Falling in Love Over and Over: My Romance with Italy

After I fly home from Los Angeles, you know I am always saying that I leave part of my spirit behind.  It’s true. The same is also true for Italy.  For Los Angeles, it’s my search for and exploration of old Hollywood, especially the Hollywood of the early 20th century.

With Italy, it is something different. It speaks to me like no other place on earth, at least like none of the 20 or so countries I’ve been to. It is the beauty of the country and its people. It has to do with the importance the Italians put on something as simple as a meal. It’s the pride they take in their wine, their food, their gelato, their cheese, their architecture, their history, their writers and artists.  They know how to live a well-balanced life.

Charlie and I recently spent two weeks in Italy. We started in the little village of Manarola in the Cinque Terre. This little town spoke to me like few places have. When it came time to travel to La Spezia to pick up the car and head into Tuscany, I had a hard time walking off the terrace of our little apartment.

So, my friends, here is a bit of what I experienced. I’m going to shut up and let you see Italy through the eyes of someone whose love for Italy runs deep.

We start in Manarola.

IMG_0453

Train station

Manarola in late afternoon. Can you find our apartment? Find the pink building in the middle of the picture.  Move to the right and see the other pink building. Our apartment is atop that building.

IMG_0476

Manarola in all its glory

Michael outside the apartment.

IMG_0455

Just outside the door of our apartment

My first meal in Italy.  My mouth waters just looking at this plate of mussels.

IMG_0462

Sunset in Cinque Terre.

IMG_0351

The next morning, we hiked to the next village, Corniglia.  You can see the village in the distance.

IMG_0484

On the hiking trail high above Manarola.

IMG_0488

Our path eventually leads us into the clouds.

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 5.49.19 AM

Looking back at Manarola from the hiking trail.

IMG_0500

Can’t say much about this one.  It is my idea of heaven.

IMG_0506

We finally arrive in Corniglia.

IMG_0522

Michael, on the descent into Corniglia.

IMG_0523

A local basking in the gentle Mediterranean breeze.

IMG_0535

Our travels took us to Lucca, a Tuscan jewel.  I catch up on my journaling while sipping vino.  Mine is the red.  Charlie’s will usually be white.

IMG_0589

Inside the massive cathedral in Lucca.

IMG_0577

Easily the best pizza I have ever put in my mouth.

IMG_0590

The next day, we drove to Volterra, high in the Tuscan hills.

IMG_0602

After lunch we drive south to Pitigliano.  Daylight gave way to a glorious sunset.

IMG_0605

Pitigliano took my breath away.  This medieval town seems to have been born out of the rocks.  Lush valleys surround.

IMG_0611

The next six photos give you a view of Pitigliano through my eyes.

IMG_0619

IMG_0618

IMG_0632

IMG_0635

IMG_0644

IMG_0652

We visited Etruscan tombs below Pitigilano. The steps they carved centuries ago to access the tombs are still there.

IMG_0655

Pitigliano from the Etruscan necropolis.

IMG_0659

A stop in Sovana.

IMG_0664

Vino in Sovana.

IMG_0666

The approach to Sorano.

IMG_0669

A fall view from Sorano.

IMG_0682

The streets of Sorano.

IMG_0681

The drive to Rome.  Orvieto is on the horizon.

Orvieto in the fog

Orvieto in the fog

Enjoy Roma with me.

IMG_0704

Coliseum, Roma

IMG_0709

Roman Forum

IMG_0710

Tiber Island, on the way to Trastevere

IMG_0718

Church of St. Cecilia.

St. Cecilia, the patron saint for musicians.

St. Cecilia, the patron saint for musicians.

We headed south to Pompeii for the day. One of the most amazing sights I have ever seen.

IMG_0762

Pompeii had its share of brothels.  This carved stone in the wall shows the way to the nearest one.

IMG_0782

If you got lost and were too bashful to ask for directions, this stone on a major street in Pompeii would help you locate the nearest house of ill repute.

IMG_0785

Charlie and Michael in Pompeii.  See Mt. Vesuvius in the distance.

IMG_0790

Back in Rome.  The fish tank at our favorite Chinese restaurant.

IMG_0800

Early morning breakfast

IMG_0801

 No adventure to Rome is complete without a trip to the Vatican.

Screen Shot 2013-11-23 at 7.18.03 AM

Charlie.

IMG_0816

Bathroom graffiti.

IMG_0818

 The oculus at the Pantheon.

IMG_0823

Inside the Basilica di Santa Maria sopra Minerva.

IMG_0831

Thanks, friends, for taking a peek into my latest Italian adventure.

IMG_0684

If I ever drop out of sight, you’ll know I’ve run away.  You can find me  toasting the sunset on the terrace of my apartment in Manarola.

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 5.49.44 AM

Grazie mille!

2 thoughts on “Falling in Love Over and Over: My Romance with Italy

  1. Thank you for sharing your beautiful journey with us! You showed us a fantasic view of Italy that I have never seen before. Thank you for the experience!

  2. I love your blog so much & look forward to all the latest from Close-up and Long Shots. Thank you for sharing your beautiful soul touching journey!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s