Bologna – Dolly Travels

Author: , October 25th, 2019

Bologna

Good morning, well, buongiorno from Firenze, as it is really early afternoon.

Yes!! Now I am truly back in my second home. However, Susan and I had a delightful 2 days in Bologna. Since we arrived there on Sunday, so many points of interest were closed. We did not want to visit museums, anyway. Bologna is a lovely place to walk.

Most of the streets in Bologna are covered with the arched colonnades (or loggia or arcades: take your pick of the descriptive words). Although we had sunny days, the roofs kept the sun off, but they are also very nice when it rains.

There are many ancient Roman ruins in Bologna. Frank Garcia would be disappointed in me. I did not delve into the history of Romans in Bologna, but those Romans went far afield. I promise, I will look more into this when I am back home again. Sorry, Frank.

Bologna is a food-lover’s city. There are very good restaurants everywhere. Of course, nearby are the fantastic prosciutto farms, the Parmigiana factories and the home of balsamico. Those food are prominent on the menus. Apparently, tortellini are also a prime product of Bologna, as we saw tortellini or tortelli (larger filled pasta) on every menu. All were delicious. It was difficult to choose. I wanted to take a cooking class, but the one I found, the instructor showed how to make the tortellini, but I wanted a hands-on class. I shall have to experiment back home.

Of course, when I came to Mortadella, I had to stop. Look at all the proscuitti and cheeses hanging from the ceiling. On another shelf were bottles and bottles of balsamico, anywhere from recent to over 25 years in age. And the local pastries looked so yummy. People were getting sandwiches that looked so good, too, I finally had to drag myself out of the store. Actually, I think it was Susan who dragged me out, or I might still be there.

Imagine our surprise at walking across a canal. It looked so much like Venice. Just another lovely sight on our walks.

Now we are in Florence, for a couple days. We are staying up near Santa Maria Novella for these 2 days, as it is only a few minutes walk from the train station. It is a nice little neighborhood with cafes, restaurants, hairdressers, grocery stores and pharmacies all within a few blocks.

But you know, I had to go back to our neighborhood, the place I really call home. Susan and I walked down to the Duomo area last night. We walked past Santa Maria Novella church. It is so pretty, with the flowers around the grassy areas.

We walked to the OK Bar. Well, now it is l”OK Osteria. We sat outside and had Aperol Spritzes. I was so pleased to be greeted by the bartender, Massimo and the waiter, Fabrio. They are both long-time friends from my frequent visits to the OK Bar over the past many years.

We walked some more last night, finding our dinner at another favorite restaurant, Il Porscopino (the Porcupine) near San Lorenzo church.

It is good to be back in Florence, my favorite city in all of Italy. Tomorrow, we will go to Cinque Terre for 3 nights, then return to Florence for 10 days.

I have enjoyed every place that we have visited. Susan got to see the historical sights in Padova, but I was content with seeing the city. On this trip, since I have seen the museums before, and I appreciate their greatness, I am more interested in seeing the towns and cities as a local would see them. I love the parks, the little shops, the tiny restaurants with only a few tables, but are packed every night with locals.

In case you have not know this before:

I LOVE ITALY!!!

Stayed tuned for posts from Cinque Terre.
Ciao for now,
Dolly

Full Story at Dolly Travels

Bologna Gay Travel Resources

 

Greetings From Italia – Dolly Travels

Author: , October 20th, 2019

Greetings From Italia - Dolly Travels

The first two days we were in Italy, we spent in Venice. Venice is lovely, as always. We were very tired when we finally got to our hotel on Wednesday. We had to spend some time just finding the hotel. Nothing is easy to find in that city, as the streets wind around small canals. We crossed many bridges, and just when we found the street, it came to a dead end. It did take up again on the other side of a small canal. You would think I would be used to getting lost in Venice, as I have done that so many times.

When we finally found the hotel, we put our things in our room and set out to find a good place to have some dinner. We found a small, out of the way ristorante. We enjoyed some pasta with clams, then we went right back to the hotel, as we were very tired.

Imagine our surprise the next morning to be awakened by singing gondoliers. We looked out our window, but we saw only a small piazza. Once we were dressed and went out exploring, we discovered that our hotel (our room) backed up to a gondolier stop.

Full Story at Dolly Travels

Italy Gay Travel Resources

 

Cinque Terre – Dolly Travels

Author: , September 18th, 2019

I promised I would write about Cinque Terre, the five villages on the Ligurian coast that are part of the Italian Riviera. Susan and I spent three lovely days in Vernazza, the fourth of the five cities. We were so busy having fun, I neglected to write while we were there. Now, as we wait for a train that will take us back to Florence, I find I have time to write.

Susan was much more active that I was. Every morning she got up early and went for a hike to either Monterosso or Cerniglia. I walked around town, which was fun and I got some exercise, too. There is hardly any flat ground in Vernazza. The same holds true for the other 3 villages to the south: Riomaggiore, Manarola and Corniglia. These little towns have buildings seemingly Super Glued to the mountainsides. Walking around any of those little towns gives you plenty of exercise.

