Joseph Dispenza talks about the stages of travel in his book The Way of the Traveler: 1) dream the journey; 2) preparation; 3) journey; 4) homecoming; and 5) recounting the tale. We love every part of travel, from dreaming to research to getting there to being there to returning and especially telling stories about our travel. This blog is a chance to tell the story while its happening.

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome October 8th 2018

We were up early for a last walk around the city. What a perfect day: nice temperature and too early for the mobs. Left Florence late-morning on the “rapido” to Rome. Arrived and checked into our hotel, Ludovisi Palace near Porta Pinciana (and the Borghese Gardens), dropped off our bags and went to one of our favorite restaurants, Vladimiro, just around the corner. We had a long lunch (finishing around 3:30) and took a restorative walk before resting … from the exhausting effort of moving fork to mouth. Out into the evening world for another relaxing walk and early to bed. A nice day, not filled with activity.... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence October 7th 2018

John was up early and took a long walk to get some pictures of Florence empty. He discovered that there were others who were up, still partying at a number of all night bars near Santa Croce. And of course there were people awaiting the start of the schedule at the train station. John stopped for a coffee and sweet roll at the only café open other than McCafe (MacDonald’s café) across from the station. Upon awaking to her birthday Peggy discovered some fleur de lys earings from Volterrani e Raddi jewelers just down stairs across from our hotel. Peggy’s family has gone there for gifts for generations and John is keeping up the tradition. After breakfast we walked to San Lorenzo Chapel where the Medici are buried. It is an amazing building in that the ... read more

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome October 7th 2018

As we are coming to the end of our trip to Italy we wanted to share what we have learned about restaurants, hotels and tours. Our recommendations for Rome: · Colonna Palace Hotel, Piazza Montecitorio, 12, Rome Tel: +39 06.675191. On the Piazza Colonna across from the Parliament building. Convenient and centrally located with clean rooms and good breakfast on their roof. · Bar at the Grand Hotel de La Minerve, 69 Piazza della Minerva - 00186 Roma Tel: 011-39-06-69-52-01 Web: www.grandhoteldelaminerve.com. Fabulous roof bar with views of the city. Overlooking the Pantheon. · Arianna Nastasi, Rome modern and archaeological tours, nastasi.arianna@gmail.com. Arianna is extremely well prepared for an in-depth look at ancient of modern ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena October 7th 2018

As our travels in Italy come to an end, we wanted to share the places we found that are definitely worth visiting on your next trip. In Siena we recommend: · VRBO Flat - Palazzo Giorgio, Vicolo del Bargello, 5 Siena – owner Rossella Donato. Great location and terrific space. Good for Palio but noisy at night leading up to Palio. · PorriOne, Via del Porrione, 28 Siena 53100 Tel 0577 221442 ristoporrione@gmail.com. Very elegant food and wine selection. Taste treats all around. It is expensive but worth the taste sensations. · Archivio del Gusto, Via di Monna Agnese, 8 Siena 53100 Tel 0577 601676 www.archiviodelgusto.it/. Wonderful location near the duomo with seafood specialties. Lobster linguini and good wine selection. ... read more

Europe » Italy » Umbria » Orvieto October 7th 2018

As our travels in Italy come to an end, we wanted to share the places we found that are definitely worth visiting on your next trip. In Orvieto we recommend: · Hotel Virgilio, Piazza Duomo 5 - 05018 - Orvieto (Tr) Italy Tel. 0039 0763 39 49 37. Small hotel facing the duomo. Very clean but the walls are thin and you hear everything going on in the bathroom next door as well as in the hallways and stairwells. · Osteria da Mamma Angela, Piazza del Popolo, 2 Orvieto 05018 Tel 0763 342790 anticarupe@live.it. Nice location on the piazza with great service and definitely a local flavor. Pasta dishes were excellent and the desserts worth ordering. · Trattoria del Moro Aronne, Via San Leonardo, 7 Orvieto 05018 Tel 0763 342763 info@trattoriadelmoro.info. Fabulous food and service. Small ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence October 6th 2018

Up late and out with plans for the Palazzo Vecchio but disappointed as it was totally occupied with a special conference closed to the public. Went to Ors San Michele, the building/church built by the guilds as a meeting place. The church is on the first floor, with meeting rooms on the second and third. What is amazing is that each of the floors has 30+ foot ceilings. Quite beautiful and a real challenge to climb the stairs from floor to floor. Amazing pictures of the major Florentine sights from each of the windows of the upper floors. From Ors San Michele we made our way to the Museo Duomo del Opera, the museum of statuary and other art from the Duomo and Baptistery. We have not been into the museo in a number of years ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Fiesole October 5th 2018

Today we go to Fiesole and San Domenico de Fiesole where Peggy went to school during her junior year abroad. Hoofed it to Piazza San Marco and took the No. 7 bus to San Domenico and walked from there to the Badia Fiesolana. It was a California University boarding and classroom center back when Peggy was here and is now European University with conferences and study programs for students from all over the world. No boarders just classes and lots of students. We made our way up to Peggy’s “cell” (it was a monastery in the Renaissance) which is now an office for administrators. It was locked so we wandered down the hall and peeked into one of the rooms where a very nice woman, Chiara, was working. She was the student coordinator for programs and ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence October 4th 2018

Up early to be sure we made it to the Ufizzi and “skip the line” priority. To be sure that we were sufficiently energized we stopped at Rivoires for coccolata compana and got really jacked up. Thus fueled we got into the line for entry and swiftly moved up the stairs to the gallery. As expected, it was incredible, especially as they have spread some of the most important pieces out rather than having them crowded together in a few rooms. We went around the floor in about 90 minutes and then had a pick-me-up at the café overlooking the piazza (and all of Florence). This allowed us to revisit many of the pieces (Botticelli, Michelangelo, Raphael, Pintorechio, Durer, Tintoretto, Da Vinci, Fra Lippi, Montagna, and others). Upon leaving the museum we went to pick up ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence October 3rd 2018

We had a 10AM appointment at the Accademia to view the David and his friends so we decided to visit San Marco and the work of Bartolomeo and Fra Angelico before we went to see David. Perhaps not the best decision as the frescoes in San Marco are overwhelmingly beautiful and make a deep impression on your eyes, mind and heart. Over the hour or so that we were in the abbey we came to a new understanding of Fra Angelico’s view of human choice about perception of purgatory and heaven, something that may not be achieved in an afterlife but rather something experienced in this life. Lots to unpack and little time to do it in front of the art, so we left and went to the Accademia where we joined the mass of humanity ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence October 2nd 2018

Peggy slept in while John went out for a ramble around the centro storico, taking pictures of the Duomo and the main streets and piazzas. After meeting up for breakfast atop the hotel (overlooking the roofs of the city and the Palazzo Vecchio (city hall) we walked to Café Rivoires for coccolatta compagna (sp), Peggy’s favorite from when she was a student here in Florence. According to legend, one cup will keep you going for five hours. There certainly is enough chocolate and whipped cream to make this a reality. Buzzed we arrived at the Bargello, a wonderful medieval fortress, to take in some of our favorite statuary. This fabulous building has a great pedigree, as city hall when the guilds ran things (they locked up those in charge for a year so that they couldn’t ... read more

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