After our gondola ride we strolled the Piazza San Marco and bought some Panini vegetarian and Mineral water from a small stand (14k).We ate our lunch in the square, like the Venetians, and dodged the dive bombing aerial rats that were the delight of squealing children.
Tiring, we stopped for cappuccino at the small cafe (12K) and watched the swirl of tourists and art lovers drifting by. From the new market, we walked along the Arno to the Uffizzi Gallery and mingled with the throngs that gathered there daily in the small square next to the gallery.
Further along the Arno we stopped at a small cafe’ and bought spinach and cheese panini and mineral water for 15K.We stood in the sun along the Arno and ate our lunch while watching the daily drama played out on the Ponte Veccio. We reboarded our bus and set off through the Tuscan hills for Florence, passing by the small town of Vinci from whence Leonardo came. We boarded our bus and continued on through the hills near Perugia, stopping at the small mountain town of TORGIANO, noted for its vineyards and wine making .
The two grand series of steps surround a wonderful floral garden .At the top of the very long steps stands the outline of the Villa Medici with its twin Byzantine towers. The Forum itself was entered through the smaller Arch of Titus, built to commemorate the subjugation of Judea in 70 A.D.
From the Trevi Fountain, we retraced our path to the Spanish Steps and then up the Via Condotti and across the Tiber to our hotel to take a breather before dinner.
We crowded all 45 of us into a small back room and were served family style by sweating waiters. The third level is an evenly spaced depiction of a series of Popes, perhaps a sop to the financiers of the chapel.Lastly, in small triangles and created in a special paint by Michelangelo that is a collage of vivid oranges, blues,reds and peaches,are the prophets of the old testament like Daniel and Ezekiel.
Finally, we come to the most prized of artworks, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.Starting in 1508, under the stern direction of Pope Julius II,Michelangelo painted, in four years, a series of ceiling wide panels depicting God’s creation of the universe ,the original sin in the garden of eden,Noah and the flood. The traffic was heavy and a small demonstration of some sort was closing the downtown area.Our capable wheel man Fabrizio reversed course in the crowded street and threaded our way along the waterfront heading south along the coast.
Our next destination was the small town of Torre Del Greco, where we stopped at a small company of artisans(Giovanni Apa) who carve cameo broaches from sea shells. We viewed a remarkably well preserved public bath with its steam rooms and lounging areas.It gave you a sense of the ancients as not so different from us.


Mary and I wandered the alleys admiring the shops and stopped at a small cafe for panini and cappuccino.
As we approached the small tourist town of Amalfi, the traffic thickened like molasses in January. After lunch,we walked along the narrow and crowded main street and stopped for a cappuccino at the “Cafe Royal.” (5k) Then, as the splatter of rain began, we stopped into the lovely Chiesa San Andrea perched at the head of a precipitous flight of steps. The next court, at the head of a small stairs and open to the sky, is the “court of the protectors.” Displayed in it, is a series of figures and small monuments to the lay members of the order who had become Kings and Popes.
I was rather taken with a small and innocuous bronze plaque on a wall near a museum, at the side of the church. Newark was fast becoming a madhouse as teeming thousands were returning from everywhere on their Easter Vacations.
Armed with a healthy supply of Cliff Bars, two big bottles of water and a map of Jamaica, we stepped out of the Montego Bay airport. We had lived in Toronto for over five years as vegetarians and had no trouble finding ingredients to cook at home or vegetarian options when eating out. The roof line is a series of spires each topped by a small statue, perhaps a wealthy patron or friend of the Visconti’s. Arched pedestrian bridges crossed the many small canals as we made our way to the center of Venice,The Piazza San Marco. At 12 Noon, we met up with our group for a Gondola ride down the many small canals of Venice. We walked from the hotel, across the Tiber, up the Via Corso and across the Via Condotti to the Spanish Steps. Marie saw a nice leather coat in a small store and bought it The shop owner formerly had a girl friend that lived in Buffalo.He had even visited once,small world.
Soon we came to the small coastal town of Sorrento, where we were to stay for the next three nights. We stopped for ice cream at a small stand and watched the shoppers come and go.It was one of those sunny Mediterranean afternoons that give the area its magic and allure.


We were lucky too have so able a pilot steering us safely over roads as potenially treacherous as these. We stopped for a time and said a prayer at one of the small altars, thinking ourselves privileged to do so. We like things in small chunks.Long before I ever dreamt of becoming vegetarian, I remember reading Reader's Digest articles about health when I was in junior high school, and convincing (arguably well!
The year before that, we were still vegetarian, so the necessity of a vegan egg nog recipe was non-existent.
We walked them and admired the architecture.Off one small lane we entered a courtyard,that of the Capuletti (small hat) family.
These vessels are sleek, ebony, highly -decorated canoe -like structures that operate with one large oar working off a stern mounted fulcrum and a hearty gondolier to propel them. So, when learning how to become a vegetarian, many people start increasing their wellness balance also in three steps. The tower leans about 14 feet off center and is now counter balanced with steel cables and 900 tons of concrete.
We laughed heartily about the two sets of Spanish steps and enjoyed the camaraderie and the enjoyment of being in the Eternal City.The heavens opened while we were inside and we felt grateful to the elements for holding off until we were undercover.
How they manage to steer these fragile craft around the narrow turns and in and out of the crowded boat traffic is a mystery to me, but they did.
We walked on in the night admiring the lighted splendor of the Vittorio Emmanuel Monument, through the Piazza Venezia and along the busy Via Corso to the upscale Via Condotti and finally to the most famous gathering point in Rome, The Spanish Steps , named after the former residence of the Spanish Ambassador. Outside, we got a delicious Italian treat from a small pushcart vendor,lemon ice(2k) .It was delicious. A roseate marble glimmered in the filtered light from the polished walls.There are several small shrines to San Guiseppe and other saints.



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