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David, Moses and the Sistine Chapel

November 1, 2016

My wife and I just returned from a fabulous vacation in Italy. Words cannot describe the great things we saw and photos cannot do justice to the beauty we encountered. I hope this blog conveys enough of a taste so that you consider a similar trip if you haven’t already been to Italy.

We started in Venice and if we did nothing except walk around the city, it would have been plenty. But we naturally went to the sites tourists typically go to including hanging around St. Mark’s Square, visiting the Basilica of San Marco and the Doges’ Palace, walking on the Rialto bridge over the Grand Canal, taking a gondola ride, and a short boat trip to Murano to see their legendary glass craftsmanship.

On our way to Florence we stopped at a Tuscan farm for never-ending wine tasting and food sampling and then Pisa which has more than their famed Leaning Tower. In my attempt to take a good photo, I positioned the tower standing upright – which isn’t exactly the way it should be. When we reached Florence at twilight we stopped in front of one the two outdoor copies of Michelangelo’s David and had our first look at the famed Arno River. While in Florence we experienced the cradle of the Renaissance walking on the same streets as Leonardo and Michelangelo and passing their apartments. We could have spent a day just at the sculpture filled Signoria Square with the adjoining Duomo Cathedral but we also visited the Accademia of Fine Arts with the original David and plazas with more outstanding churches and sculptured fountains and took a leisurely stroll over the Ponte Vecchio with stops at the many shops lining the bridge while we walked back to our hotel.

Our trip to Rome was broken up with a stop at Assisi with its famed Basilica of St. Francis and Giotto’s frescos. In Rome our first stop was at the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica with the spectacular Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum, then a stop at the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains with the Michelangelo sculpture of Moses and countless other artwork, a trip up the Spanish Steps, a walk in Imperial Rome’s Colosseum and the ruins of the Forum and so much more. Of course we threw a coin in the Fountain of Trevi and viewed the many other fountains and churches that seem to be on every Roman street. We had lunches and snacks at outdoor cafes on the Via Veneto and had a dinner with performances by four opera singers.

No trip to Rome (or Florence or Venice) can ever be complete but we had to move on. Our trip to Sorrento overlooking the Bay of Naples was punctuated by a stop at the ruins of Pompeii at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius. The scenery we saw from our Capri Excursion and drive to Amalfi through Positano was breathtakingly spectacular and a fitting highlight for our last day in Italy.

The wine, pasta and almost daily Pizza and beer for lunch and Gelato for an afternoon snack kept getting better and better. At night our meals were topped off with Grappa or Limoncello. You cannot go to Italy expecting to maintain your weight and my diet started the minute I returned home.

Our 12 day vacation was with 13 other people from all over the U.S. with our own tour manager and knowledgeable guides at each stop. Our traveling companions made our vacation even more enjoyable and the tour manager made a great trip fabulous.

If you are looking for a great vacation, consider Italy.

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