Time to blog again,

VeneziaIt has been a while, Angela and I hibernated for over a year. Our every other year to Italy trips were now memories.That time is over. Now we will be planning our next viaggio. During the Covid day we purchased a Winnebago and took a 6,900 mile trip across much of the US. We are embarking on a second trip of two to three months and it will give me time to write and plan our next trip. 

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CATANIA, SICILY FRESH SEAFOOD FOR EVERYONE

I recently watched an other episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. It took place in one of my favorite cities in Sicily, Catania.

Take a brief look at the you tube video that shows what he sees in Catania

 

 

Angela and I came upon this frenetic splendor in 2008,. We had a small BnB around the corner and walked to the market after breakfast.

Crowded and lively, it is an amazing spectacle. 

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The market is in full swing by mid morning..

 

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It is not all about fish, the market spill out to the street

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Dinner out was a simple antipasti from Via Monte St Agata which we discovered by accident 

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Trattoria Monte Sant’Agata

 

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Yes we enjoyed the meal. P1010746Not fine dining,but good food at a veru resonable cost

 

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We always stop at an Ikea store.

A one night stay in Catanioa before we haded over to Cefalu 

We found La Canoica on Via Raddusa. What a great little restaurant 

 

 

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Catania night time walks 

GOTCHA, again, and again, Italy’s New Way To Collect Traffic Violations

There is nothing like coming home from an Italy trip and receiving a letter, or email saying you screwed up and it is time to pay. In recent years I have not run afoul of the law recently, but last year they got me good. Our trip to Italy took us to Padua and Vicenza both beautiful cities. The FAMOUS ZONA LIMITATO or limited traffic zone is found in many major cities in Italy which have congestions. My first experience  was in Rome back in 2009 while returning a rental car and enjoying the sights. I went by the Coliseum and several other location while heading to the airport. Never once did I see any  signs saying ZTL. 

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But the camera saw me. This was no big deal and paid by credit card. 100 Euros is not cheap but this was easy and I was notified soon after returning.

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TRAFFIC TICKET PAID BY CREDIT CARD 

This year while in Vicenza and Padua I saw one sign and tried to avoid the area. Apparently I did not do it very well. We were in these town in October 2019 and I received my first notification from Hertz/Thrifty on January 28 2020. A bit of time had gone by. I was told there was a violation in both town and I would be notified by the municipalities shortly and be advised how to handle them.

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ZTL SIGNS

SOME SIGNS YOU SEE, OTHERS YOU DON’T 

A lot to time passed. In fact I was not notified until December 2020 of the amount of the violation and the need to do a wire transfer. International wire transfers are not cheap. These were $45 each for a total of $90. The fines were $139 and $156.  Now we are talking about really money, no cheap lira banknotes from old times. The old way was quicker and easier. Certainly it was less expensive 

My advice is to be aware of limited traffic areas before you arrive in the cities. I did this successfully in Florence. I most likely will go back to Italy again (now that the fine is paid). I will plan more carefully.. Elven years between violations and It is not the end of the world 

 

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DUOMO PADUA, ITALY

 

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DUOMO WITH WATERCOLOR FILTER 

 

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VICENZA , ITALY

 

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SALVATOR DALI VICENZA ITALY

 

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MUSEUM OF JEWELRY , VICENZA ITALY 

 

I have not posted much this month, but will continue with posts about our previous nineteen trips to Italy.  2021 has to be a better year. To escape the virus and so some travel we purchased a motor home and this has helped us travel safely. 

 

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OUR RV IN APALACHICOLA, FL

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ANGELA HEADING UP I95 IN COCA FL

 

TI AUGURO UN FELICE ANNO NUOVO

I WISH YOU A HAPPY NEW YEAR

Learning Italian

I have been trying to learn Italian for several years. Pimsleur, Italianpod101, CD’s, and Duolingo. They all have helped me improve. Duolingo is one of the best products I have used. The free version is an excellent introduction to learning any language. Premium is a better way to speed up learning, no adds, nor stops after making several mistakes.

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This has worked well and I have used Duolingo for many years with both Spanish and Italian .

 

It has worked well, and I have used it daily for over two years. I realized on our trip last year to Cortina d’Ampezzo that speaking to Italians in their language was fun and made our trip so much more enjoyable. One night we had the owners of our Airbnb over for dinner. The conversation was 95% in Italian as Renato, and his wife spoke little English.

 

OUR LIVING ROOM IN CORTINA
At this point, I had reached the limit of my conversational abilities. It was a good conversation, but I wanted to go farther. One year later, I have started to take Italian lessons. Online Italian courses seemed to be the way to go in the ane of Coronavirus.

