Tag Archives: Italy

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Can two months have already passed since my trip to Venice?

It seems like an eternity, yet it seems like yesterday.

But recent images of the city — St. Mark’s Square flooded, stores underwater, tourists forced to carry their luggage, even their children upon their head — are so foreign to me.

This was not the Venice that I know.

My Venice was surrounded by water, not menaced by it.  The canals did not encroach on businesses, homes or priceless works of art and history.  They were romantic — liquid atmosphere.

Today’s Venice looks swallowed up.  It creeps me out instead of inviting me in.  I hear the clock ticking, the boat that houses their city sinking.

I couldn’t just sit there and pass the day.

Man the lifeboats!

Everything hurts

If you play, ya gotta pay.

I must owe a lot.

I just spent a week in Italy; it was incredible. I returned on Sunday, but had to turn around and go to Boston on Monday for a quick work trip.

It really hurt.

We’re talking, everything hurt.  My sleep cycle was still wonky.  The drive up and back that day was delayed by weather and traffic.  The class I taught went well, I think, but it sucked every last ounce of energy from my body.

Which made everything hurt more.

Luckily, there’s a manual:

I haven’t read it.  I don’t even know what it’s about.  But with that title?

It’s fate.

Or I may still be so tired that it just seems inspired.

Yeah, that could be it.

Day Eight, NYC: incredible journey

Today I made the long flight home.

But those 9 hours, 15 minutes actually went by pretty fast.

It helped that the Jeff Daniels look-a-like seated next to me was just the right kind of friendly without talking too much.  And lunch was served right after take-off.

Then they showed The Avengers.

Then I fell asleep.

When I awoke, I read the book I bought in the Milan Malpensa Airport.  Then I fell asleep again.

Afterwards I watched some TV, courtesy of NBC Universal.  Then read my book again.  Then watched Captain America.

I know I fell asleep during that showing, because it seemed really short.

Then it was time for the pre-landing snack….and this beautiful sight.

I loved my week in Italy, but it couldn’t top returning home to NYC and my doggie.

So happy to be back!

Day Seven, Como: a high note

What’s that below, you ask?

That’s Como.

On the final day of my trip to Italy, we took a tram to a point high overhead Lake Como…then hiked up a steep incline for another 30 minutes to a lighthouse overlook.

In retrospect, perhaps not the best day to wear flip flops.

Como is as picturesque as you might imagine.  It’s not lined with museums or historical points of interest like some of the cities that we visited this week. But if you want to enjoy the sun, the water, a round of golf or tennis — simply relax —

It is perfection.

And then there is the George Clooney factor.  Tragically, I was only in Como for a few hours, so I wasn’t lucky enough to see the city’s other major attraction.

Darn.  I’m gonna need to go back.

Day Six, Vicenza: all that glitters

We have encountered a lot of history and beauty during our week in Italy, and our day in Vicenza was no exception.  But today I chose to focus on the beauty.

No museums for me.

The weather was just so nice — blue skies and warm temperatures after a few days of clouds, drizzle and chill.

So I hit the streets of this lovely, upscale village and shopped.

It’s the place to do it.

The only thing that hampered my trip was the shop merchants’ habit of closing down for 2-3 hours in the afternoon.  I found myself most interested in items that were behind locked doors, but with no signs to indicate when the owner would return…I left with the money still in my pocket.

For instance, I really wanted to look at these leather wallets and tablet covers…but the shop owner was nowhere to be found.

I’ll show him.  I know how to buy things on the Internet.

Still, it is a lovely village filled with nice people.

And as I walked the flagged boulevard toward the train station, I left with warm memories…

…and tired, aching feet.

Day Five, Venice: a day in pictures

I loved Venice.

Loved, loved, loved it.

The guide books had prepared me for the city that couldn’t possibly live up to all the hype.  The great disappointment.  The giant wet thud.

They couldn’t have been more wrong.

Here is just a taste of the jaw-dropping wonderfulness that was my day in the city of canals, Venice.

Riding the water taxi to Venice

Wondering what a water taxi looks like? That’s what.

We weren’t the only ones on the water.

