Category Archives: World Heritage Sites Visited

Italy Day 16, Sperlonga, Tyberius’ Villa, Tivoli


In retrospect, today was a very full day. We touched on so many things: historical, culinary, visual.  From the beach to a hill top town, from 1st century BC to a local bar playing beach boys.  We had one miss and one near disaster (that wasn’t). Everything else was perfect.  What a glorious day!


Virgilio Grand Hotel


The Hotel Entrance


The Lounge, the Virgilio Hotel Is Modern

Breakfast was included at Hotel Poseidon. We ate at the hotel and walked the old town of Sperlonga one more time.  Ellen said, “I could stay here a month”  Sperlonga is a beautiful community, though there might not be enough cultural events for a months stay.


It Was Too Cold To Setup Breakfast Outside


Tropical Pizza, Highly Rated but Slow Food?

A Pictorial Walk Around Sperlonga













































Tiberius’ Villa, Sperlonga


Sperlonga Seen From Tiberius’ Villa


The Path to the Ruins of Tiberius’ Villa, Sperlonga

The hotel concierge strongly advised that we visit Tiberius’ Villa and Grotto, which is a few kilometers south of Sperlonga.  I knew tiberius had a villa atop the blue grotto with a stairway down into the grotto, but not about Sperlonga! Back at the hotel, we brought our luggage down and I went out back for the car.  It was GONE! It was simply not there!  Not here, not around the corner, GONE!

I frantically went back to the hotel desk, “scusi, my car is gone!”  “oh, we moved it down stairs.  It’s on level –2.”  Whew!  And it was on level –2.


Walking the Ruins, Sperlonga

Driving to Tiberius’ Villa, meant retracing our drive south about three kilometers.  The turn off for parking is not well marked.  The first clue the driver has something is coming up is the bus parking to the left you notice just as you drive by a small blue “P” and arrow to the right. Down the road some there are place to turn around.  Even knowing where the turn in for parking is, it is easy to drive by.  The entrance is quite small.  You drive down a short steep road.  The road goes straight take a turn to the right and park in a dirt/grass area.  We found the last parking space.  I thought we might be parked in when we leave.


Raised pools, Tiberius’ Grotto, Sperlonga


Water Once Flowed Through The Pipes (holes)


A Statue Left Outside (hard to access?)

The entrance to the villa from the parking area is not marked at all.  From parking you walk 100 meters to an access road.  Left takes you back to the main road.  Right takes you down to the sea. “Scusi, dov’e la villa di Tiberius?  e la?” (pointing to the right). “No e la” (fellow points to the left)  That saved us a walk down to the sea and back! Up to the Villa.


Close-up of the Ancient Pipes


Fishing Here Is Still Good!


Small Fish in the Lower Pool


Large Fish in the Upper Pool


Our Single Busload of Tourists


The Ruins a Different Perspective


Ellen, Having a Great Time!


View from Tiberius’ Lair: Sperlonga & Ellen


Description of Tiberius’ Grotto, In Italian Of Course

Instead we found the entrance to a museum. “Dov’e la villa di Tiverius?”  It worked once, lt’s see what the museum official says.  “e qui”.  Cool, in we go.  You pay a few euro to tour both the museum which houses incredible status and then tour the grounds of the ruins of what once was Tiberius’ Villa.  Tiberius knew how to position his homes.  This on is situated on a relatively flat  expanse that runs right to the sea.  To the left is a grotto.  To the right is the Lido that leads to Sperlonga.  It’s a moderate walk from here to there.  Directly in front of the villa, now ruins, is a rocky seafront.  There was a fellow spear fishing on the rocks.  The fishing must be pretty good.  The grotto pools with their array of huge fish were fenced off.


Some English at the bottom!


Location of Statues in Tiberius’ Grotto

The statues in the museum depict scenes from Homer’s Odysseus. The Slaying of the cyclops is very well sculpted in white marble. It is a huge statue with many parts.  Interestingly Tiberius had these statues placed in the grotto.  Tiberius himself had living space in the grotto.  The museum is small.  It houses the statues that were recovered from the cave.


