Rome Pictorial

There is no city like Rome. It has such great ancient architecture. Everywhere you turn they are discovering new archeological sites. In old Rome you can walk the same cobblestones as the Romans. It also is a modern city with modern people.

The city of Rome is in the Lazio region of Italy. It is Italy’s capital city. It has a population of 2.8 million and the area around Rome has a population over 4 million.

Many people think of Rome as home to the Pope and the vatican but the vatican is its own city, Vatican City and country. It is not part of Italy, The pope is its president.

IMG_4932 - Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain

IMG_4941 - Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps


Roman Street at Christmas time


The Pantheon

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Ponte San’Angelo (Bridge of angels) and Castel Sant’Anagelo

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Victor Emmanuel II Monument (The Wedding Cake)

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Old Rome

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St. Peters Bascilica

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The Window the Pope talks from

IMG_5061 - Galleria Borghese

Galleria Borghese

IMG_5071a Piazza Novana 3

Piazza Novona

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New Years Eve

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New Years Morning

IMG_5134 - Colosseo

The Coliseum

IMG_5156aa - Vatacan City 3a

Vatican City

IMG_5173 - Bocca della Verita 1

Bocca della Verità

This is the mouth of truth! Legend has it if an honest person puts their hand in the mouth, it comes out OK but a dishonest person will lose their hand.

IMG_5213 - Trastevere 5

Trastevere (the old ghetto) – An Artist Area

IMG_5389a - Favorite Restorante 6

Roman Artichokes – A wonderful Delight

IMG_5476b - Saturday Last Day 2

Italians have beautiful designs for whatever they do

Rome is an adventure. It is romantic it is old it is new. It has something for everyone. See the monuments and museums but meet the people. Sit in a bar and enjoy the Italians around you. Sit in a restaurant and enjoy the food and the people. This is Rome! This is Italy!


George & Jo Anne

Categories: Bars, Coliseum, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italy, Pantheon, Ristorante, Romance, Rome, Saint Peter's Basilica, Spanish Steps, Traveling without a tour, Trevi Fountain, Villa Borghese | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Agropoli Pictorial

Agropoli is in the province of Salerno, region of Campania. It is about a half hour drive south of Salerno. It has a population of about 20,000. Agropoli is a busy modern city with a beautiful old town. The old town has limited cars. There are stairs but not that many. There is a beautiful old church and a castle with a moat. The moat is grassed now and used for parking.

You can get to Agropoli by driving or a train from Salerno (Naples or Rome).


View from the sea




View up to old town from seaport


Stairs to old town


View from old town down to seaport


Ancient Church

Views of the castle:

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Agropoli has everything you would need in a large city. Shopping areas, stores, banks but it also has a seaport for boating and beautiful beaches. From Agropoli it is a short drive north to Paestum with its beautiful Greek ruins.

The old town is where you stop at  bar for a drink or lunch. You stroll the narrow streets and enjoy the life. You explore the ancient castle and take in the magnificent views. Parking is limited but we have found around the seaport to have meters that are usually available. There are restaurants here with a sea view. From the seaport it is a short walk to old town. Enjoy!

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Agropoli, Bars, Beaches, Campania, Europe, Italy, Paestum, Salerno, Southern Italy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pisciotta Pictorial

Pisciotta is in the province of Salerno, region of Campania. It is at the southern part of Campania. It is built-in the ancient way with a seaport and a mountain walled town. The mountain town is the subject of our pictorial today. The population is only about 2,700 people.


You can get here by car or a train from Rome, Naples or Salerno to Marina di Pisciotta.

This small mountain town has many stairs but can easily be explored. On one edge of town overlooking the marina far below, is the restaurant Tre Gufi (three owls).


Tre Gufi


Can you imagine sitting here with this view?

Here are the small streets of this wonderful village.

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Just close your eyes and imagine yourself walking these ancient streets and climbing the steps. If it is a hot day, stop at Tre Gufi for something to eat and drink. Take in the magnificent views. This is romantic, this is Italy in its best. Buon Viaggio.

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Campania, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italian Facts, Italy, Mountain Towns, Pisciotta, Romance, Small Towns, Southern Italy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maratea Pictorial

Maratea is a town and commune of Basilicata, in the province of Potenza. It is the only town in Basilicata on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is a small mountain town with a huge cross on the mountain top above the town. The historic center is beautiful with two piazze (squares) and many shops and bars and restaurants. This is a town worth walking. Beyond the piazza (square) are many steps that climb up to the church and other parts of town. It is 1,000 feet up from the sea and has 5,200 people living in it.

