Part IV Along European Lines
Chapter 22 The Eternal City and the Holy Father
Ah, bella Italia! My experiences of Italy began with the Italian Riviera, covered in Chapter 21: Riding the Rivieras… then on to Rome in Chapter 22: The Eternal City and the Holy Father…
Here is a separate page of photos for my amazing times at The Vatican – including shaking hands with Pope John Paul – The Vatican
Enjoy, my friend!
The waterfront of Genoa.. special…
Genoa had significance to me, as it did to anyone who had learned in elementary school that in 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue and discovered America, so the story went. He had gone on his theory that the world was mostly land and that Asia could be easily reached by sailing west. What amazed me was not that he had convinced Spanish monarchs King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of finance his trip, but that he had had the tenacity keep trying for seven years to gain their sponsorship. Could I have waited so long?
My destination the next morning was a place actress Loretta Swit (from the long-running TV series, M.A.S.H.) had loving described from the deck of a yacht as “a painting” in a segment of Robin Leach’s TV series, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. This was the fishing village of Portofino. The drive there wound around shady headlands above crystal aquamarine waters and through the resort villages of San Marcherita and Paraggio. The village of Portofino was nestled below steep forested slopes at the end of the road. The tops of the slopes were dotted with a few gold-hued villas. Palm trees towered amid smaller trees.
Moving on through Italy…
A rugged part of Italy’s Mediterranean coast. That’s my awesome Melawend, circled in red!
I was looking for a quintessential image of Italy. I saw this this country gentleman who was simply sitting in quiet repose outside an old church in the village of Termine di Roverano. I rode past for about a mile, then got up my courage and turned around. He was only mildly distracted by my presence and shrugged an okay when I asked if I could photograph him.
Another of one of the world’s greatest travel cliché’s – but only until you are actually there! Like all the others, the Leaning Tower of Pisa works it magic on you!
Brunelleschi’s dome for the Duomo of Florence, Santa Maria del Fiore.
An Italian stallion on his bike – at the Piazzale Michelanagelo, Florence.
A humbling sight that would ground you to the realities of the past yet make you hopeful for the future – a massive graveyard created by war. Here, the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial
It was sobering to see the symmetry of hundreds of white stone crosses against the gentle sweep of the green land when you realized that this peaceful place was born from the horror, chaos, ugliness and tragedy of war. This, like all military cemeteries, gave some order and dignity to the grim aftermath of battle, a mute secluded memorial to self-sacrifice. Here were the cut-off limbs of so many distant family trees. No birds sang. The silence here was deafening.
A gentleman I encountered shortly after leaving the cemetery graciously posed beside his amazing Piaggio Ape! These mini-trucks were developed by Piaggio (the creator of Vespa) right after the World War II – as an affordable truck to help Italy get back on its feet.
Do you believe in angels, my friend? I do. Statues, monuments, and images of them abound in Rome!
Rome might also have been called The City of Angeles. I saw them glorified above the round edifice of the Castel Sant’ Angelo, the mausoleum that Hadrian (A.D.-117 – 138) had built for himself. In 590, Pope Gregory the Great saw an angel hovering over the mausoleum and sheathing his sword, heralding the end of the plague which was then raging in Rome – hence the figure of an angel which now crowned the monument.
I walked across the beautiful Ponte Sant’ Angelo which had been built by Hadrian in 136 A.D. to give access to his mausoleum. Along the bridge, you saw the figures of angles that were added by the pupils of Bernini.
In Rome’s City Hall – Palazzo Nuovo – atop Capitoline Hill – one of the seven hills of Rome – I received a great welcome and exchange from Carlo Capano, Ambassador for Ceremony for the City of Rome. I was accompanied by Franca Mazzolani, a Cultural Officer with the Canadian Embassy in Rome. Behind us is the only remaining statue of Julius Caesar.
After the reception, I was photographed on Melawend just outside City Hall – which was part of Piazza del Campidoglio – designed by Michaelangelo in 1536.
Yet another travel moment that looses cliché when you are actually there! The Spanish Steps, completed in 1727 – 135 steps up a steep slope between the Piazza de Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, with the beautifu Trinità dei Monti church at the top.
Inside the Coliseum – a grim reminder of virtually unimaginable torture and death of so many to the amusement of the audience – man’s inhumanity to man.
With Melawend three, I tossed my three coins into the Trevi Fountain, ensuring my return to Rome!
Romance in the afternoon along the Tiber River in Rome
A quote of mine on a photo I took at sunrise at my camp by the Mediterranean at Terracina.
Images of POMPEII
The b&w photo used a story for the Times-Review
Melawend and I make our way across Italy.
Happy grape vendor in Brindisi!
CANADA ~~ ENGLAND ~~ WALES ~~ SCOTLAND ~~ NORWAY ~~ SWEDEN ~~ DENMARK ~~ THE NETHERLANDS ~~ BELGIUM ~~ LUXEMBOURG ~~ GERMANY ~~ LIECHTENSTEIN ~~ AUSTRIA ~~ SWITZERLAND ~~ FRANCE ~~ SPAIN ~~ MONACO ~~ ITALY ~~ THE VATICAN ~~ GREECE ~~ EGYPT ~~ SUDAN ~~ KENYA ~~ INDIA ~~ NEPAL ~~ SINGAPORE ~~ MALAYSIA ~~ JAPAN ~~ HAWAII ~~ USA ~~ RETURN