Odyusseus and the Cyclops


Cyclops, Close Up





How The Art Might Have Looked


What is Left Today


It is a short walk to the entrance to Tiberius’ Villa, which is now a series of low walls marking the boundaries of houses and plazas.  It is small compared to Pompeii. Then a villa is quite small compared with a town or city. To me the most amazing thing about the villa is the Grotto.  There are two man-made pools fronting the grotto. I imagine one was cold water, the other hot.  These look to be fed by a freshwater spring.  There is evidence of fire in some places inside the cave. It could be caused by Tiberius’ candles or lamps or perhaps by modern teenagers in the 16oo’s lighting bonfires in the caves.  Perhaps both are true.


Marble Come To Life

A tour group arrived with us.  Tour groups typically move quickly through sites. This one did as well. Here one moment and headed for the exit the next.  “Check, got that one”.  Maybe it’s just me, but I prefer to linger in striking places to soak in the history or the beauty of the place (both?).  The Grotto faced the perfect sand beach that stretched in an arc for two kilometers.  It has access to great rock fishing and fresh water pools.  What a wonderful place to relax.  I must admit I know very little of Tiberius.  Curiosity will drive me to read more about Italy’s roots.  It is clear that someone or some group of some ones really had it in for Tiberius.  Everything he has touched was severely trashed.  It brings to mind current US politics. Basta! (enough of that)



The skies had darkened as we walked the ruins.  A drop or two fell as we left for our car.  The promised rains were coming.  I drove on to Terracina with Ellen and our GPS units navigating.  We planned to eat lunch in Terracina


Terracina, Coming

It was a dark gray, rainy drive to terracina.  Learning from Gaeta, this time I drove along the coast.  We found nothing of particular interest in a long drive around and back into town. If there was an old town, we didn’t find it.  Headed back out of town we passed a very appealing restaurant on our right.  Stop, backup, park.  “Do you think we can park here?” “Look, they did.  We should be ok”


Terracina, Going!

This is About How We Felt About Terracina, Wet and Out Of Focus

We walked into the restaurant. It was packed.  Ellen headed for the Toilette while I tried in vain to get someone’s attention. Perhaps ten minutes later, a fellow who looked like the owner walked by. “Scusi, posso mangiare qui?”  “No.” Followed by  stream of Italian that was unrecognizable to me.  I get this often now.  We’ve been given menus in Italian later to have them swapped for the English ones when I becomes apparent we have no idea what’s on the menu.  It is Easter today.  The restaurant had probably been booked for weeks in advance.  No wonder nobody even noticed us when we walked in; or when we walked out.  Another day without lunch, but that’s OK.  We’re headed to Tivoli.

On the Road

Our car needed to be fed too.  We could probably have driven through to Tivoli, but a service stop presented itself and we took it.  Cars to the left, trucks to the right: ok.  Food to the right gas straight ahead; oops.  I drove in the out to get back to the food court.  It was an extensive food court with fast food (pizza, calzone, beer), made to order pasta dishes, salads and vegetables, trinkets and souvenir sales.  We each had a slice of pizza.  Ellen’s was vegetable with a crunchy crust.  Mine was cheese and peperoni with a soggy crust. The crust is everything.  It was a fair lunch, the least memorable thus far.



Free Street Parking!


Trip Advisor Loves B&B Il Giardino


The View Isn’t That Bad Either.

With the alfa fed, we sped off to Tivoli.  There was relatively little traffic; we made very good time.  Approching Tivoli we switched from the clueless Garmin to the mostly ok Google Maps (again thank you TIM, Palermo!).  Still we drove into town, out of town, back into town, then up the correct street without seeing B&B Il Gardino.  “Wow, a parking space”, I zipped in and parked.  We found the B&B very close by. The sign was prominent if you are walking by, but not so much if driving.  It was mid afternoon when we arrived.


We have a Patio and a View over the Valley

Omar came right away when we rang the front bell.  He checked us in and showed us our room.  It was comfortable and had a view of the valley over the tops of the homes just below.

