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The Accidental Tourists-the Adamsons hit Rome (and Rome hits back)!

The Accidental Tourists-the Adamsons hit Rome (and Rome hits back)!

Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 02:08 PM
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All of your references crack me up! You have raised the bar on writing trip reports. Your witty, self-deprecating and informative style make it a very fun read. And thanks for the reminder - it just became prosecco time on our deck too!
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Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 03:49 PM
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Thanks....glad you're getting your psosecco on,
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 05:03 AM
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Hi everyone, the link for day 5 photos from Ostia Antica and La Pergola....

http://s1265.photobucket.com/albums/...bum_view_click
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Old Sep 24th, 2012, 03:13 AM
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Day 6 - Free to "Rome"

Another fabulous breakfast...amazeballs, croissant, crusty bread slathered with butter, fresh juice....all great!  Lots of coffee for Chaz, no hurry...today we have nothing planned at all. But, I do want to see at least one thing and have some shops I want to find.

We caught the subway to Republicca and started there, intentionally this time.

Our first stop would be Il Giardino di Domenico Persiani on via Torino.  On the way we popped into San Bernardino. It is a round church with an amazing honeycomb like ceiling.  More interesting than the Pantheon's ceiling.

We found the garden shop pretty quickly...the street numbering is still an enigma to me.  As we stopped to see where we were, I realized we were standing right in front of the shop! They have lots of garden decor.  A very nice couple runs it.  She is French but speaks good English and he is a man of few words. Their cat Luna, supervises the little shop that is set in a courtyard.  They have lots of  Bocca della Verita,  in several sizes, Bacchus and all kinds of cherubs and all things for outside decoration.  We bought our own mouth of truth that will grace our little nook on our front porch where Sparkling Saturdays take place at 4:00pm.  We also got a cute marble plaque that says beware of dog in Latin.  (Our pups are barkers and talk alot when someone comes to the door). Perfect for us! Everything was well wrapped for travel home (and all made it back safely)!

The lady at Il Giardino told us that the real mouth of truth was nearby and tried to give us directions. It wasn't long before we realized we were not finding it, so we scrapped the search and ended up stopping in at St Paul's within the Walls. It's an Anglican church and we spotted a turtle sunning himself in a fountain outside the door.

We hopped back on the Metro to Spagna and I spotted a group of kids for the second time that day.  I suspect they were a little pickpocketing band and we were glad for the safety pin idea from another Fodorite.  Chaz pinned his pockets so a hand couldn't easily reach in. I had saftey pinned the zippers on my purse and felt a little better about avoiding being victimized while in Rome.  The group of kids had an adult who would stand in the same car, but away from the group of kids who apparently were riding back and forth between major tourist stops.

The steps were much more crowded than they had been when we were there on Friday.  And we headed back down via Condotti in search of a few shops I was interested in.  I tried on a ring that I was hoping wouldn't fit...but it did.  I didn't have an extra 1800 euros, so we said goodbye.  I did buy a unique little leather change purse at Pineider.  I found a few more shops but nothing I couldn't live without.

Here's another thing I loved about Rome, the readily available fresh, cold water.  (just wanted to mention that as we filled up our water bottle at will as we walked all over Rome)

We just couldn't resist the draw of lunch at Roscioli. Another fav about Rome...wonderful pizza that makes a cheap lunch! Well, our wires got crossed and I ordered pizza pomodoro, rosso and mozzarella. I had to wait on the mozzarella and Chaz headed out front with the other two....when I got the pizza he was polishing off the pomodoro.  Turns out we both wanted that, but I thought he wanted the mozzarella....so that ended being  mine and it was good. But Chaz was raving about the pomodoro. Rats! I totally missed out. He ate it all so fast, I didn't get a single bite or a picture.

On the way over to Roscioli, we had passed by Galleria Doria Pamphilj. It came highly recommended by so many of you and so we decided to head there after lunch. But first, Gelateria Corona. Now, this would be our first gelato in Rome. I don't know why we hadn't gotten around to it before but now was the time to start.  I got chocolate and banana, Chaz the stracciatella.  All were terrific. I hated to miss the Orange and Coriander (sorbet, I think)  but never got back to try it.