In Vernazza, the trail twists and turns before you get to a tower. This particular tower is at the east end of town.

Monterosso, to the north of Vernazza, does have some flat ground, and of course, it has the largest beach. People come from all over to swim in the Ligurian Sea at Monterosso.

Our days were filled with walking, exploring and enjoying the fantastic food of the villages. Since Vernazza is a fishing village, our meals were primarily seafood. I did read the menus carefully, for some seafood delicacies are not items I want to try. I suppose I should be more adventurous in that respect.

Yesterday, I wanted to relax at the beach, so I took the train to Monterosso. I walked down to the Bagno di Stella, where I usually go to swim. I rented a chair and umbrella for the day and spent most of the day right at that spot. The Bagno has a restaurant, so I was able to have lunch without leaving the area.

Finally, after I had enough sun and water, I met Susan at the train station. We went back to Vernazza and we both took long naps. We had to renew our energy for more wonderful eating. Dinner last night was at Gambero Rosso, our favorite restaurant. I had some fish in a red sauce with capers and olives. Susan had fried fish, which looked tasty.

Now we will go to our second home, on Via Dei Servi in Florence. We will stay there for ten days. Perhaps we will have time to find all our old favorite places, visit the OK Bar a time or two. One thing I know for sure, I am going to the “mercato” and I will be cooking many of our meals. I am going through cooking withdrawal.

I cannot leave you without giving you a Vernazza sunset. I do hope you will be able to come here some day and witness a sunset for yourself.

I will post more about Florence later. Stay tuned!!

Ciao for now,
Dolly

Full Story at Dolly Travels

Cinque Terre Gay Travel Resources

 

Gay Venice – The Globetrotter Guys

Author: , August 1st, 2019

Gay Venice - The Globetrotter Guys

Venice is one of those places that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.

It’s a unique set of archipelago islands, with only boats and gondolas for transport and many beautiful bridges connecting what used to be over hundred individual villages.

Once we had set foot into the city, we immediately fell in love with its charm and felt like we had escaped into some sort of romantic film set.

What’s more, when travelling to Venice, gay travellers like ourselves should feel very welcome. Whilst it may not have a big gay scene, Venice felt safe, gay friendly and put us straight at ease. We had no issues, or even looks, walking around hand in hand and being openly affectionate.

We spent two nights on our ‘gay Venice’ trip and managed to cover plenty of the city whilst still having a relaxing and enjoyable time.

In this guide we have shared our itinerary of how to spend two days in gay Venice as well as a look into gay friendly hotels in Venice, the gay scene, gay rights in Italy and local attitudes.

Full Story at The Globetrotter Guys

Gay Venice Travel Resources

 

Rome With Kids – 2TravelDads

Author: , March 10th, 2019

Rome With Kids - 2TravelDads

Planning Rome with kids feels like a daunting task. We haven’t taken the kids to Italy yet, but our friends Frank and BJ have taken their son and have written their recommendations for how to plan a trip and the top sights to see with kids in Rome. They share what experiences in Rome are the most engaging for small kids and how they pulled off an epic visit to the Eternal City.

Europe is filled with a rich history, wonderful cultures, stunning architecture, fantastic food, incredible languages… The list can go on and on. When we travel all together as a family, we like to introduce Milo (and ourselves) to different cultures, foods and historical sites. That being said, one of our favorite countries to visit in Europe is Italy. My family is Italian, and this being Milo’s first time in Europe, we had to visit Italy so he can meet all of his cousins there.

When travelling anywhere with kids whether it’s for a long period of time or even just a few days, it’s important to pack light, and smart! When you visit Rome with kids, you really need to be practical and bring along only the essentials.

By BJ Barone – Full Story at 2TravelDads

Rome Gay Travel Resources

 

Trans Travel: Invisible in Rome – Daily Beast

Author: , January 2nd, 2019

trans travel

I usually get butterflies in my stomach before a big adventure, and my 2016 study abroad trip to Rome is no exception. Most of it is the usual mix of nerves and excitement—I wouldn’t travel if I didn’t love it—but there’s another element as well.

This would be the first time I am outside the country as a transgender person.

When you do a quick Google search of “trans travel,” you tend to end up with a list of things that could go wrong: getting held up at the airport, harassed by strangers, more airport horror stories, getting killed. And these are things I know I should be aware of, but none of this is new information. What I’m worried about is the unknown. What is Rome’s queer community like? Are transgender people on their radar? Should I tone down my femininity? Google doesn’t say.

The flight goes about as well as it can—thankfully no horror stories here—and before I know it I find myself in my university’s Rome Center, filling out my Declaration of Presence. Nome? Noah. Sesso? Female.

From there I make my way down the narrow cobbled streets to find my apartment, the wheels on my suitcase getting trapped between the stones (sanpietrini) when they aren’t clattering embarrassingly loudly in the quiet residential area. By the time I reach my vine-covered apartment I’ve worked up a good sweat in the humid June heat of the city. I’ve also realized that it’s going to be impossible to wear my chest binder here. I’m not supposed to wear it more than eight hours, certainly not while exerting myself in the heat, and I already know I will probably walk more than I have in my life.

