2018 - Italy - From Roma to Venezia
Finally we arrive back in Venice and take the launch over to Murano Island to check out the glass factory.  Very neat, and I might have picked up a few
Christmas gifts - YAY.  Also on tap was a tour of the Doges Palace and St. Marks Cathedral and Square (again).  All stunning.
The architecture in Florence is amazing, very ornate with much of it restored or being restored.  Many pictures show scaffolding eluding to the
restoration work in progress. Without a doubt the marble statue of David is a wonder of the world - made out of a single block of marble, it is most
exquisite, 16' tall, 5 tonnes and perfect.  Of course, tourists flock here to see it all, so it was pretty crowded.

Below we make our way to Pisa on the way to Venice.  Again, very crowded but stunning.  I think we are suffering from sensory-overload by this point
in the trip.  It all blows the mind seeing the ancient mighty history of this country.  So ornate and beautifully built, it must have really taken some
September 14 - 23, 2018
After meeting our tour director Lynn and our new group of 23, we headed out to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. We had a local guide who made
the tour very interesting, as well as it's being massive and visually and historically stimulating.
After our amazing tour of Croatia, Slovenia and small taste of Venice we were excited to start our
explorations of Italy.  As part of our Croatian tour we planned our airfare return out of Venice,
where the tour terminated, but pushed the date out to accommodate the 9-day tour of Italy.  We
needed to get down to Rome from Venice to begin our northward tour back to Venice so we
caught the Trenitalia train which we booked before we left home.  Sounds somewhat daunting
but actually, with Google Maps to educate us on various locations and travel directions, it was a

We had booked into our hotel in Rome a day early so when the train got in and we "hiked" the
300 yds to the hotel with our luggage we were beat, haha - not.  Late in the afternoon we headed
out for a nice, quiet dinner at a restaurant across the street and were pleasantly surprised with
the nice meal (osso buco for me, lasagna for Ed) and great atmosphere in the garden.
One evening in Rome we got a bit dressed up and went to a local opera house cum restaurant where we were highly entertained by
robust operatic singing and humorous playacting plus the 3-course meal and unlimited wine ensured we were very  well fed and happy.  
The shots below don't do it justice.  It was a lot of fun.
The next morning we headed by bus north to Assisi, about 3 hours away where we toured the 13th century Basilica de
San Francesco with the frescoes painted by Giotto.  One of which was in a multi-dimensional style and the figures eyes
and body seemed to follow you across the room. Very cool illusion. Sorry no picture.
Onward to Florence with a stop at an overlook to observe the city in it's entirety. Click on the
photo for a clearer enlargement and check out the scale of these massive  monuments.
We stopped in the Tuscany hillside at a vineyard/restaurant called Tre Pini where they served their delicious blue prosecco as well as pink grapefruit
prosecco to accompany a wonderful 3 course meal.  Everyone enjoyed it very much, and I for one ordered some wine shipped back home for us.
Next up was Vatican City and the largest Catholic Church in the world, St. Peter's Basilica.  We found Vatican City to be so very beautiful and it
so much more than we expected.  Another mind-boggler was the Sistine Chapel tour with the ceiling frescoes painted by
Michelangelo.  Michelangelo also produced the sculpture of Mary hold Jesus called the Pieta, how stunning.  Another portion of the Sistine Chapel  
we really enjoyed was the Gallery of Tapestries and the Gallery of Maps.
I wish I could have taken some shots of the floor and ceiling mosaics in the
Cathedral but Google has some shots for your enjoyment.  

This portion of the trip comes to a close and unfortunately we didn't get a group
photo, but we did get a small group photo which included Ed & I, Cody & Carrie,
Helena & Bill and Victoria & Arkady.  

With all the 3 course meals I think I gained a few pounds, oh well, all for a good
cause! Yes, it was delicious and decadent having dessert every night, haha.

We had a lot of fun but now it's time to go home.  Arrivederci!
Vatican City from above. Not my picture, borrowed with respect
for personal use.  Michelangel's Pieta below, also not my picture.
According to our guide, Igor, the 2 white
buildings were aviaries, used to house exotic
tropical birds.