Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Rome - 22.11.2012

Today, we decided to visit St Peters Basillica. We caught the small bus (119) to stop Argentina, where we changed buses to 126, which was supposed to go to St Peters, however we ended up at the bus Termini, where we transferred to another 126, which did go to St Peters, however we went one stop to far, and had to walk back- luckily not too far. There was a queue to enter St Peters, due to security screening, but it moved quite quickly. There was obviously someone important about to leave the Vatican as there were police and guards everywhere until the motorcade had passed - pretty sure it wasn't the Pope, as not enough bell & whistles !!! We visited St Peters last time we were in Rome, and were still amazed at how big and opulent it is. We caught a cab back to the Borghese Gallery, as we didn't want to miss our allotted time slot. This gallery has a lot of Benini sculptures in it, which are beautiful works of art ! A lot of religious painting and Caravaggio's famous Boy with Flowers. The gallery is situated in the Borghese gardens, which are quiet and peaceful and are about 148 acres. There is a trolley bus, that looks like a train takes you on a tour of the park. From here we were able to find the small 119 bus back to the Piazza. A drink at the bar and then a breather before heading out for dinner.

Rome 21.11.2012

After some research, we decided to purchase the Rome Pass, which will give us a 3 day pass on all public transport, and free entry to the first two galleries or museums.
We caught the small bus that runs from the Piazza del Popolo to the Colleseum. We didnt have to queue as the Rome pass has a dedicated line, which was great, as the line was quite long. What an incredible place, as we first entered there was a museum like display on the history of Rome. It's hard to describe just how amazing it is. When you think that all those years ago they were able to build a stadium that is much like arenas we have today . They even had the ability to cover it if needed !! From here John toured the Forum - I decided that my legs had already done enough for one morning. According to John, it was a good decision, as there were lots of stairs !! He was able to stand on the spot were Marc Antony made his famous speech to the Roman people after the assination of Julius Caesar - "Friends Romans, countrymen lend me your ears".
We couldn't find the small bus back, so ended up making our way back to the Spanish Steps and just wandered around taking in the atmosphere. Tour hotel has a bar/cafe attached to it, which we visited before heading upstairs to our room for a breather before dinner.
After dinner a walk to the Piazza - check out the parking in Rome !!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Florence - Rome 20.11.2012

Seeing that we were unable to see the Statue of David yesterday, we were up early to make sure we didn't leave Florence without seeing it !!, so if to the museum Accademia. Wow !! What can I say. It is magnificent. As expected it is huge, and the detail is incredible, it just makes you want to sit & look at it!! The museum also has lot of plaster models of statues to be carved. We don't think that Michelangelo did one of David- at least we didn't see it. After looking at the rest of the museum, we couldn't resist going back for one last look at David, as it truly is amazing!! Unfortunately, no photos are allowed - unless you are John!!
The train journey to Rome was only about 1 1/2 hrs, again in a comfortable high speed train, with great scenery. Our hotel, Hotel Mozart is located right on Via del Corso close to the Piazza de Popollo and the Spanish Steps and lots of Churches. Fantastic location. Wow, it's great to be back in Rome

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Florence 19.11.2012

Woops ! Didn't think to check when the Museums were closed in Florence - guess what - all lot of them are closed today -!! After spending some time on the internet John was able to find out that it's only the 2 biggest ones that are closed - one of which has The Statue of David !!
The weather was cold and rainy, so we decided to do the sightseeing bus ! The most uncomfortable bus - only seats upstairs in the supposedly covered area. We caught the bus to the Pont d'Avecio which is over the river Arno. The shops here are all high end jewelry shops - wish I had lots of money !!! A short walk to the Museo Galileo, which was really interesting - lots of ancient telescopes, early measuring and scientific instruments - - we even got to see Galileo"s telescope and his index finger. Next to the Museum del Opera del Duomo for a little more naked sculpture !! Here we saw one of Michelangelo"s Pietas - this one he was making for his own tomb!! It's not quite finished but is beautiful. Also here are the original doors off the Baptistry to the Cathedral Duomo, which are bronze and have been restored - well worth looking at !

Monday, November 19, 2012

Venice - Florence 18.11.2012

After another breakfast overlooking the Grand Canal, there was time for one last stroll around the lanes of Venice, before our train trip to Florence. The trip again was very comfortable and scenic. During the journey I enjoyed the company a lady from Tamworth. The trip was only about 2 1/2 hrs.
After settling in to our Hotel in the centre of Florence, we strolled around, and I was amazed at how big Florence is!! The Cathedral Duomo on the outside is very different to any we have seen - it's not the usual sandstone . Inside is huge and really open.

Venice 17.11.2012

This morning after breakfast we caught the vaporetto to Murano, one of the islands just off Venice. This is where they make the famous Venetian Glass. We sat and watched a Glassblower make a vase and then he made a horse in 5 mins. It was incredible to watch. Murano has a huge amount of shops selling glass - some looks like junk and some is exquisite and very expensive !!
After we arrived back from Murano, we went for a Gondola Ride. Once we were in the smaller canals, it was very peaceful and we were amazed as to how stable the Gondola was. We both really enjoyed the experience ! It was a fun thing to do. Another quick trip to the Rialto Bridge and then back to the hotel for a short rest before dinner.
Tonight for dinner we went to a local pizza place - where again we ran into the couple from Stuttgart. It was great to see them again and we hope to keep in touch by email.

Venice 16.11.2012

Our day started with breakfast overlooking the Grand Canal. We then caught the vaporetto to Piazza San Marco (St Marks Square), via the lagoon, where there were some seriously expensive motor yachts. On the way to San Marcos we visited the Doges Palace. The Doge was the titular leader of the Venetian Republic. The palace, at the time, also served as the Parlimentary Rooms and the Prison, so it's not very palatial !!! From here we walked through Piazza San Marco, alongside and over the canals, and in need of a coffee and somewhere to sit, we found the Hard Rock Cafe ! The first John has ever been into !! We got lost and finally got back to the vaporetto and went to the Rialto Bridge. Back onto the vaporetto to near our hotel, where we wandered the lanes. At dinner, we met a nice couple from Stuttgart, we all ordered pizza, (which was huge), and only John was able to finish it. What a surprise !!!