5 Interesting Facts about the Doge’s Palace in Venice – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , September 8th, 2018

Doge's Palace - Keep Calm and Wander

If anything that strikes our minds after hearing the name “Italy”, it is definitely Venice – a city where everything is shrouded in romance and intrigue. Doge’s Palace, in particular, is one of those places.

Here are some interesting facts about it.

1. It exhibits Gothic Architecture

The architectural exuberance of the palace is the first thing that meets the eyes of an onlooker. The building is purely gothic; however, there is a huge influence of the Venetian art; thus, making it Venetian Gothic style.

2. The “White House” in its heyday

This palace was the central government building at its peak time. “Doge of Venice” or the ruler used to live here with his family for his lifetime.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Venice Gay Travel Resources

Gay Italy: Five Romantic Things to Do – Nomadic Boys

Author: , December 16th, 2016

Gay Italy - Nomadic Boys

We celebrate our 8 years anniversary in a few months. Each year we always make a point of doing something special to celebrate, usually going somewhere exotic and of course, romantic.

Our most memorable anniversary will always be our first year, when we visited Venice as this was our first trip abroad together. Of course Venice is a place you will instantly fall in love with, even if like us you visit out of season in February.

When it comes down romance generally, gay Italy is the ideal destination. We’ve travelled around the country before, but only Venice we’ve been to as a couple. We’ve teamed up with Quality Villas Hotels to showcase our 5 bucket list romantic activities to experience as a couple in Italy.


We love luxury travel and always seek out the best boutique luxury hotels in every destination we visit. Staying in one of the many luxury villas in gay Italy is definitely a must for any couple.

We stayed in a few villas during our travels in Bali and from experience, having a private villa all to yourself is definitely worth the splurge. Doing this in a romantic destination like Italy is the great way to celebrate a special anniversary.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Italy Gay Travel Resources

Gay Italy – From Verona to Milan

Author: , August 24th, 2016

Gay Italy

In my deluded mind, a trip to Milan was an opportunity to sip Negronis by a sun-baked pool, admiring the city’s style and hot, swaggering men. A relentless two-day rain storm changed that plan slightly.

An umbrella was firmly in the hand, rather than in the cocktails, but Italian talent was duly ogled and the Milanese remain admirably chic, even when it’s quite nippy and pouring it down.

We were in the city for the Quiiky Untold History tour. This wasn’t a guided peek into Donatella’s plastic surgeons or Berlusconi’s favourite escort agencies. This was a journey into an ancient past when alchemy, art, design and religion fused to made Italy a cultural ruler. But before delving into the mysteries and wonders of 15th-century art, we plunged into Milanese nightlife.

Lecco Milano is a hip, mixed bar offering food, DJs and a range of cocktails, including one tipple worryingly called GinHB. We also played bingo at L’Elephante while drinking a killer cocktail called the Bin Laden. I don’t remember how I got home.

By Stewart Who – Full Story at Gay Star News

Milan Gay Travel Resources

Gay Italy – Planning the Best Trip

Author: , March 16th, 2016

Gay Travel

Even though the country sometimes gets attention for its conservative character, the gay aspect of the Italy is widely popular and very attractive to LGBTI travelers around the globe. Who hasn’t dreamed of spending the holiday season in one of the sexiest Mediterranean countries, with its endless natural beauty, rich food culture and some of the sexiest people in the world?

As Italy has a wide range of destinations and choices to offer, the gay travel experts of Destsetters have made a selection of the best tips and travel ideas, that are able to satisfy everybody – from gay couples in love to single travelers looking for fun and adventure.

Gay Rome

Rome is definitely one of the most attractive cities to visit in Italy, especially for gay couples! With a little research, you’ll find many references to homosexuality in ancient Rome, a fact that might make your trip event more interesting.

Full Story at Gay Star News

Italy Gay Travel Resources

Postcards From An Italian Adventure: Orvieto & Rome

Author: , October 20th, 2010

Postcards From An Italian Adventure: Orvieto & Rome

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

Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is at the end of her extended adventure in Italy. She has graciously agreed to let us republish her travel logs – this is the last one. Enjoy!

