Osso's first trip to Italy

Reply Sat 6 Aug, 2016 04:45 pm
I'll read it with you. I see I transferred all my note book entries to a fancy pancy writing book. It fits, as I was so enamored back then, 1988. I'll try not to correct or explain what I said, just transcribe. I may give a clue with italics.

Note on book's first page:
A rewrite of on-spot notes with expenditures removed, and a few more articles, nouns, and punctuation marks.

2/29/88 ___ Monday
Pan Am. flight delay 2+ hrs.
On the plane (dirty windows) in economy class, a Hasidic Jew across the aisle asleep along the center seats; fellow behind me bumping back of seat w/nodding sleeping head on fold-down tray; group of Romanians a few seats ahead with a big fellow-and-a-little-hat among them.

Missed connection, Pan Am handled it badly. Ran for flight to Milano, 7:15 NY. Hard to sleep - Jo 2 hours, John none at all.. right across from kitchen service. Talked w/ feisty woman (Ecuadoran) about us all fighting for a flight to Rome. Stewardess said they'd take care of us to Rome. At 8 am on the plane it was midnight, LA.

3/1 Martedi ____ Tuesday

No, we had to pay. Milano airport neat, probably 60's, very modern. Arrived 9:30, Alitalia plane out at 2Surprisedo. Waited w/A.A.R.P group, pretty nice people. Disappointing to blow the day but it was good to come in over the Alps. (Limoges, Leon, Torino, Milano .... didn't actually see these cities but the Po River Valley was interesting.) Eventually the wait in the Milano boarding lobby was enlivened by Mexican entourage laughing at us all and the flight and singing.

Oh, yes, I'm repressing the passport experience - it expired, to my disbelief. Must fix in Rome. Carabiniere and translater and me, la stupida. Nice flight. Finally good coffee. The first good coffee was at Milano airport bar.

Arrived in Rome-Fiumacino Airport around 3 pm, slight rain on the coast side, nice light. Airport bus Alcotral to train station. Carcoated men giving us the hustle, as we moved out of Termini, taxis and hotels.

One guy helped us call the h0tel (taxi no more than $10.) - they had said it was miles away and $20 so we headed for the Metropolitana @ Termini. Mutual adventure in subway taking w/giant suitcases helped out by gracious Roman gentleman who got us turned around and off in the right direction, helped John out of the door actually. Off at Circo Massimo and hiked up to the hotel. Things turned around from there, like at Il Fornaio in Palo Alto, past history. The hotel was just what I'd dreamed, too much to hope for. In a tired trance by now we cleaned up and wandered out to Viale Aventino. Tried a trattoria (Rini) which turned out wonderfully.
John - minestrone w/pasta and beans and chard and zucchini, carrot
Jo - all'matriciana, tomato, bacon, al dente, good rosa toscano.

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Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 2,930 • Replies: 55

Reply Sat 6 Aug, 2016 07:12 pm
So, you don't like how I described folks? I like the variations of people.
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2016 01:11 pm
Are you going to keep posting?
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2016 02:03 pm
Yes, lots more to add.
I'm sorry I was grumpy, I'd hoped people would click on it, and realized that I was could be taken as biased somehow with my descriptions and that could have been why re no interest.
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2016 02:06 pm
A thread like this takes a little time to catch on, I think.
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2016 02:14 pm
We'll see, but I plan to do it anyway. The first trip was something like 30 days, so more typing to come.
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2016 02:52 pm
I'm looking forward to reading along.
Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2016 03:01 pm
Very Happy
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Reply Sun 7 Aug, 2016 04:32 pm
3/2/88 Mercoledi _____ Wed.

We both slept to only 2 a.m...3 1/2 hrs, but happy.
Took the rush hour Metro B + A to Piazza Barberini; Triton fountain covered up. Walked to the intersection w/four fountains, Le Quattro Fontane, and two churches. First we went into Bernini's Sant'Andrea al Quirinale, lovely - oval, double pink marble columns, and cupola; Borromini's San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane w/the sculpted exterior, then back on Via delle Quattro Fontane to Palazzo Barberini w/Borromini's spiral staircase and Bernini's square one. I liked Bernini's Sant'Andrea church much the better, but they are both strong architecture.

We stopped at Banco de Lavoro and cashed a $100. travelers' check. Very secure establishment. Then up Via Veneto, quite a curving street, to Porta Pinciana and the Aurelian Wall, really great, and through the wall to Villa Borghese and Galleria Borghese, which was undergoing repairs. Upstairs, the Caravaggio was off limits. Did see Rape of Persephone sculpture by Bernini, and his Apollo and Daphne; Bernini's David and Canova's nude Venus. I liked Bernini again.

