Vatican City

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

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

Is it Time for you to Take a Trip to Italy?

Have you longed for a trip to romantic Italy? Have you dreamed about eating real Italian food? Do you long to see the museums or architecture? Maybe you have relatives there and just want to reunite old ties. What ever your reasons are, Italy is a great place to spend a vacation. After a week you are feeling relaxed and enjoying life. After two weeks you are totally relaxed, speaking some Italian words and loving the food. Longer periods in Italy will make you an Italian for life!

The northern lake Area offers beautiful scenery overlooking the Alps or maybe Tuscany with its wines and romantic scenery. The large cities of Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome or Naples are great places to see Italians being themselves. They also are great for seeing living history. Look at the buildings the architecture and envision the people that built these great cities. Maybe southern Italy with its Amalfi coast and Capri or farther south into the Cilento National Park. Beauty unspoiled by man and pristine beaches. What is stopping you?

If it’s being afraid of big tours or doing it on your own, we offer an alternative for the selective traveler to see what they want to see and spend as much time as the want. If you find a great Italian spot, the last thing you want is to be taken away by a tour bus. It would be wonderful to change your plans and just stay in your new found location. Italy is all about love, romance, beauty and spontanaeity.

Italy creates many wonderful memories and experiences but you have to touch it! Get away from the crowded tourists areas and meet real Italians. See places that will change you forever. Don’t eat in tourists restaurants. These will be memories you will never forget.

George

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Anacapri, Architecture, Beaches, Benvenuto al Sud, Blue Flag Beaches, Buffalo Mozzarella, Campania, Capri, Casal Velino, Casal Velino Marina, Castellabate, Cortona, Eating, Eating Italian, Fish, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Maratea, Matera, Mount Vesuvious, Mountain Towns, Mountains, Naples, Paestum, Pantheon, Pasta, Pastry, Perugia, Pizza, Pompeii, Positano, Romance, Rome, Saint Peter's Basilica, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Traveling without a tour, Trevi Fountain, Tuscany, Umbria, Vatican City, Venice, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Rome Tour – Day 3

We have already seen a lot of Rome but there is so much more to do and see. Put your walking shoes back on because we will be walking more today. As usual we start our tour at the Trevi Fountain. Today we are headed to Vatican City. We normally do not take tours but the Vatican is a good place to take a tour. You can sign up at your hotel. Then just walk or take the Metro to the Vatican and join your tour.

On our walk to the vatican we will first visit and cross the Bridge of Angels and then enter Castel di Angelo. GPS your way to the Bridge of Angels and the Castle of Angeles. You will see the Tiber River and the Bridge of Angels. As you cross the river look at each statue of an angel. The castle is directly on the other side of the bridge.

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Bridge and Castle

Inside the castle climb to the top and be rewarded with views of Rome and Saint Peters. As you leave the castle turn right onto Via della Conciliation into Piazza San Pietro. There are many shops and restaurants along this road. The cathedral is right in front of you. If you have tickets for Vatican City tour, Go there first and you can exit the Sistine Chapel into Saint Peters Cathedral. Getting to the Vatican City Tour Entrance is about a mile from the castle. GPS it or take a taxi. Inside the entrance is a ticket office where you can join a tour or buy a ticket and tour on your own. You will see many things here and the tour ends in the Sistine Chapel. You have a choice there to exit back the way you came or exit directly into Saint Peters Cathedral. Once in Saint Peters you can not go back. You will exit the church normally and be in Piazza San Pietro. The Castle of Angels is directly ahead on Via della Conciliation. Information on tours can be found here.

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Saint Peters viewed from the Castle

From the Castle cross back over the bridge to go to Mouth of truth (Bocca della Verità). Set your GPS from the Castle to the Bocca della Verità. It is a about a mile and a half walk. It is outside a small church, Santa Maria in Comedian. The legend has it that if you place your hand in the mouth and it comes out OK, you tell the truth. If you lose your hand you are a liar. We saw many Italian women place their hands in and withdraw them successfully but most of the men would not do it.

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Line waiting to place hand in the Mouth of Truth

As always GPS your walk on you smart phone, take a taxi or the Metro. Roman is easy to get around. Always have your hotel name and address programmed in your smart phone. You can show a taxi driver the name or use the address to GPS your way back.

George

Categories: Bocca della Verità, Castel Sant'Angelo, General Travel, GPS, Rome, Saint Peter's Basilica, Taxi, Traveling without a tour, Trevi Fountain, Vatican City | 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

Visitors Keep Coming Back to Italy

Italy is typically the number one choice for visitors wanting:

1) Great Food – There is no better food anywhere than in Italy’s family owned restaurants and Trattoria. As long as you stay away from the tourist traps, you can find great food. It takes time to prepare fresh made food so be patient. If you are in a hurry and don’t care about quality, eat at American Fast Food places or tourist traps.

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Naples Pizza

2) Wine – Some of the best wine in the world comes from Italy. Names like Brunello, Barolo, Montepulciano and Chianti are world-famous. Local made wines in Italy rarely get bottled. These are from small production shops that sell the wine by the liter. In a restaurant, you order a ½ liter or liter and it comes in a pitcher.

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Brunello Wine

3) Museums – Some of the best Museums in the world are in Italy. Some noted museums are:
a) Uffizi in Florence
b) Vatican in Vatican City (Rome)
c) Borghese in Rome
d) Sistine Chapel in Vatican City
e) Palazzo Piti in Florence
f) National Archaeological Museum in Naples
g) Gallerie dell’Accademia in Milan
h) Egizio in Turin
i) Ferrari in Maranello
j) Academy Gallery in Venice

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Sistine Capel

4) Beautiful Vistas – Where better to see either mountains or the sea or both than Italy. Italy as a country had its origins from violent volcanic and seismic activity millions of years ago. Its mountains are very rugged and steep. Some are very difficult to cross. Its beaches are magnificent. Some are rocky rather than sandy, some are from volcanic ash and others are soft white sand. There are mountain towns everywhere. Taking the Autostrada south from Rome to Naples, one can see hundreds of mountain towns. They are just waiting for you to explore them.

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Beautiful Italian Vista

5) Historic Sites – What is more historic than old Rome. Imagine walking on the same cobblestones as the Romans did. Seeing the Coliseum is breathtaking. Venice is the most unusual city in the world. It is built on millions of tree trunks sunk in the mud under water.

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Saint Peters Vatican City (Rome)

6) Friendly People – Italians are very friendly. They love to talk to tourists. They will be even more friendly if you try to speak some simple words or phrases in Italian. Many can speak English as well.

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Italian People

Italy is romantic, unique, full of adventures, to be enjoyed slowly and waiting for you. What are you waiting for?

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Coliseum, Duomo, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italian Facts, Italy, Naples, Pizza, Romance, Rome, Traveling without a tour, Trottoria, Vatican City, Venice, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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.

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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.

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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

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.

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  • 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

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