You can get here by driving (2 hours) on the A3 autostrada south from Salerno. Exit towards Longonegro Nord (north). Follow the SS585 road and then follow signs to Maratea. You can also take a high-speed train from Salerno (or Naples or Rome) south to the beach town of Sapri. Here you will need to rent a car or hire a driver to continue up to Maratea.


The cross


Looking up to the church


Stairs at every turn

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Jo Anne and George enjoying lunch


The road narrows to one car in each direction at a time

Controlled by a light


Fountain in the piazza

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Narrow streets and passageways everywhere

This is a city to enjoy slowly. Come early as the shops close between 1 and 4. Shop the stores. Stop at a bar for a coffee and cornetto (sweet roll). When the shops close, stop for lunch at a restaurant. Walk the streets and climb the stairs. At every turn you will be rewarded with the beauty and uniqueness of this small romantic town. Vai … vai … (go … go…!).

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Bars, cornetto, Europe, Food, General Travel, Maratea, Mountain Towns, Small Towns, Trains, Traveling without a tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Amazing & Beautiful Amalfi Coast

English: Amalfi with the gulf of Salerno Neder...

English: Amalfi with the gulf of Salerno Nederlands: Amalfi met de golf van Salerno (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This video below shows the coastline from Sorrento to Salerno, known as the Amalfi Coast in the Campania region of Italy. It is a beautiful drive with cities that will amaze you like Positano and Amalfi. The Amalfi Coast is a 28 mile coast road that is truly exhilarating. Most people start this journey from Naples, Italy. Drive south to Sorrento. Here you can get a ferry to the wonderful island of Capri. Just past Sorrento the Amalfi Coast Drive begins. It winds its way past Positano, Amalfi and ends at Salerno. From Salerno you can drive on the Autostrada back to Naples or farther north to Rome. The drive in the summer can be very crowded and take hours. Other times of the year it is a pleasant but hair-raising drive. Enjoy it and stop at its many cities along the way.

This area of Italy is rugged, beautiful and very romantic. Our favorite resort town is Positano. You have everything here:

  • Beaches
  • Ferries to Naples, Capri, Sorrento, Salerno and many smaller towns
  • Great restaurants
  • Sites like the cathedral
  • Great shops
  • Hotels and homes with a breathtaking view of the sea

Isn’t it time you went to the Amalfi Coast? Have a local lemoncello and enjoy life. You might just see Jo Anne at the table next to you with her lemoncello.

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Campania, Capri, Europe, Ferries, Food, General Travel, Italy, Lemoncello, Naples, Positano, Romance, Rome, Salerno, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Traveling without a tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A Journey to Own a Home in Italy


Many of our readers ask us about owning a home or condo in Italy. What is involved? How did we do it? We bought a condo with a sea view in Velina Italy in Campania. It was a scary and wonderful experience at the same time.  This BLOB is about what you must do after you bought the new place. You need furniture, kitchen ware and storage (Italy doesn’t have closets).

M2 - IMG_5355

OK now you bought a home in another country. You bought a kitchen so you could cook (these are typically not included in a sale). You bought a bed to sleep on maybe a couch and table and chairs. Oh the fun is just beginning! What about all those small things around the house you need but don’t have in your new place. Here is a small list of items we had to get at a local IKEA in Italy:

  1. Bed linens, pillows and a blanket
  2. Mattress pad
  3. Mirror
  4. Toilet brush
  5. Hooks for towels
  6. Math mat
  7. Kitchen towels
  8. Hot pads
  9. Silverware
  10. Pots and pans
  11. Cooking utensils
  12. Wine & water glasses
  13. Bowls
  14. Cork screw and beer bottle opener
  15. Sharp knives
  16. Cheese grater
  17. Cutting boards
  18. Callender
  19. Can opener
  20. Pasta spoon
  21. Napkins
  22. Place mats
  23. Storage containers
  24. Tools (metric system)
  25. Scissors


Oh the necessities of life are fun. The other problem we will have is we are planning on stopping at IKEA on our way from the airport to our new home. No problem you think? The cars in Italy are tiny. 2 American suitcases and a bunch of stuff from IKEA may strain the car’s capacities. Even so it will be fun and an adventure! We actually had to make a trip back up to the IKEA (about 2 hours) to get our stuff.