By Noah Deans-Gravlee – Full Story at The Daily Beast

Rome Gay Travel Resources

 

Visit Italy’s Lake Como – The Gay UK

Author: , December 30th, 2018

Lake Como - Pixabay

Almost everything I thought I knew about was wrong, so I was pleasantly surprised. I went to Lake Como, Italy in June, imagining it as a small and sleepy luxury resort town. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Como is everything but small and offers the best of Italy’s beauty, culture, history and much more.

Como appeals to all types of travellers, history and architecture buffs, who want to see Roman, middle-ages and renaissance buildings, majestic gothic cathedrals and churches, hike in the mountains surrounding the lake, visit world-class museums and foodies who want to try local cuisines and the best Michelin 3-Star restaurants in the world. Although not one of the biggest wine regions in Italy, there are several wineries around Como and local wines are served at most restaurants there.

The lake is located in northern Italy’s Lombardy region, about fifty-two miles north of Milan, close to the Swiss border. At fifty-six square miles, the lake is shaped like an inverted letter “Y”, surrounded by dozens of ancient villages along its shores. Each quaint village has its own rich history, distinct characteristics and offers unique sites to visit.

By Vic Gerami – Full Story at The Gay UK

Lombardy Gay Travel Resources

 

RECIPE: Italian Cassata Cake – The Nomadic Boys

Author: , November 11th, 2018

Italian Cassata Cake - The Nomadic Boys

Cassata Siciliana is a delicious sponge cake, which originated from the island of Sicily in Italy. It is one of our favourite Italian desserts and so easy to make.

A cassata is a round sponge cake, which is moistened with fruit juices or liqueur, then layered with ricotta cheese and candied fruit. Like the Uruguayan chaja, a cassata is not too complicated to make, though if you’re rushed for time, you can of course order it via an online cake delivery. For us, the best is always baked at home, especially recipes like Jamie’s rolled cassata or by the BBC.

Our recipe for Sicilian cassata serves around 15 people. Preparation time should take no more than 30 minutes and total baking time is 1 hour and 15 minutes.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Sicily Gay Travel Resources

 

La Martellina B&B – Gay Friendly Tuscan B&B

Author: , November 7th, 2018

La Martellina B&B

Romantic B & B in an ancient 13th century mill, near Florence, Tuscany.

Only 7 km from the center of Florence, the old mill of the thirteenth century, spends quiet days on the banks of the Arno. Only the background murmur of the river you whisper in the ears! Located near a small village is completely surrounded by green countryside.

A lovely garden and a hearty breakfast awaits you in the morning and let you enjoy a pleasant stay, will offer you a pleasant break of tranquility and a lovely small swimming pool, after the day visiting monuments and museums that in summer can be very tiring.

The 4 rooms, bathrooms and a common hall occupy a wing that is completely reserved to guests, and are decorated carefully selecting furniture and furnishings to accentuate the unique character. The rooms are equipped with a refrigerator and television with satellite-dish television.

See the La Martellina B&B Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

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

 

Queer Venice for Families – 2TravelDads

Author: , October 26th, 2018

queer venice - 2traveldads

When you live in the United States and you think about taking a trip to Europe, your mind darts so quickly from place to place and you start to create an enormous to-do list of sights and experiences you MUST cross off. Venice, Italy is at the top for everybody, I swear, and rightly so. But today you hear stories from everybody who visits of being over-run by tourists and walking through narrow streets in single file lines. Not cool. But we know how to enjoy a stress-free trip to Venice and now you can too.

Known as “la Serenissima”, the most serene, Venice is chalked full of history and beauty. It’s calm and peaceful in the wee hours, and yet it’s crazy and crowded with tourists in the daytime and around famous landmarks. Our method of exploring and tips are sure to help you have a relaxing and unforgettable trip to Venice.

Living on the west coast of the USA, the oldest structures we have anywhere are barely 150 years old, so immediately any fascinating architecture must go on the travel list. And then there is art. In the Seattle area we are inundated with local art (subjects of orca whales, boats, produce, modernism…), so the chance to visit every single museum filled with historic pieces in every city cannot be missed. But here’s some real talk: if you want to enjoy Venice stress free, let yourself be okay with not visiting every single museum.

Oh, and food. I can’t even begin to talk about that, so our friend Kavita will tackle that for us over on her blog. The best food in Venice should be left to the experts. My only thing to say about the food in Venice is that their preparation of seafood is unique in comparison with other places in Italy and at least one meal in Venice needs to be local seafood dishes.

You could say that Venice is a foot traffic nightmare, and you wouldn’t be lying, but that doesn’t mean it has to cause anxiety. Stress free Venice is all about letting the city lead you to the best experiences for YOU.

By Rob Taylor – Full Story at 2TravelDads

Venice Gay Travel Resources