From Orvieto to Florence – Dolly Travels

Author: , August 15th, 2018

Orvietto - Dolly Travels

Buona sera, tutti,

I realize that I haven’t told you about Orvieto yet. When we left Rome, we went to the hill town of Orvieto, in Umbria. This ancient town sits like a mushroom above the Umbrian valley. It is a lovely old city, with its stone walls and ancient building. The city itself dates back to 900 B.C. This turned out to be not the best trip I have ever made to Orvieto: no one reason, but several things happened that no one had control over. First, the funicular that is supposed to take passengers from the train station up to the old town, was broken. We had to go on a bus. Then the shuttle bus from the little station was not running (so we were told), so we walked about a mile, pulling our luggage behind us. By the time we got to our hotel, we were tired and starving.

However, pizza was not far away. After a good late lunch, I had to take a nap, while Danny and Heather went exploring. Dinner that night consisted of gelato.

The following day our activity was thwarted, also, for we had planned to take a bus to the city of Bagnoreggio and walk to another ancient city, Civita. This could not happen, for the rains and thunderstorms came. I did not want to walk across that footbridge from Bagnoreggio to Civita in a thunderstorm. The walk is scary enough to me in good weather. Heather had her heart set on doing a hike through and around the mountain that Orvieto sits upon. Off they went; several hours later, after walking 3 miles and climbing or descending 43 sets of stairs, they emerged back into town, soaking wet.

I stayed in town, walked up and down a few of the streets, found a place for cappuccino and spent the morning writing. After that, I visited this beautiful cathedral. The Gothic facade is spectacular.

We ended our evening with dinner at Trattoria da Carlo, with a typical regional menu. Carlo not only was our chef, but our waiter as well, along with his Mama and one other waiter. The pasta was homemade with choices of different sauces; simple meat dishes but very tasty. After dinner, we took another quiet stroll, then off to bed for us, to be ready for our train ride into Florence on Thursday morning.

Once again, all three of us were hungry when we arrived in Florence, so first item on our agenda was lunch. We went across the street to one of my favorite places, the L’OK Cucina e Ristorante…eight years ago, when I first started hanging out there, it was the OK Bar. Now Christina owns the place, has enlarged it and turned it into a first class dining establishment.

I was going through cooking withdrawal, so after lunch, we went to the Conad market and bought food to cook for dinner. I think we all enjoyed our simple home-cooked meal, then relaxed while watching the World Cup game on television in our own living room.

Later, we took an evening stroll. The weather was a bit breezy, but sweater weather.

Today, we started by visiting the Galleria Accademia, where the kids got a first look at David. He stands on a pedestal that is about 6 feet tall, and the man himself is 17 feet tall. Massive and impressive, of course.

I love it that so many of the merchants remember me. It makes me feel like a really am a Fiorentina.

After our lunch, at home, of fresh bread, salami, cheese and fruit, we are all ready for our siesta. We will venture out again this evening, for the “passiagetta”, or our version of that walk, while we find more good places in Florence. The kids are enjoying Florence so much that we may not take more than one side trip. There is just too much to see and savor in this Renaissance city, my true second home.

Until next time,

Ciao for now,

By Dolly – Full Story at Dolly Travels

Orvieto Gay Travel Resources

Florence Gay Travel Resources

The Dashing Men of Florence – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 12th, 2017

Men of Florence

This is my first post in Florence – and it’s all about boys. Or men – the fashionable men of Florence. I was walking on my way to SM Novella Train Station this afternoon when I noticed these men in the middle of the street, a photographer was busy directing them to pose this and that, here and there.

So, lets just hope that one day their massive poster will appear in the pages of fashion magazine and on the LED screens at New York Times Square.

These dashing Italian men can literally stop traffic snd create chaos in the middle of an ordinary afternoon.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Florence Gay Travel Resources

Florence in Four Hours

Author: , January 23rd, 2014

Florence - Carlos, MeliaDuring our last visit to Italy, we spent two night in Florence… well actually in Fiesole at the lovely and exclusive Villa San Michele by Orient-Express, we came down to Florence a few times to explore the city and also to enjoy some lovely dinners like the one we had at the Il Palaggio by Four Seasons Firenze.

The fact that Villa San Michele had a regular shuttle connecting the hotel with the Piazza de la Repubblica in only 15 minutes, made our stay truly magical allowing us to enjoy the best of Florence as a traditional destination, and the peace and charm of the Fiesole, overlooking Florence from the top of the hills.

