CINQUE TERRE – WHERE POETS ALSO WALKED

Leaving lovely Lucca and Tuscany behind, I was on the home stretch of Journey 2.   I had one famous sight to see then it would be a slow return via Italian countryside to Courchevel, through the Mont Blanc tunnel, to my home in France just outside Geneva.  It would be on this last, leisurely leg … Continue reading

LUCCA – LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

For me, Lucca was a love at first sight that grew and grew into total adoration.  Rarely has a town captured my heart so and filled it with joy.     Part of its appeal is that Lucca is small, compact and self-contained within its city walls, full of history and beauty at every turn with … Continue reading

SIENA – IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF GHOSTS

Quite recently I read a book on Michelangelo by Irving Stone called ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy’ that brought the man, his art, his times and his contemporaries remarkably to life.  Evidently Stone spent years in Italy researching his subject, working in a marble quarry, as an apprentice sculptor, and reading Michelangelo’s 495 letters which … Continue reading

THE SURPRISING GIFTS OF ASSISI

In Assisi I was to receive a soulful gift, a joyful gift and a life lesson. But not in the way you might expect. For these events did not occur in one of the many churches there, nor in the famous Papal Basilica di San Francesco – one of the most impressive, expensive and art-abundant … Continue reading

LORETO & MARY’S SACRED HOUSE

There is a legend – that after the crusaders were expelled from Palestine in 1291, angels carried Mary’s house in Nazareth away to safety.  This was the house in which she had been visited by Angel Gabriel who revealed that she was to carry the son of God.  This was the dwelling in which she later … Continue reading

THE CHARM OF AUTHENTIC ITALY

As I left the heel of Italy to meander slowly home to Geneva I had a rich choice:  south-west to Sicily and a boat to Genoa; travel up the west coast of Italy through Naples, Pompeii and Rome; or follow the lesser known east coast for a while.  What do you think I chose? Yes, … Continue reading

NOT ‘DOWN AT HEEL’ IN ITALY!

Neither my words nor my photographs can portray the utter “over-the-topness” of the baroque architecture of Lecce in southern Italy.   The building façades are so ornate and flowery with their statues, curlicues, gargoyles and festoons, that the style has its own name – “barocco leccese”. I was staying right down in the stiletto heel of … Continue reading

DUBROVNIK – WHITE CITY, RED ROOFS

  I looked down at the orange-red terracotta roofs of Dubrovnik from the city walls and remembered the statistic that two out of three were replacements as they had been hit by missiles in the attack on Dubrovnik in 1991 when around 2,000 shells were fired on the city. Almost three-quarters of the buildings were … Continue reading

CROATIA – COUNTRY OF CONTRAST

The contrasting faces of Croatia can come as rather a shock. On first entering Croatia I had been struck by its natural beauty, an impression which only strengthened as I travelled down its length for soon the glory of its natural parks was added to the spectacular coastline. Plitvice Park is probably the most renowned … Continue reading

FINDING BALANCE ON CRES

Looking back, I think that the island of Cres was my favourite location in Croatia. Reached and left by the Jadrolinija car ferry it sits between the Istrian peninsular and Krk island. As the latter is connected to the mainland by a bridge you can island hop to continue your journey through the country. Disembarking … Continue reading