An Afternoon Walk Tivoli

Tivoli, the historic town of Tivoli, is small and build on a hill side.  We walked the upper city.


Tivoli’s Upper Square


The Arch, Tivoli


We Missed the Castle, Tivoli


Valle D’Este

Tivloi Gardens were open and closing at 7:30.  The group of eight ahead of us chose not to enter, it was too expensive.  No problem for two @ 8 euro each.

We walked the gardens until we were literally shooed out at 7:20.  But I thought they closed at 7:30!

I’m trying WordPress’ album and slideshow feature to see if we like it.  Tell us what you think.  -ron



Eden 2.0

The sun was sinking low on the horizon as we walked back toward “home”.  We had noticed a bar with an appealing view and stepped in to watch sunset over a drink.  We were seated at the “window”.  There were no windows, just a low railing and an expansive view.  Sunset, Beer, and Limoncello: Heaven.


Eden 2.0


Waiting for Our Order, Eden 2.0, Tivoli


A Tivoli Sunset from Eden 2.0’s Balcony

Ristorante Sibilla

Back at the apartment we freshened up and went out for dinner armed with two recommendations for dinner.  One for authentic local food, the other with a 10% discount.  It was dark by now and we navigated by a tourist map.  These maps are next to useless.  We managed to find the local food restaurant, but it was closed.  Most everything seemed closed on the narrow streets we walked.  OK, let’s find the other one.  Like streets in Boston, there was no way to know where a street would lead.  Some would go straight then zig left.  Others connected to the right only.  We were lost.  We asked directions from two woman who spoke perfect Italian, but no English. Back up the hill and to the left, is what we took away.  We went back up the hill, left, then down hill to the river.

I saw a restaurant across the river, but that was not the one recommended.  It was il Ciocco, which I remembered as having a great view of the river and waterfall, but not so great food.  After dark, there is no view.  TIM & ItalPhone to the rescue.  Ellen mentioned that they might be closed by now.  “Yes, we are open.  The kitchen closes at 10.  Pronto, Pronto”  We arrived at Ristorante Sibilla at 9:20.  We were seated right away.  Our waiter enjoyed talking with us in English (how hard will it be to learn some Italian?)  We had a good time talking with him too.  I had a simple classic dish of paste with pecorino cheese and pepper, Ellen had cheese ravioli.  My dish was fantastic.  The combination of fresh paste, virgin olive oil, some butter, pecorino cheese, and pepper was what Mac&Cheese should be.  It was mouthwatering  The cheese in Ellen’s ravioli was superb.  I very highly recommend Ristorante Sibilla.  The house wine was excellent as well.

We found our way home by following the main street uphill to Tivoli’s upper square.

Getting Specific #2, Venice


Our apartment in Venice: We met both Nina and Tony briefly, they are wonderful people.

I asked Tony to recommend local restaurants that he would frequent. We had time to sample only one of those he mentioned: Ai Gondoleri just a few blocks away. It is more pricey than your typical pizza trattoria, but it was worth it. The risotto for two is a huge amount of risotto. It is quite good, but becomes monotonous about half way through. The zucchini flowers are good and the potato mousse is great. Their wine selection is amazing, we opted for wine by the glass which is a limited selection, but very very good. I’ve probably stated this earlier: the Tuscan wines are the equal of Napa and Sonoma wines.

out favorite restaurant in Venice:

We sampled a very limited number of restaurants, I am sure you can find your own favorite as well.


Venice Day 4, afternoon

It is pouring just now. We brought our rain parkas with us this morning. It was overcast and humid, the sun came out for the morning. While sitting at a corner cafe having a beer, the weather turned. You could feel the wind shift, temperature cool, and humidity rise. We walked to the supermarket to pick our evening meal, grabbed a gelato at gelato Nico, and as we walked home, the rain started. We’ve got lightening, thunder, and buckets of rain. I hope it blows over before our scheduled gondola ride this evening ahead of an evening concert.