I searched several websites and looked closely at two of them. Lingoci appeared to be the best for me.

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From the photo, you can see there are several languages to choose from.
Once you choose a language to learn, you see a list of instructors from whom you can choose.

Lucrezia from Milano

 

I chose a sample lesson with Lucrezia, who comes from Milano and now lives in Barcelona. She is fluent in several languages. I was a little nervous about the class, but she put me at ease quickly.

MY LESSON WITH LUCREZIA

Here is a screenshot of my introductory lesson in Italian.

She is very accomplished with all levels of Italian, and I felt very relaxed learning with her. I purchased a package of 10 lessons for $22.90 US dollars (each).  Each lesson lasts for 55 minutes. That is a bargain for a one on one learning experience.

LESSON PRICE LIST

 

Here is a link to the web site 

https://lingoci.com

 

I do not get any payment from Lingoci, and I do this because I enjoy languages and this had made my learning so much more enjoyable. I have scheduled my lessons for consecutive weeks and at the same time. I highly recommend Lingoci and will continue with my studies for the year.

Most lessons are on Skype which enables a student to get vocabulary and downloads of assignments and documents. This is very helpful. 

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Give it a try. One on one is the best way to learn an language, and Lincoci makes it easy and affordable. 

 

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https://lingoci.com/italian-lessons-skype#tutors

 

Thie above like will open up the Italian tutors section for Lingoci. Take a look. 

 

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San Pietro at night

Ischia an Island Off The Coast of Naples

I came across and article on Ischia today that appeared in Forbes Magazine a while back. 

I remember it for its beauty and ease of transportation via the city busses.  The food was excellent and thermal baths abound in this little volcanic island. Take the ferry from Napoli and enjoy your stay. 

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It is just s short ferry ride from Naples to Ischia. On the way uou pass the equally enchanting island of Procida. 

CIMG0715The island  of Pricida

A 2018 article in Forbes magazine said “Ischia may be one of Italy’s best kept secrets”. It is certainly a relaxing and interesting place to visit. It is affordable with excellent restaurants. It is more casual than Capri and much less hectic. Thermal hot [springs feed pools for a relaxing warm swim. Parts of the movie “The Talented Mister Ripley” were filmed here. Great seafood abounds on this 18 square mile island

 

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On the ferry  from Napoli to Ischia. We brought our car on the ferry, is was a reasonable price.

CIMG0471 The Castello Aragones  is a medieval castle next to Ischia (one of the Phlegraean Islands), at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples, Italy. The castle stands on a volcanic rocky islet that connects to the larger island of Ischia by a causeway (Ponte Aragonese).

CIMG0473Insalata Caprese for our lunch

 

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Lava formations from past eruptions on this volcanic island.

 

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Getting ready to jump. 

CIMG0499Diving into the sea brings relief from the warm summer day.

 

 

CIMG0501Each day the pool is emptied and refilled from the thermal spring. The water is warm, and if filled with minerals.

We took a bus to get to Lo Scoglio, in Sant Angelo. It was s short ten minute drive to an amazing treat. 

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The entrance to Lo Scoglio

 

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Frutti di Mare

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My wife Angela was thrilled with all this fresh seafood.

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A cruise ship passes by.

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Outside dining makes for an enjoyable evening. .

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Samt Angelo, Ischia. Check out the fumarole beaches with steam jets rise up  through the sands.  Food is cooked by burying it in the sand and letting the volcanic steam do its thing.

 

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A salumaria or delicatessen has the real bufala mozzarella. This is best served at room temperature and best kept only on day. It is different from the fresh mozzarella which we find in American supermarkets.

 

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More views 

 

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It is well worth the trip.Stay for a few days to enjoy the shops, dining, and the swimming. You can bring your car over on the ferry. Busses run to many of the attractions.

 

 

https://maps.apple.com/?address=Ischia,%20Naples,%20Italy&auid=12476986191221287559&ll=40.732341,13.944971&lsp=6489&q=Ischia&_ext=Ch8KBQgEEJABCgQIBRADCgQIBhADCgQIChAJCgQIVRAHEiYpt/GC441aREAxdM70t6naK0A5eWwVDs5fREBBwAZEiCvvK0BQDA%3D%3D

 

 

 

 

I Never Forget A Meal

I am borrowing the title of a book by Michael Tucker who also fell in love with Italy and has always loved food.  Italian food and Italian meals are to be savored and enjoyed. His book was great and you can find copies on Amazon. Also recommended is “Living in a Foreign Language” also by Michael Tucker which is similar to Under the Tuscan Son, but with more humor and a bit of attitude. 

