Thursday, June 21, 2018

TOUR OF ITALY ~ PART TWO





Tour of Italy 
Part Two




I am continuing with photos from my recent trip to Italy. If you missed the post for part-one of our trip go here.



Tour of Italy




After our stay at a Tuscan Estate, visiting Florence, Siena and a Tuscan winery for a wine tasting, our tour with my husbands retirement group were boarding a bus to travel to the picturesque Italian Rivera where we visited Lucca, Cinque Terre and Portofino.




Lucca
The medieval city is encircled by a sixteenth-century renaissance wall. On top of this massive red brick wall there is a tree lined path where you can stroll, jog or ride a bike, just like the locals! We began our tour of Lucca on the wall that encloses this medieval city. 

Entering through the massive wall




 From outside the wall



The photos give you an idea of the massive 
thickness of the wall



Entering the old town





The medieval architecture with it's colorful facades take my breath away! Walking the same streets of those from thousands of years before is what I love about our travels.



Shops with beautiful hand painted Italian faience





San Michele in Foro 

A Roman Catholic basilica built over the ancient Roman forum. Construction of the church began in the 11th century, the campanile completed in the 12th century and the Romanesque facade added in the 13th century


Magnificent marble facade and one of the finest examples of the Pisan Romanesque style. Notice the columns in the facade are all different! On the summit two smaller angels and the larger St. Michael the Archangel in the center. Our guide says as long as St. Michael stays on top of the church, Lucca is safe!








Basilica of San Frediano



Don't forget to look up! See a different culture and experience how the locals live. You will see medieval architecture, colors from flowers in the window boxes, clothes blowing in the breeze. Street musicians on every block for background music, outdoor cafes to sit and enjoy a glass of wine and people watch. Italian spices fills the air from cafe kitchens. Do you feel it now? The magical feel you only get from travel! 








I love wandering off the beaten path to see how locals live







Eventually finding my way back to Jim and the center of town
















My souvenir from this trip, two linen placemats and napkins from a shop in Piazza Anfiteatro.  An olive tree is stitched on the placemat and the tall cypress trees are stitched on the napkins.







Pisa
If you are in Tuscany a must see is this extraordinary sight, the Leaning Tower of Pisa.   Ancient Maritime Republic of Pisa, the Regatta (Palio) recalls the rivalry between the four Italian Maritime Republics; Genoa, Venice, Pisa and Amalfi. Merchants and fleets dominated the Mediterranean Sea between 10th and 13the centuries. 





The tower was build as a free-standing bell tower to accompany the cathedral and baptistry. If you want to climb to the top you will need to ascend three hundred spiraling steps. I decided I didn't really want that view after all!














Our next destination, The Italian Riviera. After about a three hour ride to the Mediterranean coastal town of Sestri Levante, it is about a twenty minute boat trip to the famous and fabulous Portofino. 

The trip was interesting riding through Tuscany in the valley with the Apennine Mountains in the distance. We could see the city of Carrara and the white markings on the mountains where Italy's Carrera marble is quarried. Big white areas cut into the mountain and big slabs of unfinished marble sitting and waiting to be loaded onto trucks for worldwide delivery. One previous destination a few years ago was to my kitchen when I installed new countertops. How fun it was to see where it came from!

Checking into our hotel, the Grande Albergo Sestri in Levante, Italy.












Walking several blocks, our group enjoyed a delicious dinner at a local restaurant. I enjoyed window shopping and seeing the cabanas on the beach.













Several courses and hours later, walking back we enjoyed beautiful views and the sunset.







 After a good nights sleep we were all ready for the next day's adventure.

hope you will come back to finish touring  the Italian Rivera with me. Up next, Cinque Terre and Portofino. Also, a post trip, how could we go to Italy and not return to Rome for a few days!

Thanks for your visit. I hope you will leave a comment, it's the only way I know you stopped by.