On to the Galleria Doria Pamphilj...an audio-guide came with admission and turned out to be excellent.  The palazzo was so gorgeous, but like many of the places we went in Rome, no photos.  This was one of our favorite things to do in Rome. Lots of history, a beautiful setting, unbelievable art and no crowds at all.  Thanks to those who made a point of clueing us in on this overlooked gem in Rome. Can you imagine if your family home had a Versailles "like" hall of mirrors, Bernini sculptures and lots of Caravaggio paintings? We liked the narrator's ( a Pamphilj family member)  comment that he and his sister once got in trouble, as children, for roller skating on the terra cotta tile floors. His grandmother (or great grandmother) was English and they were all educated in England, which explains why they all speak more English than Italian. A fellow Fodorite had commented on the narrator's accent , and I thought I would throw that in.

Here's a note....once you get into the actual living areas, no photos and they will track you down, if you do it anyway. We saw a monitor go find a fellow visitor and she got  all over him for taking pictures.  I wish I had pictures to share...only a few busts on the way in and a shot of a marvelous bath.

We made our way to the Pantheon for our second visit...made better by the info we got from Daniella on Saturday. I had been looking for a stationary store nearby and we stepped into Albergo del Senato to inquire about the location....it got us thinking that this may be the place to stay next time.! Turns out, alot of you agree. We never did find the shop, but as we made our way back to the Spagna metro station, I looked up and there was the glove shop I had wanted to find (Di  Cori)

It is tiny but they have more leather gloves, in more colors than you can imagine. But could a find a pair that would fit me? I have very small hands and feet....size 3 1/2 rings, 4 1/2 shoes. Gloves never fit me....the fingers are always to long.  While I didn't get the plum color I really wanted. They did have one brown pair that fit well, only the pinky is just a tad too long and that's practically perfect for me. 

I would also like to thank Chaz for toting around the heavy items from Il Giardino ALL day! The error in my plan was going there first! And he is totally given a pass for eating all the pizza pomodoro. 

Back to Hilton Heaven for clean up and pre-dinner prosecco.

Our dinner reservations were for La Gensola, an osteria in Trastavere. To this point, the bellmen at the Hilton had been so good about making sure the taxi drivers knew where we wanted to go.  We gave the address and name of the restaurant  and we thought the driver knew where he was going but we were dropped at the piazza where Santa Maria in Trastavere is located, which is not exactly where we needed to be.  We walked over to the church because we had plenty of time. We entered the church and were amazed at how beautiful this church is. The mosaics are incredible.  A service was beginning and so we cut our visit short but I would love to go back  and see this church during daylight hours.  It was another "happy accident". 

Our internal GPS and map failed  us again as we searched for the La Gensola. We went every direction except the right one.  Wasn't there a show called  "Land of the Lost" when we were kids? Maybe that is the title I should have given this report! LOL.

Well, we didn't feel too bad when we asked a carabinieri for directions and he didn't know the restaurant or Piazza Gensola. His partner did know and we got directions....and off we went.  Just when I was about to give up, I was looking around to see where we were and there was La Gensola.

The staff there is very good and we had an excellent meal.  They brought out some little fried chickpeas things to start.  We split an order of rigatoni carbonara to share.  Sooo good.  I had  grilled langoustines and Chaz had cod topped with tomato and basil. Both good, but Chaz won the round.  Light and fresh, simple and delicious! We finished with some cinnamon gelati to share.  The only thing we didn't enjoy was the woman at another table who read all of her birthday emails to her husband aloud at the table in a Charlie Brown teacher voice.  In fact, the guy we saw peeing on the street on the way to the taxi stand  was far more interesting than listening to her read every single email she got that day.

We would definitely go back to La Gensola and we appreciated that there were no BS charges on the bill!

We enjoyed our day of wandering around Rome but turned in relatively early. 