Rome, Italy

Monday, 11 October

Orvieto, ItalyWe got our train to Orvieto, and from the train station we took the funicular up to the ancient city of Orvieto. It was drizzling rain but by the time we got to our hotel and checked in, the rain had stopped. We hurriedly threw the bags into our room, then set out to explore the city. Of course, when we got to the cathedral, Frank was just as entranced with this beautiful structure as I had been, back in June, when I first saw it.

Orvieto, ItalyWe went inside, and spent some time looking at the Romanesque pillars, the frescoes, the statues, then into the Branzini chapel, which is covered with paintings by Luca Singnorelli, who completed the paintings that had been started by Fra Angelico in the 1400’s.

It is still difficult to imagine that what I am seeing is over 600 years old. This church is just an amazing piece of art.

Orvieto, ItalyWe the took a stroll down some of the little streets, finishing with a glass of wine at one of the many enotece in this city, which is famous for its white wine, as well as the wild boar salami and now, in October, porcini mushrooms and black truffles! Yum!

Tuesday, 12 October

On our second day in Orvieto, we went to another ancient church, took a walk along the ramparts, where we could look over the Umbrian valley. This is really a small city, but each nook and cranny holds another interesting surprise.

Wednesday, 13 October

Today, we took the train to Rome. From the chilly, rainy Orvieto, we arrived in a warm and humid Rome in just a bit over an hour train trip. When we checked into our hotel, we changed clothes, as we were dressed way too warm for Rome.

Rome, ItalyThe first thing we did is go to the top of the Vittorio Emmanuel monument, so that we could look over the entire city. The elevators to the very top of the monument were placed there in 2007, so Frank had never had the opportunity to see Rome from this vantage point. The view was fantastic! There are posters all around, telling what you are seeing, a 180 degree panorama.

From there we went down to the Piazza Venezia, sat at a sidewalk cafe, had a drink and watched the traffic/pedestrian dance, and wondered how long it would be before someone got nailed by a bus, a taxi or a scooter!

Rome, ItalyEventually we ended up going to our favorite Rome restaurant, Abruzzi, and had a wonderful meal. Frank told me that he had first come to this restaurant in 1962. The young manager is the son of the original owner. Pretty amazing. Just as we were leaving the restaurant, the sky opened up and poured rain down on us. We had to buy an umbrella from one of the street vendors, but we were still pretty wet when we got back to our hotel, and as I am writing this note, I can still see flashes of lightning and I can hear the thunder.,

Thursday, 14 October

We went on the Metro out to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. Frank had been there before, but I had not. The church is huge, and beautiful, constructed in A.D. 380, it is the second largest church in Christendom, right after St. Peters. I was really glad we made the trip out to see it.

Rome, ItalyOn the way back into the main city, we stopped at Circus Maximus, and walked up to another church, where we were able to see la Bocca della Verita (the mouth of truth) and we were brave enough to put our hands into the mouth. The legend is that if you put your hand in the Bocca and you are not a truthful person, you will lose your hand. (You must see “Roman Holiday” with Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn and Eddie Albert.)

We walked some more, had a great lunch, then happened to be at Quirinale for the changing of the guard, complete with marching band, and soldiers marching. Impressive. I want to remember that this occurs every day at 3:15 p.m.

Trevi Fountain, Rome, ItalyWe were trying to do things today that were not on the usual tourist tour, and I think we succeeded. We came back to the hotel, rested awhile, then walked to Piazza Navona this evening. This piazza is one of my favorites, and we were rewarded with a gorgeous evening to enjoy it.

I even took a picture of the church, St. Agnese, for one of my “ducklings” who was not able to join the 2010 tour group, but had joined us last year. Hi, Agnes!! We did get our walking in today, that is certain.

Tomorrow, St. Peters, Vatican and Borghese Galleria..I may be a blithering idiot by this time tomorrow! But I have to get my Bernini fix.