For our tours, same as in Rome and Venice, we hired the expert services of Andiamo Travel and their staff of local knowledgeable and professional guides. In only a few hours, on a very tight schedule to see three main destinations in only 6 days, they managed to give us a full introduction to each of them.

Carlos Melia - FlorenceClick the link below for our photo tour of our four hours exploring Florence, by Andiamo Travel, which included: Piazza della Signoria, The Loggia della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, Il Duono at Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Michelangelo’s House, The Baptistery of John the Baptist with the bronze doors (reproductions – the originals are in the Duomo Museum) and of course Ponte Vecchio.

Take a short break for lunch, perhaps at Cucina Tradizionale Boccadama while visiting Pizza Santa Croce or at Cantinetta Antinori. We later continued to the Artistic Studio of I Mosaici di Lastrucci store, Chiesa Santa Margherita dei Cerchi, ancient church to have been the location of Dante Alighieri’s marriage, and also contains several tombs including Dante’s great love Beatrice Portinari.

The following day, on our own we took two hours to explore the Uffizi Gallery, holding the world’s most important collection of Renaissance art, at our own pace, (BTW buy your ticket online weeks before arrival to Florence. Uffizi Gallery is one of the busiest museums in Italy), before heading to the train station to move on to our next destination, Venice.

Authored By Carlos Melia – See the Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog

Click here for gay travel resources in Florence.

Firenze and Lucca

Author: , May 15th, 2013

Lucca AmphitheaterOur dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on the go again, this time in Italy. She has graciously allowed us to republish her travel blogs. Enjoy!

As you know, we are now in Florence. We are going and going. Seems like we are moving all the time. Just trying to remember all the places we have been, and put them into some sort of order, is our biggest problem. Now, don’t you wish you had come along with us? What a fabulous adventure so far, and we are far from being finished. OMG. Where else in the world would you be discussing whether your building is 400 year old or 600 years old? Or whether Villa d’Este was in Rome, Tivoli or Sorrento? (The correct answer is Tivoli).

Yes, Cindy, we are all together in Florence. I love these 2 persons as much as you do, so I will not lose them. What a wonderful item time we are having.

We had a lovely 2 nights in Orvieto. You have seen the blog from there already, so I won’t elaborate on that, except to tell you, if you come to the Tuscany/Umbria region, be sure to go to Orvieto.

On Sunday, we tried to go to Mass at the Cathedral in Orvieto , but we had to leave early, as we had to catch the train to Florence.

We arrived in the early afternoon in Florence. First order of the day was to get to the apartment then up to Piazzale Michelangelo, to see the finish of the Giro d’Italia…

Well, I passed on that, as not more than 5 minutes after we had gotten into the apartment, the rain started, and fell in bucketsful, but Kiri, Patrick and Suzanna were determined to see the finish of the bike race up at the Piazzale Michalangelo. I don’t know who was happier to see the race end…the bikers or my friends.

Monday morning we woke up to sunny skies. No clouds anywhere. . Our big adventure for that day was going to the San Ambrogio mercato. I showed everyone my favorite places to buy meat, chicken, fruits and vegetables. Then we brought all our “goodies” home, and set off for the street market at San Lorenzo. And then a tour though the Straw Market, to the Porcellino…the Good Luck Pig…if you rub his nose, tradition says that you will return to Florence. I make sure I always rub his nose.

That night, we cooked up the wonderful pork roast with roasted potatoes. I am in heaven! There is nothing I love more than preparing the delicious, natural foods from the mercato. We had brought one of the gigantic lemons from Sorrento, so now we made the fantastic lemon- lettuce salad that we could only enjoy with this wonderful Cedric lemon from Sorrento.

Today we went to Lucca. Rain is predicted for most of the rest of the week. And I wanted to be certain that we got to Lucca on a nice day, so everyone would have a chance to either bike or walk the ramparts. The old wall around the old city of Lucca. And we had a marvelous time.
We arranged a meeting time, as I was the only one who didn’t want to bike. But I wanted to explore some of the old favorite places, and I found new favorites. The kids climbed up to the top of Torre Guinigi, where trees have been growing for ever so many years, and no one knows how they can live, with very little soil..amazing.

After we got back home. (And this apartment feels like home to me), we did some grocery shopping, had a Happy Hour drink at the OK Bar, then made dinner here. Risotto, sausages with peppers and onions, and the last of our lemon salad. I am sad. We will never be able to have that salad again until we return to Sorrento and get more Cedric lemons.