Piazza San Marco was not as crowded as it was this past weekend. There were many gaps in the roving tour groups marked by their umbrellas or scarfs on a stick. One very loud group of Chinese stood out for their noise and the cloud of smoke that followed them around. We actually stopped for fifteen minutes to let them go ahead to San Marco.

We stopped for a quick bite at a cafe that had scrumptious looking wraps. I ordered mine, Ellen hesitated, and the counter gal heated my wrap and went on to make a drink for another customer. She made the drink slooooowly, on purpose I think. All the while an Italian fellow loudly conversed with patrons, and said to a woman who walked in behind Ellen, “I love you! I looooovvvve you” He was having fun and entertaining the cafe staff. Finally, the drink on its way to a customer, “counter gal” asked what Ellen wanted, and placed Ellen’s bruschetta on the stove. Moments later our order was handed to us. The price was good, my wrap of Proscuitto de Parma, Cotto, and Mozzarella was well cooked and tasted fantastico. Ellen’s bruchetta was cold. It too tasted great, but the “counter gal”s coldness suffused our meal, which we ate on a bridge over a canal. I would go back to have another, but Ellen wouldn’t consider it. One day I will know enough Italian to banter with folks.

San Marco square, though not super crowded, was not peaceful and after maybe twenty minutes strolling around, we headed back “home” to Dorsoduro, stopping for a beer and water at another cafe on Piazza San Vidal.

I really love our location on Dorsoduro. It is a fascinating fifteen minute walk to Piazza San Marco or a bit further to the Rialto Bridge. There are shops, and people, and cafes, and great food: sights, sounds, scents to be reveled in. Still I truly enjoy the peacefulness of our flat on Rio de S. Vio.

This morning we watched a gondolier ready his boat for service while sipping cappuccino at a bar overlooking the water. Crossing the old bridge, we watched him back his gondola down “our” canal. Retracing our steps back home, we found the goodlier setting up for customers on the bridge we cross routinely to get anywhere on the main island. After a conversation about the weather, and gondoliering, he agreed to meet us at 7:30 for a ride around Dorsoduro. I hope the rain abates prior.

We’re home now,relaxing. I could use some rest.


Ron L.

Venice Day 4

Ok, not up so early. We enjoyed a leisurely early morning.

I did a search on the oldest gelato in Venice and the fellow yesterday misrepresented his shop! The oldest is Gelato Nico in (drum roll) Dorsoduro, just down the street from our flat. We’ll visit later today, but for now we are off again to San Marco to see how crowded it is without the eight cruise ships.

Also the church that hosted last night’s concert is Chesa de San Vidal. We’ll walk by it on our way to San Marco in a bit.

Aside from visiting the square and perhaps one museum for which we have free tickets, we have no plans for today and can take in the city at our own pace.


Venice Day 3

We slept in a bit, then went out shopping for melon, water, and to get coffee. We avoided the tourist area entirely opting to walk around Dorsoduro, past the Zattere Vaporetto stop and further up the channel. The cruise ships are all gone with far fewer tourists walking Dorsoduro. We found a number of small squares on side streets, a local produce market, and a nice coffee shop. For the water and soap, we returned to the super market and returned home.

Next we set out for the Guggenheim Museum, which is close by. It was open and featured a retrospective of the restoration of Jackson Pollock’s Alchemy. The original is on display in the museum along with much of Peggy’s personal collection. Alchemy hung in her living room over a fire place and became dull with lint, dirt, and soot over the years. The restoration was done in Florence known for restoration of priceless artwork. One room of the museum features interactive touch screen video of the restoration process on three large screen monitors. We enjoyed the museum, then walked to the eastern tip of Dorsoduro, Punta Della Dogana, and returned home along the southern Dorsoduro canal.

At home we ate dinner in, eating eggplant lasagna, proscuitto de Parma with melon, bread, cheese, and Moretti beer. Nina, the owner stopped by for a chat and we ran into her husband Tony on our way out later. We decided to head to San Marco for some photography (we have not spent any time in the square) and to search out more gelato. The square on the Dorsoduro side of the old bridge was alive with locals and some tourists. The bridge had it’s typical crowd of selfie tourists. The lighting was great, low contrast with few shadows. It was overcast with none of the late evening warmth you would expect.