Friday, 15 October

Well, we made it to St. Peter’s Basilica, which is such a marvelous church. After seeing all that we could take in, we walked around to the Vatican Museum, but the line was so long, we knew we would never get in and out again in time to make our appointment at the Borghese.

So we took the Metro to the Spanish Steps. I showed Frank the neighborhood where my “ducklings” and I had rented an apartment last year. We had lunch at our neighborhood restaurant, then we went to the Borghese Gardens, taking the longest possible route… not intentional, but nevertheless, by the time we got to the Borghese Galleria, we were happy to have a half hour to rest before touring my favorite art gallery.

After finishing our visit to the Borghese, we took a bus to Via Nazionale, the street our hotel is on, stopped at an Irish pub for a snack and a drink, then to the hotel for a nap! After a short rest, we then found a very good little trattoria in our neighborhood for dinner.

Now we have to leave Rome in the morning. We have had a great time, but we are looking forward to spending tomorrow with the Carli’s in Viareggio.

This will be my last post from Italy. We pack tomorrow, leave Tuesday. I hope everyone has enjoyed following my travels in Europe for the past almost-six months. What a wonderful adventure I have had. Stay tuned to the web site for further news, but Arrivederci now, to Italia.

Ciao for now…


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

Postcards From An Italian Adventure: Dolly & Frank in Venice

Author: , October 14th, 2010

Gay Friendly Venice 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!

Venice, Italy

Monday, October 11th

Wednesday morning: we got Greg, Patty and Aja off to the airport at 0430 this morning. We went back to sleep, of course, but then got up, packed and took the 10:30 a.m. Train to Venice.

Venice, ItalyWhat a glorious day! Sunny, sometimes a light breeze, short sleeve weather. We found our cute little hotel in a small street off the Guideca canal, then walked around the area, till we finally found a place to have lunch. After that we caught the vaporetto to St. Marks’s square.

Venice, ItalyThere were so many people there that we did not even try to go inside, or see anything there. I wanted to show Frank where the Carli apartment is located, so we walked over there, then by the Arsenale, finally going through “our” local neighborhood, through the park, finally catching the vaporetto back to our new area, and then to our hotel. It is a very nice evening, so now we are going to find a quiet little trattoria for our dinner, followed by an evening passiagetta, and hopefully, a good night’s sleep.


Venice, ItalyWe went by vaporetto to the island of Burano, with its beautiful colored houses, like right out of a child’s coloring book. Burano is a small island, with many canals running through the island. This area is noted for its handmade lace. In one store we were able to watch an older woman making lace by hand, with tiny little stitches.

Venice, ItalyUnfortunately, because lace-making is such a tedious task, it is becoming a dying art. Of course, most of the shops specialized in selling lace items from the island….linens, tablecloths, even clothing.

There is one church, with a bell tower that, from the water coming onto the island, looked like it was leaning, like the Tower of Pisa, but once we were on the island, it appeared to be straight. This is a beautiful little place. Frank noted that the laundry hanging from the windows seemed to be color-coordinated with the house.

Venice, ItalyFrom Burano, we went to Murano, the island known for its glass work. We were not able to see a demonstration of the glass blowing, as it was now late in the afternoon, but we did wander some of the streets along the canals.

In one piazza, we saw a glass sculpture that is apparently lighted at night. It was very different, but beautiful, even in the daylight.

By the time we got back to Venice, it was evening, around 6:00

p.m. Too early for dinner, so we just hopped on another vaporetto, and cruised along the Grand Canal, getting off near our hotel. We found a little trattoria, had a light dinner, then got lost going to our hotel. We wandered around the alleys, across bridges, down more side streets, finally getting to the hotel about an hour after we left the restaurant. The distance was not far, but there are so many dead ends. Getting lost is part of the fun of Venice, supposedly, but Frank didn’t share that opinion that night! The wind was very chilly, so we were tired and cold when we finally got to the hotel. Fortunately, our bathroom had a nice soaking tub, so that is where I headed.


