The miracle of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and we give a hand!

The miracle of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and we give a hand!

leaning-tower-of-pisa-standing-beside-the-pisa-cathedral-tuscany-italy

Despite our intentions of arriving at the Leaning Tower of Pisa early in the day, we found ourselves landing at the popular tourist destination alongside hundreds of fellow sightseers.  This world-famous freestanding bell tower is considered one of the most remarkable architectural structures from medieval Europe and possibly the tallest bell tower in Europe. Read more

Our grape escape, helping with the grape harvest in Tuscany

Our grape escape, helping with the grape harvest in Tuscany

jean holds grapes at il colombaio di cencio vineyard, gaiole in chianti, itay

During our several night stay at Il Colombaio di Cencio Vineyard near Gaiole in Chianti, Italy, Bob and I enjoyed a leisurely pace where we set our own schedule.  The morning after a day trip to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Cinque Terre, we awoke to a subtle clangor emanating from the sleepy, sun-drenched vineyard.  Soon after, we found ourselves helping with the grape harvest in Tuscany. Read more

Our Stay at a Vineyard Retreat near Gaiole in Tuscany

Our stay at a vineyard retreat near Gaiole in Tuscany

laneway to the Cottage at Il Colombaio di Cencio, Gaiole, Chianti, Tuscany, Italy, 10

Bob’s and my sense of adventure was high the day we set off from Rome into the rural region of Tuscany.  After picking up our rental vehicle at the airport, beneath damp, grey skies, we negotiated the ring road out of Rome and soon found ourselves scooting along narrow country roads that would lead us to our farmhouse retreat at a winery near Gaiole. Read more

Visiting the Spanish Steps in Rome

Visiting the Spanish Steps in Rome

The Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy

On the afternoon that Bob and I landed in Rome, Italy, we were in dire need of a stretch given the long hours of travel time from Toronto.  Our accommodation, Hotel Manfredi, was centrally located in the Old Quarter so The Spanish Steps were less than ten minutes by foot from the hotel lobby.  It seemed a likely destination given its close proximity. Read more

Our walking tour of Piazza del Popolo in Rome

Our walking tour of Piazza del Popolo in Romepiazza del popola viewed from pincian hill, rome, italy

Bob and I seemed to find ourselves drawn to Piazza del Popolo a few times during our stay in Rome.  From our hotel, we could walk to this large pedestrian zone within minutes and always found something of interest to investigate. Read more

Exploring the Colosseum and its Underground in Rome

Exploring the Colosseum and its Underground in Rome

The Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Of all the ancient ruins in Rome, Italy, for me it was The Colosseum that I most looked forward to seeing and exploring.  We did not make straight for The Colosseum on our first full day in the city, but instead preferred to set the stage by checking out The Roman Forum just east of there which gave us a sneak peak of the iconic stadium from one vantage point. Read more

Hooded Crows Among the Ancient Ruins of Rome

Hooded Crows Among the Ancient Ruins of Rome

hooded crow, rome, italy, pic 4

I’ve got to say that, on our first full day in Rome, Italy, looking for wildlife of any sort was not at the top of our list.  We had too many ruins to explore, too much history on which to focus.  But there we were, barely out of our hotel when Bob spotted a Hooded Crow as we ascended the steps of Il Vittoriano, just off of Piazza Venezia.  Of course, we had to get a record shot for this sighting of a new species. Read more

Rose-ringed Parakeets in Rome

Rose-ringed Parakeets in Rome

Rose-ringed parakeet on a tree in Rome, Italy

Our first destination in Italy was the capital city, Rome, where of course we spent several days touring all the ruins of the Old Quarter.  While exploring Palatine Hill, I heard an unusual bird song and then spotted a pair of Rose-ringed Parakeets winging through the sky before landing in the top of a very tall tree. We were delighted! Read more

Reflections on our Travels to Rome

Reflections on our Travels to Rome

Rome Italy Skyline

In August 2015, Bob and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary so we wanted to further mark the occasion with a memorable trip.  Never having visited Italy, we figured that a jaunt to the city of Rome would be a good place to start our 3-week vacation.  After all, it is considered amongst the top ten romantic cities in the world. Read more