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17 amazing days in Tuscany, Positano and Rome – June 2014!

17 amazing days in Tuscany, Positano and Rome – June 2014!

Old Oct 14th, 2014, 07:15 PM
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Pictures from Day 15.

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Old Oct 14th, 2014, 11:41 PM
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nice pics again, John. If it's any comfort, the builders seem to follow us around too.

We too had a funny encounter with a bride in Rome, in our case on the very long steps leading up to the church at the top of the Capitoline Hill. The bride in question, who of course had to walk up all these steps in her long dress was stopped half-way up having a very heated conversation on her mobile with someone, who we speculated she was berating for having the stupid idea of her getting married in a church which required her to walk all that way in her finery.

Not a good start to the marriage!
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Old Oct 15th, 2014, 05:10 AM
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All caught up! Too bad about your apartment, john183, but glad you liked the neighborhood. We stayed near Piazza Cavour one time--just across the Tiber from your apt. and really liked that area as well. You were just a skip from Popolo---which we loved.

Our bride was in Florence and significantly younger than the groom. He strained everything to scoop her up in his arms for a photo!

More, please!
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Old Oct 18th, 2014, 12:29 PM
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Rome (Day 16)

We had a quick breakfast at the apartment before walking a couple of blocks to the nearest bus stop to catch the #53 to the Borghese Gallery. We waited and waited but the #53 never came. We went in to a TI office where they checked the schedule and verified it should show up soon, but if we wanted to we could take another bus (I forget the number now) and it would go to the same place. We had 11 AM tickets for the Borghese and thought we had left in plenty of time to get there. Even though it was walkable to get there from where we were, we had waited so long for the bus that it would be very close if we took off walking now.

Finally the other bus showed up and we got on. I had printed out the #53 route so I would know where to get off but I had no idea of the route for this bus. I went to the front and asked the driver where to get off for the Borghese and he told me but I had a hard time understanding him. He finally said to just stay where I was and he would tell me when to get off. He was really nice about it and sure enough, at one of the stops he said to get off and go across the street to the left. We did that and arrived at the Borghese at about 10:30 – perfect timing.

We went in and easily picked up the tickets that I had bought online weeks earlier. We checked our things (the ladies even had to check their relatively small purses) and figured out we had to stand in the audioguide line to sign up for an English tour – which we did. Our docent showed up on time and she was a really sweet lady who had to be at least in her late seventies. She asked if anyone had difficulty climbing stairs and when we all said no, the first thing we did was climb up a couple of long flights of steps to the upper level (about 90 steps total). We were totally impressed with our docent who led us at a fairly fast pace up the steps. She had her microphone turned on and we could hear that she was barely breathing hard when she finally took a break near the top so some of us youngsters could catch our breath. Too funny!

We were very happy with our docent - very interesting commentary and we felt she did a good job of picking what to talk about. Because they limit the number of people it was blissfully uncrowded (at times our group of 8 was alone in some of the rooms). And it was nice and cool – we really appreciated the a/c! We had about a half hour to ourselves after the tour was finished before our two hours were up so we went back to see some of our favorites again plus we saw a few new things. This is one of our favorite museums anywhere. It reminds me of the Orangerie Museum in Paris, not large but a very enjoyable experience.

We left and walked through the gardens on our way to Piazza Popolo. It was hot so we stopped at a restaurant inside the gardens for a break. We were seated at a nice table outside and decided to go ahead and have lunch. Even though the food was just ok, the cold drinks and the setting were nice. We continued on to Piazza Popolo and came across a very nice panoramic view of Rome from the area where you go down the steps to the piazza. We walked around the piazza for a while then went back to the apartment to rest a bit before doing one of the things on this trip I was really looking forward to – watching Italy play Croatia in the World Cup at some little bar.

When it was game time we eventually found a nice little place close to our apartment with outdoor seating – except there were no empty tables. As we were standing there trying to figure out what to do, the waiter came over and said he would be happy to bring a table and chairs out for us from the inside. So that is what we did. It was exactly what I had hoped for - it looked like lots of people from the neighborhood were gathered around to watch. We ordered and settled in for what I hoped would be a very exciting match - Italy was favored to win.