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We are on the island of Ischia, a small island off the coast of Napoli. We stayed in a small hotel with great views of the area and had a pleasant lunch of  Prosciuto e Melone.

 

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We also hand Insalata Capresse with fresh mozzarella di buffala

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At anolther ristorante in ischia we had frutti di mare. As fresh as you can get.

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While staying on Lake Carda in the town of Brenzone we had a waterfront dinner of Cacio e PepeIMG 1785

Lunch at a winery in Vicenza IMG 1787

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Below is home made pasta in Milano, I took a pasta making class. 

Felt is was time to lear how to do it, I had a pasta making machine at home that my bother bought about thirty years ago.

 

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Nothing like your own fresh pasta

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IMG 1445Pasta alla Norma 

 

 

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Mixed fruit that we bought at the market in Siracusa  Sicily

Below is beefsteak Florentine

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You start with aged meet. This is from Il Pandemonio, Florence Italy

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It comes rare to medium rate, It is a think steak, about 1.5 to 2.0 inches. 

There is nothing like it.

 

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Back in Catania, Sicily

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An entire meal of antipasti 

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My wife Angel and I after a wonderful meal.

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Il Torre Del Mangia, Siena

Piazza  del  Campo

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Insalata Capresse

Pasta with Pesto

There are more to come. This Brunello from 2011 met it Demis in 2020 as we reminisced about Italy.

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Three Years Old

Three years ago I had the idea of doing a blog about Italy travel. I already had a web site  ( http://www.gregsitaly.com) but it did not allow me to narrate travels as easily as WordPress does. It allows posting from iPad, iPhone, and Mac with access to all my 20,000 photos of Italy. So thanks to all those who have stopped by and I hope to share some more thoughts and photos during these difficult time. This is not a commercial site, Lo faccio per condividere il mio amore per l’Italia, I do it to share my love of Italy.

 

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View from  Fondaco dei Tedeschi.

Free entrance to some of the best views of Venice. You can reserve a time slot online.

Visit their web site

https://www.dfs.com/en/venice/t-fondaco-rooftop-terrace

 

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A bridge in Vicenza

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From the Grand Canal, Norwegian may not return. 

 

 

Waking Up To See A Different View

I follow a Facebook group which features posts on traveling to Italy. This morning I woke up to a post by Keith Mountford featuring a view of an Italian town and I knew I had been there.
I quickly went to my photo library and found the photo I took from the same spot. Keith had painted an amazing watercolor from the same spot.

We both stood on the same spot, and we saw the beauty that was there.

 

My photo is below.  We are taking you to Bellagio on Lake Como.

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Lake Como is in the background. This was taken in September 2019 

 

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This is Keith’s water color. It is beautiful 

Visit Keith’s web site at 

https://www.keithmountford.com

 

Keith has signed limited edition prints for sale on his website.

With everything going on and our all being restricted in what we can do and where we can go, seeing the post of Facebook mad my day a bit brighter.  Ciao,, 

Ci manca Roma. We miss Rome

We have been to Rome 5 or 6 times. Have lost count. Never see enough of the beautiful city. In October we walked most of the city and never stall the trash buildup that was posted on some news sites and in some newspapers in the US. It is a large city, but residential areas and tourist areas were clean. We can to wait to return. Here are some photos of the days in Rome.

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Via Cappellari, out Airbnb was 100 feet away from this photo. The street was made into an art gallery for several days,

 

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Art was hung all along the street. 

 

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\iew from the Tiber to St. Peters

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A wedding im Trastevere

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Museo di Roma

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Piazza Navona from Museo di Roma

Then and Now

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Piazza Navona

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Coppede Neighborhood  Roma

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Below scuderie del Quirinale, the stables of Quirinale 

 

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We first came to the Scuderie del Quirinale three years ago for an exhibit by Picasso.

This time Pompei and Santorini both suffered volcanic eruptions.

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Plaster casts from Pompei

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Below a breathtaking view of Rome from the Scuderie del Quirinale

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From Wikipedia

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WHEN THE STREETS WERE CROWDED

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Milan Italy, September 2019

 

It is hard to believe this city was alive and well when we visited in September.  Vibrant, crowded, and totally alive with people.

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan September 2019

 

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The Apple Store, Milan September 2019

 

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Starbucks, Milan September 2019

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Street Vendor Blowing Bubbles, Milan September 2019

 

It is hard to believe this country has been hit so hard. Hopefully we will return to an Italy that will recover. I have visited Italy 20 times in the last thirty years, and I will return again.

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