Aug 9, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Rome, Day 2

Jeannette and I had breakfast together early & taxied to the Vatican – she went to St. Peters, I got in line before the doors opened at 9 and toured myself thru. Spent quite a while in the Sistine Chapel and went thru many other rooms. Saw many sculptures – it was wonderful.

Taxied to Via CondottiVia Condotti (officially Via dei Condotti) is a busy and fashionable street of Rome, Italy. In Roman times it was one of the streets that crossed the ancient Via Flaminia and enabled people who transversed the Tiber to reach the Pincio hill. and spent 1 1/2 hours looking in the shops – many good ones there. Bought scarves at Arnoboldi’s.

Back to the hotel to meet Harry and the Earlys for beer in the bar. We decided to meet the tour at Cook’s so went on to Plaza Barbirini and lunched outdoors. My rice & chicken curry was very good.

We had our best tour in the afternoon tho’ it was dreadfully hot. Saw the facades that Michelangelo designed on the 3 buildings above the Roman Forum (right behind the Victor Emmanuel monument). Then the Roman Forum ruins, the Coliseum, St. Peter in Chains – (Michelangelo’s Moses), St. Paul outside the walls (comparatively new but lovely columns & patio by the old Benedictine monastery). Went up on Janiculum hill from which you have a marvelous view of the city and where Garibaldi’s statue is.

Back at the hotel, we bathed, rested, had drinks, washed clothes. Ate dinner at the hotel – I had a marvelous appetizer – meat rolled in spaghetti-covered with cheese and tomato sauce – canneloni – then chicken cacciatore. Nightcap in bar across the street & to bed at a decent hour for a change.

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Aug 11, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Rome, Day 3

I got up early, had breakfast alone and caught a bus to Plaza de Spagna. Had investigated the day before about cashing a check at American Embassy. Was there promptly at 9 when the doors opened, passport ready, & had no trouble getting travelers’ checks.

Had my hair done at Elizabeth Ardens – moderately conservative – met Harry and shopped. Bought glasses at Peroniyep...still open. A German-style beer garden - http://www.anticabirreriaperoni.net/storia_en.htm & browsed thru several other places.

Ate lunch at the hotel, rested, and about 5, Harry and I walked to the Grand to see the ChasesI'm guessing this is George and Eleanor Chase. After a little visit, we returned and dressed for the evening & met them at Doney’s and Bill Moss appeared again and Harry chased down Harry & Gloria Tennison & made arrangements to meet later.

We had dinner at Da Meo PataccaaIn July 1959 Remington Olmsted, an American actor and Roman by adoption, conceived and founded Meo Patacca and three other successful restaurants, turning a dream into reality: to recreate the atmosphere of a 19th century Roman tavern. In the splendid backdrop of Trastevere, the enterprising 'sor Remy' founded 'Da Meo Patacca', the typical restaurant that still looks onto the enchanting Piazza dei Mercanti, a small historic and architectural jewel of medieval Rome., an outdoor restaurant in Trasavere. Music, singing, balloons floating above the table each fastened to a wine caraffe – very gay & colorful. A man charged by on a horse regularly and eventually, they bedecked the horse with flowers & ribbons, hitched him to a cart and paraded around. Fun.

I made friends with two young couples at the next table and altho we couldn’t understand each other, we presented each other with gifts at parting.

On to Basilica Ulpia, a wonderful location near the “wedding cake” (Victor Emanuel monument) and some ruins. But it was a disappointment – the downstairs was closed, the balcony hot and we were practically the only people there.

Went by Trevi FountainThe original legend says that if you throw a coin into the Trevi – with your back to the fountain, throwing the coin with your right hand over your left shoulder – that will ensure a return to Rome. However, I'm not sure it worked in mother's case as I can't recall her taking any more trips there. to toss our coins in so we’ll be sure of returning and then to the downstairs bar at the Excelsior to meet Harry Tennison. Grand visit with him over drinks – they are on their way to Africa to safari.

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Aug 11, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Rome to Florence

We walked to the train station – only a block away – and found our seats on the train. It looked like a new one – air-conditioned – swankier than the Mistral – but much rougher. Harry said it was much lighter weight. Had an excellent meal, arrived Florence at around 2 – it was hot there also.