Venice, ItalyWent to San Marco Basilica first thing his morning, then to the Museo Corre.
After a much-needed break for lunch, which included about a thirty minute walk to find a ristorante that didn’t charge an arm and a leg, we then went to the Doge’s Palace, crossed the Bridge of Sighs, and we were ever so glad we did not have to be locked up in those cells.

Venice, Italy

St. Mark’s piazza was flooded enough that we had to use the table-top walkways to get around. It was slightly funny to see white-jacketed waiters wearing green thigh-high boots as they meandered between tables. Several people just took off their shoes and waded through the water. I have not seen this piazza that flooded except when it was raining, so maybe the city is sinking.

Venice, ItalyWe took the vaporetto back to our part of the island, and went to yet another church, the Frari church. I had been in this church earlier this year, and admired some of the sculptures as well as the church structure itself. By this time we were both in cultural overload. We wandered into the Campo di Polo, found an outdoor cafe, where we had a nice rest, a drink, and watched the families come out with the dogs and the children. The parents and grandparents sit on the benches and visit while the kids and dogs play. We enjoyed watching them and relaxing.

Venice, Italy

By this time we were getting hungry, so back onto the vaporetto, down to the Arsenale, to one of my favorite restaurants for dinner. It is near the Carli apartment, but right near the vaporetto stop, so we didn’t have far to walk, and were In no danger of getting lost.

However, Frank did manage to lock himself in the bathroom there. I think that a key traveler phrase, at least for me, should be: “Help! someone is locked in the bathroom and cannot get the door open.” This is the second time I have needed to convey that message, but I did better this time, getting the waiter to go to Frank’s rescue. However, two ladies had already gotten him out. Another adventure!

Venice, ItalyTomorrow we go back to Florence, in the late afternoon. We have truly been blessed with almost perfect weather here in Venice. It was a bit breezy the last two days, but brilliant sunshine.


Our last half-day in Venice. We checked our bags at the train station, went back to San Marco area, where Fran got a great haircut from Benito, who was recommended by Rick Steves. Frank came out looking ever so “bello”. He fit right in with the other handsome Italian men. Next year, I am getting my hair cut by Benito… if I have enough hair to cut by next year!

We made it back to Florence in the early evening, took spaghetti out of the freezer, then went to the OK Bar for our Happy Hour. After a leisurely dinner, we tried playing Hearts, with each of us playing two hands. That did not work well, so we gave up, read for awhile, then gave it up for the night.

Now it is Sunday morning. Tomorrow we go to Orvieto for two nights, and then to Rome. I cannot think about going back to California in just ten days. OK, I will not whine! But I am rather sad. Hopefully, I will find enough people in the U.S. That want to travel with me, so that I can return next year.

Ciao for now…


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

Postcards From An Italian Adventure: The Garcia Group Traveling

Author: , October 6th, 2010

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!

Saturday, October 2nd

Buona sera, tutti,

No, I have not fallen off the earth. We have been busy, having fun. Greg, Patty and Aja Garcia arrived here in Florence on 20 September, and immediately left for 2 days in Venice. Since they have returned, we have been going, going, going. Of course, I have enjoyed spending time with Aja, who just turned 4 years old in August. She is a very good traveler, but like all tourists, has an occasional “melt down”, then I just stay out of her way. Those incidents are not pretty. But she is so cute and sweet most of the time, that we are having a great time. The people in Italy love kids, and especially kids that are open and outgoing. She has made many friends here.

One of the things that caused us to just crack up, was her discovery of the bidet, when she proclaimed it as a “sink just her size”. I gave her a bar of soap and a towel, and she said, “How cute is that!” She keeps us happy and laughing our heads off.

When we were in Vernazza, we had breakfast at Il Pirata one morning. One of the local men came in to get his coffee, and was so taken with Aja, as he has a daughter just her age. He invited us to a birthday party for a local girl that afternoon, so at 4:00 p.m., Aja and I went to the Piazza Marconi and enjoyed birthday cake, as well as snacks, for Shantel, who was having her 8 year birthday. Everyone was so gracious; I think all the local kids were there, Shantel’s grandfather had music playing on a small stereo, and one of the girls showed us her dancing moves. The kids here are enchanted with a Spanish singer called Antonetta.

