Friday, April 29, 2016

Day 34: Cinque Terre

We met Mattia before 8 am. There are only four of us plus Mattia our guide/driver heading to Cinque Terre, a two hour trip.

It was a beautiful drive. We passed through areas where the beauty was breathtaking -- especially looking up at the mountains. We were able to see some of the mountains which were/are sources of marble for artists such as Michelangelo!

In 1997 the Cinque Terre became a world heritage site. In the years before the early 1950s when the roads were built the only way to get to the area was by boat.

Between all the villages the population hovers at about 5,000 inhabitants.

The key products produced on the terraces hills of the cinque Terre are olive oil and white wine.

The classic Cinque Terre wine is a dry, aromatic white made of BoscoAlbarola and Vermentino. It is characterized by crisp acidity and a delicate bouquet of hay, citrus and green apples. A salty whiff of minerality sometimes serves as a reminder of the vineyards' coastal situation.

We first stopped at Manarola -- beautiful!

I found a the church and went in, lit a candle and said a prayer:
I thought about Sheri Lewis and Lambchop as I saw this on the church:

We were able to walk around, get coffee and enjoy the views before the boat came to take us to Vernazza. 

The area by where the boat came in was being dredged of rocks -- really fascinating to watch.

The boat ride to Vernazza was fast -- it was the next stop. 

Mattia got us a reservation at Belforte -- we had a beautiful table overlooking the water!

We met Mattia up by the post office -- thank goodness! Vernazza was very busy by the time lunch was over. Here are some pictures along the way:

Mattia drove us over to Corniglia -- the only town in Cinque Terre that doesn't have a port. We walked down from where we parked into the town -- beautiful!

We walked around -- again I found a church in which to light a candle and pray:

It is a very quaint town:

Here's Mattia:

We went up to some vista points:

We also stopped for gelato!

What was a bit scary was driving on the roads to and from Corniglia -- very narrow and winding -- Mattia did an excellent job navigating the roads.

On the way back we were able see this -- that isn't snow -- it's marble:

Back to pack and get dinner at our favorite restaurant.

A blessed day indeed!

Although I didn't walk as far today the walk was rougher -- hills!
Total steps walked: 13,615. 5.25 miles.

Day 33: Another see-you-soon and a series of surprises

Steve and I started out our last full day here in Florence (tomorrow we are going to Cinque Terre) doing something we have become accustomed to here -- laundry! We are doing our last bit before our trip to Scotland on Sunday -- and of course we put the laundry in and went next door for coffee:

We went back to the townhouse when we were done and dropped off the laundry. We picked up our family to have an early lunch before they went to the bus. What did we eat? Pizza!

We didn't go with them to the bus as we were interested in going to the Museo Bargello -- which the museum website said closed at 1:40 pm. We got there only to find out it is open until 4:00 pm. No! We could've been with them a few minutes longer! Ugh!

Well, in retrospect I'm glad we had a bit more time to explore this gem of a museum! 

A surprise was seeing the other crucifix attributed to Michelangelo (similar to the one hanging in Santo Spirito which we couldn't take a picture of), but we could take a picture of this one:

Another surprise was a whole room dedicated to Kufic art -- we had a long discussion about this art form with Max just a few days ago. I had never heard of it before but here it was:

One of my favorite finds -- which I was looking for, was the battle to be the artist who produced the doors of the Baptistry between Brunelleschi and Ghiberti. Frankly I found Brunelleschi's entry better -- it's the first of the two below:

I loved all the the statues, well, to be honest I'm not fond of the Della Robia statues so I didn't take any pictures of them. Sorry! Here is a sampling of the others:

And the art:

And the building itself:

At one point I went out into the courtyard to sit down. I noticed a man and a woman sitting and talking on the next bench. The man was making notes Ina book-- I heard his voice and thought to myself, 'I know him'. He turned and looked at me and I recognized him -- I blurted out I love you to which he responded I love you too! -- it was Rick Steves!

He took this selfie with my phone. Obviously he's a pro at selfies! What a nice man!

I took over 60 pictures in the museum but have posted only a few -- I'm so glad we went there! 

We decided to head to one more place we hadn't seen before -- the piazza of the Annunciation. It was by far the most run down of all the piazzas and areas we have been to in Florence, but it looks as though parts of it are undergoing renovation:

We went into the old hospital/orphanage which Brunschellsi designed. It too is undergoing refurbishment but they have a small exhibit you can visit:

We headed back to the townhouse to rest before Steve's physical therapy appointment.

On the right is the small door Steve went through for his therapy -- Dr. Massimo Giontella was so kind! Plus the best view from a doctor's office!

Next was the long walk to dinner -- the restaurant, Perseus, was recommended by Dr. Giontella Steve said it was his favorite!

Penne with beef marinated in Chianti:


Zucchini blossoms stuffed with veal and cheese and backed wrapped in breadcrumbs and bacon:

Steve talking to the nice family from Canada next to us:

Baked pear:

Even after eating the baked pear we stopped for gelato during the long walk home (yes, really!):

The walk at night was beautiful:

And some pictures of my 'finds' today:

A dinosaur:

Small car -- it had two people in it and only 3 wheels:

Street art:

A beautiful day!

Total steps walked: 27,036, 10.43 miles.