It was not to be. Italy did not play very well at all and everyone was completely depressed. I don’t think we had anything to cheer about for the whole match. What a letdown – but that’s the way it goes. After the game was over, we went back to the apartment, chatted for a while then went to bed. An excellent morning at the Borghese and a disappointing evening of football watching on our third day in Rome!
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Old Oct 18th, 2014, 01:00 PM
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Pictures from Day 16.

https://john183italy2014.shutterfly.com/pictures/536
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Old Oct 18th, 2014, 01:09 PM
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annhig - Some ideas sound good until you actually try to do them - too funny. Did she eventually make it up or just say the heck with it?

TDudette - I hope the groom didn't strain "everything" LOL! We liked Popolo too.
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Old Oct 18th, 2014, 02:01 PM
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john- we eventually gave up watching her - it seemed too cruel. presumably she eventually made it to the top but I wouldn't have wanted to have been the groom.
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Old Oct 20th, 2014, 01:04 PM
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Rome (Day 17)

Another quick breakfast at the apartment before walking towards the Forum. As we were walking, we went past several stores that sold various religious items (things like vestments, sashes, crosses and monstrances). We did not try to go in but I wish we would have - it just never occurred to me that these kinds of stores existed and I would have liked to look around a little.

We went to the ticket office just off Via del Fori Imperial and found almost no line. We bought our combination Forum, Colosseum, Palatine Hill tickets and rented audiguides in no time at all. We walked around the Forum for a while, turned in our audioguides and waited only a short time to get in to the Colosseum. We of course liked the Forum but for some reason my wife and I liked the Colosseum more on this trip than we did the last time we were here.

We were very hot so we stopped at the first bar we came to which was right next to the Forum. We knew it was probably a mistake to try a place this close to one of the most famous tourist sites in the world but how hard could it be to get a cold drink and some pasta or pizza, right? Obviously pretty hard. The food and drinks were just OK but the service was terrible. Oh well, it lived up to our expectations.

We went back to the apartment and did some packing for our trip home tomorrow. We then went to Castello San Angelo and like the Colosseum, we enjoyed it a lot more this time than we did on our last trip. We had a quick drink to cool off at the terrace bar in the Castello San Angelo – very nice. We then went towards the Campo di Fiori looking for a restaurant that was supposed to have fantastic ravioli that someone had told us about. We easily found the restaurant and made a reservation for about an hour later. We were very close to where our original apartment (the one that flooded) was located and we wanted to go check it out.

I wish we had done this earlier in the week. If we would have, we probably would have liked the one they gave us a lot better. The original apartment was down a filthy graffiti covered alley and the nearby neighborhood felt very sketchy. The door looked like a prison door to us and it had multiple security cameras next to it. I know several of you said to not give up on apartments in Rome but this one looked nice online and the neighborhood descriptions and guest comments also looked good. But it was in a nasty area and I would have been surprised if the inside was any better. Live and learn, right?

After that, we went back to the restaurant and had some good but not fantastic ravioli then back to the apartment to finish packing. It was actually an excellent last day in Rome seeing the sites that we did - but we were exhausted and ready to go home!
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Old Oct 20th, 2014, 01:05 PM
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Pictures from Day 17.

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Old Oct 20th, 2014, 01:07 PM
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Last day - Flight home

We used the same limo company that we had used to get from Naples to Positano and the limo was outside our door on time. We quickly made it to the airport and easily made it through security. We found a place for breakfast near our gate and eventually got on the plane very close to the scheduled time.

Shortly after we were all settled, the pilot said we had been given a two hour flight delay for some reason. But shortly after that he said the delay had been rescinded and we were about to go. But shortly after that he announced we were delayed again. Crazy! At this point the flight attendants began serving drinks while we were still sitting at the gate.

I started watching a movie and we eventually took off about two hours late. I watched 5 (yes 5) movies on the way home and we landed in Atlanta only one hour late. Our driver met us and we were soon home. K & K went home and my wife and I decided our welcome back to the USA meal would be hamburgers. So we had some gigantic hamburgers and fries and a glass of Italian wine we brought home in our suitcase to celebrate the end of 17 amazing days in Italy.

