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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Toscana, Italy

Feb 17, 2018 - Pisa

The return ferry ride from Elba to the mainland was smooth as silk and as soon as we disembarked we headed for the hills. Those hills being any around the Pisa area with old hilltop towns and there were plenty. Volterra was one of the big ones but by accident we came across Massa Marittima and it was fantastic. They all have fascinating similarities but some have something special, MM was one of those. So we lingered longer, and had a coffee, or two. We decided to base ourselves for a few days in an area dating back to the 1st Century and...

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the islands

Feb 5, 2018 - Florence

Collecting our rental car went way more smoothly than that in Verona and we actually were given what we had ordered 6 months earlier. In fact we gained diesel at no extra charge. This was a good sign. We headed off in our nippy little Fiat Punto through hilly landscapes and small towns in the direction of the Mediterranean and our rental unit at Moneglia, slightly north of the Cinque Terre. A little rain here and there was of no concern just like the road traffic, there was almost none. Stone quarries dominated many of the small villages...

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the islands

Feb 5, 2018 - on the road to Florence

Our departure from Verona started off well with an early bus from Piazza Bra. Sadly we overran our rail terminal destination and had to walk a few blocks back to the airport shuttle depot. Not a great start and things didn't get a whole lot better. Davey-o boarded the shuttle through the middle door which upset the ZZ Top look alike driver no end. He shut the door on Gilli-ette which didn't go down well. A driver change with a fresh attitude and all was good. Things were also good at the airport terminal where we picked up our hire car,...

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Oct 16, 2017 - Florence

Last day of trip today. Decided we would do the Renaissance walk as described in Rick Steve's book on Italy, Florence section. Started off by visiting the Duomo Museum. Incredible sculptures by Michaelangelo, Donatello and Bernini among others. Also quite a few paintings and artifacts from the Middle Ages. The two best were Michaelangelo's Pieta and Donatello's Mary Magdeline. The latter carved from white poplar and still in wonderful condition. After the museum we made our way to Palazza Vecchio to see the copy of Michaelangelo's David. I...

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Adriatic Cruise

Oct 15, 2017 - Florence

Up early to catch the 7:00 AM water shuttle from our hotel to the train station to catch our 9:00 AM train. Couldn't see a thing on the 20 minute ride due to very thick fog. Venetians say the fog is a sign that winter is coming. The train travelled at a pedestrian speed of 300 KMH and we arrived in Florence and our hotel around noon. We had an appointed time at 2:15 for admittance to the Accademia to view the statue of David. Lots of other sculptures and art here as well but obviously David was the draw. Being Oct 15 it was not busy and we...

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Adriatic Cruise

Oct 3, 2017 - Back to Florence

Again there are things I would have liked to have done or seen. Queues for Michaelango and ??? were long. Around the corner of the block! Considered going to an opera in an English church, then realised my choice of two pants, chosen for comfort and quick drying, werent exactly opera standard of dress. Still even in overcast weather there is always the hop on hop off bus! And in this caevtwo routes. Lots of public art Florence is beautiful even on an overcast day that stopped the views. So i didnt climb up the famous hill...

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Oct 3, 2017 - Florence continued

Houses and history. The older part of Florence still looks quite affluent I made a list of the English writers poets and artists. Packed in my case! Elizabeth Browning was one. But from the cemetery and community of houses on the hillside, many more. ...

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Oct 2, 2017 - It’s been a hard day’s walk and I have been feeling like a dog........

Saturday was our walk to a winery in the hills out from San Gimignano. I am with heavy head cold and fruity chest.Blah! Nonetheless, Codral tabs frequently and antibiotics must surely kick in sooner or later. The sun is glorious. We are off to walk to Carlesi Zucconi winery run by an englishman, can you believe.! Gabriele is a little concerned about the laxity of this man’s phone response, when trying to organise a light lunch and wine tasting. The walk is beautiful, winding down to creeks and up the other side of the hill, through olive...

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Oct 2, 2017 - Florence to Pisa

What to say about Pisa? I should have insisted I could climb the tower! The bus trip there went through more of the very, very flat land seen from Venice to Florence. Deltas or flood plains? Rich alluvial soil. In this section there were lots of plant nurseries, especially trees, as well as farms. When i bought my ticket i had remarked that if i could have a breathing space every now and then on the way up I could make it up the tower. The ticket seller replied that with big crowds it is a constant movement; you cant stop! He didnt think...

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Oct 1, 2017 - Florence

An uneventful train trip, except i had a bit of a concern about accommodation. I had realised this morning that my careful booking had missed a day. Leave venice on 1st, booked into florence on 2nd and 3rd. Whoops! The hotel booked for the next 2 night had only a double room for tonight. Cost equal to the next two nights together. A helpful African Italian in the tourist bureau found me an alternative. A nearby 4 star hotel for less than half the price. It includes a proper breakfast. Helps the budget. Some fruit and one meal will do me...

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Sep 29, 2017 - Are we really walking in the picture from an Italian soap packet?

Hello from San Gimignano. Yesterday morning we were still in Florence. Staying at the Roma hotel near the main Duomo, the sound of cathedral bells woke us.........just beautiful. We leave the masses, and the soldiers with their machine guns - not liking the idea of being near when they are in action. I fancy a lot of unavoidable carnage. Years ago we just walked into the Uffizi gallery. Today, the queues are 3 hours long just to buy a ticket, then your time inside is limited. That was the same for the Leonardo de Vinci's Last Supper in...

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Sep 12, 2017 - Siena

Siena is comprised of 17 Districts, each with its own flag and style of street lights. The Districts offer a wide range of names such as the noble sounding 'Dragon District', 'Panther District' and the 'She-Wolf District'. But at the other end of the spectrum are less imposing names, such as 'The Snail District', 'The Noble Conch Shell District' and 'The Noble Caterpillar District'. We are staying, I am proud to say, in the 'Noble Eagle District'. Flag waving is taken seriously (and competitively) here, ranging from the kids we saw...

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Italy - Finally!

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