Tomorrow we are going to San Gimignano. And then another dinner here in the apartment. I love cooking here. The food we buy is so fresh and tasteful. I love that I have to scrub real dirt off the potatoes. And know that all the fresh food is organic. Not because it is labeled that way, just because that is the way the food is grown.

Would I move to Italy? Probably not, because my family is not here, but I love Italy. Being here brings me the greatest pleasure. I am more relaxed, I am so happy here. But I love showing off my Italy to others. Won’t you come along with me next time?

Want to Follow Bella’s Latest Adventure Directly? Check Out Dolly Travels

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Tuscany Day Four: Pitti Palace, Uffizi, Accademia

Author: , July 6th, 2012

Once again, we slept in and got a bit of a late start, setitng out after breakfast at Pioggiolo delle Rose at about 10:15 AM. We were running a little late because someone (not me) lost the little card that gives us access to and from the property via the main gate, and of course, today – unlike yesterday – the bus into Florence was apparently right on time, and we missed it by about 3 minutes.

On the Bus in FirenzeSo we waited, and about 35 minutes later the next one arrived, and we were on our way into Florence.

Unlike the day before, the bus was almost empty, so we managed to get seats at the front of the bus for the ten minute ride to Palazzo Pitti.

That bus really speeds down the narrow streets once we reach the centro storico.

Pitti Palace StatueAt Pitti Palace, I was keen to find the rooms with the beautiful murals – painted to look like there were other terraces annd walkways and peiple up aboe – that I’d seen the last tome we were here. But first, we took a walk through the Boboli Gardens behind the palace.

The skies were a leaden grey, so we hurried through the gardens to beat the rain. I miss the blue skies of a few days ago.

Duomo View from Boboli GardensWe did take a few pictures on the way through, including some nice ones of central Florence.

From here, we went to the Costume Gallery, displaying historic costumes and clothing. With our 50 Euro pass, all of these Museums are included, and we get to skip the longer lines in most places. But you can only enter each museum once.

Pitti PalaceMost interesting to me here were the costumes of the Medici family, dating back more than 100 years. One dress, in particular, was so devastated by the sands of time that only the thicker border and a few bits of the orignal fabric remain.

I wish I could bring you some pics of these places, but no photos were allowed. I did take some courtyard pics, which I’ll include here.

Here are some pics of the Costume Gallery from another site:

Pitti Palace GardenNext we visited the Palatine Gallery, thinking this was where the murals were, but instead we found a museum full of beautiful paintings and murals, many of a religous theme. This museum’s works include paintings by Raphael and Tiziano.

Again, you can see photos and some more info here:

As we left the Palatine Gallery, we came across a museum gift shop, and I finally found the museum I was looking for in a book that was for sale there – The Museo degli Argenti. We’ll try to get by there tomorrow or Tuesday.

After the Pitti Palace, we stopped at a little pizza place for an entirely forgettable lunch, and then made our way once again across the Ponte Vecchio, this time turning right to reach the Uffizi.

The walkway between the two wings of the Uffizi is lined with alcoves holding statues of some of the most famous Italians, including Michelangelo, Dante, Machiavelli, and a number of others.  It’s a little intimidating to walk below their stony gazes.

The Uffizi, FlorenceThe Uffizi themselves (literally offices) was originally built as the site of the administrative offices for the Medici Family under the auspices of Cosimo I de’ Medici, and the last of the Medici heirs opened it by request in the mid 1600’s, making it one of the first modern museums.

David (Replica) From the Steps of the UffiziWe entered the museum and wantered around the display rooms and halls, which are lined with hundreds of beautiful statues, again longing for a camera (none of the museums here seem to allow photography inside).

We finally ended up in front of Boticelli’s Venus di Milo… a painting so overused comercially that it’s become a a bit of a cliche, but it was amazing to actually see the real thing.

Also of note here, a number of Michelangelo’s paintings, some of them exceptionally colorful and vivid.

More info and pics here:

Cosimo Medici at the National Gallery

After departing the Uffizi, we decided to see Michelangelo’s David at the Accadema before heading back home. By now, it was raining steadily, and we stumbled across a window showing the beautiful backsides of marble statue of a man and a woman.

