Wednesday, June 20, 2012

An Italian Kaleidoscope

We have just returned from a family adventure in Italy and it was truly wonderful.
Lots of sightseeing, great food and fantastic scenery.  
We took many, many photographs of Cathedrals and monuments and buildings and ruins.
We toured the major attractions and learned so much about the history of civilization itself.

But nothing made me happier than the festive pops of color
that stood out from all the stone.

I hope you enjoy this tour of the colors of Italy- an absolutely breathtaking place!

Let's set the scene with a photo of Positano.....
Just because it is so beautiful.
More on this town later.

In Rome, 
we stayed at the Albergo Del Senato, recommended by several friends, 
right next to the Pantheon.  
A great location and a wonderful hotel 
with a rooftop terrace for relaxing and soaking up the atmosphere.

We were greeted on the rooftop by Mariano
  who introduced me to the wonders of Prosecco, my new favorite beverage.

 A great place to unwind after a long day of exploring...

 The view from the terrace down onto the Piazza della Rotonda.

At the Spanish Steps, the tourists add much of the color...

 The "kids" are in this picture... kind of like Where's Waldo?

Not much color at the Colosseum

But on the local streets, in delis, ristorantes and gelaterias, you see things like this

In English, no less!  
I once sat on a plane next to a French neurosurgeon who spoke beautiful English.  
He told me that the internet has inspired the world 
to learn and welcome the English language.
It seemed very true in Italy.
Way to go, bloggers!

 We tasted a different Gelato every single day.  
The displays were completely irresistible.

On our first night in Rome, we re-visited the Ristorante Alla Rampa,
an outdoor cafe tucked under the Spanish Steps that was most memorable 
for Mr. Grand and I on our last trip to Italy 20 years ago.
Luckily, it did not disappoint!

We first tasted bruschetta here and we were hooked for life.
We ordered it at again for everyone 
and it was just as amazing.

We decided then to embark on the Great Bruschetta Quest, 
to seek out bruschetta at every meal 
and to determine if indeed, the bruschetta at Ristorante Alla Rampa 
was actually the best in Italy.
Results to follow.

There was some color in the Vatican...

 And at Pompeii, 
even after being buried in ashes for almost 2,000 years...

On to Positano, on the Amalfi Coast
where the scenery and the colors are absolutely heavenly.

Our hotel was perched at the very top of this photo,
 The Villa Franca.  
We highly recommend it!

This is a photo from inside the hotel bar looking out to the sea.
Positively Dreamy.

So gorgeous, I had to show you twice...

Three nights in Positano, not enough.  
Must go back.

The bruschetta was excellent, but check out the view....

 That's our hotel- the white building perched at the top of the hill on the right.  
While Mr.Grand and our son (who wishes to remain nick-name-less)
 took an arduous hike to the top of this cliff, 
darling daughter and I swam and sunned at the rooftop pool.  
The  views were majestic.
It's called the Walk of the Gods for a reason.

 Down by the beach, there were changing rooms for the guests...

 And flowers everywhere.

702 steps up from the beach to our hotel....  I took the shuttle.

This is the view from the balcony of our room.
We splurged for this room, but we were able to find some really great values 
on hotels in other places, so it sort of evened out....
But nothing else compared.

 Except maybe Capri...

 We took the ferry to Capri for a day trip and it was wonderful.  
We rode a chairlift to the top of the island 
and enjoyed soaring views and spectacular sights.

In town, there were lovely shops and charming people.

I bought a beach coverup here, for a song.
I hope wearing it will take me back....

On to Tuscany, 
where we were delighted by the sights and scenery 
at every turn.  
We tasted wild boar and cheese and wines from the region.

We had a memorable meal in San Gimignano at Dulcisinfundo, 
a ristorante we stumbled upon and enjoyed very, very much.

We had a terrific bottle of local Chianti,
as well as some delicious food, from their many local sources.

The owner served us and was most charming.

