Trip to Italy

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These images are from our wonderful trip to Italy in September 2004, in celebration of our tenth anniversary, doing a Cosmos land tour.
The images, audio, and videos below (not the ones at the links) are from an inexpensive digital camera that I never used before the trip. The real photos are at the links below.
UPDATE 01/25/2024: all the pictures below were rescanned and updated - the original site had pictures that were all, except in two cases, no wider than 800 pixels - and ones that weren't initially included, for whatever reason, were now included, with whatever commentary can be gleened and or remembered, and put with whatever pictures we think they belonged to. Also, a lot of the images were "portrait" rather than "landscape" which is my goto format for picture taking now. Lastly, these are still scanned hardcopy pictures, so they aren't as great as the more recent digital photos are.

The pictures are in alphabetical order by city visited, though we think we traveled Rome > Virterbo > Orvieto > Siena > San Gimignano > Florence > Pisa > Venice > Assisi > Vatican City > Rome.

Italy - unknown city / sight / site
The intent was to put all the pictures in the towns that they were from.
Some, however, were either encountered between towns without knowing exactly what towm it was, or were incorrectly named and it can't be easily determined where they were taken.
A couple buildings.

A couple streets (taken from the bus).

Some scooters.

 
Assisi
The town we visited on our way back to Rome, from Venice, for the last night. It was a long bus ride, only broken by the occasional "technical stop", lunch, and - Assisi. The focal point of Assisi is St. Francis' Basilica.  As with so many other cathedrals / churches / basilicas in Italy, photos were prohibited inside and I abided by the rule.
 
The beautiful Assisi countryside.

 
A quaint Assisi street.

 
Some flowers.


St. Francis basilica.

 
The entrance to St. Francis.


 
Florence
We spent two nights in Florence (actually it was a little outside Florence). Of course we shopped... the tourist spots were crowded, but we were able to go to the Pitti Palace (the Merichi's home) where it was a little quieter as it was off the beaten path.  We also spent some time strolling around.
 
A typical building of the region.

 
A copy of David (the original is on display in the Accedemia Musei).


A portico with some statues, and a couple others from around the city.

Approaching the d'uomo.


The d'uomo: bell tower, a long shot, entrance, and dome ceiling.


Inside the church.


The world's oldest functioning clock with it's original mechanisms. It is set each day based on the sunset.

 
The bapistry and the east door known as the "Gate to Paradise".

 
Piazza Santa Croce.

 
The Arno River toward town and the Ponte Vecchio.

 
The Arno River away from town with the Apennines in the background.


A random restaurant.


A fountain on the grounds behind the Merici house.

 
Food
I felt obligated to add this info in order to educate and inform.  I know some people think: Italy = pasta.  And though there was a lot of pasta around, that was not the staple of every meal.  In fact, pasta was the main entree in only ONE meal we had (sorry, that would be two meals - I just thought of another), and that was a lunch.  Wait, three meals (I thought of it while writing the below) - but considering three meals out of 18 possibilities, that's not bad!
 
Italians (and tourists) eat dinner (the last meal of the day) late.  Very late.  We usually arrived at restaurants after 7:00.  The last night we had dinner (in Rome), we were the second couple eating at 7:30, but by 8:30, every outdoor table was full (the only couple that went inside to eat arrived about 9:00).
 
The dinners (at least in the restaurants) were quite some production, and we had musical accompaniment for half of them.  The typical dinner was four or five courses, though not quite as filling as it might sound - it took an hour plus to eat the meal and they usually didn't rush us.
 
Gelato!! Gelato can be summed up in one word: yummy.  Gelato is made from iced milk, rather than iced cream - therefore, it is much lighter (and healthier) than ice cream.  The flavors are much more pronounced too.  We had gelato almost every day as desert with lunch, and once or twice after dinner (where the meal was a little smaller such as that in Siena).
 
