Venice

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

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

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

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

Venice Italy

Venice has always been a city that intrigued me. Imagine a city of canals and boats instead of streets and cars built-in the 10th century BC. There are pedestrian walkways and bridges over the canals. This is a major city built on a swamp. How was this done? The Apprentice and the Journeyman says that Venice is a city of 117 islands in a shallow area of the Adriatic sea. It started as a small number of mud and rock islands. The early Venetians drove tree trunks into the clay and bud to form building foundations. Why does the wood not rot? it is not exposed to oxygen in the water and actually becomes petrified over time. The tree trunks now are hardened rock like trunks.

venice vaporetto

Venice Grand Canal

Venice was built as a safe refuge against marauding invaders. And quickly began to expand into a very powerful empire. Soon the city was built on tree trunks out in the swallow water. The original islands were lost forever. Imagine here you have a city on tree trunks. Atop the trees is marble and then buildings built onto of that. It is just amazing to imagine the ingenuity of these early people.

They soon became a wealthy nation with a powerful navy. They were expert ship builders. Today the empire is gone but the charm of Venice still exists. Visit this amazing city and walk the pathways. Cross the canals and ride a Gondola. Be a Venetian for a short time. This is truly a remarkable part of Italy.

George

 

Categories: Europe, General Travel, Italy, Romance, Traveling without a tour, Venice | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

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.

pizza

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.

brunello

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

systine chapel

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.

vista in Italy

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.

St Peters

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.

Italian people

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

Research Italy before you go

[Forum Boario, Rome, Italy] (LOC)

[Forum Boario, Rome, Italy] (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

Everyone wants to go to Italy. If you are planning a trip to Italy, plan it out before you go. You don’t need a tour! Just get a book on the area you are going and determine the top 10 things to see. eliminate any that are of no interest to you. Don’t try to do all of Europe or even all of Italy in one trip. For Italy choose:

  1. Milan, alps, Verona, Venice and the lakes area, or
  2. Tuscany, or
  3. Rome (take a side trip to Naples, Pompeii or Orvietto), or
  4. Naples and the Amalfi Coast including Capri, or
  5. Sicily

Trying to do too much will get you blisters and frustration. Be an Italian and stop to enjoy what you are seeing, think of the history and those that walked these streets long ago. Think of the people there now and enjoy the food and wine. Stop to chat with store owners, people in trattoria’s or on the street. Italians love to talk. Most speak some english and can converse with you. Learn some basic phrases in Italian so they feel you have tried.

One site that provides a lot of information is the Italian Tourism Official Website. Take photographs and be kind to people. You are a visitor to their country act like one. They are NOT your servants. If you plan well and stop to enjoy life, you will come home with memories you will never forget.

If you must do multiple cities, try Venice, Florence and Rome. Take the train between the cities. Fly into Venice and out of Rome. This is more hectic than we like but if you have only one trip this is how to do it.

Remember Italy is romance! Romance should be enjoyed slowly.

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Categories: Amalfi Coast, Capri, Europe, Florence, Italy, Naples, Rome, Sicily, Tuscany, Venice, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Venice, Who doesn’t love Venice?

Venice is on everyone’s bucket list. It is a truly unique city on the Adriatic Sea. You have to experience this city, its people and its food and wine. What better way to see this city than during a festival. Venice is a town that knows how to throw a party. Some great festivals in Venice are:

  1. Regata Storica in the beginning of September – This includes boat races, customs and of course food and wine

Regata Storica

  1. Venice Film Festival – Come see the films that have won (September 2-9, 2015).

Venice Film Festival

  1. Venice Carnival (Festival of Masks) – Is held the day before Ash Wednesday.

Festival of Masks Venice

Venice is always a great city to visit but during a festival it is even more fun. This city is spectacular from its start. It was built on tree trunks, millions of them. They hold up a marble & stone foundation that all the buildings are built on. Put it on your bucket List. This is one of the most romantic cities in the world. Just let it do its magic on you.

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Adriatic Sea, Carnevale, Carnival, Europe, Festivals, Italy, Romance, Traveling without a tour, Venice, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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