Exploring Naples

Ever mystical  wonderful Naples!  She’s not most traveler’s first choice of destination, but hopefully more will experiment and sample her charm.  Everytime I’ve visited, people have cautioned me to be vigilent and wary.  Yes, there will be those Neopolitans who take advantage if they see an obvious opening, but for the most part they are among the warmest Italians you will encounter.  This is a city not to be missed.  Do your homework and you will find it one of the most remarkable places you will ever visit…and return to again and again!

How grand!  Piazza Plebiscito


The ever famous Caffe Gambrinus — sfogliatelle and a coffee please!




Take any funicular to enjoy all parts of the city…here up to Vomero and Castel Sant’ Elmo!



Castel Sant’Elmo!



Views of Naples from Castel Sant’Elmo



The port view including Vesuvius!


The streets of Naples!


Best pizza ever, even if blurry!


Not shown is the most amazing Archeological Museum, but here is the incredible Museo Capodimonte!  So much more to see!  I can’t wait to return!


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Spur of Italy’s Boot – Vieste and the Gargano National Forest

Puglia (or Apulia) is eyeopening because it presents a surprising geography not seen anywhere else in Italy.  We visited the ‘spur’ of Italy’s boot mid April and found it to be astounding!  Based out of the old pirate town of Vieste with it’s calcareous Pizzomunno il Faraglione, we explored lovely flat beaches along with interesting white rocky promotories with ancient towns jutting over cliffs.  Some old towns features a few ‘trabucchi’ jutting out into the sea.  This curious woodwork is an ancient way of fishing found throughout this region.  In only a few days you can explore the nearby towns of Peschici, Rodi, and Mattinata and also linger in La Foresta Umbra, the shady forest of the Gargano National Park stretching some 1000 meters up the mountain.  The light through these ancient oaks and beech trees is unique! This lovely unexplored spur is perfect for hiking, biking and enjoying the beaches along with the incredible food and wine of Puglia!









Gargano National Forest




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Pastries in Italy, eyecandy for those “just looking”

Perugia3Part of the obvious charm of traveling in Italy is the way store owners artfully display their wares!  And pastries, candy and gelato can be found in every small town and big city…just there to tempt you to try.

Here are a few delights from a lazy afternoon stroll in the town of Perugia in Umbria.

Perugia4Perugia is famous for its chocolate!


Snakes are part of the many animal symbols in Perugia’s history.

Perugia1Griffins are everywhere as they are the official city symbol.

PerugiaGriffinsVisit Ticket to Italy’s website for information about your next trip to Perugia!



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wallinfall.2It’s surprising that more people don’t use Lucca as a base for a week or so when visiting Tuscany.  When they discover that Tuscany includes more than Florence and Siena, they quickly want to know how to build a vacation to see it all.  Lucca has served merely as a day trip from Florence.  Tourists come to see Lucca, then Pisa and seldom spend much more than a few hours.

But what a delight it is to spend days, weeks and maybe a month in Lucca and surrounds!  Not only is the walled town a delight for the sights, food and shopping, but it’s within a hour of the Mediterranean beaches of Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi, and also within a hour of the mountain charms of Barga and other Garfagnana delights.  There are Napoleon villas, the delights of Collodi (the home of Pinocchio), wonderful vineyards and olive groves, plus the lake home of Puccini and wonderful productions!  Here are just a few favorite photos:

San Frediano Basilica

San Frediano Basilica

Walking and Biking the Wall in Lucca

Walking and Biking the Wall in Lucca

Church of San Michele in Foro

Church of San Michele in Foro

Villa Pfanner

Villa Pfanner

Garden of Villa Pfanner

Garden of Villa Pfanner

Duomo di San Martino

Duomo di San Martino

Innovation when you have to go in a walled town!

Innovation when you have to go in a walled town!

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Cernobbio on Lake Como, June 2012


The day was warm but not hot. We had hoped for sunshine on Lake Como in June, but we were never sure. We had walked around the small town of Cernnobio on the lake and fell in love with it. Our small albergo was high on the hill overlooking the Lake. Here is a sublime moment, sitting together, waiting for a small lunch of pizza and wine. Here we plan what comes next as we explore the entire lake and the village of Como.

Il giorno era caldo ma non davvero caldo. Avevamo una speranza di vedere il sole in giugno, pero non eravamo mai sicuro. Avevamo fatto un giro di Cernobbio, un piccolo paese sul lago e ci eravamo immorate di quello. Il nostro piccolo albergo era in una posizione alta sulla collina sul lago. Eccoci, in un momento sublime, ci sediamo insieme, aspettiamo per un pranzo della pizza e del vino. Qui, panificiamo cio che verra prossimo come esploriamo il lago e il villagio di Como.

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The Italian coastline: cycling from San Remo to Imperia

120120-san-remo-bicycle-ride-002Here’s an unusal daytrip–one especially suited for those who love the climate of Nice and Monte Carlo…but want all the best that Italy provides.  Enjoy Kevin Hin’s Blog:

The Italian coastline: cycling from San Remo to Imperia.

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Traveling virtually every day…to Italy

Mt. Vesuvius July 25 2010

So I can’t be in Italy this summer…it’s a heartbreak, but unresolvable.  So each morning, when I start the computer, the first site I visit is the webcam at the Aminta Hotel in Sorrento.  Webcams abound, but none is as clear and sweet as this site.

3 webcams offer a view of the pool with Sorrento calling in the background.  Another is a sweeping panorama of Vesuvius in the the distance and the last is a westward view out to the Med.

Today, at 7 am California time, I checked out Vesuvius, live at 4 pm.  Clear and calm, she was whispering to me to follow her for the next few hours.  It is Sunday…I have time as I read the paper and watch the Italian news on RAI (ok, not the news…my favorite current lawyer series that looks very much like Law and Order.) 

So the clouds are high and puffy over Vesuvius and the pool at the Aminta is overflowing with people lounging in the 90 degree heat…but as I check in every 1/2 hour or so, the clouds darken and the rain begins.

The pool is empty, but check out that rainbow over Sorrento!  I will continue to follow the end of the day in Italy as the rain ends and the city starts the evening…it’s after 10am here, so I’m slow to start my day as I long to be there for late afternoon apertivi.

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Arezzo, Cortona, Perugia and Assisi

June 27, 2010 New York Times Travel:  http://travel.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/travel/27James.html

View Henry James Walked Here by  ADAM BEGLEY, the former books editor of The New York Observer, is at work on a biography of John Updike.

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Florence Sunset


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