gimignano, Small Towns, Umbria | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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