Before Vernazza, we had a day trip to Siena, and some walks around Florence, where Aja decided she needed my dictionary to read along the way.

In Vernazza, Grandpa Frank and I got Aja for the day, as Patty and Greg were hiking from Vernazza to Monterosso. We took the train and met them in Monterosso, had some lunch, then walked on the beach a bit. The surf scared Aja, so we didn’t stay long there. The next day, all 5 of us walked from Riomaggiore to Manarolo. Aja’s first hike, and she did well. Greg and Patty put a padlock on the fence, and threw the key into the sea. This is a local tradition. So I will look for their lock next visit to the Via dell’Amore.

Now those 3 have gone to Rome, and Frank and I are here by ourselves, rattling around the apartment alone. Actually, we did go to the big supermarket, Essalunga, today, did our laundry, had a nice lunch out, and just finished leftover soup here in the apartment. It is cloudy and raining off and on, so we are happy just staying in tonight.

Italy is still beautiful to me, and I hate to think that I have to leave here in just 2-1/2 weeks. But the memories of this great adventure will be with me always. Tomorrow Frank and I will go to the San Ambrogio Market, get some fresh fruit and veggies, as well as some sausages and who knows what else, for a Sunday brunch, as the kids will be back tomorrow night.

We are fortunate to have a laundromat right across the street, for drying clothes when we need them in a hurry. One picture you will see is Greg, getting ready to go to the laundromat, with his after-dinner wine in a “take-away” cup. We have had the most fun ever!!

I hope you are still enjoying the blog posts. I just hope that someday, each of you will be able to have some of these kind of experiences for yourself, in this marvelous country of Italy.

So, ciao for now, and ci vediamo presto.


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

Postcards From An Italian Adventure – Florence This Week

Author: , August 2nd, 2010

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!

Florence, Italy

Wednesday, July 21st

Hi, everyone,

To say it has been hot in Florence is such an understatement, that I will not even say that. it has been miserable. Therefore, I have been doing things around town that will help me stay cool. I have not gone to the San Ambrogio Market lately, as it has been too hot to cook, even for me.

Florence ParkI decided to find as many parks as I could, that were within easy walking distance. The park near the Fortezza, is big, has walking paths around it, with a duck pond and fountain in the center. It is a lovely place to sit and read, enjoy the solitude. Of course, I have to kick the sleeping bums off the shadiest benches before I can relax… just kidding. But there does seem to be quite a few homeless people using the parks for their summer residence.

I ventured down another street one day, and sat in the shade in the park where families were there with their children. I do not know how the kids found the energy to swing, and go down the slides, but they did, and they were happy.

In another park, Piazza Independence, I noted the statues of two statesmen. Ricasoli’s name I knew, but l still need to research Peruzzi. As I am always trying to learn something new, when I returned from my walk, I researched Ricasoli a bit further. I have no idea of how good a politician he was, but he did become Prime Minister of Italy in the late 1800’s.

However, I was more impressed with the fact that it was his original recipe for Chianti wine, that set the standard for the League of Chianti, in 1872. In 1967, the government of Italy firmly established that vintners had to follow the Ricasoli recipe, in order to receive the coveted DOCG seal of approval for Chianti.

Of course, that has been altered somewhat now, as the Ricasoli recipe contained 70% Sangiovese wine, mixed with 15% Canaiolo wine, and 15% Malvasio or Trebbiano wine (which are white wines). Now the standard is 85% Sangiovese, with the other 15% red wine of vintner’s choice, and no white wine.
Are you impressed with this knowledge? And you thought I was just another pretty American tourist!! Ha!!

Old Fortress, LivornoLast Monday, I took a little day trip to Livorno, which is on the sea coast. The harbor had several gorgeous yachts in it, and I admired the old fortress, but as soon as I got two blocks away from the harbor, with the intention of doing more sight-seeing, the heat was just as bad as it was in Florence.

