September/October, 2008, in Italy

We traveled once again to Italy this Fall, this time with our good friends Peter and Dorothy as travel companions. We started out in Tuscany, staying in Montepulciano in a truly wonderful small hotel, Meublé Il Riccio. The Meublé is run by the Caroti family, headed by Giorgio and Ivana. They have six rooms and with Karen & me and Peter & Dorothy, we had one third of the capacity. The place is many centuries old, extraordinarily charming, and perfectly positioned in the spectacularly beautiful Montepulciano in the Sienna region of central Italy.

We toured the Tuscana and Umbria regions, touring a number of towns... each more beautiful, historic, and absolutely charming than the last. These included Pienza, Bagno Vignola, Chiusi, Montalcino, and a trip in to Firenze (Florence). In Firenze, we toured through the city, viewing such local treasures as Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo), the spectacular statues in the Piazza Della Signoria, the famous Ponte Vecchio, and Giardino di Bobali (Bobali Gardens). Throughout, we drank the local wines, luxored in the local cuisine, and did I mention that we drank the local wines. Fantastico!

Below: Tuscany from to rooftop terrace of Meuble Il Riccio, and dinner the last night in Tuscany:
Tuscany from Montepulciano Dinner in Montepulciano

From there we drove south past Roma to the Amalfi coast, staying in mega-beautiful Positano. One cannot imagine how wonderful the place is without having been there. We took a ferry to the Isle of Capri and toured the island. Karen and I took the Funicular (like a ski chairlift) to the top of Capri and like everyone who arrives there, our first words were "omigod". Unbelievable views, of Capri, the Mediterranean, Mount Vesuvius on the mainland, the Amalfi coastline, the tiny islands surrounding Capri... everything. We took a ride in a very small powerboat along the coast to the the town of Amalfi, stopping along the way to tour water caves carved into the coastline. We saw the homes of the "rich and famous", like Sofia Loren, Rudolf Nureyev, Franco Zeffirelli, and so on. And again, we ate the local cuisine and drank the local wines. Life is good. Very good.

Below: We stayed in Hotel Pasetea in Positano, and the view from our room:
Hotel Pasetea in Positano View from our Room

Below: The Italian Coastline from the Top of Capri, and Karen and me on Capri (Mt Vesuvius Seen in Back Right):
Italian Coastline from Capri (Mt Vesuvius on the Right) Karen and me on top of the Isle of Capri

We spent the end of our days in Italy in Roma (Rome), staying near the heart of the city. We bought an open pass for one of the open-top touring buses that constantly provide guided tours. We'd get on and off and see a site and then on/off to another. We saw many of the sights we've seen before (see our 2003 trip to Italy), but they are just a amazing. And we had a final dinner near the Spanish Steps.

All in all, a wonderful adventure with very good friends.

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