Springtime in Italy - Memorable Moments

It was late winter when we started our 5 week Italian exploration in Rome, at our favorite hotel: Campo de' Fiori......

The early March view from our balcony in Rome at Hotel Campo de' Fiori

The early March view from our balcony in Rome at Hotel Campo de' Fiori

A vegetable stand in the Campo de' Fiori market

A vegetable stand in the Campo de' Fiori market

I was struck by the packaging on these spices, herbs and dried beans, etc at the market in Campo de' Fiori

I was struck by the packaging on these spices, herbs and dried beans, etc at the market in Campo de' Fiori

The view of Hotel Campo de' Fiori from our favorite enoteca Verso Sera

The view of Hotel Campo de' Fiori from our favorite enoteca Verso Sera

The staff makes the hotel --- and these two are the best!  Valentina and Francesco at Hotel Campo de' Fiori

The staff makes the hotel --- and these two are the best!  Valentina and Francesco at Hotel Campo de' Fiori

The late-winter view from the rooftop at Hotel Campo de'Fiori, Rome

The late-winter view from the rooftop at Hotel Campo de'Fiori, Rome

Rome window shopping.  Incredible children's clothing!  I think I would wear these things. Maybe not the shoes......

Rome window shopping.  Incredible children's clothing!  I think I would wear these things. Maybe not the shoes......

Creative parking in Rome!  Ha!

Creative parking in Rome!  Ha!

After 3 days, it was on to Florence, where we'd live for a month.....

It was fairly brisk in mid-March, but not raining!

It was fairly brisk in mid-March, but not raining!

Our normal breakfast at a cafe half a block from our apartment

Our normal breakfast at a cafe half a block from our apartment

Shopping in this city is the best!

One of my favorite stores for higher-end clothing and shoes:  Raspini

One of my favorite stores for higher-end clothing and shoes:  Raspini

I love this store, too - much less pricey!  Vincent Croce  There are 2 locations (that I found):  in San Frediano, near the Ponte alla Carraia and on Borgo la Croce, near the mercato San Ambrogio 

I love this store, too - much less pricey!  Vincent Croce  There are 2 locations (that I found):  in San Frediano, near the Ponte alla Carraia and on Borgo la Croce, near the mercato San Ambrogio 

This is how we roll when shopping

This is how we roll when shopping

I adored this cafe the second I walked in!  It's small and charming. Cafe Cibreo

I adored this cafe the second I walked in!  It's small and charming. Cafe Cibreo

Shops like these are everywhere.  This was me provisioning on our first night in Florence.

Shops like these are everywhere.  This was me provisioning on our first night in Florence.

Connecting:

We met Melinda Gallo after corresponding with her for about a year.  We ended up having Easter lunch with her, hosting her for Friday night nachos (gathering the ingredients for that dinner is a post in itself!), and here is our farewell luncheon, the day before we left Florence.  Check out her blog!

We met Melinda Gallo after corresponding with her for about a year.  We ended up having Easter lunch with her, hosting her for Friday night nachos (gathering the ingredients for that dinner is a post in itself!), and here is our farewell luncheon, the day before we left Florence.  Check out her blog!

This shop makes masks and wigs and ALL kinds of special makeup for cinema and theater.  We passed by the storefront almost every day and one day ventured in:  Filistrucchi

This shop makes masks and wigs and ALL kinds of special makeup for cinema and theater.  We passed by the storefront almost every day and one day ventured in:  Filistrucchi

Daily life.....

Florentine police at Piazza Santo Spirito

Florentine police at Piazza Santo Spirito

Florentines park creatively, too!

Florentines park creatively, too!

Venturing beyond the borders of Florence....

One Sunday, on a whim, we jumped a city bus and climbed the hill north of Florence to Fiesole.  This is what's left of a Roman amphitheater.

One Sunday, on a whim, we jumped a city bus and climbed the hill north of Florence to Fiesole.  This is what's left of a Roman amphitheater.

In mid-March we took the express train - 2 hours! - to Venice. 

In mid-March we took the express train - 2 hours! - to Venice. 

This shop was amazing!  Not only the drama of the setting, but much of the clothing is designed in-house and is superb quality.  Pot-pouri

This shop was amazing!  Not only the drama of the setting, but much of the clothing is designed in-house and is superb quality.  Pot-pouri

Of course, while in Venice, we HAD to have a real Bellini at Harry's Bar.  The room was startlingly small and unpretentious - and the glasses were surprising - but it was an experience.

Of course, while in Venice, we HAD to have a real Bellini at Harry's Bar.  The room was startlingly small and unpretentious - and the glasses were surprising - but it was an experience.

We visited the Cinque Terre the end of March - a great way to greet April!  This is the view of Vernazza from the tower of Castello Doria....

We visited the Cinque Terre the end of March - a great way to greet April!  This is the view of Vernazza from the tower of Castello Doria....

.....And the view looking out toward sea from our room at La Mala in Vernazza

.....And the view looking out toward sea from our room at La Mala in Vernazza

A wonderful wine we first discovered when our son found it at a wine seller in Seattle for us.  Made in Cinque Terre!

A wonderful wine we first discovered when our son found it at a wine seller in Seattle for us.  Made in Cinque Terre!

A day exploring Monterosso in the Cinque Terre

A day exploring Monterosso in the Cinque Terre

Some Italian men having lunch behind me at Ristorante Ciak in Monterosso.  Note the ties and scarves even in a beach town.  I love the way Italians and French dress!

Some Italian men having lunch behind me at Ristorante Ciak in Monterosso.  Note the ties and scarves even in a beach town.  I love the way Italians and French dress!

Italian travel mistakes....

So, we missed our train connection in La Spezia and had to wait for the next one to Florence.  We met some young Americans - west coasters, like us! - and enjoyed (!) wine in the ambience of the train station....ahem. The company was definitely better than the surroundings but it was a memory!

So, we missed our train connection in La Spezia and had to wait for the next one to Florence.  We met some young Americans - west coasters, like us! - and enjoyed (!) wine in the ambience of the train station....ahem. The company was definitely better than the surroundings but it was a memory!

.....and then, one Sunday, we decided to take a bus to Greve in Chianti.  We bought tickets and were directed to the bus --- which, it turned out, was going to Grosseto, not Greve, sadly we discovered an hour into the trip!!!  2 1/2 hours and not much to see around the bus/train station, then 2 1/2 hours back - the whole Sunday spent on a bus....!  We made the best of it, though.... Inexpensive Chianti and a delicious flat bread pizza sort of thing - lunch totaled 5 euros. 

.....and then, one Sunday, we decided to take a bus to Greve in Chianti.  We bought tickets and were directed to the bus --- which, it turned out, was going to Grosseto, not Greve, sadly we discovered an hour into the trip!!!  2 1/2 hours and not much to see around the bus/train station, then 2 1/2 hours back - the whole Sunday spent on a bus....!  We made the best of it, though.... Inexpensive Chianti and a delicious flat bread pizza sort of thing - lunch totaled 5 euros. 

Sometimes it's best just to put up your feet and relax..... There are some changes on the horizon....Stay tuned for the next adventures!

Looking toward the terrace in our Florence apartment.

Looking toward the terrace in our Florence apartment.

Posted on June 8, 2016 .