The kitchen is small by American standards and the refrigerator is tiny but we must remember we are in Italy! You don’t shop for weeks, you don’t buy processed foods or even frozen foods. You buy fresh each day for what you will need. Suddenly the refrigerator seems large. If you are planning to buy in Europe or live for an extended time, live like the locals. Forget the way you do things back home. It  is, after all, an adventure into learning.

On subsequent trips we bought furniture and a bedroom set with a large armoire. Now we had a place to sleep, eat and lounge. We also had plenty of storage. As we write this BLOG we are having a AC unit installed to help on those few still hot and muggy nights. This summer was the hottest anyone remembers. Be adventuresome!

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Campania, Closing a property in Italy, Europe, IKEA, Italy, Velina, Xpats | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What do We do First in a New City?

Europe - Satellite image - PlanetObserver

Europe – Satellite image – PlanetObserver (Photo credit: PlanetObserver)

When visiting a new city in Italy, we first walk the town to get to know it. We look for small interesting bars for breakfast. Yes breakfast is at a bar in Italy. You get your coffee and something sweet (cornetto – a croissant like sweet roll). Some Hotels include breakfast and even have American breakfasts as well. We like to eat like Italians when in Italy. Bars are also a great stop for lunch (panini) or gelato or an afternoon drink.

cornetto1 cornetto2

We also scout out interesting restaurants for lunch or dinner. In Italy we look for trattorias or pizzerias since the food is excellent and the price is usually lower than a restaurante. If we have rented a place with a kitchen, we enjoy cooking a meal once or twice. So we also look for small grocery stores that have fresh vegetables, cheese, bread and fruits. Cooking pasta with fresh vegetables in Italy is easy, fun and very healthy.

pasta vegetables

Next we look for interesting stores to visit on our walks. These usually have interesting owners that can give you a better prospective on the city. Some cities like Milan and Naples have a large Galleria (mall like) with shops. These are sometimes two streets covered with a glass roof and closed to traffic. Lastly we seek out major tourist attractions that we want to see while in the city. We also find the nearest public transportation in case of rain.


Which ever country and city you travel to, get to know the city, meet the people, enjoy their food and wine. Let yourself relax, loose the stress and be an Italian for a short while. Your body will thank you and you will have beautiful memories.

Italy is a country of beautiful designs and romance. Think of the ancient architecture of Rome or the modern Ferrari or the fashion of Milan. Italians love to design beautiful things. If you are in a large city like Rome, the old section is walkable. In small cities you can easily walk around and get to know it quickly.

fashion milan Ferrari

Dolce far niente!

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Bars, cornetto, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, Gelato, Hotels, Italian Facts, Milan, Naples, Panini, Pastries, Pastry, Ristorante, Romance, Rome, Trottoria, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dolce Far Niente

Remember that famous line, “Dolce Far Niente”, from Eat, Pray Love? It means the sweetness of doing nothing. Italians love to live life. They have a great culture, better and healthier food than we do and great wine. They know how to relax and enjoy family, friends and life. Most of their cities have little crime (pick pockets). A BLOG, “The sweetness of Doing Nothing” explains what this is from the BLOGgers point of view.

If we Americans want to truly understand this, we have to live it! When you go to Italy, don’t look to be waited on. Be a tourist but be a local as well. When having a glass of wine or something to eat, sit back and observe Italian life all around you. Do not be afraid to partake in it. Stop locals and try to talk with them. This will change your vacation in a very positive way.

Once you transition from a visitor observing life in Italy to a local participating in life, your experience will become memorable. You will never stop talking about it. It will be in the front of your mind until your next trip. Enjoy Italian life as you:

  1. Have breakfast in a bar. Enjoy a cornetto and cafè
  2. Have lunch at a bar or pizzeria. Enjoy a panini or a small pizza for lunch.
  3. Enjoy dinner in a trattoria with the locals.
  4. Stop during the day or for Happy Hour at a bar. Have your favorite beverage and some snacks.
  5. Stop for gelato often. Be a kid again.

We wish all of our readers Dolce far niente!

