Spanish Steps

Two Important Large Cities of Italy

Two great large cities in Italy are Rome and Florence. This doesn’t mean Naples, Bologna and Milan are not great or important. Italy has four categories of city that we love:

  1. Large cities – These are Milan, Bolgna, Florence, Rome and Naples
  2. Famous smaller cities – Venice, Verona, Capri, Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, Salerno, Palermo
  3. Mountain Towns – There are so many of these from good size cities to very small towns that we could not begin to list them.
  4. Seaside Towns – Again way too many of these as well. These are towns that are on the sea and not in any other category above.

Today we look at two of the large cities in Italy that we have VLOGGED on:

Rome

Roma is the capitol of Italy and is a very cosmopolitan city. Roma has subways (the Metro), busses, and taxis. Driving in the historic central is difficult and illegal without a pass. If you are staying at a hotel in the center you can get a pass. Streets are crazy. One ways going against where you want to go. We once mapped walking to a place in Roma but had the GPS on driving by mistake. It took much longer to drive it than walk it.

Roma has everything a tourists needs:

  • Great restaurants (Bars, Ristorante, and Trattorias)
  • Museums
  • Architecture – Roma is one big outdoor museum
  • Parks
  • Shopping

Walk with us in our video below and see the famous sites of Roma. Walk the small narrow streets and see the wide large avenues. Roma is to be studied slowly with a glass or two of wine. Study it, observe its people, enjoy its sites, marvel at its museums and pay attention to its fashion. Place your hand into the mouth of truth if you dare (Bocca della Verità).

Florence

Firenze is another very modern cosmopolitan city with all the forms of transportation as Roma. The museums are unreal (the renaissance started here). A visit to Firenze is incomplete without a visit to the Uffizi museum. Learn about how the Medici leaders travelled in secret from their offices (Uffizi Museum today) to their palace (Palazzo Medici Riccardi). Climb the stairs to a vista overlooking the city central and walk across the Ponte Vecchio bridge. See Saint Peter’s Basilica and Vatican City (An independent country not part of Italy where the Pope is President). Come walk with us and see all of this and more in the video below.

Be Romantic! Visit Italy!

– George

Categories: Bars, Beach Resorts, BLOG, Bocca della Verità, Bologna, Capri, Driving in Italy, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Florence, Food, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Metro Travel, Milan, Mountain Towns, Museums, Naples, Planning a vacation, Ponte Vecchio, Positano, Ristorante, Romance, Rome, sea, Shopping, Small Towns, Sorrento, Spanish Steps, Taxi, Towns, Trains, Traveling without a tour, Uffizi, Vatican City, Venice, Verona, VLOG, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Which of these Italian Cities are your Favorites?

For everyone that has been to Italy and wants to return, is planning a first trip to Italy or is just dreaming about a trip, These videos are for you. There are ten (10) videos below of 9 cities and a very interesting cave restaurant. Some cities are large others are small beach towns or mountain towns. Each Monday a new town is added. I explain things you need to know about Italy as well as taking you on a walk through each city. I hope you enjoy these vlogs. If you do, please share with your friends and like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel. We will not have a new VLOG on January 2, 2017 but will continue each Monday starting January 9, 2017.

Introduction to my Channel

Cities in Italy

 1. Cisterninio (Puglia)

2.Ostuni (Puglia)

 3. Alberobello (Puglia)

 4. Grotta Palazzese ( in Polignano a Mare – Puglia)

 5. Rome (Rome)

6. Positano (Campania)

 7. Castellabate (Campania)

 8. Florence (Tuscany)

 9. Perugia (Umbria)

 10. Marina di Casal Velino (Campania)

11. Assisi

12. Marina di Camerota

13. Cortona

You can see the entire playlist on my YouTube Channel.