Walked through Villa Borghese Park to Zi Umberto and had to wait til it opened for lunch. The park was kind of boring. Big though, and we only saw a small part of it.
Lunch - absolutely delicious mushroom agnolotti and tortellini bolognese, Verdicchio wine good. Then out to walk off the wine before going to the American Embassy consulate. Much security. I had to get a new passport picture (Daisy photo place) and wait in the embassy reading room/bathroom area until it was ready. Kind of a big waste of time mid day, mad at self for that. We decided to head back to the Villa San Pio, our hotel up the Aventine hill. Dinner at Rini again. Tortellini con brodo for John, Pollo arosti e spinaci for me (very good). This time the wine was Frascati.
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Reply Wed 10 Aug, 2016 12:48 pm

Left: Girl Reading, by Franz Eybl. Oil on canvas, 1850. Right: Woman Reading, by Andrew Stevovich. Oil painting, 2011.
Reply Thu 11 Aug, 2016 08:06 pm
I'm back after computer stuff and nonsense -

3/3. giovedi, Thursday

Metro to Piazza del Popolo; visited the three churches.
Santa Maria del Popolo/2 Caravaggios and a Raphael chapel, whole church quiet.

Then down the Via del Corso, got frantic looking for bathroom; surrounded by gypsies (zingari), me bleeding down my leg (later diagnosed as fibroid). One cafe said a firm no (I sort of get that, given the hordes, and then there was a restaurant closed);

We ended up walking to Caffe Greco on Via Condoti (drip, drip).

Let's say I am fond of Cafe Greco. I figure we had two coffees, but I'll always remember it.

I see I am varying from my text, a bit.

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Reply Fri 12 Aug, 2016 02:07 pm
Gi0vedi, continued

After Caffe Greco we went on up the Spanish Steps and found a shop to get a better map. We decided to take the Metro to Ottaviano station. Not bad crowds at siesta time. Espressos at corner bar, then a walk up Ottaviano to the piazza rusticatta entry to Piazza San Pietro. We walk through the colonnade to the open piazza and I had a rush of tears, touched to be there, amazing impact at first sight. We moseyed over to St. Peter's. Very big inside, very ornate. Much to look at, will go back later in the trip, I think. Saw the Pieta, a little far away to get a close look, will bring the binoculars next time. I wasn't particularly struck by it, in contrast to Adrianne (friend in LA). Did like the angel sculptures at human level though.

Walked down Via della Conciliazione to Caffe San Pietro (where Memmet Ali Agca had coffee before shooting John Paul II). Somewhere along this street, a nice view of the Leonine Wall. Then we turned to the Victorio Emanuele Bridge over the Tiber, a little into the Corso Emanule and around a corner into Via Giulia to start our walk back to Villa San Pio. Loved this street. Want to go back to the small church that wasn't open, Chiesa di San Elizio. Then over to the road by the Tiber (Lungotevere) past the main Synagogue, then over to Isola Tiburina and the old church San Bartolomeo and a sculpture garden. We soon got back off the Isola and were again on the Lungotevere, kept walking and found ourselves in front of the Temple of Vesta and the Temple of Virile Fortune. (Now there's a name..)

Tired, we crossed a lot of traffic over to the Circo Massimo, with a view up to the Palatine Hill. What a good relief, a long stretch of grass, a few couples, a jogger, a gentleman walking, and a woman with a shepherd and a dobie. Lovely. Next we crossed more traffic to walk along Viale Aventino, the Aventine close by. We checked into a farmacia and then at a gelateria for my first ever italian gelato, coffee flavored, and tea for John.

Back at Villa San Pio, all very sane. New items in the garden this afternoon. A bit later we went back down the hill for dinner at the Pizzeria across the Viale, not as good as our spot named Rino, but cheap. John had zuppa and bread, and I had mushroom cannelloni.
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Reply Sat 13 Aug, 2016 10:05 pm
3/4 -- Venerdi --- Friday

Took the Metro @ 9:25 a.m., not so crushing as the early morning rush. Over to Vatican City and the Museum. Big effort to see just the Sistine Chapel and avoid the rest, round and round. Got there at last. Quite stuffy air supply. They are cleaning the Sistine; you can see close to 1/2 with vibrant colors another fraction muddy, and the rest in process above scaffolding. Passed through multiple exhibits on the way there, eventually reached the Raphael rooms, the Borgia apartment, people everywhere and this is the slow time of year. Not too bad skirting through them, just no short cut.

