Weekly Photo Challenge: Love

“If music be the food of love, play on.”  ~ Shakespeare

Whilst roaming in Rome, we were on our way to view some archaeological excavations, when I heard beautiful music and went to investigate. There under a shady tree, was a young clarinetist serenading the passersby. People dropped a few Euros into his case, as they literally danced past. An elderly Italian couple, obviously still very much in love, stayed and danced for quite a while, as he played the wonderful love song, “Besame Mucho.”

Besame, besame mucho,
Each time I cling to your kiss, I hear music divine,
Besame mucho,
Hold me my darling and say that you’ll always be mine.
This joy is something new, my arms enfolding you,
Never knew this thrill before.
Whoever thought I’ll be holding you close to me,
Whispering it’s you I adore.

They seemed oblivious to everyone except one another and the music, which obviously evoked for them, wonderful memories. I stayed and watched them dance, and I really felt the love.


To see more entries for this challenge, just click here.

More about the unique and beautiful city of Venice.

We had real ‘Indian summer’ weather on our tour of Italy last October. Our last day in Venice was very busy, what with all the exploring and shopping we had to do. There were Pinocchios aplenty to choose from, although I didn’t succumb to the temptation. I’ve bought enough souvenirs in my time, and have asked myself when I got home, “What were you thinking?”

We wandered through the narrow lanes, between the towering, historic apartment buildings.

and up and down hundreds of steps. Such good exercise. 🙂

We were serenaded whilst indulging in a delicious pasta and a glass of Chianti at a pavement cafe; “Besame Mucho” and all that, by three brothers on the squeeze box, guitar and violin. How wonderful!  I was loving Italy so much. Mucho magnifico!!

Venice is such a great city to visit. It has everything; magnificent architecture, water everywhere you look, divine food and wine, music around every corner, and a decent amount of shopping. What a romantic adventure! There were plenty of tourists, but we never felt crowded by them. All the while we were enjoying ourselves, the everyday business was going on around us. I got the impression that those Italians work very hard indeed to keep the city well maintained and tourist-worthy.

We went back to our hotel to change for the evening’s activities, and in the late afternoon, again took the ‘taxi’ ride across the lagoon.

The sun was setting behind the Basilica Santa Maria della Salute, as we sailed across. The Salute is a vast, octagonal building built on a platform made of 100,000 wooden piles, and is constructed of Istrian stone and Marmorino (brick covered with stucco containing marble dust).

Here you can see the bell tower of the Basilica di San Marco on the left, with the Doge’s Palace in the middle, and The Bridge of Sighs on the right.

At the dock, our Gondolier was waiting for us, and I gingerly stepped in first. I fully expected it to capsize, but fortunately, although it rocked like crazy, I made it to the ‘love seat’ at the front, and then hubby and four other friends got in too.

We pulled away from the pier,

and set off under the ‘Bridge of Sighs’, so-called because it was the bridge over which prisoners were led before being incarcerated in the prison usually until they died, as the conditions were appalling, the cells being barely big enough for a person to lie down. There were serious renovations going on, hence all the scaffolding.

We asked our boatman to sing to us, assuming that all gondoliers were the singing types, but he just said that would cost extra.  The guy in the gondola in front of ours started to sing “Buona serra senorita,” and ours joined in, albeit somewhat half heartedly. A local man walking along the path, called out in Italian, “He can’t even sing. Why don’t you tell him to shut up?” Served him right for being so miserable. 🙂

We passed between really tall, ancient buildings, some with their stone steps half hidden under the water. Apparently in winter, all the ground floors are flooded. The plaster has fallen off the outside walls long ago, and they looked extremely ‘distressed’.

We could see through the brightly lit windows into people’s houses, and they looked so beautiful and cheery.

It was now getting dark, and a church bell was tolling in the distance. I couldn’t help imagining those prisoners of long ago, cooped up in their tiny cells under the Doge’s Palace, hearing that same bell day after day until they eventually died. It really was very spooky, and in some parts, the smell was very unpleasant. When there was a sudden gushing of water from an outlet at the base of one buildings, I had to wonder if someone up there had just flushed the ‘loo’. 😉

Here is a restaurateur waiting to welcome diners, who would be arriving by gondola.