Intrigued, we entered, and found that we had stumbled across the National Museum of Bargello, mostly dedicated to sculpture. Though the museum had some truly gaudy art upstairs, we were able to photograph some of the beautiful statuary in the courtyard downstairs.

National Museum, Florence

We also have that shot taken through the window from the street outside. 🙂

More info here:

The Other DavidFinally, we reached the Accademia. There were two lines, one for reservations/pass holders like us, and one for drop-ins. Our line moved quickly, and in minutes we were inside.

There was really just one thing we came here to see – Michelangelo’s David. (No, that’s not it – just a pop-art replica in the courtyard).

The statue is simply breathtaking, presented under a simple dome of white and grey. He’s just beautiful to look at.

We sat down on a bench below the statue and just enjoyed this amazing work of art.

The history of the statue is fascinating. The sculptor Donatello was originally commissioned in 1410 to start on a series of large statues from the Old Testament by the Office of Works of the Duomo. He and another sculptor named Augustino, completed two statues. In 1464, Augustino was provided with a block of marble from Cararra to create the statue of David.

His association with the project didn’t last long – he probably roughed out the legs and some of the drapery, and in 1476, another artist, Antonio Rossellino, took it up, but he, too, soon left the project.

So the block of marble languished in the yard of a cathedral.

David at the AccademiaIn 1500, an inventory of the cathedral turned up the huge block of unfinished marble, and a young artist named Michelangelo, only twenty six at the time, was commissioned to finish it in 1501.

It took Michelangelo more than two years to complete the sculpture, and when it was done, it took four days to move it from his workshop to the Piazza della Signoria, where it stood for more than 350 years.

It was finally moved into the Accademia in 1873, and in 1910 a replica was erected in the Piazza della Signoria.

Dinner by Fabry, Basil by MarcoThere’s no photography allowed in the Accademia, but many people ignored the ban, including one particularly brazen woman who took four or fine shots from her ipad held in front of her in the air. The authorities here were lax about the restriction, so we managed to sneak a few photos ourselves.

Afterwards, we stopped at a market across the street for a few things, and then grabbed a taxi back to the B&B to spend the evening inside.

Marco and Fabry prepared a wonderful dinner of spaghetti, bread, salad, and sliced meats, and we enjoyed a companionable meal together before heading off to sleep.

Tuscany Day Three: Dinner With Bella in Firenze

Author: , July 4th, 2012

Ciao, Bella

Pitti PalaceAfter Lucca, we returned home to the B&B for an hour to shower and relax, and then went on to Florence for dinner with Bella.

We caught the bus at the corner, and it was, of course, ten minutes late and packed.

Pitti Palace's PiazzaAfter a slow commute into town, we arrived at Palazzo Pitti, a museum full of lovely murals fronting a garden with fantastic Florence views, and went to the ticket office, which was supposed to close at 6, at about 5:35 PM to get our passes for the Florence Museums.

The biglietteria (ticket office) was, of course, already closed.

But there was a woman still at the sportello (window) so Marco engaged in a five minute argument with her about the closing time, and would you believe it, the window re-opened.

Ponte VecchioWe got our tickets, and were still considering trying the Accademia later in the night to see Michelangelo’s statue of David at night, but there was some sort of terrorist attak down in southern Italy, and all the museums were closed.

Ponte VecchioWe walked across the Ponte Vecchio, watching our wallets and taking photos, and made our way along the Arno up toward i Latini… we still had about an hour to kill before meeting Bella, so we took our time, exploring some of the side streets and shops.

We found ourselves in the upscale shopping district of the city, so we didn’t actually buy anything, but the windows were pretty. 🙂

We also took a side trip up to Santa Maria Novella, a beautiful church close to the train station that shares its name, for a few pictures.

Finally, the moment arrived, and there was Bella, with her fabulous friend Susan in tow… it was so good to see her!

Fabulous SusanWe’d planned this same dinner two years before when we were both going to be in Florence, but had to cancel that trip, so we finally made it, at the same time, to the same place here in this beautiful city.

The thing about Il Latini that you have to know going in is this – they will serve you way too much food.

We never order off the menu here – we just let them bring us selections for four courses. This time, this included:

  • Wine
  • Proscuito and Canteloupe
  • Liver Pate
  • Caprese Salad
  • Bread
  • Ravioli
  • Gnocchi
  • Another Pasta Dish
  • Steak
  • Lamb
  • Rabbit
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Biscotti with a Sweet Wine
  • Chocolate Pie
  • Apple Tort
  • Two Other Desserts I Can’t Name

Dinner with Bella at Il LatiniThe trick here is to skip lunch or have a very light lunch, and then just have sample bites of each thing as you go. If you make the rookie mistake of finishing the early plates, you’ll be stuffed before the meal is half finished.