Getting ready to take the elevator in the Campanile (bell tower) to get a bird’s eye view of St. Mark’s Square

St. Mark’s Square



We also toured St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge Palace, which were simply spectacular but did not allow photography.  I encourage you to Google them to get a sneak peek.

It’s not the same as being there, of course.  That was out of this world.

Day Four, Milan / Padova: a masterpiece

Today was all about art.

And really, shouldn’t every trip to Italy have days like that?

We started back in Milan at the Pinacoteca di Brera, a lovely museum with over 30 rooms of paintings by the classical masters. Of course, I spent most of my time in the one room filled with modern art.

You can take the girl to Italy…

In the afternoon, we trained our way to Padua, or Padova as everyone calls it here. This will be our home base for the next three days, so we walked around to get the lay of the land.

We also attended a viewing of the Scrovegni Chapel.
It contains a fresco cycle by Giotto, completed about 1305, that is considered one of the most important masterpieces of Western art.

Now I have already admitted that I prefer modern art, but this church blew me away.  To think that the entire thing — it’s enormous — was completed in three-and-a-half years!  Every detail painted; all the trim and faux marble.  Dimension was even added with paint to make elements look 3-D.

It was truly incredible.

Then we came outside, and it was raining really hard.

Back to earth.

Day Three, Turin: city with a view

I didn’t know it at the time, but when I used to think about Italy, the city that I saw in my head…

…was Turin.

This is a shot of that gorgeous Italian city from the viewing station on the Mole Antonelliana tower atop the National Museum of Cinema.

Everything about Turin charmed me — the piazzas, the churches, the architecture.

I’m so happy we added this stop to our trip at the very last minute!

Day Two, Milan: There she is

I came to Milan to work, and today was the day.

I spent most of it in a conference room conducting a training session…and it went very well.  But at 4:30pm the work was done, and my official vacation began.

We started by heading to Milan — the city itself, not the outskirts where my hotel is located.  Luckily there is a subway stop just down the road, so off we walked, much to the chagrin of the taxi drivers lined up outside the entrance.

Our first stop was the Duomo, which is literally at the top of the station steps.  It is even more majestic then it appears in photos, and I joined the groups of people gathered ’round, head tilted way back to soak it all in.

We arrived at the very moment they closed the Duomo to tours each evening, but we still had time to take the elevator ride to the top and walk across the roof.

I don’t know how the two tours compare, but the view from the roof is pretty incredible.

We could see the entire city  — the beautiful architecture, the ugly new buildings that mar the landscape, all the people teeming about in the square, and of course, the amazing detail of the Duomo itself — both the existing structure and the extensive amount that is still under renovation.

After our tour, we strolled through the shops in the historic galleria — where children were spinning on a fresco of a bull for luck — and wandered the streets until a sidewalk cafe caught our eye for dinner.  Later we had gelato and headed to the subway to make our way back.

It was all and all a lovely evening in Milan.

Tomorrow?  We are thinking of making an unplanned day trip.  Where could it be??

Stay tuned…

Italy, Day One: Yowsers

I thought I was starting my trip to Italy alone…

Turns out ‘Murphy’ came along for the ride.

My originating flight from Dallas had ‘equipment problems,’ so we had to be moved to a new plane, a new gate.  As a result, we left for London 90 minutes late.  Everyone on the flight with connections broke a sweat, including me.

We arrived this morning 10 minutes after my Milan transfer — as the Brits call it — had winged away.

I spent the next two hours in queues, but lucked into a noon flight to Milan on standby.  They even gave me a free sandwich.  I was starting to feel a bit better.

Murphy returned at the Milan Airport, where the lone ATM was out of service.  I was assured by my cabbie that he could take a credit card, so I decided to worry about getting Euros later.

Later was when he pulled up to the hotel…and realized he had left his credit card machine at home.  After I checked into the hotel, he and I spent some more quality time together, locating an ATM so I could pay the fare.

That was actually fun.  He lived in Chicago for 13 years, so he had a lot of fun stories and spoke great English.

So now I am at my plush hotel near the conference center.  It’s cool and quiet.  And all I have to worry about is falling asleep — I need to adjust to my new time zone for the next week.

Addio amici!