Saturday, 19 June 2010

Not a Blog Block

Simply I haven't had time to write a line, for which many apologies.

Check this space again soon. Now off to Brighton – the sun beckons!


Sunday, 6 June 2010


Well, Rome was every bit as beautiful as ever under its glorious blue skies and strong sunshine – and I got to see again the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps and the lovely backstreets around Piazza Navona and the Pantheon together with Elisabetta and the kids, who walked with me onto the platform of Bernini's "Barcaccia" and reached out to the fresh jets of water. Ice cream and coffee at Camilloni's on Piazza Sant'Eustachio was de rigueur.

The city centre has all been cleaned up, and pedestrianized for the most part – this enhances the tourist's (and, no doubt, the local's) experience of the city. The recently restored Villa Torlonia park, a few hundred yards from Villa Mirafiori on the via Nomentana (where Elisabetta and I studied languages) was another highlight. Tucked away at the back of the park, an al-fresco restaurant where flocks of children can run amock and play in complete freedom the simplest of games. This is Italy as I remember it.

Back to England now, and the misery of clouded sky, but we brought a bit of Rome back with us, in the shape of porchetta d'Ariccia, corallina, coppiette, coppa, olive alla calce and many more titbits that we are going to share with some Roman friends later on today.


Thursday, 3 June 2010


Four amazing days in Tuscany, starting at Lucca, then down to Florence via Pisa and its Campo dei Miracoli. Then The Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti, Santa Maria Novella, then a chance discovery in the countryside: the Albergaccio owned by Machiavelli, where the great Florentine is said to have written Mandragola and Clizia, and finished The Prince during his exile. It is now a small museum, and across the street from it there's a delightful restaurant too. From there we wandered to San Gimignano, and discovered the beauties of Certaldo Alta, where Boccaccio died in 1375. It was certainly the highlight of our trip so far. Then today the surreal Monteriggioni fortress, Siena, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Pienza, San Quirico d'Orcia, Montepulciano – and we can't have enough of the Tuscan countryside, it's just too lovely. The funny thing is that there are almost more German, Austrian and Swiss number-plated cars than Italian. . .

And tomorrow and Saturday, cherry on the cake of our trip, ROME.