It was a fantastic meal, made all the more special for us because some of our dearest friends finally met each other. We were a little worried initially because Bella has a hard time with Italian and Marco and Fabry have an equally hard time with English, but everyone spoke slowly, we worked as translators when needed (which was surprisingly rare), and the wine and conversation and good-natured ribbing flowed easily around the table.

After Dinner in FlorenceWe arrived at the restaurant before opening time at 7:30, and spent close to a full three hours together. It was, truly, one of those evenings you don’t want to end.

We left Il Latini and walked Bella and Susan back to their apartment, passing the Duomo on the way – beautiful at night! We bid her goodnight with Italian kisses and a promise to get together back home soon for lunch, took a few more night photos of Firenze, and found a cab to take us back to the B&B, where we collapsed once again into bed.

Dolly Travels – Our Final Days in Florence

Author: , June 1st, 2012

Last Days in FlorenceIt is hard to believe, but we have to go back home tomorrow. The last few days have been pretty rainy and cold, but we still managed to do a few things.

Saturday, Susan and I met my friends from El Dorado Hills, Scotti and Marco. These two guys have been touring Italy with their friends, Marco and Fabry, who live in Italy, somewhere above Bologna, I think. At any rate, the four of them have been traveling by car, in different places in Italy, but finally, we were all in Florence at the same time. We met for dinner Saturday night at Il Latini, one of my favorite restaurants in Florence. Here the atmosphere is just fun, but wonderful food.

For a group like ours, we chose to have sampler plates of everything, rather than order individually. What a feast! Three different pasta dishes, melon with prosciutto, insalata caprese, vegetables (spinach and roasted potatoes), then for the main course, bistecca alla Fiorentina, pork chops, roasted chicken, braised rabbit, veal all on a huge platter…..we all laughed at Fabry, who speaks more English than he wants to admit, saying, “Oh my God!” every time a new platter of some food was set before us. What a fun, wonderful evening. After dinner, the guys walked us back to our apartment to make sure we were safe. That was so much fun! Oh, My God!!

Full Story from Dolly Travels

Click here for gay travel resources in Florence, Italy.


Postcards From An Italian Adventure – Moon Over the Arno, Then Monterosso

Author: , September 7th, 2010

Postcards From An Italian Adventure:

Gay Friendly Tuscany Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on an extended adventure in Italy. She has graciously agreed to let us republish her travel logs. Enjoy!

Moon Over the Arno - Florence, Tuscany

Monday, August 30th

Arno River at NightI cannot believe how fast this week has gone. If you read my last blog post, you will know that I came back from Viareggio on Monday afternoon. My young friend, Amanda, was waiting for me at my apartment. It was good to see her again. Her family had gone back to Mexico on Saturday, and she had some free time before visiting other friends, so was spending a few days with me.

We decided, in the late afternoon, to take our cameras, and get some more pictures of Florence. The wind was blowing a bit, and there were still too many people around, therefore, our photo shoot in the afternoon didn’t amount to much. We went to a nice little restaurant near the Arno, had dinner, then went back to the river when it was dark.

I had seen the full moon when I was in Viareggio, so looked at my calendar, to find that Tuesday would be the official full moon. We walked down to the Ponte Amerigo Vespucci, so that we were able to look back at the Ponte Vecchio. The wind had stopped, the water on the river was as still as glass.

We got some pretty good shots, as you will see. We finally got back to the apartment about 11:00 p.m. We had had a very nice day, but we were going to go to Cinque Terre on Tuesday, so we had to pack and get some sleep.


Early Tuesday we took the train to Monterosso. We had reserved a room in a quaint little hotel right on the main street.

As soon as we checked in, we got out beach things, and headed to Marina Stella, where we rented an umbrella and 2 lounge chairs. It was a very convenient place, as the Marina also had an outdoor cafe; we never had to leave the place. We were marvelously lazy, just swam, read our books, had lunch, and repeated the swimming, reading and an occasional nap.

MonterossoWe finally dragged ourselves back to the hotel, got cleaned up and went to dinner. After dinner, we took some pictures of full moon at Monterosso. We really took advantage of that full moon!