I did stroll through the Mercato Centrale, and their street market (Florence’s street markets are better). I found the area that they call New Venice, because of the canals there (no one can compete with Venice, when it comes to canals). Eventually, I found a place to have a late lunch, then called it a day, due to the heat. Back to Florence I came.

Monterosso, ItalyBut yesterday, I said, “Florence, I love you, but you are killing me!” I took the train to Monterosso, the uppermost town on the Cinque Terre, rented a chair with an umbrella, and was soon floating in the clear, clean, lovely Ligurian Sea. I had a lovely day there. Now that was truly a day of La Dolce Vita. I felt ever so much better when I returned to Florence.

In two days, I am leaving for Vienna, Austria, where I think it will be not only cooler, but projected rain for the 4 days I am staying there. From there I will go to Salzburg for two days. The Summer Music Festival is happening during the time I will be there, so I am excited about that. I will spend one night in Innsbruck, a place I have never been. From there I will go to Lake Lugano, Switzerland, for two nights. Frank and I and our fellow travelers had stayed in Lugano in 2001, and loved it, so I will be happy to be there again.

I will try to keep up the blog while I am traveling. This is truly the trip of a lifetime, and I know how fortunate I am to be able to do this. I will have great memories forever.

I miss all of you. Wish that some of you were here to enjoy this with me. Keep in touch, and let me know how you are doing.

Love to all,


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

Click here for gay travel resources in Florence & Tuscany.

Postcards From an Italian Adventure – Weekend at the Seacoast

Author: , July 31st, 2010

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!

Viareggio, Italy

Tuesday, July 13th

Friday night, after an absolutely miserable day for me… (remember the sciopero?) The heat was intense. and no air moving at all. I had done some sightseeing in the afternoon, but it was too hot to do too much. I ended up spending an hour in a bookstore, and another hour in an air conditioned cafe, having a cool drink and reading my new book.

After I got back to the apartment, Amanda came down; she and I went out to dinner, but no energy to do more that that. Sometime later, around 10:00 p.m., I emailed Massimo and Magda, and told them how miserable the heat was here in Florence.

Well, to make a long story short, the next morning they called me, and invited me to come to Viareggio. It didn’t take me long to pack; I caught a train and was at the sea coast by 1:30 p.m.

OrsonWhat a great weekend I had. The Carli’s gave me a bedroom that had belonged to one of the sons, who have since left home. The only condition was, that I had to leave the door open to the balcony, as well as to the hallway to the house, as Orson considered that room his, and would be willing to share it with me, if I met his conditions!! Which, of course, I was happy to do. Orson is the Carli’s big chow, and a wonderful roommate. He never bothered me, just wandered in and out all night, never making a sound. His heavy fur must have been keeping him as warm as I felt in Florence. I slept like a lamb, with the door to the balcony open, hearing occasional noise from the sea, which is 2 blocks away.

Almost as soon as I arrived, we had lunch, then Magda loaned me a bathing suit, and off I went to the beach, while they went to the grocery store. Niccolo, their oldest son, and his wife, were at the beach, so I visited with them for awhile, then I went swimming in the sea. The water was warm, and not deep, so I just enjoyed myself.

Going to the beach in Italy is not the same as going to the beach in the US. The Carli’s have a prime spot right near the surf. This beach spot is rented and is similar to having a slip at the marina for a boat… if one is fortunate enough to have a prime spot, you never give it up… keep it in the family forever!!

That evening, the Carli’s had guests for dinner… 2 very delightful people. The man is called Lele, I believe (I am not sure of the spelling). He is truly a Renaissance man… poet, song writer, actor, flower arranger… I am sure this is just a short list.

He was very funny, too. He did speak English, and tried to include me in the conversations (a lost cause, after a while). Leah, the other special guest, is a restaurant owner, and cook par excellence. Of course, I had to like her!! Both of Carli sons were there, Niccolo with his wife, Elena, and Jacopo, who now lives in Florence.

