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Expat Vagabonds "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness." Mark Twain

Italy

There are [545] photos and [47] stories about Italy


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Rome Redux

Wednesday, 7 Nov 2012 | Views [222]

The problem with budget air-fares is the lay-overs.  But they aren't all bad, either.  Munich to Buenos Aires - more on that in a later story - meant a 23-hour layover in Rome.  It hardly seems possible that I was saying "Guten Tag" on ... Read more >


Ciao, Italia

Sunday, 4 Mar 2012 | Views [359]

We left Sicily at nine last night on the overnight train from Palermo.  It was a debate right until the last minute whether we would take the train or the ferry.  The train won out more on logistics than on comfort.  Neither the ports of Palermo ... Read more >


Sicily

Friday, 2 Mar 2012 | Views [611]

It sounds so beautiful in Italian - see-cheel-ya.  From the Malta ferry, Sicily looks like a pancake floating on the sea; from Catania like a snow-capped breast; and from the car, it is a three-dimensional maze of hills, valleys and winding roads. ... Read more >


Malta's Ancient Temples

Tuesday, 28 Feb 2012 | Views [1021]

It is more British than Italian and it is nearer to Tunisia than to Rome.  English vies with Maltese as the main language and Big Macs are as common as pasta. The first settlers came from Sicily but it has been occupied by Arabs, Normans, Spaniards ... Read more >


The Maltese Cross - ing

Sunday, 26 Feb 2012 | Views [1486]

Mt. Etna loomed steaming above Catania, which may, or may not, be a World Heritage site. We didn’t have time to explore.   We had a bus to catch, a ferry to board and as it turned out, a date to meet Francesco in Pozzallo, though neither he nor we ... Read more >


Is That Any Way to Run a Railroad?

Saturday, 25 Feb 2012 | Views [578]

It is a strange trip indeed from Sorrento to Sicily.  We began by traveling north on the Circumvesuviana line to Naples. Then we boarded the southbound train, first-class was all they had available, to Reggio Calabria on Italy's tippy-toe where, like ... Read more >


Photos: Sicily

Saturday, 25 Feb 2012 | Photo Gallery


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Amalfi Coast

Friday, 24 Feb 2012 | Views [307]

The road along the Amalfi Coast is so narrow that drivers are advised to fold in their side mirrors and many cars bear scars on the driver’s side.   The locals speed into the turns and drift across the center line, scaring the daylights out of us tourists.... Read more >


Paestum

Thursday, 23 Feb 2012 | Views [825]

The archeologists who “discovered” it in the 18 th Century can be forgiven for naming it the Temple of Ceres after the Greek goddess of agriculture.   Its columns glow like golden sheaves of wheat in the morning sun.   More modern excavations ... Read more >


Sassi of Matera

Tuesday, 21 Feb 2012 | Views [393]

On the surface Matera seems to be a new (for Italy) town, built in the 1960s.  But there is an old town where any building could date back to the 8th Century, or earlier.  We had the slippery, narrow streets and steep stairways to ourselves on this ... Read more >


Palaces, Castles and Trulli Houses

Monday, 20 Feb 2012 | Views [579]

Driving from Sorrento to Caserta was tedious, tiring and, frankly, disgusting.  Once away from the coast the road is a tour through one dirty, potholed town after another, seemingly in circles.  Once out of the populated areas the roadside is bordered ... Read more >


Photos: South of Naples

Saturday, 18 Feb 2012 | Photo Gallery


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Pompeii and Herculaneum

Friday, 17 Feb 2012 | Views [569]

If you lived in Pompeii, August 24 in the year 79 AD would have been a good day to be out of town.  Around noon, Mt. Vesuvius began pouring tons of ash into the sky.  It had been rumbling for a few days but no one thought much of it.  As the ash piled ... Read more >


Photos: Pompeii and Herculaneum

Friday, 17 Feb 2012 | Photo Gallery


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Naples and Sorrento

Thursday, 16 Feb 2012 | Views [443]

Naples is the most densely populated - and supposedly one of the most corrupt - cities in Europe.  The guidebooks post warnings, fellow travelers spin tales of woe and even the public address system at the station remind passengers to be cautious of ... Read more >


A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Tuesday, 14 Feb 2012 | Views [401]

It was closed!  And the Colosseum.  And the Palantine Hill, too.  They were still closed five days after the "Blizzard of 2012" dumped one centimeter of snow on Rome!  I guess we can understand the reasoning.  The temperature hasn't risen ... Read more >


Plan B

Saturday, 11 Feb 2012 | Views [330]

It's always good to have a backup plan.  With snow in Friday's forecast, even the single centimeter predicted, Hizonner, the mayor, still smarting from last week's surprise snow, virtually closed Rome.  "Chiuso" as they say for schools, government ... Read more >


Bernini's Masterpieces in Marble

Thursday, 9 Feb 2012 | Views [1297]

Cameras are not permitted in the Borghese Gallery, which is a pity.  The gallery is home to three of the most striking marbles, all by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Gothic successor to Renaissance Michelangelo.  If both were sports sculptors, Michelangelo ... Read more >


The Sistine Chapel

Wednesday, 8 Feb 2012 | Views [781]

Michelangelo's paintings in the Sistine Chapel are the most spectacular I have ever seen or ever will see; arguably the best art ever created by man.   Not yet 30, Michelangelo considered himself a sculptor, not a painter, when he was coerced by Pope ... Read more >


Vatican City: St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museum

Wednesday, 8 Feb 2012 | Views [1401]

The Vatican is a nation within a city, and is a world unto itself.   It is the center of Catholicism and home to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.   St. Peter’s Basilica is the centerpiece of the Vatican and is the largest church in Christendom.... Read more >


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