Ciao, Italia

Trip Start Jan 13, 2011
Trip End Jul 05, 2011

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Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Saturday, May 7, 2011

Our last five days in Italy... where to go?


First stop was Siena, Florence's smaller, quainter
neighbor to the South. We spent three days exploring the old, walled
city, and soaking up the sun on our little B&B's balcony.  We
especially enjoyed lazing in the huge, shelled-shaped Campo (field), a
cobble-stoned expanse that turns into a horse race arena twice a year for the
famous Palio.  The Campo is totally enclosed by restaurants and
cafes.  Everyone goes to sit there for picnic lunches or just to visit,
toddlers run around chasing pidgeons and school groups mill about taking
pictures.  We really felt like we were part of Italian life

The Duomo (cathedral) was impressive inside as well as out
- the ceiling looked like it had been quilted, it was so heavily

We actually didn't do a whole lot in Siena...but we did find GF apricot croissants and meat-filled
tortellini.  Oh my, Celiac heaven!

We spent an afternoon in Pisa, snapping tons of pictures of the
famous leaning tower - which is just as striking in real life - and perusing
the flea market-style tent shopping along the busy streets.  The amazing
acoustics of the Baptistry were our favorite part of Pisa, though.  Every
30 minutes, an acoustical demonstration is given; the woman who had previously
been standing watch at the door moved to the center of the cavernous, circular,
marble building and opened her mouth.  There was not a sound in the
building except for her voice, which rang high above us long after she'd
finished singing.  She sang the word "lo", holding notes
for several seconds each to create chords as the sound reverberated -
simple triads that sounded amazing because there was only one person
singing!  She was singing in three-part harmony all by herself!

We both left wishing we could magically transport the Spirit of
the Rockies or Singspiration here to "play" with the fun
acoustics!  (Sigh... We're missing our singing friends...)


We spent the night in Lucca, Pisa's less-touristy neighbour town
whose historical center has a wide, treed wall that we happily biked around for
a few hours.


Florence!  Our last stop
in Italy!  We only had a few hours here - just the afternoon and evening
before we caught a night-train to Vienna.  But we found
that a few hours was enough to cover the major sights.

The huge duomo was mind-blowing on the outside but comparatively
plain on the inside.  The highlight of the visit was hiking up to San Miniato al
Monte, the Benedictine church on the hill overlooking the city.  Every
evening at mass, the monks assemble in an underground chapel for Gregorian
chanting, to which visitors are invited.  There were only 5 or 6 monks
singing on the evening we attended, but with the acoustics it sounded as though
there were a lot more.  We walked down to pick up our bags and catch the
train, as the sun was setting over Florence

What a fitting way to say goodbye to a
beautiful country!


Slideshow Report as Spam


Sharon on

May 15
Great pics! Looks amazing, too. Love it!

Heather on

May 17
I wish you would just keep talking and talking about Italy. One of my favourite places that I yearn to travel to. I guess I need to be patient for you to return and fill my ear in person. Much love to both of you! Love the pics!

Bernie Kreiner on

May 17
I've truly enjoyed your trip reports, you have such enthusiastic perspective in your writings. As you are now in Austria, you'll soon be visiting by brother Rudi and family in Inzell SE Germany. Say hi and best wishes from his older "bro" Bernie K

Keith and Dorothy on

May 18
Caught up with you at last. We thought you had foraken us. I must admit to being exhausted after an epic catch up. Look forward to more coverage of your travels

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