Here are some menus of what we had to eat:

LUNCHES:
🍕 Mozzarella & tomato, chicken panini, and spitzel (fried ball of something - we think potato)
🍕 Paninis (roasted vegetables; prosciutto, mozzarella, & mushrooms; prosciutto; prosciutto & cheese; ham; ham & cheese)
🍕 Mozzarella salad (with the paninis one day)
🍕 Pasta (4 different ones on one plate) and bruscetta (see pictures below)
🍕 Pizza
🍕 Mc Donald's (just kidding)

DINNER:
- Rome - first night:
🍕 Antipasto (slices of various meats such as prosciutto and salami)
🍕 Pasta fagioli (pasta and bean "soup")
🍕 Chicken caccitore (Steve) and salmon (Linda)
🍕 Moose

- Rome - second night:
🍕 Antipasto (same as above)
🍕 Penne with tomato sauce
🍕 Chicken and sausage
🍕 Fresh fruit

- Tuscan night:
🍕 Antipasto (melon and prosciutto)
🍕 Pasta fagioli
🍕 Cheese tortellini and penne
🍕 Pork chop and sausage (Steve) and lamb chop (Linda)
🍕 Moose
🍕 Fruit

- Siena night (at the Piazza del Campo):
🍕 Calzone (Steve) and cheese & spinach ravioli (Linda)

- Venice night:
🍕 Anitpasto (see first night)
🍕 Penne with tomoto sauce
🍕 Veal scallapini (both of us)
🍕 Cake

- Rome - last night:
🍕 Antipasto (see first night)
🍕 Pasta with lamb sauce (Steve) and penne with tomato sauce (Linda)
🍕 Sliced pork with potatoes (Steve) and sliced veal with potatoes (Linda)
🍕 Moose
🍕 Biscotti with sweet wine
 
Bruscetta (in Venice).


Pasta (in Venice).


Dinner (in Rome).

 
Montefiescone
We had a short journey to the little town on a volcano lake. One interesting thing about this town is that the Pope has his summer residence here. And though we did not get to actually see him, we know he was there because of the flag at the top of the one building.
 
The Papal flag atop a building (this means the Pope was in).


There were Swiss guards on duty too.


Inside the chapel (from outside the chapel).

 
A couple shots of the town square.

 
The two sides of the volcano lake, Lago di Bolsena (Lake Bolsena).


And a selfie at the lake.

 
Orvieto
We stopped here on our way from Rome to Siena. This interesting town is located upon a mesa (a flat-top mountain). The only way to get there was via a cable car or the only road. As with a number of towns in Italy, for protection (from invasion years ago), there was a wall around a lot of the city. Interestingly enough, there are man-made caves under most of the city used to store things, make pigeon alcoves (for food), and for a place to make olive oil.
 
Orvieto from afar while approaching.

 
Orvieto from afar while departing.

 
Orvieto close up (notice the wall).

 
The countryside around Orvieto, and approaching it.

 
An Orvieto cave, and some stairs, one set that once led to a residence).


Outside the cathedral.

 
Inside the cathedral.

 
Pisa
The main focus of Pisa is, of course, the leaning tower.  The tower, which is actually the bell tower of the cathedral, is located in the Field of Miracles.  The field includes the bapistry, cathedral, tower, and a couple other buildings.

A statue near Pisa.


Pisa countryside taken from a window inside the top of the bapistry.


Pisa cathedral, from a window half way to the the top of the bapistry, with the tower in the background.


Inside the cathedral: the ambo, a floor marking (possibly a tomb), and a relief.


Field of miracles (the bapistry, cathedral, and leaning tower).


A shot of just the bapistry.


A close-up of the detail of the bapistry.
It's hard to believe this was made of marble.

 
Inside the bapistry from the second level.

 
The leaning tower.


The two of us by the tower.

 
Sooo many people were taking this type of photo...

 
A shot that was either taken from the proper spot, or the camera was tilted - but either way, the tower isn't leaning anymore.


From the inside, a section of the wall surrounding Pisa.

 
Souvenier shot glass.

