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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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November 07, 2015

F is for Friday and Fiesole!

And after saying I want to visit Fiesole for each of my previous three trips, I finally did.  And it was a very nice day although I wish I had gone in the morning (but my mornings here seem to be for the most part, pretty lazy).

Fiesole sits way up high on a hill above Florence and is an ancient and once important town.  The walls of the city date from the 4th century B.C. and my little brochure says that "an Etruscan presence in the 8th century B.C. is confirmed..." and the Romans conquered what was there in the first century B.C.  So it has a long, long history.  There are Roman ruins which are in my first pictures.  I'm never very good at deciphering ruins when I'm looking at them, but I do love visiting them.  It is an amazing feeling to know when, for instance, you climb up into a Roman theater, you're walking where Romans did 2000 years ago.
 This picture is more for the view than the ruins in the foreground.
 This is a portion of the theater which I came around to again later.

 Looking at the map, I believe this is the site of an Etruscan temple.

And this complex is the Roman baths and the Lombard tombs.  Out in front of the steps is a deep stone pool so that would be the bath and I couldn't figure out where tombs would be in all of this.  They were probably rebuilt, but it's amazing that he arches are complete.
More of the theater - the picture below is a stairway that I wondered if it was for use by the actors to come onto the stage because in the next picture is another staircase that pretty obviously goes up to the seating - you can see the opening where people could come out and down to find their seat.

You have to look but the opening I referred to is up at the top of the seating under the yellow building.
Strange to have three columns here at the cafe terrace - don't know if they were originally there or if someone decided "hey, let's put some columns on the terrace" which doesn't seem quite archeologically proper. :)
Next I started my first walk to see the panoramic views which went up and up and up and up until finally I decided I was high enough and came down and down and down and down.  It was a beautiful walk though and a beautiful day but always there was a haze in the distant views.  To me, though, that gave it more of a Tuscan look - dreamy and quiet.  So these are just pictures from that walk.  When I got up high enough I could see the dome of the cathedral (because it's SO big) but not well enough for it to show up in a photo.

 These little paintings were on various "doors" that covered utility meters.  And each one was different - don't know if the homeowners do them or an artist is hired to do them but they were a neat idea I thought.

 I'm waaaay up there! And starting with the photo below I have gone back down and am now going up the hill on the other side which isn't as long but is steeper.  So I quit at this little "sanctuary" type place that was leveled out and had lots of trees, this monument, a wonderful, if hazy, view and was very quiet and pleasant.

This is a fuzzy picture but it's one of my favorites actually because it looks like paintings I sometimes see of the Tuscan landscape.

 And the dark dome-shaped thing to the left of center is the Duomo. :)

By the time I got back down from the hill I was freezing.  Waited about 15 minutes for the bus and down we roared.  The bus ride up and down is quite exciting because you just keep wondering as you fly around hairpin curves, when the bus is just going to roll over.  We made it into Florence and stopped at what I thought was just another bus stop but we sat for a while - periodically some people would get off but the rest of us sat.  Finally I saw that at some point, the driver had gotten off because here he came back on and he must have said something to the people nearest him because they all started to get off so the rest of us looked at each other, shrugged and got off too wondering where we were, was there a bus we could catch to get where we wanted, etc., and then noticed those first people getting on a bus, so we ran to get on too and soon after our driver got on that bus and took off.  No announcement, no telling us anything, but we ended up where we were supposed to so all's well that ends well I guess.

Had a kind of lackadaisical evening - couldn't decide what to eat.  Finally went searching and stopped in at a place I had seen that had wood-fired pizza, ordered one to take out and brought it back to the hotel with a little bottle of wine.  While waiting for the pizza I got into a conversation with the chef who manned the wood fired grill for steaks - he spoke basically flawless English and told me a story I found hard to believe but who knows?  He said he has always wanted to visit America and in 2002 flew into Texas and when he came through customs, they pulled him aside, questioned him, looked at everything, and sent him back to Italy!!  He didn't seem angry - just amazed of course and shrugged his shoulders and said, well, it was only a year after the towers.  To me it was unbelievable.

So, here it is Saturday morning and this is Friday's post so until I do something today I am caught up!!!  And about time since I leave Monday.


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