Oops – I forgot that according to a different thread here, because I enjoy most of the things I do on vacation and I write in the conventional Fodors/Tripadvisor format, I’m supposed to end this by saying everything was fabulous and we had a wonderful time. So there it is.
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Old Oct 20th, 2014, 04:50 PM
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>>> As we were walking, we went past several stores that sold various religious items (things like vestments, sashes, crosses and monstrances). We did not try to go in but I wish we would have - it just never occurred to me that these kinds of stores existed and I would have liked to look around a little.<<<

??? You didn't stop in Gammarelli near the Pantheon where the Pope gets his red socks? You must go back and get red socks!

http://www.gammarelli.com/schedaProdotto.aspx?cod=558
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Old Oct 20th, 2014, 05:58 PM
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I am sorry to see your travel story end, John. I've enjoyed reading about all your holiday adventures, every authentic word! Your accompanying photos were great, too.

Thank you!
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Old Oct 21st, 2014, 01:24 AM
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As we were walking, we went past several stores that sold various religious items (things like vestments, sashes, crosses and monstrances). We did not try to go in but I wish we would have - it just never occurred to me that these kinds of stores existed and I would have liked to look around a little.>>

Following on from what ky says, I knew about these shops from reading HV Morton "A Traveller in Rome" - he has a lovely section about how before a new pope is chosen, they make 4 sets of clothes, including the red pumps, in sizes XS to XL so that the new incumbent will be able to be properly clad when he makes his appearance on the balcony. One pope was however so small that even the smallest robes swamped him and he had to stand on a box in order to be seen by the crowds. Well worth getting hold of a copy if you are interested in such ephemera.

loved your TR and it sounds as if you may have had a lucky escape with the first apartment. OTOH you shouldn't judge a book by its cover - the apartment we rented in Venice was round the back of some public toilets and looked from the outside to be rather grim, and even the stairs up to the front door we unprepossessing. But when we got in there it was very modern and pretty comfortable - and even the electrics worked! [not a given in italian apartments].
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Old Oct 21st, 2014, 03:27 AM
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>>>loved your TR and it sounds as if you may have had a lucky escape with the first apartment. OTOH you shouldn't judge a book by its cover<<<

I didn't think the street for the 1st apartment looked bad. Almost any alley in Trastevere has more graffiti. Often doors like that will open into very nice courtyards or interior space. I would be wary of booking with that company though as I don't believe all these flooded apartment stories. I do find most hotels/apartments in Italy don't update as often and things can often be worn.
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Old Oct 21st, 2014, 03:00 PM
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2010 - Thanks for the nice words. I just found your TR and I'm looking forward to reading it.

annhig & kybourbon - oh had I only known. Buying Pope socks in Rome is now on my bucket list. And I see HV Morton's A Traveller in Rome is available for my kindle - can't wait to start reading it. I guess the first apartment could have been OK but the neighborhood wasn't any thing close to as nice as the neighborhood where we ended up. I want it all - nice neighborhood and nice apartment.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2014, 12:49 PM
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john - Mr Morton's style is a little dated, but none the worse for that. I took it to Rome with my on my last visit and read a chunk every night. It was great being able to walk past the places that he'd been describing to me the night before!
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Old Oct 23rd, 2014, 03:37 PM
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annhig - sounds like a perfect book for me. Thanks for letting me know about it. I'm a little late to the table on this book too - I just started reading Peter Mayle's A Year In Provence. We are going there next April and I think I will enjoy his book. I know these kinds of books are not travel guides but I like to read stories about places I've visited or might visit.
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Old Oct 24th, 2014, 01:14 AM
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if you get the HV Morton "bug", John, there are a number of his books about Spain, London, and Italy that might interest you.

I don't think that he did any on France though.
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Old Oct 24th, 2014, 03:55 PM
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John, so glad your Ceramiche Rampini pieces arrived safely and that they fit well in your home.thanks for the fun report.
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Old Oct 27th, 2014, 07:19 PM
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annhig - I've worked my way through all of Donna Leon's books and I'm ready for a new author - I hope I get the HV Morton bug.

HappyTrvlr - We used them for the first time the other day and we like them even more now. I hope to get back to Ceramiche Rampini some day and buy more.
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