 
Roma / Rome
Roma. A large city with much to see and not enough time to see it. According to a calendar, we spent four days in Rome. However, in reality, it was a lot less than that. The first day we arrived mid-afternoon. We relaxed a bit, met the group, and went for dinner. That was considered one day. The next day we sightsaw. That was one day (and it was). The third day we woke, had breakfast, and left for Siena (we had stops to make on the way so we left early). That is considered another day (we're up to three now). We had similar timing on the last night too - I'm sure you get the point.
We saw the major highlights - Trevi Fountain, the Coloseum, the Forum, some ruins, the Spanish steps, and the world's most lavish [at the time] McDonalds (no, we did NOT eat there).

Countryside near Rome (or not).


Two different Arch de Triumphs - though they may / probably have different names.


A collection of ruins shots.



The equivilent of a selfie at the time.


The collection of shots of the colloseum at various angles, and perspectives.



A couple role-playing actors outside the colloseum.


A group photo outside the colloseum.


Fountain in front of the Spanish Steps.


The Spanish Steps at night and during the day.


The Trevi Fountain from a couple different perspectives.



Not sure if Linda is throwing money over her shoulder or giving the cameraman an Italian gesture of some kind.


Performers at dinner.


Café we had an outdoor dinner our last night in Italy.


An interesting door passed by during a walk around Rome.


On the next block over (to the right while looking at them) from the Spaish Steps is a very ornate Golden Arches. It is the oldest golden arches in Rome - circa 1986, and was, at the time, the largest one in the world too. It may be considered "possibly the fanciest McDonald's in the world."



Some statues from around Rome. Somewhere. We think.



We took a picture with our guide Marta in Rome, the first and last city of our adventure, before heading home.

 
San Gimignano
We spent a few hours in San Gimignano on our way from Siena to Florence. It was another interesting town and it too had a wall around it. You will obviously notice a number of towers in the town (there are 14 in all). There are two stories for the number of towers: one was that they were built as a sign of wealth and power for the families or to hang drying dyed fabrics (though they could have been used for this after the first reason).
 
Some of the San Gimignano countryside.



 
The entrance into the town.

 
One of the streets.

 
Some of the towers.

 
Two close towers with a third in the background.

 
Some ruins (an older wall).

 
You know those olives you eat out of the jar / can? Here's how they start.


A couple of interesting doors.


A passageway with stairs.


A shop with various pottery on display.


A couple pictures of each of us.
UPDATE 01/26/2024: I probably still have those shoes, but certainly not that hair...

 
Siena
Ah Siena. This was the first city we stayed in after Rome. Siena was one of our more enjoyable cities in Italy. Why? Not exactly sure, but it may have had something to do with the fact that we had a few hours to kill and all we did was have dinner at a restaurant sitting outside over looking Piazza del Campo. Then we had some gelato and sat in the Piazza del Campo for a bit and watched the people. Then we leisurely strolled down some streets on the way back to the hotel.  It was very relaxing.
One historical note: they run a horse race around the piazza every year.  It's three laps and whichever horse crosses first, wins. It doesn't matter about the rider - it's the horse that's important.  The locals take it very seriously.
 
Piazza del Campo
We ate at the outdoor café under the dark brown awning in the lower right corner of the light colored building - almost in the center of this shot.

 
Another angle of Piazza del Campo.

 
The bell tower of the church at the Piazza del Campo.


San Francesco (where that big city in California is named for) from the garden at Hotel Moderno.


The outdoor garden at Hotel Moderno.


We participated in a Tuscan Dinner. There was music and dancing - including our bus driver, Pasquale - and a good time had by all.

 
Vatican
We entered another country when we visited the Vatican though we didn't need our passports.  The highlight of the Vatican is St. Peter's Cathedral - the worlds largest cathedral by a wide margin.
 
We visited the Vatican Museum.




The front of St. Peter's Cathedral.

 
The holy door used only once a year to get into St. Peter's.


Inside the massive St. Peter's Cathedral.


A few different shots of the church altar at different angles and zooms (yes, a service was being conducted while we were there - but the people provide scale to the enormity of the altar).


