TUSCANY BY BIKE Photos from a great trip.

Last post of 2019, I was off line while transferring all my photos to a new computer and should be doing posts on a far regular basis in 2020, Buon anno a tutti

 

 

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To really see this ups and downs of Tuscany, do it on a bicycle. Above View from Piazelle de Michelangelo view of Florence 

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Always stunning views.

 

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There were a lot of hills on this ride, but everyone finished.

 

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Monteriggioni

 

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Monteriggioni

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Monteriggioni

 

 

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Easy riding through towns.

 

 

 

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Terre del Mangia, Siena

 

 

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October brought fall colors to the region

 

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Land of Chianti

 

 

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A nice days ride, GPS track from San Gimignano to Siena 

 

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Brunello one fantastic Italian red wine

 

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I was riding by a grove of olive trees when a gentleman offered to take my photo.

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Beautiful Cypress trees line the roads into this BnB in Tuscany.

 

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The freshest tomatoes are from Italy. 

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PIENZA IN THE RAIN 8x10

 

Last day it rained in Pienza, but the ride was over.

My Favorite Streets In Rome

This year we returned to Rome for eight wonderful nights.  In 2017 we were in Rome for two weeks, and enjoyed becoming familiar with the city. It was no longer intimidating. On our last visit we stayed in an Airbnb on Via Dei Bianchi Vecchi. It was a great location to walk to many of Romes’s attractions. This year we found an Airbnb that did not have 67 steps to climb to the second floor. It was located on Via Cappellari about 200 feet from the Campo Dei Fiori.

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From our location which was “Via dei Cappellari, 124 primo piano” we were able to walk to the following sights.

Chiesa Dei Stata Barbara Labrari

Chiesa Dei Santa Barbara Dei Librari

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Chiesa Dei Santa Barbara Dei Librari Interior

Well worth the visit, small and beauitiful

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Campo dei Fiori

The Campo dei Fiori is a great place to wanter and view the sights night and day. Surrounded by restaurants and shops, it transforms from a daytime tent city to vendors selling everything from fruits and vegetables to clothing and other items to a huge area wandering people. 

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Stalls and shops at the Campo

St Peters is about 10 min from the area. Walk down Corso Vittorio Emanuele and cross of the bridge by Castel Sant’Angelo and make a slight left and you will see it ahead.

 

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St Peter from the dome

 

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On to lunch in Trastevere

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The chiesa of Santa Maria in Trastevere was another short walk

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Always a wedding seven days a week

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Crossing the bridge headed back to our Airbnb a beautiful view of St Peters in the distance 

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T-Mobile in Italy and USA

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NAVIGATING USING MY IPHONE AND T-MOBILE 

 

For my last two trips to Italy I have purchased a TIM SIM card from their web site and brought the printed voucher to a TIM store in Italy. In both cases all went well at the stores and in about 10 minutes my phone was up and running in about 10 minutes.  Cell service with TIM was excellent and never had problems. The plan allowed 15 Gig data and  200 min of cell service.  For some reason the cell minutes seemed to disappear quickly.  The cost was 25 Euros (Now 20 Euros)  and it was good for 30 days.

Down side was you got a new local phone number (Italian 39 country code), The plan is not renewable. 15 Gig of data can go fairly quickly if you do not have access to Wi-Fi. 

 

 

TIM FOR VISITORS

 

T-Mobile plans include 2G data and 25 cents per minute calling.  My wife made many calls relating to her business while we were on a month long trip to Italy.  This was included in our $70 a month plan for two phones. The 2G data plan was adequate for her to send texts with photos, read and send email, but it was noticeably slower than what we were used to hear. Considering that AT&T plans for international use were exorbitant this was not a problem. Service was good from Rome to the Dolomites. No problems.

 

I opted for a 30d high speed package with unlimited calls. We used our cell phones for driving directions on Apple or Google maps every day.   I had great refresh rates on web pages and never lost a signal while driving. The package was worth if for me. It is also renewable for 30 days. You will get a text when you arrive overseas in any of the 210 countries T-Mobile includes in the plan allowing you to choose several options for calling. My $50 and an slower priced plans IF YOU WANT FASTER DATA SPEEDS. Otherwise you are all sent.  From their web site “The Magenta®, Simple Choice™, New Classic, and Select Choice plans provide unlimited 2G data, unlimited texting and calling at $0.25 per minute in 210+ countries and destinations”

International Pass: 512MB of high-speed data at up to LTE speeds and unlimited calling, to be used up to 24 hours, for $5/day.
5GB International Pass: 5GB of high-speed data at up to LTE speeds and unlimited calling, to be used up to 10 days, for $35.
15GB International Pass: 15GB of high-speed data at up to LTE speeds and unlimited calling, to be used up to 30 days, for $50.