When we returned to our room after dinner, 
we looked the restaurant up on our trip "bible" -Trip Advisor-
and found out we had luckily dined at one of the top restaurants in San Gimignano.
We found Trip Advisor to be invaluable in planning our trip 
and in exploring things we may not have known about without it.
We highly recommend consulting Trip Advisor when planning a trip anywhere!

On to Florence, 
where we were dazzled by great style everywhere.

This is a view from the rooftop terrace of our hotel in Florence, the Hermitage.

The jasmine was in bloom all over Italy and the fragrance was enchanting.  
 The hallways of our hotel were redolent as we climbed up to the terrace. 

Gelati everywhere....
How could anyone resist?

Gorgeous, colorful children's clothes

And for those who prefer their children understated and elegant...
 (Who are those people?)

 Leather goods were plentiful, and prices very reasonable.  
I found a few new handbags that I will be sporting about town.

In Florence, dinner at Il Latini was a highlight, especially for the "kids".
No menu, 
enormous amounts of interesting and delicious food, 
friendly atmosphere, and lots of dulci.  
What more could you ask for?
Well, maybe some bruschetta, but that was not to be.

The winner in the great Bruschetta Quest was still Ristorante Alla Rampa.  
And in second place, the bruschetta recipe from my friend Patti.
I will have to make that soon!

The sights and sounds and scents were amazing on this unforgettable trip.

Colorful shutters everywhere.

 Flowers in Tuscany...

 I could not resist including this poster of ground pigments 
at the little inn we stayed in on the west coast of Italy on our last night.  
Mr. Grand has long worked in the paint industry 
where colorants make many things possible...

On the road, Italian rest areas are actually kind of fun.  
They have shops and cafes and great displays of local treats.
 These pinwheels were spotted at a rest area on the drive to the airport...

These sunflowers waved to us as we passed by...

(until we meet again)

Thanks for coming along on this little tour.

Linking to
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
Open House Thursday at No Minimalist Here
Home and Garden Thursday at a Delightsome Life
Nifty Thrifty Party at Coastal Charm
Fabulous Friday at Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust
Weekend Bloggy Reading Party at Serenity Now
Inspiration Friday at The Picket Fence
Fridays Unfolded at Stuff and Nonsense
Time Travel Thursday at Brambleberry Cottage
Oh, The Places I've Been at The Tablescaper
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  1. WOW. I loved traveling Italy through your pictures. Each one was more stunning or interesting than the last. I am in awe. Looks like you had a wonderful trip!

  2. Your pictures are gorgeous! Now I want to go to Italy! I'm your newest follower!

  3. It's been exactly a year since I was there and I think about it almost daily.

    Great photo's!

  4. I so enjoyed this trip. I have wanted to visit Tuscany as long as I can remember. Lovely photo's of everything. Bruschetta is very popular here in Australia. Thank you for sharing such a lovely holiday. :)

  5. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, and more precious family memories for "The Grands"

  6. I went to Capri nearly 25 years ago and the visuals still linger in my mind. Hope to return one day. Thanks for capturing the color of Italy for your followers to enjoy.

  7. Wow--so amazing! What a beautiful country, and your pictures are just wonderful--thank you so much for sharing them with us--I really enjoyed it.

  8. Amazing. Maybe someday I'll get to go, but for now that was a great tour. I am a new follower. Hope to see you at True Aim. Thanks for Sharing!

  9. i am italian...thanks for your love for my country!!!!!!

  10. I hope that I get to make this trip someday. Gorgeous photos!

    Just found your blog from the Serenity Now Link Party. I love your blog! New Follower :)

    Join my "All Things Pretty" Blog Hop!

  11. Oh I loved this post, I am crazy about Italy, I have been several times and want to settle there eventually. In fact I have just this minute posted a lovely old Italian farmhouse Interior on my blog. Thank you for coming to visit me and leave a comment. I will visit again soon.

    Lee ☺

  12. Your son might not want to remain nick-name-less, so much as get a great nick-name that sounds cool or which might serve him. Suggestions?? B-Dog, LL Cool Bri, or The Brianator.
    Uncle Thom

    P.S. Had to look up redolent to be sure. I've experienced it, but didn't know the word.