 
The Pieta, by Michaelanglo in St. Peter's.

 
An interesting light shot inside St. Peter's.

 
St. Peter's square.

 
The Hall of Maps inside the Vatican.  The maps are on the left wall as you look at the photo.

 
A shot of the dome of the Sistine Chapel. Photography was not permitted inside the Chapel.

 
Another angle of the Chapel dome.

 
There were a number of tapestries at the Vatican.
The first one below is of Jesus and his eyes appear to follow you as you walk past.


Some sights around the Vatican, including a ceiling section, a courtyard sculpture, a painting, a doorway marker, and a relief.




From the top floor, second window from the right is where they announce the new Pope. Whenever they do that.


A building - not sure which but based on the image sequence, it should be in or very near the Vatican.


A hallway with stairs.


A door.


A pinecone [?] sculpture.

 
Venice
The city of canals. And tourists. And pigeons. I think there were far more pigeons in Venice than there are in New York. When we first got there for dinner, we were supposed to go see the church of San Marco, but they had the piazza closed because they were showing the world premiere of the movie Shark Tale.
The gondola ride was the best feature of the city. Away from the tourists and down the back "alleys" of the city. We visited San Marco Cathedral. Then, unfortunately, after we covered a couple blocks of the city, we felt we were done. It was mostly just shop after shop after shop. And since everything must be shipped into the city by boat and then hand carted to the stores, the costs were very high. We wish we took the optional excursion to Burano, the island where they hand make lace.
 
The hotel we stayed at - Hotel Poppi - was only a couple miles from Venice.


Ponte de Rialto.

 
The Grand Canal from Ponte de Rialto in one direction (the same direction as the night shots), and then the other.

 
Bridge of Sighs
(So named as prisoners traveling from the courthouse on one side to the prison on the other would sigh as that was the last time they would be outdoors for a while).

 
San Marco church.

 
A mosaic above an entrance door to San Marco.

 
The San Marco bell tower.

 
This is the golden angel atop the bell tower.

 
Some sights during the gondola ride, including some canals a church, and possibly a resident's "garage".



 
Our gondaleer (on the right) and two others.

 
A canal viewed from a bridge - notice all the "cars".

 
A canal front church passed on the way from the main land to the main island.

 
Just a group of musicians playing at an open air café during the day.


The two columns at the entrance to the city.


We stopped for a glass blowing demonstration.

There were a couple pieces on display at the factory too.


We came across this door somewhere. We thought it was funky looking.


A vending machine with hygene products.


Some Venecian firefighters.


Lovely wife.


Enjoying the gondola ride.


We were in Venice long enough for it to get dark. Here are a collection of night shots inckuding the grand canal, a balcony, and a café.




 
Viterbo
Viterbo, another of those towns that has a wall around it, is situated between Rome and Orvieto. It is also atop a mesa. We were only here for about an hour, so there aren't too many pictures.
 
The entrance to the town

 
The two of us by the fountain in the town center (they like fountains over there....)

 

Here are the uncategorized digital pictures (the links above are to scanned print photos) that there weren't duplicate scanned pictures above:

Digital pictures
The Alpenines (pronounced al-pe-nee-nees) Mountains from the bus.

 
A singer in a gondola on a Venitian Canal.

 
Our tour guide Marta enjoying music in Tuscany.

 
Musicians at a Roman dinner.

 
Entry of the d'uomo in Florence.

 
An accordian player during dinner in Venice.

 

Here is something new to me. Our new inexpensive digital camera has a video record mode as well as an audio-only record mode. Since I did not have time to test it before we left (I now wish I did), I did not know how big the files were going to be or how good the quality was going to be. Therefore, I didn't capture as much audio or video as I could and should have :-( . (Maybe we'll just have to go back and re-record them...)

VIDEOS
A couple concatenated clips of the guard chanting in the Pisa Bapistry.

 
A couple concatenated clips from the gondola.

 
Some dinner music.