Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Sister's Trip in Pictures

As you might have figured out by now, I had no time to blog on our sister's trip to Italy. We hit it hard every day. I'm the early bird of the bunch while all the rest are night owls. We had a fabulous time. I'm going to let the pictures speak for themselves.
Piera was our favorite guide in Rome. She was with us for 2 full days. From left: Janice, Jeanne, me, Piera.
 The Trevi Fountain was crazy crowded.  It's still beautiful.
 The Coliseum.
Piers suggested a really good restaurant near our hotel. We asked one of the clerks at the front desk for directions. We walked all around and couldn't find it. I went back to the hotel to ask again. The manager said follow me---so I did. The rest of the girls laughed when they saw me following him. He literally walked us to the restaurant which was only about 2 blocks away. Those Italians sure are nice---even to idiot Americans!
We took the train to Napoli where we met our driver and went to Pompeii. Afterwards, we went to Sorrento for the afternoon. It's a beautiful city set on the sea. We had the afternoon to browse around the shops. Of course we had to get gelato.

We missed our train from Rome to Florence. Our driver got us there in plenty of time, but we missed the announcement of a platform change. When am I going to learn---if there's no one else around, we must be in the wrong place! That put us late getting in to Florence so we had to adjust our schedule. We wanted some time at the leather market which really wasn't on the itinerary. That's the beauty of private drivers---they will do whatever you want and take you wherever you want to go.
We only had an hour at the market. Not nearly enough time when you consider we spent about a half hour standing in line to buy salami, cheese, olives and bread for our lunch in the car. Still, we managed to come away with some beautiful leather goods.
In order to have that hour in Florence, we had to cut our time short in Pisa. We were not planning to go up to the top anyway, so it all worked out fine.
Our next stay was in La Spezia---the home of our ancestors. Jeanne found some useful information for our search for their homes.

Our great-grandfather was a ship builder. La Spezia was a naval base, so it's very likely that he worked for the military. Our great-grandmother was a seamstress who made men's suits. We were told that rather than men's suits, she most likely made military uniforms as many young women did back then.

 This was the street that our great-grandmother Emilia Foce Pagella lived on.
 This building stands on the location where our great-grandfather lived.
 This man owned the shop below. His clerk called him. He arrived on his bike a few minutes later.
With our guide as interpreter, we learned that nothing remained of the homes of our former great-grandparents. Basically, they immigrated to the US around 1910. Just about the entire town was bombed during WWII. There is a well-known doctor in town whose last name is Foce. This man is going to try to find out if there is some relation there. He also has 7,000 photos. He's going to send some of those to Jeanne.
Our great-grandparents church was St. John Bosco. There were 5 churches in La Spezia that were all destroyed during the war. They re-built one large church to contain all 5. This is the side door of the church now with a beautiful mosaic of St. John Bosco.
 Inside, each of those five churches is represented by side altars. This is St. John Bosco.
This is the beautiful altar of the new church---which is actually about 70 years old now.
The day we left La Spezia, we stopped at a winery for a tour and lunch in Tuscany. The food was delicious. That was one of the things we noticed right away. Once we got to northern Italy, the food was what we were used to from our Italian family. Plus, the names were pronounced the same too.
Our hotel in Tuscany (Cortona) was the Villa di Piazzano. It dates back to 1467 and was owned by the Medici's. Later it became a hunting lodge for the popes. It is so incredible.
 Tuscany is just beautiful.
We were stuck in stalled traffic due to an accident for over an hour. What better place to be than in Italy with your sisters stuck in traffic--until one (or more) of them have to go to the bathroom!
 The walled city of Cortona. We came early to browse the shops before dinner. Unfortunately, it started to pour down rain. We were pretty soaked by the time we got there. Of course, I lost my "jacket in a packet" on day three. From left: Joyce, Janice, me, Sharon, Jennifer, Janet and Jeanne.
 More photos from our gorgeous hotel.
 What are the odds? Sharon and I had the exact same room that Butch and I had 6 years ago!
 The back "yard" of the villa.
 The front of the villa. It's a boutique hotel with just 29 rooms.
 Beauty is everywhere here.

Saturday was our day of rest. We spent the morning at the pool. We didn't have our suits, but the water was too cold to get in anyway. We just enjoyed relaxing and reading for a couple of hours.
In the afternoon, we had a picnic and poker game in the private garden. We played with Euros.
 It was such a beautiful setting. Completely private. Just how we like it.
 I won 7 Euros!
And there you have it in a nutshell.

It was a fabulous trip with six amazing women. I'm so glad they are my sisters!


  1. It does look like a wonderful trip, and how blessed you are to have so many sister who can travel with you.

  2. The photos are fabulous, but I loved reading all the snippets of family history too. I love the detail about the stitching of the uniforms: that's one to think about when you are doing your needlepoint isn't it?

  3. Sounds like a wonderful trip - I like that you were able to be flexible and had arranged time to hang out with your sisters too.

    Wookie's paternal grandmother came from southern Italy but we don't have any information about where from - so I enjoyed hearing the snippets from you.


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