Thursday, May 31, 2012

Manarola, Italy

Manarola is a tiny village in the Cinque Terre (Five Lands). There are no cars allowed in town (other than small service vehicles) so you have to park in the public lot outside town (the second one you come to) and walk in. Remember this when you pack. If you plan carefully there is a shuttle between town center and the parking lot for 1.5€. The schedule can be found near the post office. There are still a lot of steps between town center and Arpaiu.

Manarola has its share of tourists during the day (not the most in the Cinque Terre) but after 5:00 PM reverts back to a small Italian fishing village. There are so few overnight guests in town that we began to recognize the others and visit with them in the restaurants and walkways. As we walked through the village at night we'd often encounter locals preparing olives or grapes. Look closely at our pictures.

The first night we were eating at Trattoria La Scogliera. We picked out the husband and wife owners and their children. I was sitting with my back to the door and my wife cracked up and motioned for me to turn around. In the door burst the grandfather with a fish wrapped in a newspaper! He obviously had run down to the seaside to buy a fish for another diner.

We ate at most of the restaurants in Manarola and never had a bad meal. Some of the places we ate were Marina Piccola, Trattoria Dal Billy, and Aristide. Aristide also has a little deli that served wonderful and reasonable breakfast and lunch.

The wikipedia article is here. A good web site on Manarola is here.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Arpaiu, Manarola, Italy

For our next leg we drove up to Manarola and stayed at Arpaiu. There really aren't what I'd call hotels in Manarola. Arpaiu is a building with 4 bedrooms, 2 on each floor, and a common area on the upper level. The rooms are independent only sharing hallways. The manager comes over each morning and checks with the guests. Payment is cash only.

Their web site is here and the TripAdvisor review is here. After our daughter looked at the pictures on the web site she described the rooms as "spartan." Well put. It was clean and had a nice bathroom. The ants came and went. The manager said that they were always a problem in the fall. We were there in October.

The web site says that each room has "internet wi-fi connection." They don't. The building was built in the 900s (not a typo) and made of solid rock. The router is in the common area on the upper level and the Wi-Fi signal won't penetrate the floors. So to use the Internet we "had" to go sit on the upper level and look at the ocean. Tough job.

The view makes up for the ants and the limited Internet.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Jewish Ghetto, Rome, Italy

The guide for Rome Photo Tours suggested we walk through the Jewish ghetto as we left Campo de Fiori. She pointed out that the Roman Empire had conquered Israel and brought many Jews to Rome as servants. Over the centuries much of the Jewish culture was assimilated into Roman culture.

While there we ate lunch at Nonna Betta at Via del Portico d'Ottavia 16 for 29€. It was so hard to find that I had to use my phone's GPS and we were less than 100 feet from it. Their web site is here.

The wikipedia article is here and Nonna Betta's TripAdvisor review is here.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Campo de Fiori, Rome, Italy

Our photo tour ended in Campo de Fiori. This is a traditional open air market that is packed with bright colorful vendors. Campo de Fiori, translated literally from Italian, means "field of flowers." Remember that the vendors close early, at least by 3:00 PM. We came back by after lunch and most were gone.

The wikipedia article is here.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Photo Tour, Rome, Italy

We took a photo tour with Rome Photo Tours. I'm just using a point and shoot but thought that this would show us good places to shoot and maybe I'd learn something. I was right on both points.

Our tour guide was an American ex-patriot named Stephanie who had lived in Rome for several years. She knew all the "good" places to shoot. She took us places we would have never found on our own.

We walked over 10 miles that day but didn't realize it until we sat down back in the hotel that night.

Rome Photo Tours review on TripAdvisor is here.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Triton Fountain, Rome, Italy

We used Triton Fountain in Piazza Barberini as a rendezvous point for our photo tour (more later). Triton is the first of Bernini's Roman fountains.

The Piazza Barberini is a quiet respite in the center of a myriad of shops. There's also a metro stop nearby.

The wikipedia article is here.

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Monday, May 07, 2012

Piazza Navone, Rome, Italy

Less than a kilometer away from the Pantheon is the Piazza Navone, one of our favorite places in Rome.

We ate dinner there and certainly paid too much (68€). While the food was just so-so, the atmosphere was divine. After dinner we enjoyed the street performers and the gelato.

The wikipedia article is here.

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Thursday, May 03, 2012

Pantheon, Rome, Italy

Less than a kilometer from the Trevi Fountain is the Pantheon.

We visited there several times on this trip. First on a guided tour with Angel Tours Rome and then again with Rome Photo Tours.

We had scheduled a free tour with Angel Tours Rome. The tour guide was a Brit who gave us a great experience. We tipped him 20€.

Before we went inside we walked around the outside. It had a foul odor. We asked our tour guide about it. He pointed out that the Pantheon is in a bowl, much lower than the more modern buildings around it. This puts the Pantheon basically on the level of the sewers!

He pointed out that there were originally 12 steps up to the main floor of the Pantheon. Now there's barely one step.

The wikipedia article is here and a good web site is here.

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