Since last I posted, I have made some definite plans for my trip this late fall. As I said before I will be flying into Milan, a city I like very much. There is much to see. I will be staying at the Hotel Grand Duca di York, where I have stayed before. It is very central and near the places I consider "musts" such as the Duomo, the Galleria, and the Sforza Castle. Another must for me is a visit to DaVinci's "Last Supper," and I will again do this with a guide from A Friend in Milan. I love the info given there and then we will visit several other places I am not familiar with during a three hour tour. I am hoping to figure out a train to Pavia to visit the Certosa there, which I saw in the mid 90's. The problem in the figuring out is that the schedule lists lots of stations to leave from and a couple places to stop. Well, I'll see.
On to Venice for 8 nights at the Hotel Ala, again a favorite of mine and so easy to reach from the Valporetto stop without having to get suitcases up and down the humpy bridges. It is also very near to Piazza San Marco, Doge's Place, and an easy walk to Accademia gallery and the Rialto area. (Of course, there's also the Vaporetto). There is a new tourist type Vaporetto and ticket, which I haven't researched enough yet. I plan to take the train to Padua for a day to wander there too and visit the Duomo and the Scravegni Chapel's Giotto paintings.
In Florence I will stay at my old favorite Hotel Casci, near the Duomo and San Lorenzo (the market too though I'm not a shopper). It's also an easy walk to Piazza Signoria, the Uffizi, and the Accademia, where I will once again say hello to David. I have two tours already purchased leaving from Florence. One is a full day tour to Siena, San Gimignano and Pisa. I have taken this tour,and it is excellent. It is run by Walkabout Florence and includes an excellent lunch at a winery. The other tour is day trip to the Cinque Terre. The walk will be on the "easy" trail, and there will also be a boat ride. I love these little towns and long to see how the two stricken ones have recovered from the flood last year.
I have a walking tour scheduled with my favorite Context Travels to visit "Dante's Florence." I figured I had to to this since a couple of years ago I read the whole Divine Comedy, complete with John Ciardi's notes. And, no, I don't know why and had no answer for my English teacher friends when they asked. And lastly in Florence I fully intend to visit La Casa di Babbo Natale. Yes that's the home of Father Christmas, at a yearly fair in the city though not in the center.
I will spend three days in Bologna. I have one definite plan that I missed the last time there. That is to visit the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca. This is at the top of a portico almost 4000 meters up hill. I intend to take the shuttle bus up and then walk down. And in Bologna, of course, there is marvelous mortadella and tortellini.
I have scheduled several days in Sorrento with a drive down the Amalfi Coast, a trip to Pompeii and Vesuvius, and a trip to Monte Cassino Abby and Caserta before heading to Naples for three or four days of wandering. I will have more plans for Bologna, Sorrento, and Naples before long.
And last we come to my favorite city, Rome. And here my main problem arises. There are so many sites/sights that I want to see. And, yes, most of them I have seen before, but they are still "musts" for me every time I am in that city. I will be staying at my favorite Hotel Parlemento in the center with easy access to public transportion. I am also trying to figure out how I want to visit Assisi and Tivoli while I am in Rome--bus tour, on my own? I'm thinking. I will be spending a lot time in the next month or two trying to decide what to leave out of my adventures there and what walking tours I will take. Maybe I will cook again too. For now, as I said, I'm thinking!!
PS. Hey, Bonjour, if I hadn't already bought my plane ticket, I might have headed to Paris first. It sounded like a great idea. Maybe next time.