Wandering on we passed the accordion player, a fixture on the San Marco side of the bridge, and rounded the corner walking past an old church. Unlike every other time we walked this route, the church doors were open with a few people milling about the entrance. We walked up to look inside, there was a bright mural on the far wall of a military leader astride a white horse. The horse looked to be riding right out of the far wall. We could read enough of the posters door-side to know there was an Interpretive Vivaldi performance scheduled. Ellen asked a couple seated on the steps what was going on and in impeccable American English the said a Vivaldi concert was playing here at 9:00. Tickets can be bought inside. They were from Walnut Creek, she was a music teacher and the couple was moving to New York in the next few days. Her husband grew up in Menlo Park.

The ticket sales inside said it was open seating starting at 8:30 with the performance starting at 9:00. We bought two tickets, checked the time, and headed out to find that gelato ahead of the concert. It was 8:05 and we could not go far. In the square just past the church, we spotted a gelato shop. The shopkeeper asked, “How do you like Venice” and that started a conversation about Italy, culture, food, that lasted a while. The sure cherry gelato appealed to us both. The shopkeeper asked, “did you know this is the oldest gelato shop in Venice?” and handed us a business card. “No” we answered at the same time, I took the card, we thanked him, and headed back to queue for the performance.

The couple behind us, hearing our English, asked “where are you from”. The husband is a physicist and they’re driving around northern Italy.

Seated in the third row back along the isle, we joined in clapping as eight Italian guys strode past dressed in black from head to foot, all with black hair, and took up their instruments on stage. One harpsichord, a base, a cello, and five violent. The violent alternated first fiddle. The acoustics were excellent and the performance was flawless. You could hear nothing but the shuffling of paper and the octet’s shuffling of feet between movements. This was a very special moment.

The group will play Vivian’s Four Seasons tonight, but I”m not sure it will be at this local church. If so, we’ll be there.

We headed back home to get some sleep and to go to San Marco tomorrow early… finally!


Venice Day 2 evening

We met Markus and Alex at Piazza San Marco and again we were a bit late. We chose to take a vaporetto from Trastevere to the piazza. However the express boat was 15 minutes behind the two slow boats. We waited for the 5.1 express.

Funny the three times we’ve gone to the piazza, we arrived from three points of the compass, north, east, and south. We walked the piazza, went to their hotel room which was decorated in red and white, very nice and centrally located, then headed off to dinner at a local restaurant’s terrace on the top floor. The weather was comfortable with a slight breeze and the veranda plants were inviting: raspberries, blueberries, and tomatos. M&A were buying this evening as we had covered the night before. There was a very tempting bottle of Nebbiola on the wine list for $990e. I chose discretion and drank house wine that evening. The food was good, though Ellen’s cod was too salty. We talked well into the night, then left for gelato and a walk to the Rialto Bridge, which was quite close.

Heading back we missed the last vaporetto to Zattere and walked back to Piazza San Marco then over the Old Bridge to Trastevere. We’ve become quite familiar with the path from Trastevere to Piazza San Marco.


Venice Day 2

We ran a bit late meeting Markus & Alex in the morning at Piazza San Marco and had not eaten breakfast. Not too surprisingly, the square was largely deserted. There were a few people setting up for the expected flood of people; this early in the morning we had the piazza to ourselves.

The plan was to purchase a 12 hour unlimited pass on ACTV, Venice’s transportation service, and to visit Murano and Burano. We backtracked to find a cappuccino for Ellen and I and an ATM. Having an abbreviated breakfast after the sumptuous ones aboard ship was a welcome change. At home we usually eat a light breakfast.

Finding an ATM was a bit of a problem, no banks were open at 7:45 and most coffee shops were also closed or just setting up. I asked at a hotel where we could find an ATM and was directed to a small square with just one. Saved! We had passed a coffee shop and retraced our steps to get cappuccino. There was a wait and I left the group to find the ATM while they ordered coffee.