The Sistine pleased John more than me, crabby by the time I got there. I didn't think it was beautiful in the way I thought Bernini's piazza area was/is. Michelangelo's painting used a lot of the colors I use... blue/red/apricot with more white; whereas Caravaggio's warm dark luminous colors are more pleasing to me. Hmm. John loved having the binoculars, thought it added a great deal; I found them difficult to work with. Now the museum bathroom I did like.. individual tiled rooms w/sink each. Also, lift with benches and jolly attendant. Glad to get out of there and cross the street.

Papacy not attractive to me, us, and all its collections don't have much pull - besides having a group and guide in front of every little thing. I would explode from boredom being in one of those groups. We headed back through Trastevere and ate at de Checco. John, tortellini in brodo and me, minestrone.

On the way back, we swung over to see Teatro di Marcello, hard to figure out but certainly moving to see the old pieces laid out.. then as we left we turned back and saw the Corinthian columns down the block. Too tired to check them out.

Passed through Circo Massimo again, a fellow doing intervals, the same dobie behind fence. Stopped at a new corner bar for caffe, tea, and candies. Came home, wrote post cards, slept.
Reply Mon 15 Aug, 2016 09:27 pm
3/5 --- Sabato ------Saturday

Slow start. Always coffee or tea and pane at the hotel. Then we stopped at a camera shop and farmacia and back to hotel. It had rained at night, we thought it would be cold but, starting out, it was warm. We changed to remove some clothing weight and then moved on out again and took the Metro. Used to this now, and with the later time it was easy. Got off @ the Colosseo stop. In awe at the sight of it, but we kept going. Walked past the Vittorio Emanuele monument, aka the white typewriter, and over to Largo Argentina. That's a sunken area, old street levels.. with pre Empire temple ruins. Very beautiful, many cats. Or beautiful because of the cats.

Then we went up and around the Via del Corso, passing Piazza del Gesu and Chiesa del Gesu on the way to the Corso. Should have paid more attention according to my guide, Rome Access. Anyway, we went in and out, and I wasn't all stunned with beauty relative to the churches over by via Quatro Fontane on our first day. Next to the church was the Christian Democratic Party headquarters in Piazza Cenci Bolognetti, and then we turned to Via del Cestare, an alley like street with religious vestment stores and nuns with shopping bags, making me blink. edit: I was heavily recruited to join an order of nuns when I was seventeen, wiggled out of it.

Bernini's elephant obelisk in front of Sta Maria sopra Minerva, hard for me to believe my eyes. Didn't go in the church, gothic w/Fra Angelico buried there. Filippino Lippe frescos said to be good.

Then the Pantheon - but first, our most expensive cappuccini yet across the piazza della Rotunda. Pantheon a great pleasure. Open @ top, light washes in, and so does rain. Big portico and columns, tall bronze doors. Very serene space. Hadrian's work, p62 Rome Access for details.

We walked over towards piazza Navona, past piazza di Sant'Eustachio (said to be best coffee there, too late), past pz Sant'Ivo, past Sant'Andrea della Valle; arrived around a corner to see piazza Navona. Whammo. Two Bernini fountains, The Moor by della Porta, its sculpture of the Moor by Bernini, and the Bernini Fountain of the Four Rivers, with pope's mistress story behind it. Also by della Porta, the Fountain of Neptune. Pretty strong facaded church, Sant'Agnese in Agone, by Borromini.

Much ado in Navona in early March.

Went past Theater of Pompey Square (where? what?), Caesar stabbed by Brutus et all there. Then we hit Campo di Fiore, an outdoor market until early afternoon when it empties. Great. Surrounded by buildings with delis and bread shops and cheese shops and over looked by the tall statue of the 'heretic' Bruno. We bought cheese and some wine glasses and wine and bread and went back to piazza Navona and ate on a bench. Didn't know about drinking wine in full view so were circumspect. Then got going again and went to find Trevi Fountain. Stopped on the way at Giolitti.... fantastic pastries, amazing coffee bar, many many gelato pans waiting; supposed to be a good tavola calda. Left umbrella in the bathroom and had to go back and get it - it was still there.
The Trevi was in a small piazza crowded with people happy to be there, fine space.