Next up: We can't find our way around Rome...could we find our way out of Rome?
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Old Sep 24th, 2012, 05:41 AM
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So glad you enjoyed La Gensola! A favorite of mine too. The seafood there is extraordinarily good, glad to see you both had seafood dishes.
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Old Sep 24th, 2012, 08:13 AM
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"We also got a cute marble plaque that says beware of dog in Latin. �(Our pups are barkers and talk alot when someone comes to the door)."

'CAVE CANEM', That 'Beware of the dog' saying is popular today because of this famous mosaic in Pompeii www.groovypetblog.com/cavecanem.jpg

Chaining a dog in the front entryway was an ancient burglar alarm esp at night also chaining a slave there was common.

A canem in the 'right place' at the 'right time' for this photo.
http://gelatojourney.files.wordpress...10/06/0673.jpg Regards, Walter
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Old Sep 24th, 2012, 09:12 AM
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LCI...we have learned you order seafood at a seafood place...don't go there and get a steak!

Walter...yes, cave canem is the plaque. We saw the plaques with "attenti al cane" and the dog that looks like that mosaic. Actually, a friend of mine gave us one from Positano years ago. Our dogs are excellent alarms but not chained! Is that your dog in the photo? Ours are Shelties and look a lot like the dog in the photo (especially when they have their summer hair cut). Thanks for the history lesson....maybe you could put everything you know on a flash drive and send it to me! Would love to transfer all that data straight into my head.
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Old Sep 24th, 2012, 12:49 PM
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Here is the link to the day 6 photos of our "free" day in Rome....The album somehow missed a 6 on the end of the name.

http://s1265.photobucket.com/albums/...me%202012-day/
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Old Sep 24th, 2012, 04:08 PM
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The "original" cave canem mosaic is in Pompeii. When I was there as a high school student it was easily visible, but now 40 odd years later, it is behind an iron work protective grate, poorly lit, and a disappointment. I bought a postcard of it.
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Old Sep 24th, 2012, 05:25 PM
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That seems to always be the way it is with something that becomes well known ....it gets so popular it has to be protected, and ten you can't see it anymore.
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Old Sep 24th, 2012, 06:02 PM
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LOL, No I found the photo on google images and thought it was unique with a live dog standing on the Cave Canem mosaic.
It is extremely likely that it is just one of the many strays in Pompeii.

I was always a dog person but now later in life my babies are 2 cats, which are self-cleaning and potty trained.

I'm just a Roman history buff/nerd and when I see a something I know about in a post or they mention an interest in something historical I just like to add additional info to it if possible.

My favorite photo in your album is Day 2 #32 because very often what you can't see in the Roman Forum is the most interesting.

Between and in front of those 2 statue bases hidden just a few inches underground is an entrance ramp.

I've been convinced for years and it is the only logical place for a Via Sacra entrance way into the Domus Publica (that location is definite) which was the house where the Pontifex Maximus lived.

Years after Julius Caesar's death Emperor Augustus gave the Domus to the Vestal Virgins to expand the House of the Vestals.
Rebuilt, destroyed by fire, rebuilt, fire, rebuilt, etc.

So the Domus Publica is beneath all that, never to be excavated except for this ramp that lead into in which was excavated and only filled back in recently?

I firmly believe that if you went back in time (standing where you took that photo) to March 15, 44BC late morning you would see the Pontifex Maximus in a litter being carried out of his house and down that ramp.

Later in the afternoon 3 slaves walk up this ramp carrying the dead body of the Pontifex Maximus
home.

This on the last day that Julius Caesar was the Pontifex Maximus.

Cool photo Regards, Walter

p.s. I've posted a Julius Caesar Assassination walk here @ Fodors where I mentioned that ramp before.
I plan on adding more info about this ramp and why I think it is the entrance to the Domus Publica soon.
So if you and Chaz don't mind I'd like to include just the URL to that photo, I already have a photo of that area when it was excavated but not one since it was filled in. THX
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Old Sep 24th, 2012, 06:10 PM
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Absolutely, Walter feel free to include the URL. I am amazed at your knowledge...have already forgotten so much since the trip!
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Old Sep 24th, 2012, 06:58 PM
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"The "original" cave canem mosaic is in Pompeii. "When I was there as a high school student it was easily visible, but now 40 odd years later, it is behind an iron work protective grate, poorly lit, and a disappointment. I bought a postcard of it."

