Italy

We arrived in Italy by ship from Greece and traveled the length of the Boot from South to North. The first three days were spent on the Isle of Capri on Italy's East Coast near Naples. This mountainous island offered delightful swimming lagoons such as this one, spectacular views and heart stopping bus rides to our accommodation at the top!

We stayed a few days at a hillside retreat overlooking lovely Sorrento and the ominous volcano, Mt. Vesuvius. We scoured every inch of Pompeii, the ancient city buried under volcanic ash over a thousand years ago.
Then a week in the fantastic city of Rome gave us time to visit ancient sites like the Coliseum and Hadrian's villa in the countryside. Excavation is constantly underway, in the center and the outlying areas of Rome.
It took a full day to tour the Vatican City, its museum and see the Sistine Chapel. This tiny sovereign state within the city of Rome is filled with breathtaking art, sculpture, and unbelievable historical artifacts. Above the altar in St. Peter's Basilica, this fabulous gold dove bursting from the sun represents the Spirit of God on Earth.

North of Rome lies Florence, the true center for art, sculpture, and museums in Italy. It seems that all the major artists of the last millennium studied here. Every church is a museum as well. They were all built, painted and decorated by the masters. This great hall was built specifically to house Michaelangelo's magnificent statue of David. The trip here (and the long waiting lines) are well worth it, just to see this one piece!

A short distance to the east is the small town of Pisa. This photograph shows the recently restored cathedral with its famous tower leaning over behind it. A great effort is going into steadying the structure with counter weights and cables. It will never be straight, but the engineers believe they can keep it from leaning too far and falling over.

Traveling north again, we decided to stay in Genoa, a lovely old seaport town that doesn't get many tourists. These two towers mark an ancient gate to the city. The fascinating thing about it is that 500 years ago, the gatekeeper was none other that Christopher Columbus' father. The family lived in the house on the right, now covered with ivy and greenery. Here young Chris learned sailing and developed his 'earth shattering' ideas.
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Fred & Melody Squires
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