We went down Via Tritone, shops, over to Via Sistina, shops, and over to the Pincio to watch the sunset over piazza del Populo with many, travelers, likely, and romans - especially teens who all proudly wear flood pants. They like black and gray and purple this year.

Then to the Flamminio Metro stn, off at Circo Massimo, over Viale Aventino to new gelateria/bar for tea, caffe, candy buying, and up to room.
Dinner was the rest of the wine and bread and cheese and, then, candies.Lovely day. Baths. Our nightly baths/showers nice, good hot water, a tub with a stopper. What more could you want with a tired body and sore feet.

Reply Fri 19 Aug, 2016 04:37 pm
3/6 --- domenica ---- Sunday, early

It rained at night. We had breakfast coffee and bun and walked to the Colosseo, up and around inside and around outside. Then over to Colosseo metro station entry coffee bar for a cappuccino stop. Fine! Then to Via Sacra - the Roman forum and the Palatine. Favorites: the House of the Vestal Virgins, w/ rectangular ponds with new rose plantings, and the residential ruin area on the hill above. I was a little reluctant to be led up there, tired, but grateful once there, lush greenery w/residencies emerging. Few people, I suppose because it was drizzling and early and March. Wonderful for John and me.

Then we headed over to the Campo de Fiori area and the Trattoria Grotto del Teatro di Pompeo. John had verde fettucini w/gorgonzola and I had fettucini di Pompeo (cream and mushrooms), and shared red wine. We left there and went up to Giolitti on Via degli Uffizi del Vicario for amazing gelato. This was the same place we got pastry before. I had pistachio and Mozart and John had Zabaglione and Baci; we got two pastries for morning.

We walked to the Spanish steps area via the Corso to Via Condotti, and then to the M to Piramide station; walked by the Cemetery for Protestants.. and home on Viale Aventino. Tired, John more tired. It takes a lot out of you to do so much walking and eating and drinking of wine. I'm not complaining.

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Reply Sat 20 Aug, 2016 12:15 am
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Reply Sat 20 Aug, 2016 01:38 pm
I've just reread this and I am embarrassed by how many misspellings I see. I know better too. I guess I get too engrossed in remembering the experience and flub up my typing. And, as time goes by fast, I can't go back and circle those with a red pencil.

3/7 --- Lunedi ----- now the second Monday of trip

A little sun this morning. We walk to the Colosseo M to get postcards, then to San Clemente, a church over a church over a Mithraic temple; Temple area dark for me, if interesting. Also, good mosaics in the apse of San Clemente, the church at ground level.

Out from there we went over to San Giovanni in Laterano. We got caffe at a bar about a block away. A bit of a con.. the owner wanted an American dollar to hang with his wall collection. What the hell, it went into to his collection for now.

The church was handsome inside. Part of the basilica was reconstructed by Borromini. I take it this is the Papal parish. The cloisters are pleasant, sort of moorish to me, w/mosaics. One could spend all day there with much to see, but we didn't.

We came out to a weird experience w/a somewhat older German guy from Dusseldorf. I'm sure now it was a con but he was slick and there's a period of disbelief or will to belief a guy's story. Anyway, John gave him 10,000 lire, no small amount. They don't need to grab your purse, we give it! Things could be worse, but two cons in an hour in one small area will teach us a lesson.

We got the Metro train and went up to piazza Barberini and bank to change money and then have lunch at Da Tullio: we shared carciofi and then pappadelle pasta with hare sauce and some Chianti. Then back to the Barberini Metro to Piramide station; 2 espressos, then to the Protestant Cemetery. It is crowded with monuments and greenery, quite interesting if fairly small. Keats and Shelley buried there. Not supposed to take pictures, but I did sneak in one, how could I not. I don't know what they call the monument, but I'll call it the mourning angel, beautiful.
Afterwards we got a strudel from a Forni @ Via Marmolata and took it back to San Pio; Luigi made us caffe. John didn't get much sleep and I didn't get much either.
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Reply Mon 22 Aug, 2016 04:34 pm
3/8 --- Martedi ----- second Tuesday of trip

Took M to Piazza del Populo (Flamminio station) and found out we missed the train to Viterbo. Walked to Lepanto station. Hard to figure out which Accotral train to catch. Got on, not rapido. John exhausted. Pretty little ride through towns, for me, him trying to nap. Got coffee in Viterbo right off the bus, changed money at Banco de Roma, then it took some effort to find the bus stop to Bagnaia. We're not all sure this is worth it, even me. Got to Bagnaia quickly, then through the piazza and up hill -- and Villa Lante was a good experience. A guide let us in and went ahead of us. We were the only ones there. Great, great garden, worth trouble. John perked up.