Wednesday we repeated the activities of Tuesday, but we took the train to Vernazza to have dinner. Amanda had not been to Cinque Terre before, so this was a nice treat for her. We were able to enjoy the beach again on Thursday, as our train back to Florence did not leave until 4:00 in the afternoon.

We did take a walk to the Old Town of Monterosso, as well as walked through Vernazza, so Amanda got a taste of Cinque Terre.

Today she left for Padua to visit more friends. I am alone once again, but Frank will be arriving in a few days, along with our good friends, Ron and Jo. Then I can be a Mamma Duck once again. Greg, Patty and Aja Garcia will join us here on September 20.

Hope you enjoy the pictures of our full moon photo sessions, and also, the beach shots of Monterosso.

Ciao for now.


Want to Follow Bella’s Adventure Directly? Check Out Dolly Travels

Postcards From An Italian Adventure: From Florence

Author: , August 27th, 2010

Postcards From An Italian Adventure:

Gay Friendly Tuscany Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on an extended adventure in Italy. She has graciously agreed to let us republish her travel logs. Enjoy!

Monday, August 16th

Hi, Everyone,

Today’s blog post is more of an editorial, than my telling you about more adventures. As you must know by now, I love Italy. Today, some actions of other Americans made me very unhappy to watch, and embarrassed me, also. I shall start at the beginning:

Sunday has got to be the day when the stupidest Americans show up in Florence. I think it coincides with the groups from the cruise ships showing up in droves, but not all are off the ships.

Sunday, August 15, is an important holiday in Italy. Ferragusto is a national holiday, and coincides with the religious holiday of the Assumption of Mary. I went to Mass at the Duomo. The Bishop conducted the Mass, with an entire contingent of priests, with a candle light procession in and out of the main chapel of the Duomo. There was music from the great organ, a choir and soloists. All in all, a beautiful service. When the final procession of the priests, the bishops and entourage had filed out of the chapel, an American guy hops out of his pew, sets up a camera on a tripod right in the aisle, as church-goers were trying to leave. He became irate when the guard, very patiently, and quietly, told him to pack up his stuff. Incredible.

I left the church, went on a long walk, for about two hours. When I got back near the Mercato Centrale, I stopped at a nice little sidewalk cafe, for a glass of wine. Soon, 4 Americani, one couple about 60 years old, with another couple in their 20’s or early 30’s, came into the cafe. They appeared to be a mother and father, with their daughter and her husband. As the waiter approached, the older woman asked if they served beer or wine. The waiter, bless his heart, said, “No, Madame, we only serve water.” Then they all laughed, and sat down. The father pointed to the young woman, and told the waiter, “She is our negotiator”.

The waiter took their drink orders. The older woman asked if they had tequila. “No, Madame, we do not have tequila,” the waiter quietly responded. So the lady ordered a glass of wine. The daughter, the Negotiator, asked what risotto was, then shook her head, and ordered “Brushetta” for all. They were happy, and the young lady was pleased with herself.

While they waited, they continued, in their very loud voices, to proclaim how much they had seen, they had done this and they had done that, as if we, the rest of the patrons in the cafe, should be impressed. I finished my wine, quietly paid my check, and sneaked out, lest I be identified as one of them.

Why do people even bother to go to another country, when they cannot see the beauty that is before their very eyes, but only want other people to notice THEM! as if they were the points of interest. I do not understand it. Italy is full of wonderful, gracious people, who respect others, do not talk in loud voices (unless they are yelling at each other, or the butcher!) My philosophy is that I am a visitor in their wonderful country. I want to see as much of the culture, participate in as many activities, as I can. I want to be a temporary Italian. But, also, visitors should recognize that they are guests of another country, and as guests, should put on their “company manners”, and be a gracious guest, and not pretend that they are superior to others, simply because they are American. That type of behavior makes me sad, makes me angry and embarrasses me, also.

There are many things about being an American, that I love. But when I am here, those things float into the background, to be picked up again when I return to California. For me, now, I am Italian, and very proud of that!! I know there are stupid Americans in California, too, but they are so abundant there, that they do not stand out like they do here.

So, from now on, on Sundays, I will go to church, then stay out of the way of the tourists, until evening, when most of them have left. On that note, I will end my editorial, go out and have a nice glass of wine, somewhere quiet, untouristy, and continue my quest to be a temporary Italian.

