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 Greg’s Italy Blog

This is a continuing story of traveling through Italy. Enjoying the sights, the tastes, and the people of this very unique country. There are more world heritage sites in Italy than any other country. The food is amazing and the people are friendly. Visit Italy and discover what I have. 


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Orvieto a most beautiful hill town

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Orvieto Cathedral (ItalianDuomo di Orvieto; Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta) is a large 14th-century Roman Catholic cathedraldedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and situated in the town of Orvieto in Umbria, central Italy. Formerly the episcopal seat of the Diocese of Todi, it has been since 1986 that of the Diocese of Orvieto-Todi.

The building was constructed under the orders of Pope Urban IV to commemorate and provide a suitable home for the Corporal of Bolsena, a miracle which is said to have occurred in 1263 in the nearby town of Bolsena, when a travelling priest who had doubts about the truth of transubstantiation found that his Host was bleeding so much that it stained the altar cloth. The cloth is now stored in the Chapel of the Corporal inside the cathedral. From Wikipedia. 

This is the scond time we visited the Duomo, so beautiful, so huge. At a Sunday service there were very few people attending. 

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Piazza del Duomo, Cathederal Square, Orvieto. A quiet sunday morning. 

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Interior of Duomo during Sunday service. 

View showing how massive Duomo is. 

Perfect spot to play calico in the piazza,


The Duomo is always visible from most the the town of Orvieto.

Strolling down the side streets of Orvieto

My new bike. Perfect for shopping. 


This is one of the most common trucks seen in Italy. It is an Ape 50. It is prounounced ah pay. Literaly a bee  probably because with its motor cycle engine it sounds like a bee.  It is ubiquitous through all of italyu 


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Civita was founded by Etruscans more than 2,500 years ago. Civita was the birthplace of Saint Bonaventure, who died in 1274. The location of his boyhood house has long since fallen off the edge of the cliff. By the 16th century, Civita was beginning to decline, becoming eclipsed by its former suburb Bagnoregio.

At the end of the 17th century, the bishop and the municipal government were forced to move to Bagnoregio because of a major earthquake that accelerated the old town's decline. At that time, the area was part of the Papal States. In the 19th century, Civita's location was turning into an island and the pace of the erosion quickened as the layer of clay below the stone was reached in the area where today's bridge is situated. Bagnoregio continues as a small but prosperous town, while Civita became known in Italian as il paese che muore ("the town that is dying"). Civita has only recently been experiencing a tourist revival. ( Text from WikiPedia, Photos © Greg Speck 2017)

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Civita Bagnoregio

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We made a day trip to see this wonderful little town. Almost abandoned, it now has shops and restaurants and has become an major tourist attraction. Unlike many attractions, it is not quite so crowded. WORTH THE TRIP.  

Inferno The Movie Locations In Florence and Venice, Italy

The Inferno was shot in Florence and Venice and some other locations. Here are some of the publicity photos along witth my photos of the scene locations.  The movie was not the greatest, but the scenery was. Tom Hanks and Felecity Jones were able to salvage enough to make it interesting. 

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Tom Hanks andFelicithy Jones  in Florence, Italy in still from the inferno.

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Screen shots of the  Babtistry  in Florence 


The  Babtistry from Giottos Campanile


Ponte Vecchio Florence


Duomo Florence


Palazzo Vecchio, Florence


Palazzo Vecchio, Florence


Who would fall thtrouh the ceiling at Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

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She did not make a good impression on landing. Screen shot from the film.


Remember the question that he asked about the horses? St Marks , Venice Italy

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What about the horses heads?  From the book:  “I’ve got it,” Sienna said, taking his phone. “I’ll run a search for Venetian doges, cross-referenced with headless horses and the bones of the blind.” She began typing rapidly on the tiny keyboard.

Brown, Dan (2013-05-13T22:00:00+00:00). Inferno (Kindle Locations 4808-4810). Transworld. Kindle Edition. 

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St Marks, Vencie Italy

Wandering Around Firenze

The Ponte Vecchio

An artist at work, Ponte Vecchio

Shopping near Ponte Vecchio

Florence is well know for its gold jewelry.

David uncovered outsdide the Palazzo Vecchio

Giotto’s Campanile 

A view from the top.