Then we walked back down the street and stopped at a ristorante, Villa Gambara. Cave ceiling, white walls, modern sconces; minestrone, risotto, white wine; nice place. Down hill to catch bus at the piazza; went into the bar there to get bus tickets, couldn't get any because of siesta... but a fellow gave us his and asked his friends for one more. John tried to buy them a drink or espresso and he said no, he had lived in Argentina, did we speak Spanish, and si, un poquito... smiles around.
After we left, we saw him out of the bus window walking his cart load of bricks across the piazza.

The bus took us to the Accotral stop. Long wait but we didn't feel like walking the city of Viterbo. John got a chocolate bar and shared it with a woman waiting to go to Rome with us. 'Quel a caldo por' (warms the body).
The bus was more diretto, light lovely. Passed through low hills with grass and olive trees and tall pines with cypress under.

Back to Lepanto station M to Circo Massimo; stopped @ shop and got wine and bread and olives and salami, the man nice to us. Great dinner, we ate it all but some of the bread.
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Reply Tue 23 Aug, 2016 01:31 pm
3/9 --- Mercoledi ----- second Wednesday of the trip

We went to Termini station via the Pyramide M. John reached Leah from Termini, and had previously gotten through to the hotel in Venice where we already had reservations. We figured out where to line up and used our visa card for tickets for tomorrow's train ride. Got some coffees along the concourse and took off on the metro to Ottaviani station to buy postcards and then decided to buy a small suitcase so we wouldn't have to lug around the monster we brought from California. Twenty dollars was the best we could do and we circled around trying to do better, no luck.

We ate lunch at Hostaria Primavera, John having minestra and me, lasagna; vino blanco and then dolci - cake and whipped creme, a good respite away from the touristy vatican area. Then over to the vatican to get stamps (a fortune) for the six postcards. Finally picked a bag to buy over on Ottaviani. Took the M back. Got 'staples' at shop for dinner, had cappuccini and went back and packed, and paid Luigi for our stay, with tip for his care of us. He let us store the monster bag there as we were coming back to V. San Pio later before we would fly back home. So, much stuff we had packed that we didn't need would have a nice rest in San Pio for a couple of weeks.
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Reply Tue 23 Aug, 2016 02:57 pm
3/10 --- Giovedi ----- 2nd Thursday

Early dawn trek to Pyramide station; due cappuccini; at Termini, TRAIN TO VENICE! We arrived in Mestre and transferred to the train to Sta Lucia station in Venice proper.

The whole ride was very enjoyable; we went through Firenze, Bologna, and Padova on the way. Italian father and son and German girls in our compartment. The information booth was closed on our arrival at noon.; we got a Venice map and other maps from a news stand. Got on a crowded vaporetto, hard to see where we were going/dirty windows, dried drips. Got off at the Accademia stop, over an alley way and bridge and there's the Accademia Hotel. Perhaps a little too quaint. The bathroom for how many? was upstairs and around. Room was small like in Rome, but not so sweet. But - the rest of the hotel rather nice in a v. old way. Paintings all over the walls. School nearby. Jo not thrilled. John wanted to take a shower, Jo hungry. After his shower we went out to eat at an outdoor caffe @ Campo de Stefano. Jo - spaghetti alla vongole, John - gnocchi alla bolognese, wine - casa bianco. Ok, not great. Clams and pasta separated, huh. Gnocchi - it seems like there's always too many. They use a bunch of pepper here.. at least at this caffe.

We walked around, eventually over toward piazza San Marco, where we had cappuccini, near 'Garibaldi' - not so good tasting as in Rome. Not thrilled yet. The piazza was full of tourists. Italian maybe some, but tourists. John said Venice like Disneyland, with only one ride. St. Mark's not used like the Roman piazzas. We cheered up when we got to the more "native side" over past 'Garibaldi'... some regular people, maybe Yugoslavian. The light is as great as they say, very beautiful. We get less crabby and try to see the good things. St. Mark's very gold inside, with clear separation between the nave and altar. Fine mosaic floor as well as ceiling, cupolas.

Buildings around the St. Mark's area filled with pricey shops, which figures, lots to look at going by. Walked back to the Accademia area and found wine for sale (a bit of a hunt) and some scone-like treats and came "home" to snack. Jo took her shower and we slept well.

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