Massimo cooked up a wonderful sea food stew from one of Leah’s recipes, so of course, I had to have my nose in the kitchen… the stew was similar to Cioppino, but naturally, used all local seafood: white fish, shrimp, calamari, clams, mixed with tomato and herbs.

It was served in bowls over slices of toasted bread… YUMMMMMMM!! There was also Ratatouille, a frittata, many glasses of wine, Prosecco, white wine… and the conversations were just flitting around me like butterflies.

The next morning, Sunday, Massimo and I went to visit his mother. I had met her before, a couple of times. She lives in an apartment adjacent to Massimo and Magda. She has a lady who stays with her, to cook for her, and help her get around. She is pretty healthy, but will celebrate her 105th birthday next month. We had a nice visit. I was so glad I got to see her.

In the afternoon, we all went to the beach again, then later, Massimo, Magda and I went to a birthday party for Leah’s granddaughter, Anna, who had her 5th birthday. After the birthday party, back at the Carli’s apartment, we took the leftovers from the previous night’s dinner, and had dinner al fresco on the roof top terrace. Then, like all weekends, it had to come to an end, and now I am back in Florence… humidity, heat and all.

Last night I went to Fiesole for a jazz concert in the old Roman theater. That was very good, fun, and it was a bit cooler up there.

Today, the only exciting thing that happened was that I saw a pedestrian get hit by a motor scooter. It was the pedestrian’s fault for trying to run against traffic on Via Cavour, a quite busy street. I don’t think he was hurt too badly, but he was complaining of pain in his legs, so the ambulance came and took him away. The scooter driver took a spill, as well, but he had his helmet on, and did not appear to be injured. I knew that the odds of this happening where I would see it, were very high. I am just glad it wasn’t me that was in the incident.

So, for now I will say, buono notte, and try to get some sleep. The air conditioner is working, thank goodness, so perhaps I will sleep through the night tonight.

This adventure is really very fun. In spite of the heat, Florence is still a fabulous city. I haven’t even touched on all there is to do here.

I love and miss all of you, but this is truly the adventure of a lifetime, with more excitement and new things to come.

Ciao for now.


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

Click here for gay travel resources in Florence & Tuscany.

Postcards From An Italian Adventure – Sciopero

Author: , July 28th, 2010

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!

Friday, July 9th


I learned this word in “Italians for Travelers”. It means “strike” and it happens all the time in Italia, but today, I was personally inconvenienced, and I had to wonder, why do they do this?

I had a paid reservation to go on a wine tasting tour out of Siena. But today there was a strike, a “sciopero”, and I could not get to Siena…

Of course, there were notices posted yesterday that the strike would be from 0900 to 2100 today. The strike involved all public transportation…

City buses, intercity buses, railroad travel.

Knowing there was going to be a problem, I went early to the bus station. It was almost eerie: no buses, people going to the counter, and being turned away. I then walked across the street to the train station, and saw on the boards, cancelled, cancelled, cancelled. It was amazingly quiet…people with luggage, talking in whispers to each other, no one made a scene, no one questioned why… It was so quiet.

The one bright spot was, that I knew I would not get run over by a bus on my way back home.

Today is miserably hot, so when I did get home, all I wanted to do, was to have a shower. Later, I went out for a bit, and I could see the tourists wilting before my eyes… no one had the energy to do anything, except find an air conditioned bar and have a beer, perhaps.

I came back to the apartment and stayed here, until Amanda came down, and we went out to dinner. The air is so still, just hot and humid and not moving. We only went a few blocks, but fortunately, the ristorante was very good, the place is beautiful, they gave us a complimentary drink and appetizer, then we had a wonderful meal.

I still love Florence, in spite of the heat and the strikes. The heat just makes me get up earlier to do my exploring, and the strikes are part of the culture, so I will learn how to work around them, too.

The heat, well I cannot say I will learn to love it,but fortunately, the sea coast is just a couple hours train ride from here. If there is no strike!

So, no pictures today, sorry. But just an insight to another aspect of Italian culture, but I cannot think of anywhere else I would rather be.

Ciao for now,


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