Back in the world: Italy Edition

October 3rd, 2015Posted by Nancy

It’s been a very long time since I posted here, obviously. I’ve launched the book, been to Italy, survived the summer in a blur of activity, haven’t completely imploded from my job and it’s already September. Time to get back in the world and start doing things again, even writing a blog no one reads.

But let’s not overdo it on the first day. Intead, here are some pictures of Italy. We spend two weeks there in May, going from Rome to Venice to Montalcino to Florence and then back to Rome. Other than having my wallet stolen on the metro on the last day of the trip (and I was paranoid enough to have all my credit cards and most of my money stashed somewhere else, so all they got was 50 euros, some receipts and an Ontario driver’s license), it was wonderful. Loved Venice, liked Rome better than I thought I would (despite aforementioned loss), wished it had not rained ALL the time in Florence, and enjoyed the Tuscan countryside. The food was incredible, the wine even better.

Our apartment in Rome. I have mixed feelings about staying in apartments (I know it’s taking away housing stock from locals) but it is so much more pleasant than staying in hotels. Several of the owners bemoaned the state of the economy in Italy and they relied on the apartments or agritourism rental cottages to stay afloat.
The view from the apartment in Rome

We went to Pompeii, hiked up Vesuvius, and toured the Vatican and the Colisseum/Palatine Hill complex. We sprang for the guided tours on most of the trip (including three tours in one day in Florence) because it allowed us to skip the lines and make the most of our limited time in each city. I admit to fondness for the movie Gladiator and had a few flashbacks while touring the Colosseum, especially of the circling shot when the “barbarian horde” first walks out into the arena.
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From Rome, we took the train to Venice. I loved Venice. Yes, it’s touristy. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, it’s a “disneyfied”shell of it’s former self. It was still beautiful, fascinating and full of art, food, history and mystery.
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Our trip coincided with the Venice Bienale contemporary art show, so we spent a day (not long enough) visiting the pavilions and exhibitions. Below is the South Korean entry – a short science fiction film guaranteed to appeal to people like us.
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Life in the Tuscan countryside is easy for a visitor. It was a bit tougher for the hardworking team on the farm where we stayed. Well, except for the resident cats, who mostly slept and attempted to mooch food.
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It rained in Florence, which meant we were even happier to spend time looking at old scientific instruments at the Musee Galileo and the art at the Uffizi gallery. The colour and detail was overwhelming. One of my favorites was by Filippo Lippi and featured these lovely little girls, who are a trifle bored by the grand events around them.
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