 

T-Mobile served us well on our trip. Less problems than TIM.  Check out the various plans, especially the over 55 plan.

 

Hard to believe that AT&T would push their inflated rates on travelers and continually raise the monthly cell plan rates.  Their plans are very restrictive and expensive.

Cost $70 per month. 

Coverage for as long as you need
Unlimited texts to the world
2GB or 6GB of data included
$0.35 per minute for calls
Available in 200+ countries

 

A lot of money for little return.

 

 My T-Mobile bill arrived and there were no surprises.

T-Mobile is owned by Deutsche Telekom. 

 

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GREAT SIGNAL ON LAKE COMO

Lost In Rome, Again

Being lost in Rome is a treat, not a problem.  We dropped our rental car off in Venezia, how amazing  it is to drive to the edge of this cluster of islands. After leaving the car inform of the Hertz office, we walked across the street and closed a bridge to Venezia. IMG 1172

Next we walked to the Santa Lucia station to get our high speed train to Rome. Reserved seats and a great ride. IMG 0982

Italo provides fast and nice transport, It was a pleasure to travel by train.

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Beverage service was provided and restrooms were spotless.

After arriving at our Airbnb on Via Dei  Cappellari i, we head one block to the Campo Dei Fiori. We chose this location as it was near our last Airbnb and enabled us to walk to most of the destinations in Rome we wanted to see. 

 

IMG 1009Campo dei Fiori at night. The market is gone, now it is dinnertime and people watching. A full moon came to welcome us.

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Quick walk to the Vatican 

DSC00444We were located so close to so many wonderful sights ant things to do.

 

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The downtown market was filled with food and wines. 

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A Rome market. 

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This small Filetti di Baccala is a tiny space which specialized in Cod Filets which were delicousIMG 1059

One man runs the kitchen. Everything is prepared while you wait. 

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Find  at Largo dei Labari, near the church of Santa Barbara

 

Some more walking and another wedding. First of several we saw.

 

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A walk across the tiber to a new area of Rome. Trastevere, another jewell.  Trastevere translates to across the Tiber

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An uncrowded street in Trastevere. Via del Moro. 

 

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This post will be continued.

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Caico e Pepe, Osteria da Fortunata , Via  Pelligrino

Quartiere Coppedè

An amazing residential neighborhood near the Borghese Park area.

We took the 63 bus from our neighborhood to Coppedè. We arrived to a more 19th century look than the building we have been seeing in the Campo dei Fiori are where we have an apartment for two weeks.

Entrance Arch to Coppedè

The entire quartiere is quieter, and less hectic than other neighborhoods we have walked through. There is no lack of good places to shop and eat. We stopped at 7 Grammi for lunch and that total bill was 23 Euros. I recommend adding this to your list of walks in Rome.

I found this through reading one of my main sources of information for Rome. The blog “An American in Rome” by Natalie if my favorite Italy blog. Google it and you will have a wealth of knowledge of the city sights , dining, and just plain fun things to do.

Cortina d’Ampesso, The Beauty Of The Domoliti

View from our Airbnb in Cortina d’Ampezzo

We arrived in Cortina d’Ampezzo late afternoon after driving in heavy rain from Milano. Just as we arrived, the clouds parted, and the sun came out. As we drove up the windy roads to our Airbnb we saw the snow covered mountains and the blue sky. It snowed this morning making our arrival even more spectacular.

Cortina d’Ampezzo is beautiful. Skiing, mountain and road biking, hiking, or enjoying a drink outside one of the many restaurants and bars in the area.

The views are amazing.

Big, beautiful, and upscale. When the Olympics come, prices will go sky high. This is the view from our Airbnb again.

We had the best Airbnb ever. After three years of Airbnb in Italy, this was the real 5 star rating. Our hosts were fantastic. The rooms were spotless, and relaxing. The views amazing. Put a comment on the blog and I will send you the info. We liked it so much we cooked dinner for our hosts. Ninety per cent of our conversation was in Italian. Glad to have Italian Pod and Duolingo helping me.

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