Happy travels & may you one day be in Italy…

– George

Categories: Alberobello, Amalfi Coast, Beaches, Benvenuto al Sud, Campania, Casal Velino Marina, Castellabate, Cave Restaurant, Cisternino, Coliseum, cornetto, David, Driving in Italy, Eating, Eating Italian, Espresso, Europe, Florence, Food, Galleria dell'Accademia, Gelato, General Travel, Grotta Palazzese, Italian, Italy, Leonardo da Vinci, Marina Casal Velino, Mountain Towns, Mountains, Ostuni, Perugia, Polignano a Mare, Positano, Puglia, Regions of Italy, Ristorante, Romance, Rome, Saint Peter's Basilica, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Spanish Steps, Travel Guides, Traveling without a tour, Trevi Fountain, Trottoria, Tulli, Tuscany, Umbria, Vatican City, Villa Borghese, Walking, WiFi, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Rome, Italy

The eternal city! Ancient Romans believed that no matter how many wars or new civilizations came about, Rome would go on forever. Rome is the capital of Italy. It is both a modern and an ancient city. Although Rome is a large city, it feels like a small one with its small narrow streets. There are large streets as well that are 5-6 lanes wide. Walking around Rome is amazing. You can not help but marvel at its architecture. You know immediately that you are in an old and special place.

Whenever they dig for a new building, they run into ancient ruins that have to be preserved. Usually the ruins become a part of the new structure.  A sunken area that can be viewed by visitors. Rome protects its ruins and its history. Roman is an amazing city but it is also a living museum.

Rome is to be enjoyed. Sit at a bar or a trattoria and enjoy the life around you. Come walk Rome with us in our YouTube video VLOG below.

– George

 

Categories: Coliseum, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Lazio, Metro Travel, Museums, Pantheon, Romance, Rome, Saint Peter's Basilica, Shopping, Spanish Steps, Traveling without a tour, Villa Borghese, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Tour of Rome Day 1

Here is our tour of the eternal city of Roma (Rome). Our first day tour starts at the Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain).  Facing the fountain to your 5 o’clock is an old church worth a stop. It is called Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio.

Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio

Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio Church

This is a classic Baroque church built around 1650. It is known because it contains the embalmed hearts of 25 popes.

From here head north on Via della Stamperia to the end and cross via del Tritone and turn left a short distance to Via del Nazarene and turn left. Turn left on Via del due Macelli. Continue into Piazza di Spagna. The famous Spanish Steps will be on your right. Rome’s best shopping is on your left in the many streets leading out of the Piazza.

Climb the Spanish Steps to Trenità del Monti (church at the top).

trinita_dei_monti

Trinità del Monti

Enjoy the views of Rome. You can see as far as the Vatican and Saint Peters Basilica. Behind this church are the extensive Villa Borghese Gardens. Visit the gardens and go to the museum, Borghese Gallery, but you will need a reservation. There you can see:

  • Apollo and Daphne
  • David
  • The Deposition
  • and so much more …

The great shopping is along:

  • Via della Croce
  • Via della Carrozze
  • Via dei Condotti (Louis Vuitton
  • Via Borgognona (Gucci)

Stop at a bar for a coffee or wine or beer and maybe a snack. Eat lunch in a Roman Trattoria. On a hot day (or a cold one) stop for a gelato.

This tour will take you from the Trevi Fountain to the Spanish Steps. It is a good walk and you will pass many places to have gelato, a drink or something to eat. In the shopping area just look at each store window you pass. The Italians are masters of design. One of my favorites was for gloves. A group of different colored gloves were displayed against a white background. It was not just gloves but art!

Enjoy Rome and be romantic! Tomorrow we will do Day 2.

George

Categories: Bars, Beer, Eating, Eating Italian, Espresso, Food, Gelato, Italy, Romance, Rome, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Villa Borghese, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some of Our Best Memories

We have assembled pictures of some of our best memories in Italy. Italy is always romantic and it is always memorable. There are so many special little moments. The architecture, the sites, the history, the people, the food, the wine, … and so much more.

Enjoy your trip to see relatives, sites, museums or to just be Italian for a short while.

Dolce far niente!