Following the hotel concierges directions I found the ATM. We had left our last Euro as a tip on the Odyssey and needed some Euros badly. On two trys the ATM failed to communicate internationally. Disappointed I headed back to the group and a coffee. As I arrived Ellen, Markus, and Alex were just sitting down with coffees in take away containers. As I was settling into a chair, the gal behind the counter setup a fuss about not having paid for the table, the coffee was take away. Ok, how much more for the table? Two Euros each, $8e more to sit! Wow. Dumb founded and joking about it, we continued our search for an ATM. We rounded a corner that opened onto a larger piazza just past the failing ATM and there were four more of them. The first one I tried worked, and worked as fast or faster than one in the US. Not all ATMs are created equal.

We headed back to the canal sipping cappuccino. There are many kiosks that sell tours of Burano and Murano, which is not what we wanted. To purchase tickets on vaporetto, you use the ticket kiosks at the vaporetto stops. We asked for a 12 hour pass which is no longer sold and had to purchase the 24 hr pass at $20e each. Not a huge issue, but at least 8 of those 24 has cannot be used and the vaporetto service shuts down between midnight and six am (roughly).

The ride to Murano was fun. The boat made a few stops on the way unloading and loading passengers, but generally remaining packed. This surprised me; I thought we had beaten the crowds. It turns out we did beat the crowds to Murano. Sure, there were hundreds of tourists, but it was not abuzz with thousands of us. A barker directed us left to a glass manufacturing demonstration as we departed the boat. This led us past a few shops selling glassware to a factory. We were ushered inside. A fellow created a vase and a horse from two glowing blobs of glass. It was fun to watch and though the artisan worked very quickly, the results were impressive. We couldn’t help but dally in the glass shops, though nothing appealed to us.

By now it was approaching noon. Every now and then a boatload of people disembarked. We pushed on to Burano rather than having lunch on Murano. Walking the main street to the vaporetto stop on the other side of the small island, we found the shopping area of Murano. There are many shops selling glass baubles of all kinds, from individual glass beads to overly ornate chandeliers. Alex was drawn into one shop that also appealed to me. Ash she picked up a pendant, a shop keeper came over and explained how it was created and what made it special. I was drawn to a very unusual ornate glass sculpture like thing in blue and beige. Alex decided against the pendant. I inquired of the sculpture and put it back down when the price was mentioned. It was not exorbitant, but we don’t need another thing to carry with us.

Off to Burano we went. As you might surmise by now, Murano is known for its glass factories. In the 1200’s (if memory serves) after a fire, Venice decreed that all glass furnaces would move to Murano which is how the island became a center for Venetian glass. Burano is known for its lace and its multi colored houses.

We strolled Burano’s streets, had pizza and beer (I had beer, the others water), took many photographs. The island never became crowded, not like Venice proper. Around 4pm we walked to the vaporetto stop and headed back to Murano.

Walking down the main street in Murano to the vaporetto back to Venice, we could not help but stop in some of the shops along the way. Stopping at the last glass shop near the vaporetto stop, the girls chose similar pendant and earring sets. The sop closed just after we walked out. Murano glasswork is quite remarkable. Most of the items sold are glass trinkets, mementos of a trip to Murano while some of the glasswork are truly works of art.

Back in Venice, we agreed to meet for dinner around 19:30 and headed our separate ways.

Venice Day 2, morning.

We met Markus Stiller? and Alexandra Zylenas? at St. Mark’s square, which was teeming with tourists. We took a large gondola across the channel to Dorsoduro to our apartment to get Tony’s restaurant recommendations and headed out to dinner at Al Gondolieri close by. The front garage style sliding door was up, but they did not open until 7pm. Italians, like Turks and Greeks, like to dine late. We made reservations and walked past a long queue for the Guggenheim museum. We had to ask what was going on at the museum as the line was 50 meters long. It turns out that the museum stayed open that evening and that it was free. we saw a similar phenomenon at the Colosseum. The last Sunday of the month the Colosseum is free, but the line to get in was ridiculous.