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Bars, Dolce, Dolce far niente, Europe, Gelato, General Travel, Italian Facts, Italy, Panini, Pastries, Pastry, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Exchange Rates, The Good, Bad and Ugly

Self Portrait / Exchange Rates

Self Portrait / Exchange Rates (Photo credit: Dominic’s pics)

Exchange rates can be good or bad and are usually very ugly! A vacation can suddenly cost you much more because you exchanged money at the wrong place.

Most people are unaware of how expensive exchange rates can be. The World Bank sets rates each day. These are what we see on the Internet. Everyone charges higher rates than these so they can make money. The question is how much higher. Exchange booths at the airports are the worst. DO NOT USE THESE PLACES! You could pay as much as 25% higher than the World Bank Rate. That means a Euro rate of 1 Euro costing you $1.10 would really cost you $1.38 or $.28 cents more on every dollar you spend. A $3,000 vacation becomes $ 3,840. Could use have used that extra $840? Banks are the lowest but their rates vary a lot. Shop around. Banks that don’t stock foreign currency will charge their suppliers rate plus add their own on or charge a flat fee.

On top of that many credit cards charge a fee on top of their already inflated rates. Today many credit cards are offering no fee foreign purchases. This does not include getting cash at an ATM! The extra fee is dropped  but they still inflate the World Bank Rate. These cards however, are usually your best rate for foreign purchases. Shop around for the best card.

If you are moving very large amounts of money like to buy a home beware! 100,000 euro purchase would, at the above rates, cost you $138,00. That is $28,000 over the World Bank Rate. There are brokers in the UK and some in the US that will give you World Bank Rates for large amounts of exchange and NO fees. You send them dollars and they place Euros into your foreign bank account.

Every dollar you save can help pay for your trip. Exchange your left over Euros back to dollars is very ugly. You lose another 25% on the exchange or more. These Euros cost you an amazing 50%. We go to Italy so often we never change Euros back to dollars. We just hold on to them until the next vacation. If we need a few Euros so we would have some cash in Europe, we would order money at a local bank with favorable rates. Then charge most things in Europe on our no fee credit card.

George & Jo Anne

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Categories: Dollars, Euro, Europe, Exchange Rates, General Travel, Italy, World Bank Rates | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why do Americans Love Italy?

Why do so many Americans vacation in Italy and buy homes there? There is a love affair going on between America and Italy. Maybe it’s that we have so many Italians in America and even more Italian restaurants that it feels familiar. I think it goes deeper than that. Italy has obvious charm:

  1. Old cities with buildings we can’t see in America
  2. Famous places we read about
  3. Clean beaches
  4. Majestic mountains
  5. Walled mountain top cities that are so unique to us
  6. Cities like Venice that are unbelievable
  7. Food that is so much better than anything we get back home
  8. Cheap table wine that rivals the best of wines
  9. Italians love for life
  10. Italians love for Americans

Is it any wonder we love Italy? Where else can you get people who love us, food that is the best, wine that is superb and views that rival any other place? Italy is unique. It was created by violent earthquakes and volcanoes millions of years ago. Today it is a pl;ace artist go to see the wonders of nature. Even places like Vesuvius, a still very active volcano, attracts us like a moth to the flame.

Is it any wonder we look to visits this country over and over again? The views take our breath away. We want a piece of it. If you haven’t yet been to Italy, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Go and see the major cities: Rome, Florence, Naples, Venice and Milan. See smaller cities like Capri, Positano, Amalfi, Verona (Romeo & Juliet). Get off the beaten path and see small walled cities with fantastic views. Experience chocolate in Perugia (home of Perugina chocolates – Baci). Go to Assisi and Siena and our favorite San Gimignano.  Don’t miss Tuscany, Orvieto and Pompeii.

Many towns, such as San Gimignano, were enclos...

Many towns, such as San Gimignano, were enclosed with walls, causing crowding and the building of tower houses. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Italy has so much to offer it would take a life time to see it all. So don’t wait, get started on your adventure. Be adventuresome, be romantic and enjoy your life.

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Beaches, Chocolate, Eating Italian, Europe, Florence, Food, General Travel, Italy, Milan, Mount Vesuvious, Mountain Towns, Naples, Owning a home in Italy, Perugia, Perugina Chocolate, Pompeii, Positano, Romance, Rome, San Gimignano, Small Towns, Tuscany, Venice, Verona, Vesuvius, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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