George & Jo

Categories: Amalfi Coast, Assisi, Beaches, Blue Flag Beaches, Casal Velino Marina, Cilento, Coliseum, cornetto, Dolce, Dolce far niente, Duomo, Eating Italian, Europe, Florence, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Greek Ruins, Italy, Marina Casal Velino, Montepulciano, Mountain Towns, Museums, Naples, Owning a home in Italy, Paestum, Panini, Pantheon, Pastry, Pizza, Planning a vacation, Positano, Ravello, Ristorante, Romance, Rome, Siena, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Spanish Steps, Stairs, Traveling without a tour, Trevi Fountain, Trottoria, Tuscany, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 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

Rome Pictorial

There is no city like Rome. It has such great ancient architecture. Everywhere you turn they are discovering new archeological sites. In old Rome you can walk the same cobblestones as the Romans. It also is a modern city with modern people.

The city of Rome is in the Lazio region of Italy. It is Italy’s capital city. It has a population of 2.8 million and the area around Rome has a population over 4 million.

Many people think of Rome as home to the Pope and the vatican but the vatican is its own city, Vatican City and country. It is not part of Italy, The pope is its president.

IMG_4932 - Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain

IMG_4941 - Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps

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Roman Street at Christmas time

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The Pantheon

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Ponte San’Angelo (Bridge of angels) and Castel Sant’Anagelo

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Victor Emmanuel II Monument (The Wedding Cake)

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Old Rome

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St. Peters Bascilica

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The Window the Pope talks from

IMG_5061 - Galleria Borghese

Galleria Borghese

IMG_5071a Piazza Novana 3

Piazza Novona

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New Years Eve

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New Years Morning

IMG_5134 - Colosseo

The Coliseum

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Vatican City

IMG_5173 - Bocca della Verita 1

Bocca della Verità

This is the mouth of truth! Legend has it if an honest person puts their hand in the mouth, it comes out OK but a dishonest person will lose their hand.

IMG_5213 - Trastevere 5

Trastevere (the old ghetto) – An Artist Area

IMG_5389a - Favorite Restorante 6

Roman Artichokes – A wonderful Delight

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Italians have beautiful designs for whatever they do

Rome is an adventure. It is romantic it is old it is new. It has something for everyone. See the monuments and museums but meet the people. Sit in a bar and enjoy the Italians around you. Sit in a restaurant and enjoy the food and the people. This is Rome! This is Italy!

Ciao!

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Bars, Coliseum, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italy, Pantheon, Ristorante, Romance, Rome, Saint Peter's Basilica, Spanish Steps, Traveling without a tour, Trevi Fountain, Villa Borghese | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bella Roma

George took Jo Anne to Rome first in 2011 for New Years Eve. He knew she liked architecture and interesting cities. She had never been to Italy so this was the perfect place to visit first. Jo Anne was totally amazed by Rome as you will be if you haven’t yet seen it. It has everything about Italy that we talk about in this BLOG. The food, wine, people, sights and architecture.

IMG_5022d - Lunch Pantheon 2IMG_5022aIMG_5072 e 5 IMG_5134 - Colosseo

New Years Day we went to the coliseum, it was closed but walked empty streets and had rome to our selves. We saw the remnants of New Years Eve (champagne corks) in the streets.

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Rome is the eternal city. There is no other like it. To walk its streets and think of Roman soldiers walking the same streets millennia ago wow! We loved Rome. Its people, wine, food and buildings. Here is a simple tour of Rome and how to get around on your own. Rome is a walking city. If you can’t walk much take the metro or a taxi.

We love to stay near Trevi Fountain. We stay at Hotel Trevi. It’s central and easy to get to everything else.

  1. Pantheon, Campo de Fiori and Piazza Navona – Standing facing the Trevi Fountain take the pedestrian walkway to your left. It winds through some small piazza and past some nice restaurants to the Pantheon. Piazza Campo de fiori is a short walk away. It has Rome’s flowers and fresh fruits and vegetables. Piazza Navona is a direct walk from here. It is a very large piazza with fountains and restaurants.
  2. Bocca della Veritá, Castel Sant’Angelo and the Vatican – Bocca della Veritá is a mouth that you put your hand into and if you are truthful you get it back. It’s fun. Accross the Tiber river from the mouth is the Castle. Castel Sant’Angelo is an old fort seen in the movie “Angels and Demons”. It is very close to the Vatican.
  3. Spanish Steps and Shopping – Facing Trevi Fountain the road on the right going behind the fountain leads to Rome’s best shopping area, more restaurants and the Famous Spanish Steps.
  4. Borghese Gardens – These are beautiful cool gardens to walk around. The museum here is a must but usually requires reservations. In the museum are Bernini sculptures. The two most famous are “Apollo and Daphne” and “The Rape of Proserpina“. It is hard to believe you are looking at marble and not real skin.
  5. Central Train Station – You can catch a train to nearby towns like Naples, Pompeii or Orvietto. There is also a train that runs to Fiumicino Airport.