True but it is for the best until at least they can protect it (if ever) from 'wear and tear' and of the small pieces becoming tourist souvenirs.

Notice all the loose small green tiles in front of the dog.
http://gelatojourney.files.wordpress...10/06/0673.jpg

I once took a Context Rome tour with archaeologist Darius Arya in Ostia Antica where we came across one of the large floor mosaics.

One side where the foot traffic on the mosaic was the heaviest the edge had become dislodged and the small tiles seperated and were just lying around loose.

I don't recall the exact conversation we had but I do remember his passion over the destruction.

Figure every week it gets alittle larger and a piece or two is lost forever. Regards, Walter
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Old Sep 25th, 2012, 03:53 AM
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We were wondering about many of the sites we went to where ruins were wide open with little or no staff at all watching visitors. Hadrian's Villa and Ostia Antica seemed particularly vulnerable to overzealous visitors and/or vandals. You hope that no one will decide to take things or destroy anything.
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Old Sep 25th, 2012, 08:24 AM
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Day 7- On to Orvieto

Well, on to Orvieto, if the Adamsons can get to Termini, buy tickets and get on the correct train!  It had rained during the night and the weather was cooler and cloudy.

We got on the train at Cipro and rode to Termini.  Following Rick Steves info on the train station we started looking for the red, white and green automated ticket machines, which we did not find.  We did find a line for tickets that wasn't too bad and Chaz went to look again for the automated machines.  I got to the person at the account and said "orvieto" and he pointed upstairs. Apparently, it is two flights up from the Metro track! Up we went and there were about 30 of the automated ticket machines.

Very easy to use and we got tickets to and from Orvieto.  Now, to find the track....too far ahead and all the monitors were tied up with trains leaving before the train to Firenze/Orvieto.

I decided that a bathroom break would be smart and off I went.  Could the toilettes be any further away from the tracks?  No, they couldn't be AND you have to pay a euro to go. The emperor Vespasian would be so proud, as he was the father of the urine tax  ("Money doesn't smell), as we learned from Vincenzo earlier in the week.

After walking about half mile to get to the bathroom and back, we went back to the tracks and figured out the right track.  We encountered two "helpful" teens who were annoyingly insistent on helping us, whether we wanted help or not.  And of course, they are there to make money.  Just as I was figuring out that our train would leave not from track 2 but 2ES (or ER or something like that) and we started heading that way, the kid started trying to get our attention and some money.  I just kept walking, as the departure time was getting close and I didn't want to miss the train.  It is a haul to that track and we got there with 5 minutes to spare. We accidentally validated the return tickets, as well. Oops. 

We hopped on the train and looked at the map and didn't see Orvieto.  Oh no.  
I decided to ask the guys outside the train, who said "10:30" in Italian.  Alright, I don't know why the train map inside the car doesn't have the stops (maybe different train cars are use to run different routes) but all you need to know is when the train gets to your destination.  You can start paying attention a little bit before then to make sure you don't miss your stop.  

There were a few Brits and Americans going on to Florence, so felt sure we were on the right train.

We had a Jersey shore Italian style couple across from us and that was entertaining for the trip. And an attendant did come though to check our tickets.  Otherwise, the train ride was uneventful but comfortable.

 We got there, off the train and on to the funicular with no problem.  There was a group of Americans on the tram with us and they were all trying to figure out whether the funicular ticket seller had short changed them.  They were loud and no one knew who had paid, so I don't know how in the world they decided that they didn't get the right change.  (in my head, I was screaming "shut up"at them)!

We took in the incredible view at the overlook where the funicular lets you off.  It is worth stopping for.  Chaz wasn't too into waiting for the bus that takes you to the cathedral, so we headed up the little road that leads up to the duomo.

