Wednesday, July 7, 2010

June--Part I, Italy

 
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In Montecatini Terme

My trip to Italy started in Montecatini Terme, where my niece, Cathy, and I joined her husband, Dave, at a scientific conference. I was fortunate enough to be invited along. The trip was a great distraction from my long separation from Mike. It seemed so disconnected to be in Europe sight-seeing, while he was on the open seas of the Pacific on his return voyage from Hawaii!

The three of us had three days in Montecatini before joining another niece, Amy, and friend, Hank, in Florence. We enjoyed the art and architecture of Florence, then moved on to the Mediterranean coast (with a stop in Pisa), where we stayed at a VRBO near Cinque Terre. Our house rental was in an incredibly rural location where we were surrounded by villages tucked into the hillside, each with a bell tower. Each hour we were serenaded by the bells, each slightly different in sound and timing.

 
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View from Fortona

From the coast we traveled into the Tuscan landscape and lovely hill towns. We had reserved an apartment in an agriturismo near Pienza, a small, beautiful hill town where parts of "Romeo and Juliet" and "The English Patient" were filmed.

 
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Pienza

We also visited other hill towns in the area. Siena was one of the more touristy destinations, but less crowded towns included Volterra (with a wonderful Etruscan Museum), Orvieto, and a real gem, Civita. Civita is a town accessible only by a foot bridge. The pinnacle it sits on is slowly eroding and crumbling from earthquakes. It truly seems like a place out of a fairy tale.

 
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Civita


We ended our trip in Rome, where we took the obligatory, yet fascinating, tour of Ancient Rome.

 
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Palatine Hill, Rome

The following photos will give you a quick peek at a few of the wonderful and inspiring places and sights we visited.

 
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Lucca

 
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Statue of Dante in Florence

 
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Ponte Vecchio, Florence

 
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Hank and Amy at Fortona


 
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Cinque Terre

 
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Cathy and Dave, Pisa

 
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Volterra

 
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Roman ruins, Volterra

 
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Siena Duomo

 
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Tuscany

 
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Window view of Tuscany

 
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Ceramic shop in Ovieta


 
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Fresco, Ovieta Cathedral

 
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Painting inspiration
 
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Patterns

 
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3 comments:

Carrie H. said...

Great Pictures Margaret. Looks like a great trip. I looked at all the sailing pictures Mike took too. You guys might be tired now. Stay home and put your feet up and have a beer!

Ruth Armitage said...

Wow :) Looks like a great trip! I can't wait to hear more about it in person...

Anonymous said...

OOH...I am jealous. LV