Where to begin? Milan! City of fascinating history, art, great food and wine, and home to the fashion giants. Milan's Duomo is magnificent and so is the historic covered shopping centre Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II - literally steps away! No photos allowed for my viewing of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper but a serence moment. Also a day excursion to Lake Como for picture perfect lake views and a nice little retirement villa?!
Got some great new finds at the antiques market on Via Camperio. Bartering is an art form here and a passerby that speaks italian (obviously better than myself) said I was killing the merchant!! But all in good gesture. Once he found out I sold antiques he warmed right up and we posed for a nice early morning picture. He told me he has been selling antiques for 50 years. Gotta love that kind of energy and inspiration! I should have bartered for his cool hat.
Off to Venice for a few days of relaxation... or so we tried. But with so much to see and do, rest wasn't high on the priority list! A city like no other - and here I thought nothing could top Paris. A slow gondola ride - touristy yes - romantic... also yes!
Tuscany - not just for wine lovers! Even though we are. And we did! Relying heavily on our GPS to help us navigate through the windiest roads, we were up and down into the countryside and hill towns. Fiesole (for a most spectacular view of Florence!), Lucca for it's charming walled city, Pisa (you guessed it!), Volterra for it's high location and San Gimignano, known as Italy's medieval Manhattan. Then heading south for wine tastings in Greve in Chianti... perfecto!
The antiques market in Piazza Delle Erbe in San Gimignano was right out of the history books - the Piazza is so named for the produce market that used to be held there centuries ago. We met a wonderful antiques dealer who spoke about the same amount of english that I do italian, but somehow we managed to learn about the centre's history and strike up a fair price for my finds!
Last stop - Rome. We only had 2 days... not nearly enough time to do it justice! But we had a wonderful tour of the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, the Roman Forum, and off to Vatican City for the most amazing visit to St. Peters. Against all advice we drove in Rome with our rental car, parked it for the 2 days, then drove to the airport in early morning traffic. That may have been the most adventurous - or at least the most eye opening part of the whole trip!! And no that's not me in the little pink car but I couldn't resist.