|The Duomo in Florence; this was the view from our hotel window.|
Sunday Salon, August 11, from Italy
I'm vacationing in lovely Italy and am taking a few minutes to blog about my experiences so far.
Right now we are on the West Coast in the Cinque Terre region on the Mediterranean staying in a lovely little community called Monterosso. Today we took a boat up the coast and visited the other charming communities that cling to the cliffs and look down on the beautiful blue sea. Heaven on Earth! We even hiked along an easy trail between one town and the next. At one point along the trail we were serenaded by a man playing an accordion. I wept for joy because of the beauty and the situation.
Prior to coming here we have visited Rome, Florence, and Siena. Next up Verona and Venice before we fly home on Thursday. Here are a few highlights:
Coffee: since I'm from the Seattle area you know that I like a good cup of coffee, so imagine my delight in finding Italy coffee and cappuccino. Our hotel in Rome even had a make-your-own cappuccino machine. The first day I had three! Buzz! Every hotel we've stayed in has either had a machine to make them ourselves or an attendant will make one for us but so far the best was my first in Rome. I was in love.
Museums: we've been to some spectacular museums and seen some phenomenal art like the David sculpture by Michelangelo in the Accademie in Florence, and the Sistine Chapel in Rome. We expected those to be good and the crowds to be daunting, but we did find one treasure that we weren't expecting, the Capitoline Museum. We stumbled upon it and its display of rare documents concerning correspondence with The Pope or the Vatican. There were letters from really famous people like Marie Antoinette Abraham Lincoln, and Voltare. An other manuscript showed the actual transcript of the Galileo's trial declaring him as a heretic for believing that the earth rotated around the sun. Many of the documents were over 500 years old and were beautiful as well as awesome to behold. Another museum that was just sheer delight was the Borghese Gallery in Rome where I fell in love with sculptures by Bernini. My favorite was Apollo and Daphne. We were all so taken with these masterpieces by Bernini that we had to circle around to see them again. Unlike so many of the other museums that allow masses of people to crowd in together diminishing the experience for all, the Borghese requires reservations and only allows a certain number of people to enter the museum at a time, making the experience much more pleasant.
Books: Italians must love books and reading because there are little book shops everywhere, often with lots of patrons or long lines. Bravo! I haven't seen anyone reading from an E-reader, either, except my husband who has been reading his Rick Steves Italy Guidebook that he downloaded onto his iPad. I was reading The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean earlier this week (I finished it) and the timing was perfect as there are Madonna paintings and frescoes everywhere in Italy. It actually made me much more aware of this special art form.
Friends/Small World: I ran in to an old friend and x-colleague who happened to be staying in the same hotel as us in Rome. I hadn't seen Loni in years and it was such fun to catch up with her. While in Florence we linked up with two couples from our social group at home for dinners and swapping stories. It is a small world in so many ways.