Orvieto is a little postcard town.  Lots of quaint alleys and passageways to photograph.  We made our way up and shopped a little on the way up.  I wanted to find some ceramics to ship back home.  

We found the Art Shop (Via del Duomo, 28)  which is a tiny shop full of Italian ceramics, just down from the duomo.  The woman in the shop spoke just enough English to be very helpful.  They ship to the US (in fact we had our shipment 3 days after arriving home and in perfect condition). We selected a traditionally  patterned salt container for a friend and then several pieces in an olive motif for us.  I already wish I had bought more, but I think you can email them to buy more (www.orvietart.it) . They have lots of bottles for vinegar and oil, plates of all kinds, salt and sugar holders for the table...great stuff for the home kitchen and entertaining.

Next we hit an olive wood shop and I believe the name is "Patris" (via del Magoni, 11) .  We have been wanting a cool mortar and pestle and a salt cellar for the kitchen.  The wood at the shop is beautifully patterned and they have all sorts of things.  The proprietor (Umberto, I think) is super nice and very helpful.  He is proud of his work and love to show you how a quick buff of the wood with sunflower oil produces a gorgeous luster in the wood.  His wife is American, from Florida, and still learning Italian.  We ended up buying a few olive wood bread boards, a salt cellar and a mortar and pestle set.  They are all so pretty with most unique patterns in the wood.

From there, we visited the duomo. The exterior is beautiful, very ornate.  I love the black and white marble stripes that make up the walls. Stripes are always in style! 

Now we had been told that the cathedral was free but the chapel of Brizio was not.  When we were there, you had to pay to get into the church period (3 euros per person).  The inside of the church is pretty with frescoed walls.  The chapel of San Brizio is to the right and is really something.  Signorelli's paintings are incredible and you can understand the story that is being told, with a little "pre-work".  The End of the World and the Preaching of the Anti-Christ are very interesting to see.

There was a service going on in English in another chapel in the church. Always strange to hear anything in English when you are abroad!  The church is pretty, not grand on the scale of so many Roman churches, but unique and worth a visit.  The only thing that detracts are the stacks and stacks of ugly chairs along the walls. I am sure they are used for services (and what else can be done with them), but they don't add to the experience.

By then, we needed some lunch.  We decided to have a nice, long lunch and sample the Classico  wine then, since we missed our wine tasting.  The Trattoria La Grotta  ( via Luca Signorelli, 5) was down a passage way not too far from the church.  The walls had interesting paintings in little arched niches. The chairs were wood and the tables were dressed in red and gold linens, very warm! The service was good and friendly enough. As usual, we were first in but the restaurant filled up while we were there.  

We ordered a recommended bottle of Classico and we both ordered the pasta all'amitriciana.  The pasta was terrific and hit the spot on a chilly day.  We enjoyed the wine (Ca Viti Classico) as well.  We decided to relax with the wine and end with a cheese selection.  It was also good and we enjoyed the down time.

As they day went on, it got windier and colder.  Chaz noted that I looked a bit like a bag lady in my long printed dress with a clashing printed wrap.  An absolute Glamour "don't", but I was trying to stay warm and Glamour was no where around!

We did a bit more browsing and shopping after our long lunch.  I know there was more to see in Orvieto, but we enjoyed having nowhere to be and just strolling the town.  We will do the Etruscan excavations and St Patrick's well another time.    

We visited a small gallery with very modern pieces, not our taste.  (I did get a great shot of a pomegrante, the lady in the shop says the tree always produces just one fruit). 

Despite the cold, we wanted to get some gelato.  There is a great gelatateria to the left of the duomo (Pasqualetti). Too bad the weather was chilly because they have a great patio outside.  With the bad weather, there was no line.  I tried the Crema and Chaz went for half and half, tiramisu and Cappuccino.   The Crema is a little like a custard, I couldn't quite put my finger on the flavor but it was good. 

I also spent  a little time looking for a few Christmas gifts. We made our way back down the road that leads back to the funicular.  We saw a little shrine in a niche just off the road, and I now think it may have been the entrance to a pre-school.   I got a cute shot of a sweet little dog hanging around the main passageway.  We probably could have taken the ~4:00pm train but went back to the overlook area.  The sun was out and we took more shots of the views.  We saw a little black Sheltie walking around with its parents in the park where the overlooks were located. It turns out they were on the funicular when we got on.