We skipped the Guggenheim for now and walked the peaceful streets of Dorsoduro, hoping to find the very point of the island with a great view of St Marks. We walked very slowly finding may excuses to take “that great photo” and happened upon a fellow playing medieval tunes on a lute-harp like instrument. I’m guessing it is a medieval lute, but I’ll have to check online. That took us back in time.

I cannot spend much time now; we’re off early to grab a bite in St. Marks before the hoards wake up and flood the square.

Venice Day 1, morning

Wow. I mean WOW. Seabourn handled customs into Venice Italy. We took a bus from the Odyssey, right outside the terminal. Unbelievable. No lines, no stamp in the passport (well, it’s probably stamped, I’ll have to check). We were dropped off outside the cruise ship terminal and took the “people mover” as Nina Croze the owner of the flat we’ve rented told us to do. That took us to a terminal which was a short walk to the vaporetto stop. A vaporetto is a water buss. There are probably eight vaporetto lines that run from the cruise ship terminus to various stops throughout Venice and even go to the islands of Murano and Burano.

We took the #2 vaporetto four stops to Zattere, Venezia. It was that easy. I called Nina from the cruise ship terminal and again before stepping onto the vaporetto. I got a “free message” saying “the party you are calling is not available at this time”.

We were warned more than a few times abord the Seabourn Odyssey that there would be ten cruise ships docked today and that with ten or twenty thousand people disembarking there could be a 90 minute wait for a vaporetto and a 60 minute wait for a taxi. I do not doubt that was the case later in the morning. We departed early and while there were short lines at the ticket kiosks, there were no significant delays.

Stepping off the vaporetto at Zattere, I called Nina once again and she answered. Nina is a very voluble happy gal. We had a brief conversation about our trip, arrival, where were we and that her husband,Tony, would meet us in a few minutes, About ten minutes later, Tony walked up, asked if I was Ron Leavitt and walked us 400 meters to the flat.

The apartment is exactly as shown on homeaway. It is ground floor, tiled, and newly renovated with lots of outlets for electronics and charging, huge windows which let in adequate light, and a door opening onto an inside courtyard. This is great and it is the largest of the flat’s we’ve rented thus far.

We walked the immediate neighborhood, then visited a super market, which was actually a supermarket, but with a butcher. Have you ever visited an Italian butcher? No? They are old school in the best sense of the phrase. We bought some prosciutto de Parma, sopresatta, bread, cheese, and other stuff. The meats are whole slab. You want prosciutto, they bring down the whole cured ham and slice, slice, slice. We had a bit of trouble getting amounts right, Ellen wanted .125 Kilo, the fellow asked 120? I said yes and we got .120 Kilo of proscuitto and another .120 of sopresatta. Initially I mispronounced sopresatto and we had a few funny moments before the connection was made and the slice, slice started. We also bought some eggplant lasagna and one thick cut tomato with a cheese herb topping. Food wise it is hard to beat the Italians. Heaven… and the bread. Oh…

We walked side streets back “home” walking over at least four bridges over the canals. We both collapsed on the firm bed for a siesta before our next adventure.

We’ll unpack later, for now we’ll stroll around and get our bearings.

I asked Tony for local restaurant recommendations, the restaurants he would frequent to avoid typical foreign cuisine: no hamburgers, franks, or ersatz pasta dishes when we can eat some of the best prepared foods in the world. We have a list of six restaurants ranging from typical family style to somewhat expensive depending on the wine you order. I’ve already “adopted” Nina and Tony.

Ellen just awoke and I’m sure she is itching to get out and do some exploring. I wonder what musical events are playing tonight. We’ll see.

Tomorrow friends from Germany are flying in to spend the weekend with us. Marcus and Alexandra have visited us in the states when they vacation in Hawaii. We’re a brief stop-over for them and helps break up a very long flight. Now we’re close to their home turf. This will be fun.

Over and Out for now…

Happy Trails..