Enjoy your trip to Rome. Eat in non touristy restaurants and Trattorias. Meet the people they are fun and friendly. See Rome and imagine this great city during the Roman Empire. It is very romantic.

A 5x5 segment panorama taken by myself with a ...

A 5×5 segment panorama taken by myself with a Canon 5D and 24-105mm f/4L IS lens. Stitched with rectilinear projection to keep lines straight. This view is about 100 degrees horizontally, close to the upper practical limit of rectilinear projection. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have a pizza, eat the food, enjoy the local wine, stop in a bar for breakfast and have a cornetto and don’t forget the gelato.

cornetto

Cornetto

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Bars, Champagne, cornetto, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Italy, Pantheon, Pastry, Pizza, Romance, Rome, Spanish Steps, Traveling without a tour, Vatican City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Roman Holiday

When you plan a trip to Rome, there are certain things you must see. Rome is an ancient city and a modern city of architecture. People have apartments with modern convinces in ancient buildings. The cobble stoned roads make you think of ancient roman with an army of Roman soldiers riding into the city on horseback.

Rome has many museums and attractions as does any big city. The attractions we love are:

  • Trevi Fountain – This fountain has been undergoing restoration but is a beautiful work of art. It is not that old by Roman standards. It was constructed in 1732.

trevi-fountain

  • Pantheon – Originally commissioned during reign of Augustus (27 BC to 14 AD). The current structure was built 118AD to 128 AD. It is a modern structure with a floating roof like modern sports arenas. They actually built a wooden roof structure then used blocks and cement to create the actual roof. Finally they tore down the wooden structure. It has a hole in the center that is open to the sky.

Pantheon

  • Old Roman & Coliseum – The Coliseum was commissioned 70-72 AD. although most of old Rome is ruins, the coliseum is still seen in its full glory. There are stone roads in old Rome that make you fill the Roman legions are marching through. This is what Roman Citizens would see during the Roman period. It is a very unique and interesting place preserved for all time.

coliseum

  • Vatican City & Saint Peters Basilica – Vatican City is a separate country from Italy. It’s president is the Pope and its army is the Swiss Guard. At one end touching upon Rome is Saint Peter’s Basilica. The courtyard is massive and the church is impressive by any standard. You can usually enter any time and see this magnificent structure. The vatican and Sistine Chapel is on the other side behind well guarded walls. You will need a reservation to enter. After you go through the Sistine Chapel, there are two exits: 1) to Saint Peter’s (but you can not return and 2) back to the vatican city.

St Peters St Peters 2

  • Castel Sant’Angelo – Construction began 135 AD. This beautiful castle is just down the street from Saint Peter’s. The bridge nearby leads back over the Tiber River to the main part of Rome. The bridge has beautiful angels on it.

Castello Sant'Angelo

  • Villa Borghese – This is a huge park behind the Spanish Steps. It has restaurants, walks, rides for the kids and the Borghese Gallery which is a wonderful museum worth seeing. You will need advance reservations.

Villa Borghese

  • Spanish Steps – Was first opened in 1725. A set of a 135 steps lead up a steep rise in Rome. Climb them to see Trinità dei Monti church at the top. You can then continue into Villa Borghese park.

Spanish Steps 2

We started at Trevi Fountain and circled around and ended up at the Spanish Steps. There is much more to see in Rome but we love these sites.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Castel Sant'Angelo, Coliseum, Europe, Italy, Pantheon, Rome, Saint Peter's Basilica, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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