Can’t say much for the Hotel Astoria – also near the station – but we did get an air-conditioned room. We all slept or rested until 4, then got out and walked.

It was such a contrast with Rome – much more informal – small townish but completely charming. We easily found our way to the Duomo, Piazza della Republica, Piazza della Signoria, and then to Ponte Vechio. I went directly to Biagini which Becky had recommended and bought a bracelet for Serena and some charms. Harry and I wandered around & I found a sweet dress for Fay & bought some handkerchiefs at the same time.

We had a beer in the Piazza della Signoria – where there are many famous statues – and a copy of Michelangelo’s David. Harry got our courier to interpret for him and bought a “Tappatrice”, an instrument to cork wine bottles, and the corks. He was so pleased with his purchase – his first in EuropeThis must have been during the wine-making phase that he and Bud went through. Not to be confused with the still they had in the basement 30 years earlier or the beer-making phase or the bread-making phase..

With the Earlys, we walked to Piazza S. Marco and caught the trolley bus to Fiezols. It was dark so all we cold see were the lights of Florence but we were high above it. Ate dinner at Hotel Aurora – outside  in a patio – where we could look down over the city.

Back down by trolley bus and back to the hotel by taxi. I was dead tired & sleepy & ready for bed. Allen & J walked to Piazza della Republica to listen to the music.

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Aug 12, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Florence, Day 1

Our tour started at 9 and our  first stop was was at the Medici chapels. The chapel done by Michelango is very simple but handsome – the sculpture of course is wonderful. The room forms a perfect background for the tombs & the figures. Then to the Baptistry & Cathedral – the outside of both are sticking with green, red, white marble but the inside’s ornate & uninteresting. We found the Pieta in the Duomo – then left to get refreshments outside. Took a beautiful drive across the Arno up into the hills to Piazza Michelangelo and Pitti PalaceA vast mainly Renaissance palace, situated on the south side of the River Arno, a short distance from the Ponte Vecchio. The core of the present palazzo dates from 1458 and was originally the town residence of Luca Pitti, an ambitious Florentine banker. The palace was bought by the Medici family in 1549 and became the chief residence of the ruling families of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. It grew as a great treasure house as later generations amassed paintings, plates, jewelry and luxurious possessions.. The latter contains an art gallery with some very famous works – 2 of Raphael’s Madonnas, Titians, Van Dyck, too many to absorb properly. Walked thru some of the rooms on my own – very handsome, elaborate chandeliers, hangings, chests, vases, etc.

After lunch at the hotel, more touring. The Uffizi Gallery – a tremendous one – with a most comprehensive collection. Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Fra Angelico, Filippino Lippi, Michelangelo’s Family, Raphael, Titian’s two Venus’s Reclining – but my feet gave out – the gallery has marble floors – very hard on the feet.

A long drive to Fiezols restored us – it was lovely in the day time – and then Harry & I left the tour. Went to Piazza della Signoria where some vino blanco revived us. I went shopping – prowled many streets & into many stores. Bought Christmas cards at Dilta Frangini which the Joe Kendricks had recommended, and a blouse at Bellini. Everyone here wears the beautiful silk over-blouses with pleated or straight skirts – I couldn’t resist any longer.

After a bath & drinks, we went over to Piazza della Stazione for aperitifs at an open air cafe and then to a nearby cellar restaurant, Buca MarioThe Buca Mario Restaurant was founded 1886. This is when its first owner and founder Mario Corsini decided to house a place in the Palazzo Niccolini's cellars where soup and ribollita could be served, along with a wine cavern.. Another very good meal – we have yet to have a poor one in Italy. This time I had Ravioli stuffed with spinach.

Jeannette got sick & had to leave. Harry & I taxied to Piazza della Replublica and sat and listened to the music and singing over coffee & brandy. We made friends with the couple next to us – Italians on a holiday from Trenta. We had a lot of fun trying to converse – me with my Berlitz he with a few words he’d learned in “P.W.O” camp. We exchanged addresses, promised to write.

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