Florence (Tuscany), Emilia-Romagna (Ravenna & Bologna), Lombardy (Milan), March 2014

  • Florence, home of friends near the Arno River, walking distance to the Ponte Vecchio; the Historic Center of Florence is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
    • Favorite restaurant: Buca Lapi (reservations a must, we had eaten here during our first trip to Italy in 1966 and the food and ambience were marvelous both times)
    • Favorite family-owned jewelry shop, Ore Due (short walk from the Ponte Vecchio), for handmade 18 karat necklaces, pins, and earrings by Lorenzo and his father Robert in the workroom behind the shop, with Lorenzo’s well-informed, cordial sister Veronica in the shop
  • Bologna, Antica Residenza d’Azeglio, delightful B&B with splendid rooms walking distance to Piazza Maggiore; they are most hospitable and recommended excellent restaurants nearby
    • Da Nello, Via Monte Grappa off Piazza Maggiore (reservations a must in this extremely popular place)
  • Ravenna, M Club, a charming contemporary B&B in the town well known for its incredible mosaics
    • Ravenna, side trip to Classe, M Club, charming contemporary B&B in the heart of the town near city arch, run by Michael Scapini Mantovani, a charming young man and gracious host; his father, an engineer, and mother, an interior designer, designed and decorated this delightful place
  • Verona, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the setting for Romeo & Juliet
  • Milan, RossoSegnale and 3001 LAB, Citta Studi area of Milan near Loreto Metro Station, a combination art gallery & B&B
    • Favorite neighborhood restaurant: Ristorante Il Melograno, a short walk from RossoSegnale and 3001 LAB B&B, husband & wife team serve delicious homemade pasta in charming restaurant, graciously provide half-portions upon request
    • Favorite restaurant nearby: Trattoria da Abele near Pasteur Metro Station
    • Milan, Park Hyatt, walking distance to Piazza del Duomo and La Scala (we used our valuable Hyatt points here); the concierge got us tickets for several performances at La Scala and had the tickets waiting in the hotel vault for safekeeping
      • Favorite restaurant nearby: Café Trussardi, casual bistro below the one-star Michelin restaurant Il Ristorante Trussardi alla Scala



Historic Center UNESCO World Heritage Site

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

Ponte Vecchio, Florence


Rooftops in Florence

View of Santa Croce Beyond Red Tile Rooftops



Early Christian Monuments UNESCO World Heritage Site


Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe on Outskirts of Ravenna, Mosaic

Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe on Outskirts of Ravenna, Mosaic




Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe on Outskirts of Ravenna, Mosaic



UNESCO World Heritage Site

Colosseum, Roman Ampitheatre, Verona



Juliet’s Balcony, Verona




Milan Cathedral

Milan Cathedral


Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan

La Scala, Milan

La Scala, Milan


Handpainted Donkey Cart

Handpainted Donkey Cart



Siracusa Waterfront



Ellen in Taormina

  • Palermo, Principe di Villa Franca
  • Agrigento, Baglio della Luna
  • Siracusa, Grand Hotel
  • Taormina, Villa Ducale
  • Catania, Villa del Bosco


Sicily Ruins

Agrigento, UNESCO World Heritage Site


Rooftops and View of Taormina



The Roman Forum

The Roman Forum, Historic Center of Rome, UNESCO World Heritage Site

Italian Parliament Building

Italian Parliament Building


Ditirambo, Our Favorite Restaurant in Rome, Near Campo dei Fiori

Our favorite restaurant in Rome is Ditirambo,

Photo Credits: Hotel Bernini, Hotel Website; Ditirambo Website.

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