Our ride was for about half an hour, and then we suddenly emerged out of the gloom, into the bright lights again, where more tourists were waiting to take our places on the gondola.

Our guide led us through the streets to our restaurant, the “Trattoria Do Forni,” where we were treated to the most delicious four-course meal. I had Prawn cocktail in Aurora sauce, Linguine with seafood, Fillet of sole with zucchini, and last but by no means least, the best Tiramisu I’ve ever eaten. The decor was very elegant, and don’t you just adore these Venetian glass, wall lights?

It was a fabulous farewell dinner, and a wonderful end to the trip.

So finally I’ve finished my Italian travel tale. Just doing this post has made me long to be back there again. Maybe some day.

AD goes roaming in Rome

Buongiorno everyone. I decided that it’s time I shared my Italian trip with you, and Gilly did ask so nicely, so for the next few days my posts will be about will be about all things Italiano.  Last October, we were on our way from South Africa to Florida, and after a stop-over to see my MiL in England, we decided that a little detour across to Italy would be rather nice.

We arrived in Bella Roma, on a late afternoon flight from Heathrow, and took a taxi to our hotel through the Sunday night rush hour traffic. It was dark by the time we arrived, and we were most impressed when we pulled up outside the Boscolo Hotel. I had no idea it was going to be so magnificent.

The lobby and lounge were equally grand; so much marble everywhere!

After unpacking our cases, we went out in search of dinner, and found a little Pizzeria, run by Egyptians. We were offered lobster, and were introduced to the two choices, either Peter or Michael. I felt sorry for those poor little lobsters, and so we decided that they could “Die another day.” I wasn’t going to be responsible for depriving either of them of their best friend in the tank, so we settled for a pizza instead, washed down with a bottle of Frascati  wine, which was very tasty indeed.

The following morning, after a sumptuous breakfast, we strolled down to the Trevi Fountain, and of course I did what all tourists must do; I threw in a coin and made a wish.

On our walkabout we passed this lovely sculpture of Romulus and the wolf.

The narrow cobbled streets are quite a challenge for both cars and pedestrians alike. There are so many scooters around, which isn’t really surprising, as they are much easier to park, and to drive around. We remembered from our last visit here, that to cross the road, you just have to walk purposefully, and fix the motorist with your “I dare you to run me over!” look, and they will stop for you.  There are so many leather shops, and quite reasonably priced too, although I really didn’t think I needed to add to my luggage so soon, so we rather concentrated on the beautiful architecture.

This building is the Pontificia Studiorum Universitas, and was definitely worthy of a pic. It looked so magnificent against that blue sky. I wish I could have moved that white van out of the way. 😉

This typical example of Italian architecture, had been turned into a restaurant.

As we were on our way to view some archeological excavations, I heard beautiful music and went to investigate. There, under a shady tree, was a young clarinetist serenading the passersby. People were literally dancing past, and dropping a few Euros into his hat. This elderly couple, obviously still very much in love, stayed and danced for quite a while, as he played “Besame Mucho.”

I saw something I hadn’t seen in ages;  a roast-chestnut seller on a street corner. I didn’t like to take a pic unless I bought some though, and I just wasn’t hungry enough, but they did smell good. There are very few new buildings in Rome. Most are either old or ancient, and many have been built on top of old Roman ruins. Some are being excavated now, and here you can see all the bits and pieces of beautiful columns and statues that they are discovering.

Later, we went to meet our tour guide and the rest of the group, over wine and snacks. There were forty of us, from all over the world. Many folk had just flown in from the USA, Canada and Australia, and were somewhat jet-lagged, but when we all went out for dinner, they seemed to recover, and we  had a lot of fun and an excellent meal at The Cabiria Restaurant on the Via Veneto. We ate a four course dinner, sitting up on the roof deck overlooking the city. The evening was so mild and there was fortunately no wind either; a perfect meal, lovely company, and even an Italian singer/guitarist to serenade us.

When it was time to leave, rather than wait for the lift, which could take only seven people at a time, some of us opted to go down this spiral staircase. I counted 186 steps…. a long way down. Imagine falling over the balustrade as they sometimes do in the movies!

Tomorrow, I’ll take you to the Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel, as well as the Colosseum and Michelangelo’s steps, so for now, it’s “buono giornata,” everyone. 😉