The pictures accompanying today’s blog post, are different scenes, from different areas of this wonderful country. I hope someday, you will all be able to visit here, and I know you will remember your “company manners”.

P.S. After I had finished writing the blog post above, I wondered if I was making too much of the Ugly American. I went across the street to the OK Bar, with my iPad. One of the waiters and I got in a discussion about smoking.  He said all Italians smoke and they live longer than Americans. I thought about that for a while, then decided, yes, they don’t sweat the small stuff… they laugh and drink, and smoke.  One of the other waiters, who was off duty, asked me if I would look something up on Google for him – he only speaks a few words of English, that coincides with my few words of Italian. But we finally communicated, while the English speaking waiter was in the background, laughing hysterically. Italians have fun, even at work. And I knew then, that these guys, anyway, did not include me in the Ugly American group. So I felt better. Love those guys at the OK Bar.

Ciao for now,


Want to Follow Bella’s Adventure Directly? Check Out Dolly Travels

Postcards From An Italian Adventure: Another Busy Week

Author: , August 25th, 2010

Postcards From An Italian Adventure:

Gay Friendly Tuscany Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on an extended adventure in Italy. She has graciously agreed to let us republish her travel logs. Enjoy!

Monday, August 16th

ViareggioToday is Friday already, and I realize that I have not posted anything since we christened the new Carli apartment a week ago. As usual here, there is always something going on.

Friday, I went with the Carli’s back to their home in Viareggio. The weather was gorgeous, so Saturday and Sunday was spent at the beach. I did take a long walk along the Promenade, until I came to a bridge over a small river/creek/canal, the separated Viareggio from Lido di Camiore. I reached the bridge just in time to watch a boat parade off the sea coast there.

ViareggioThe beaches along this part of the sea are accessed by private establishments, so if you want to lay on the beach, or use a chair and umbrella, you must pay for that privilege. Many of these places are large enough to have a swimming pool, as well as the requisite chairs, umbrellas, snack bar, dressing rooms, showers. Each place also his its own life guard. I like that!

But from the Promenade, one cannot see the sea… therefore, I accepted the Carli’s hospitality one more time, and spent most of Saturday and Sunday afternoons, lazing under an umbrella on the beach.

Viareggio Roof PartySunday night they hosted a dinner at their apartment, and we were able to dine outside on the rooftop terrace. What a lovely evening. Both of their sons were there, as well as Magda’s sisters, and other friends, some of whom I had met before, so I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Monday morning I took the train back to Florence, then Tuesday got on another train to Verona, as I had a ticket for the opera, “Aida”, to be performed in the Arena, the ancient Roman coliseum there. I was so excited about that. I arrived early enough that I had the entire afternoon and evening free to see Verona.

Palazzo Carli, VeronaAlthough I had just been there in June, it was fun to see some things again, yet find other things I had not seen before. I stumbled across a beautiful Palazzo, called Palazzo Carli (pictured at right). Hmmm! Is this going to be a new rental for the enterprises? If so, I will put my bid in for this right now!

That evening I had a nice quiet, light dinner at Osteria Le Vecete, where our group had enjoyed dinner in June. Then off to the Arena for the opera.


The Arena has great acoustics. The stage settings were marvelous, and I thoroughly enjoyed being able to see this wonderful opera in that setting. The weather stayed balmy; that had been a concern, as rain had been predicted for the evening, but it never happened. Such a fantastic experience. Then, like Cinderella, I had to leave the magic behind, and in the early morning, headed back to Florence. Of course, Florence has its own magic for me, so that was just fine.

Now I have prepared minestrone soup, the Genovese style soup, with no tomatoes, but pesto added. That should last the rest of the week.

Sunday is a National Holiday in Italy. I have not been able to find out the reason for the holiday, but nevertheless, there will be one. It is rather quiet in the neighborhoods now, anyway, as many of the businesses are closed for the month of August, or part of it, anyway. The San Ambrogio market only had about half the stalls that are usually there. My chicken market and the olive guy were all on holiday… but by September 1, all should be up and running again.

Even my hairdresser across the street is gone for the month, but I should not need a hair cut again for at least another few weeks. I went there 2 weeks ago and got a trim, but told him to leave the top of my hair alone, and he did. It is just now getting to a point where I can actually use a brush and hair dryer – this from the hair cut I got in June!!

So, now I will close. It is raining off and on today, so I am spending most of the day indoors, reading, catching up on things, making soup.

Ciao for now…


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