    1. I will check with him and see if any of your suggestions will be adopted....
      As for redolent, I made sure to look it up before I used it, knowing people are always watching...

    2. I didn't see this reply of yours until just after I posted my comment on your outdoor shower. People are always watching, indeed!

  13. Stunning!! I loved your pictures and will have to return to see the Amalfi Coast someday! We were scheduled for a boat tour from Naples, but the weather was too rough and so they cancelled. At least we have a reason to go back. :)

  14. Wow! Amazingly gorgeous sites - would love to visit there! The food looks delicious and the colors! I appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

  15. Italy has been on my bucket list for a VERY long time. Thanks for the "grand" tour, Erin. ;)

    Thanks for linking to Time Travel Thursday, too. Hope you'll join the fun each week. Be sure to stop in tonight, and see yourself featured.

    Liz @ The Brambleberry Cottage

  16. Hi Erin, my first time here, and i have to tell you something funny. My daughter's name is Erin also, and she and her husband were in the same place you were at the same time, although they spent their time cruising with friends on a private yacht. They went to Pompeii and Capri, etc. They loved it but she had a scary accident disembarking a small water craft taking them to shore. Other than that it was a wonderful week. Loved seeing your wonderful photos, I recognized the Amalfi coast from your photos. Come visit when you can!

  17. I was blown away by these amazing photos! It's my pleasure to feature you in my Fab Friday Favorites post today. Thanks so much for linking up on Fabulous Friday & please feel free to take an "I Was Featured" button if you don't already have one!

    Warmly, Michelle

  18. Your pictures made me homesick for my second home! Isn't Italy incredible?! I may be a little jealous but I won't admit it. :)

  19. Fabulous tour! Our trips to Italy have been just as magical. We have been fortunate enough to land in Tuscany during the month that porchini mushrooms were in season... some of the best food I have ever eaten, made with mushrooms they picked that morning! Thanks for sharing.

  20. I finally got the chance to get over here and you did not disappoint! I would love for you to plan my trip for me! LOL Everything looks so wonderful. I can't wait to go!!

  21. Loved being on the journey of your glorious trip to Italy . . . memories returned to me in a flood of emotion of my "Trip 2007"!
    Bruschetta scoring occurred for us . . . as my girlfriend and I rated the bruschetta at each place and each taste . . .
    Thank you for these wonderful photos and the gift of memories.

  22. What a great vacation! It makes me want to book the same trip tonight! Thanks for sharing.

  23. What a wonderful tour! Your photos took me back to our trip to Italy many years ago. Makes me want to plan a return. Thanks!

  24. Oh my goodness, so many wonderful adventures in one single post. Such glorious photos of such a beautiful place.

    Great to have your be a part of the premier of "Oh, the places I've been!"

    - The Tablescaper

  25. I have been to Italy at least 3 times and I love it each time. The building are spectacular and I love the old stone architecture. Your photos are breathtaking! Thanks for sharing them..Christine

  26. Oh, I enjoyed this post so much! I have been to Italy, but only as far south, as Rome. Your photos make me realized how much of Italy I have missed and need to visit in the future. You did a wonderful job of showing so many aspects of the culture - thank you!!

  27. Thanks for taking me on your trip :-) What lovely photos! Make sme want to hop on a plane and go there right now!

  28. Erin, your photos of you Italian adventure are just fabulous. How fun to choose a quest like finding bruschetta. We love bruschetta and had some while in Milan in March and always like to order it here in the States, too.
    Thanks for the lovely tour of the great places you saw and experienced!

  29. Wow Erin, I feel like I went there! Great beautiful photos and descriptions. The vibrant color everywhere is my favorite part! I love that you incorporated your food experiences in with your tour, food is such a fun part of traveling! How wonderful you could go back with your grown children, a trip of a lifetime!
    Thanks so much for sharing,


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Thank you so much!