Thursday, June 21, 2018


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 and part-three 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.

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 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 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 fill 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 placemats and tall cypress trees are stitched on the napkins.

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 13th 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.


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  1. Our next big trip is going to be to Italy so I enjoyed this post very much. Looking forward to the next post. Thanks for sharing your adventure.

  2. Brings back great memories! I was so amazed with Pisa! Next time we want to make it to Cinque Terre! It is a beautiful country! Great pics!

  3. Un billet merveilleux, un très grand merci de partager les photos de ce fabuleux voyage, je pense que vous en avez un super souvenir. Je me suis régalée et attend la suite avec impatience.
    Gros bisous et très bon week-end.

  4. What a treat to travel with you this morning! Such a delight to see your trip and remember some of the same sights. We have been to Florence and Pisa but not Sienna or Lucca.
    I enjoyed seeing the food you ate and hearing history and seeing your great photos. I like how you wonder off the beaten path and see how the locals live. One night in Florence we ate in a restaurant that was family owned and didn't see any tourists just regulars from the area. That was very enjoyable.
    I look forward to your post on Cinque Terre since we haven't been there. I would love to go back to Italy.
    Reread your first post on Italy this morning, also. I enjoyed it again as well.

  5. Oh my gracious and heaven's to Betsy! You really got a full experience this time. So may beautiful things, and I can almost smell that food. What is it about their pasta that makes it so different than ours? And the pizza too? Why can't we have things like that here? I can't wait to see your next post because I haven't ever been to that part of Italy.

  6. Oh my, are your pictures amazing. I feel as if you took me with you. I always dreamed of Tuscany.

    I'm with you, I'd like seeing the locals lifestyle. Beautiful windowboxes filled with wonderful flowers.


  7. What a wonderful tour your gave, Emily! I loved seeing all the beautiful architecture, the gorgeous churches, window boxes, and the food! I want to go!!!!
    Happy weekend to you!

  8. You have a great eye for photography. I love the white clothes hanging from the shutter!

  9. Oh Emily, I love to travel with you! I can't imagine what it's like to see these incredible places in person! I savored every photo and detail! I have read about Pisa and the famous leaning tower, no way would I venture up all those stairs either!! You and Jim are grand explorers! Thank you for sharing your experience and all the beautiful photos,

  10. Beautiful! I love the pictures showing the local living, hehe.

  11. I bet you savored every last detail of this part of the journey Emily. I know I did. So fabulous to have captured the journal and accompanying photos. A wonderful by-product of blogging, and so is sharing - thank you!

  12. Glorious. Art one time I would have dismissed a bus tour but with age, I appreciate the convenience. So much to see and all organized for you.

  13. Emily, you make me want to book a flight right away! Oh, that faience. And those fabulous churches. What a wonderful adventure you had and what treasures you saw and savored. I loved every moment of your wonderful journey.

  14. Oh my! I love all of your photos of those fabulous Italian cities ! I think my favorite was Lucca with its massive wall and picturesque town city. Thank you for posting these pictures...they literally make my heart soar. I will probably not ever be able to see these cities in person but seeing them thru your pictures is wonderful.

  15. Dearest Emily,
    You really did take your time to explore this beautiful region!
    Having lived and worked in the Venice area, we never had time to explore this gem but we did so with our best friends, going back on vacation.
    Maybe you didn't know but in Italy most bell towers are built separately from the church, due to earth quake regions all over.
    So glad you got to enjoy all this beauty!
    Thanks for your visit and comment.

  16. Thank you so much for this fabulous tour - I have always wondered about lucca especially. xx Maria

  17. Yes, I CAN feel it! The photos coupled with your incredibly descriptive narrative allows me to feel as if I’m there!!! I envy those of you brave enough to date the unknown, to venture into countries other than our own! As you said, I’m sure the exhilaration of walking the streets and seeing the sites of historical fame must be the ultimate!!!

  18. How lovely it was to go travelling through Italy with you today, Emily, it brought back some super memories of visiting that wonderful country. The sights, the sounds, the food!
    Happy Mosaic Monday.

  19. Wow! Emily! What a treat! You can be my tour guide (from my armchair) anyday!

  20. I absolutely CAN feel it Emily! What a wonderful trip. Truly what dreams are made of. I have a feeling you’re going to remember this one for a very long time.


  21. Oh Emily, I felt like I was traveling along with you on your trip. I love the architecture, especially those green shutters on the facade. Your photos are just stunning. What a trip, can't wait for part 3.

  22. Emily, What a wonderful and amazing trip. Love the old buildings. Thanks for sharing and have a great week. Sylvia D.

  23. Really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.

  24. Your photos make me want to go back to that part of Italy -- it's really been a long time since we were there.

    best... mae at

  25. I've always wanted to go to Italy. Thanks for sharing your pictures from your trip. I enjoyed looking at them!




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