I asked the couple if they spoke English and they did. They were a Dutch couple and were so excited when I told them we have two Shelties at home. Dog lovers are everywhere. The little dog was so sweet and just 8 months old.  The couple was on the way to Germany from there to pick up a new Sheltie puppy before returning to Holland. She showed us pictures of the new puppy and the parents of the one with them, who were gorgeous dogs! They were great to talk to.

We stopped in at a very local bar across from the train station to get an diet coke and an espresso.  We thoroughly enjoyed watching the Italian music videos.  They are like going back in time, like 80's American videos, but worse. 

We went on to the station to wait on the tracks...that was quite windy and cold. The train was also late by about 10-15 minutes. We got stuck waiting by two German chain-smoking teen boys, who looked liked they wanted to kill us. Where is that train?

We made it on to the train and an easy ride back to Rome.  I got to see first hand that the "50 Shades of Gray" phenomenon is truly global...the woman across the aisle had her head buried in the Italian version.

It wasn't raining when we got back and we managed to miss any rain in Orvieto, but you could see it had been raining. We took the metro back to Cipro and headed out to find a taxi for the trip back to the Hilton.  Yep, it started raining and as we ran to the cab stand I ended up stepping right into a water filled hole. ..definitely an accident.  As in any city, cabs are scarce when it rains.  We did get the only one anywhere near the taxi stand and we thrilled to get it.

After being gone all day, we were a bit tired (and now my feet were wet). We had an early meeting time the next day for the Vatican Museums tour with Walks of Italy.  We decided to head straight for the hotel restaurant for something quick. The staff at L'Uliveto was so accomodating. We were not dressed up but at least it was early.  Marco was our waiter and he picked up on the fact that we just wanted something easy (probably because we still had all of our purchases with us).  He told us they could make whatever we wanted, pizza, pasta, anything. Perfect.  We split some prosciutto and melon, cacio e pepe and a pizza margarita.  Marco was lots of fun and we were in and out quickly with a very good dinner.  Many thanks to everyone at L'Uliveto.

Up to our room to lounge for a few minutes in our fluffy hotel robes and houseshoes! We really enjoyed Orvieto...great day, great trip!

We set the iPad and iPhone alarms to get up at 6:30 for a quick breakfast and dash over to the Vatican Museum for the tour.  The Sistine Chapel awaits!


Next up: An Unexpected Visitor and the Amazing Vatican Museums
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Old Sep 25th, 2012, 01:17 PM
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Mrs. Peabody and I felt that the best gelato on our Rome gelato crawl was at Il Gelateria del Teatro. Intense flavors, combinations beyond imagining. Or just get the world's best pistacchio.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...ome_Lazio.html
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Old Sep 25th, 2012, 01:38 PM
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Each day we get a different and charming story. This one reminded me of a lovely (sunny) day in Orvieto 2 years ago. Grest memories! Thanks, Denise.
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Old Sep 25th, 2012, 03:46 PM
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Hey, taconic...we really enjoyed Orvieto and wouldn't mind going back for an overnight stay and hopping over to Civita.

AJP....we failed miserably in the gelato department. Only two visits for gelato, so we will have to improve next time. It may have had something to do with not being able to lay off the pizza from Forno and Roscioli.
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Old Sep 25th, 2012, 06:23 PM
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Here is the link to the pictures from our day in Orvieto:

http://s1265.photobucket.com/albums/...02012-Orvieto/
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Old Sep 25th, 2012, 08:15 PM
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Love your travel report! I'm leaving for Italy in three weeks, and though I'll have a much different trip than yours, I am throughly enjoying reading about your fabulous vacation.

Quick technical question, if you don't mind... how do you like the photobucket app? I'm looking at different apps to put on my ipad for posting pics of my trip. How efficient/effective/enjoyable has that app worked for you?
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