The Duomo

A view from Uffizi gallery

All of the photos below are of restoration at the Uffizi gallery 


Toscana 2016 17 Days In Heaven

This year we traveled to Florence Italy on the first leg of our Tuscany trip.  We spend 3 nights in Florence, 4 nights in Siena, 4 nights in Montepulicano and 4 nights in Orvieto. Orvieto is in Umbria but so close we lumped in with Tuscany. It was an amazing trip.   In Firenze ( Florence) we had an Air BnB in the Oltrano section. It was  a 10 minute walk to the Arno river and across the bridge to a most beautiful city.  Being just outside of the downtown put us in a quiet neighborhood close several nice restaurants, a small bar ( The Italian Coffee Shop) and a supermarket for miscellaneous items. 

We were totally satisfied with Air B&B accommodations on our trip. It was our first experience using them, and will continue to do so in the future.  After reading a piece in the NY Times by a woman who was not so thrilled with her accommodations with Air B&B, we made sure our choices had EXCELLENT reviews and we double checked the descriptions for each of the four locations we stayed at. They were all very comfortable and offered a chance to get to know the areas and people very well. 

Well Firenze is amazing. Angela and I first visited it in 1998 and I returned last year for 36 hours. This time we walked the city and had a chance to explore the nooks and crannies of the amazing town.  I will be updating the blog on all of our stops during the next several weeks. 

The Duomo in Firenze - The Basillica of Santa Marie del Fiore

Giotto’s Campanile is a free-standing campanile that is part of the complex of buildings that make up Florence Cathedral on the Piazza del Duomo in Florence, Italy.

Standing adjacent to the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore and the Baptistry of St. John, the tower is one of the showpieces of the Florentine Gothic architecture with its design by Giotto, its rich sculptural decorations and the polychrome marble encrustations.

This slender structure stands on a square plan with a side of 14.45 meters (47.41 ft). It attains a height of 84.7 metres (277.9 ft) sustained by four polygonal buttresses at the corners.[1] These four vertical lines are crossed by four horizontal lines, dividing the tower ( Text from Wikipedia) 

SInce I climbed the Duomo in 1998, it was time to climb the Canpanile. The views were certainly worth the effort.

View from the Campanile.

The  Campanile.from the top of the Duomo, taken in 1998. 

Ponte Vecchio the most famous bridge in Italy

More to come, Ufizzi gallery and views of sculpture restorations.   So much to see, but the legs eventually give out. 

Ciao for now. 

Siena from Torre del Mangia


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Piazza del Campo , Siena


View from the Torre del Mantia

The Torre del Mangia is a tower in Siena, in the Tuscany region of Italy. Built in 1338-1348,[1] it is located in the Piazza del Campo, Siena's premier square, adjacent to the Palazzo Pubblico (Town Hall). When built it was one of the tallest seculartowers in medieval Italy.[2] At 88 metres (289 feet), it is third tallest after Cremona's Torrazzo (112 m (367 ft)) and the Asinelli tower in Bologna (97 m (318 ft)).


More views from Torre del Mangia


Ladies in waiting Piazza del Campo

Siena, Tosscana Italy

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Duomo, Siena , Italy

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View from Torre del Mangia 

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The Tower, Sienna , Italy

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The Tower and Campo, Sienna, Italy

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Sienna, small shop

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Sienna, Still Life

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Piazza del Campo, Sienna, Italy

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Il fruitto, Siena, Italy

Siena is a wonderful town.  Pedestrian friendly and many things to see and do. Photos were taken with a Sony RX100 111 set with a watercolor filter. More phtos to follow.

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Morning Fog and Low Clouds add to the beauty of Siena


And the rains came, but it did not deter people.  Quickly as it came, it left and the Campo was full of people again. 


Sienna, rendering of hotel hallway

Morning clouds as we ride our bicycles into the Tuscan hills.

Monteriggioni, Toscana A beautiful hill town in the Tuscany

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The following is from Wikipedia

Monteriggioni is a medieval walled town, located on a natural hillock, built by the Sienese in 1214–19 as a front line in their wars against Florence,[3] by assuming command of the Via Cassia running through the Val d'Elsa and Val Staggia to the west.

During the conflicts between Siena and Florence in the Middle Ages, the city was strategically placed as a defensive fortification. It also withstood many attacks from both the Florentines and the forces of the Bishop of Volterra. In 1554 the Sienese were able to place control of the town's garrison to Giovannino Zeti, who had been exiled from Florence. In 1554, in an act of reconciliation with the Medicis, Zeti simply handed the keys of the town over to the Medicean forces - considered a "great betrayal" by the town's people.[2]

Video Bike The Hills Of Tuscany - Vermont Bike Tours

Finally the video to the Vermont Bike Tours Hiss of Tuscany Has arrived. This is hosted on Vimeo and will open the  video in a new page. Enjoy. 


Riding the hills of Tuscany, Mapy of San Gimingano Loop Route

© Greg Speck 2016