Thursday, December 4, 2014

My Trip to Italy

You can't see the faces of the two gentlemen below but I am sure you recognize both. I knew I would see the first one, but the second was a pleasant surprise!

The huge archway below is between the Vatican museum and the entry to St. Peter’s.

St. Peter’s Basilica is enormous and beautiful!  St. Peter's is especially huge but all of the churches were very grand with soaring ceilings and huge open areas. They all looked gigantic to me and I've seen skyscrapers -- what did these buildings look like to the "Average Joe" of the the day?

If it looks like gold, it’s gold! All the decoration, pattern, and sculpture could be overwhelming but when the place is so big, somehow it all fits.

We didn't get to spend enough time in the Vatican Museum. So many things to see there. One looooong hallway is painted in trompe l’oeil fashion to appear that sculptures and moldings cover the entire ceiling. The whole thing looks like the picture below but is completely flat.

Anywhere else these floors would be the showpiece... here they're barely noticed!

Traffic in Rome appears to be ruled by suggestion rather than laws. If you ever go there, don’t even think about trying to drive. You will die. Parking is done wherever you can find a spot. But at least they're respecting the crosswalk!

Scooters are everywhere, especially in the one-foot-wide space between your tour bus and the smart car next to you.

A man driving to work with his toddler in the back seat in what is officially the smallest car I have ever seen. But with gas at the equivalent of 8+ bucks a gallon, you do what you gotta do!

A guy was singing opera for tips in the square out front of the Pantheon. He had the whole crowd’s attention. I was slightly distracted by a big cone of dark chocolate gelato at the time but I tossed a Euro in his hat.

Some of the cathedrals had simple striped exteriors of two colors of stone block with a highly ornamented façade (the two photos below are of the side and the front of the same cathedral in Orvieto).

The stripes were inside churches too. Below is the cathedral in Pisa. It is beautiful but all anyone ever talks about is the leaning tower! If you go to Pisa, definitely go in the church!

Busts of the greatest artists of the day sit in alcoves above the top rose window at the Florence Duomo. Artists above all else…as it should be!!

Burano is a charming little island near Venice with colorful houses, a single canal, and lots of artists.

Leaving Venice at sunrise.

Positano has a single one-way road and buildings stacked one on top of another, with a bunch of big rocks above and a beach of gray pebbles below.

The landscape is so dramatic!

This picture of the Spanish Steps is one of my favorites from the whole trip. I like the foreground to far distance contrast and the strong shadows.  

There were people from all over the world everywhere we went. I'm so glad I was one of them! I toured with Uniglobe (Wheeling, WV). Our Uniglobe tour leader was
Georgette Stock and in Italy our Globus tour leader was Allessandro.  

A tour is the way to go when you're in a place that has many sights you want to see.
While regular travelers waited in long lines, we tour people breezed right in. I went "alone" but not really because there were 38 other nice people on the trip. 
We stayed in very nice hotels and everything was done for us...
it would be very difficult to plan on your own all that we did in 10 days.
The tour was called The Best of Italy. I highly recommend, especially if it might be a once-in-a-lifetime trip for you.

 And, just to prove I was actually there, here is the only picture of me:

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