Journey Into Italy
Travels with My Aunt and Mother
In Loving Memory of Judith Ann Page Fuqua
May 3, 1943 - July 6, 1994
3 Days in Rome
Heavy tasseled room key in Rome.
These were double doors, the tassel rich burgundy. Very elegant!
Partial view from our room in the Hotel Sistina - Rome - A most wonderful small hotel. The room was spacious, very clean and furnished in simple lines. The bathroom was quite large. Judy had a single room opposite ours.
Wonderfully detailed facade on a villa we walked by on one of our many saunters through Rome. Walking seems more popular than driving in the city! We were happy to join the families and others who were also enjoying the beautiful Spring weather in this magnificent city.
The Spanish Steps in Rome.. this is one side near the top of the stairs... I took this view to show the enormous wisteria (so old that they have become trees with huge twisty trunks - these are probably 2-3 stories tall) that were in full bloom. Seems everywhere you go is worthy of at least a roll of film!
Villa D'Este and Hadrian's Villa
Take a train ride out of the city to see some of the other sights in the area. You will have a short bus ride also, but the time passes swiftly and all the scenery is enthralling. Sorry for the poor quality of some of the photos; used "movie" film that needs special developing... it does not scan well, and darned if I can get the color tints right!
Fountains and view from a balcony at Villa D'Este (Judy's in blue at the bottom of the shot). Villa D'Este has been used in many movies... it is famous for the hundreds of fountains. One fountain plays music - in a man-made cavern is a rock pipe organ that is the main part of the fountain itself! These gardens, and everything in them, are huge! Takes your breath away!
Bosom fountain at Villa D'Este, which stands atop one of the seven hills of Rome. Yes, water spills out of the numerous bosoms that make up this fountain! Looks like a small statue, but it was at least 15 feet tall...
June & Judy in the gardens of Villa D'Este - Such magnificent trees! Yes, the trees got hugs!
Statue, in the Borghese Gardens, dedicated to the heroes of a war that Garibaldi led to victory... The man is holding a crutch... His powerfully muscled back is quite beautiful...
We speed along the Autostrade to Florence... Say over for one night... giving us nearly two days for shopping and sightseeing...
Then, on to Venice!!
2 Nights in Padua
Kirsten & June (Mom) at the outdoor market in Padua, the city where we stayed in order to visit Venice during the day. We stayed in the Hotel Turismo (not one of the snazzy ones) that had cheap rooms! The owners were truly outstanding in their care of us! On our second night, we had parked in a zone that would have garnered us a ticket, but the husband of the owner saw the police and quickly sent his wife for the keys and then he moved the car to a legal parking spot! The owners watched after us and treated us like family. The rooms were simple and very clean. We all had great hugs, when the time came to say goodbye.
I'd wanted to stay at one of the snazzy hotels in Padua (what I really really wanted to do was stay right in the city of Venice itself, but this hotel was homey and June & Judy needed the special treatment we were given by the Family that own the hostel!!
It is cheaper to stay in one of the towns outside Venice and make the trip to Venice via ferry. The price for the vaporetto (ferry) is quite cheap and there is public parking at the dock. You're in the Grand Canal before you know it...
There is nothing like seeing the city of Venice growing closer as you ride the water to reach it! The travel guides called the light surrounding Venice "pellucid"... we agree with that, but it is so much more! Maybe it's the slight haze or a reflection of the waters that surround the city, but the light is different... fairy-like, soft and mesmerizing... It is very clear why so many Artists came to Venice!!
Judy in the wood motorboat we took to get to Venice on our first trip to the city... you can just barely see the reflection of the skyline of Venice on her sunglasses!! The boat was highly polished, probably old (like the great wooden boats made in the 1930's) with a smooth ride over the waves.
Views from the wooden motorboat, as we have a tour of the canals in Venice.
This is not a posed snapshot!! We were sitting on the steps leading down to one of the Venetian canals... I looked up... there was this blond Adonis... Michelangelo's David in person!!! Ooh, why didn't we ask him to give us a ride in his gondola!! $50.00 we thought we might need later on is why... Dumb move - we went home with money we'd saved "just in case"!
June on the roof of St Mark's Basilica, looking down at the square... these horses are reproductions - the originals are safe in a huge viewing room in St Mark's Basilica.
Judy in St Mark's Square, Venice... St Mark's Basilica is straight ahead on the right.
Partial view of Venice's clock - still telling the correct time after hundreds of years! The photo was taken from my vantage point on the roof of St Mark's Basilica. Note: if you look at the photo [above this one] of Judy in St Mark's Square, you can see the building with the clock straight past the two men walking toward us.
Night view of gondolas & a wooden boat... My art photo...
Kirsti on one of the hundreds of Venetian bridges... You can see the Bridge of Sighs in the distance... I could just stay here in this city of dreams and never leave!! If only... I did toss Three Coins in the Trevi Fountain in Rome - that must mean something, don't you think?
Two cats guarding the canals of Venice!
Waiting for the vaporetto to bring us back to Padua...
'Til we return...
Two nights in Bergamo Alta
We dropped Judy off at the airport outside Venice so she could fly to Paris to visit her son Sean. Now June and I will spend a few more days working our way back down Italy's west coast toward the airport outside Rome for our return trip home. We had days to spend seeing sights that the guidebooks tempted us to see, we chose this city and were so happy that we did!
The photo shows me [with cone of gelato, of course] in front of the hotel Agnello D'Oro... June & Kirsti's hotel for two nights in Bergamo Alta... This is the Upper City... walled in atop a mountain... Bergamo was once ruled by Venice.
Halfway up a narrow twisting road to the top of the mountain that Bergamo is built upon. The roads have room for one tiny auto only... you must pull off the road to allow a car coming toward you to get through! About halfway up this road is a little stone marker with a plaque telling that this was where a famous race car driver lost his life when his car crashed... very sad.
June was so happy in Bergamo, even when climbing those hills! Bergamo felt like home... In the photo above this is a view of Bergamo Alta... We walked from there to here, up the mountain and back again!
"Promess e Sposi" - "The Betrothed"
Seeing the movie being filmed!
Two local Bergamo men in costume for the making of the movie about the Plague... Tried to lighten up the image, to show their faces better - this will have to do, until I can rescan the slide... The movie was in the process of being filmed while June & I were visiting Bergamo. These two talked our ears off - we understood maybe every 10th word! Nice as could be, tho!
Above & below: Actors rehearsing... I am partial to b&w photos...
They thought I was "somebody" with my camera... We were nudged onto the set a few times & I was even taken over to be introduced to the director! He spoke a little English, another man helped interpret, as I was told how they were shooting a scene... Costumes were wonderful; most were very lavish with rich colors... Everyone was so very nice to us!
Bergamo was hit hard by The Plague in the 17th Century... bodies were dumped down the hillside into the valleys of Bergamo Alta - mass burials... Looking down into these lovely valleys and imagining what the lovely hillside and valley must have looked like back then imparts feelings of melancholy!
Bodies were tossed down into these valleys, during the time of the Black Plague... Too many people dying too quickly to have proper burials...
The Betrothed is a love story set during the time that this area was hit by the plague... I found the book at a church book sale, but haven't read it... Yet! I've also tried to find a copy of the movie, which was run as a mini-series on Italian TV, with no luck (and if I do fine it, it may be in a format that will not play in our VCR... have not found it on DVD)...
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Wednesday August 18, 2010