Blog Archive for Sep 2013

Library in Bologna.

This is my heaven.   I am in a library in Bologna, a stately room of long wooden tables surrounded by frescoes and tapestries. The light is passing through stained glass on both ends. The feeling

Come to Bologna

10 reasons why your trip to Italy needs to include a stop in Bologna:   1. There’s a fabulous studio apartment awaiting you. Its location is perfect–in a medieval area of town, just b

Morning cappuccino at Piazza Maggiore

I could make this day my everyday.   It is 7:45am in Bologna. I slip out of the apartment with Liam and Dolora still asleep and walk to Piazza Maggiore. The tops of the two towers are golden with

The busker festival in Ferrara, Italy

  Here’s a movie from our evening in Ferrara where the annual busker festival was being held.  


I’m back at my station this Tuesday morning—my work station—at Piazza Maggiore, awaiting the delivery of my cappuccino and cornetta de crema. I only have about an hour before we head east on a t

Another morning in Bologna (into the evening)

The bells have just chimed 8am at Piazza Maggiore. No one crossing the piazza is in a hurry. The men walk with their fingers interlaced behind their backs; the older women on bicycles are just barely

Venice (and other places too luscious to spoil)

    There are places in the world that humans cannot ruin. The ones I have seen have a beauty and majesty that defies the crush of people who descend upon them. They somehow cannot be stained or

I’m Sexy and I Know It

    Rimini, the Adriatic Sea. The Italian beach scene. For a Catholic country, Italians have an ease in their bodies. No shame here.   Americans tend to camouflage their bodies in summe

Speed Blog Trio: Friday Night in Piazza Maggiore, Bologna

Dolora: A Ukranian woman sitting next to us at Bar Guiseppe (est. 1805) in Piazza Maggiore asked us in broken English if “the boy”–those of you old enough to know about Rocky and Bul


    Regali means “gifts” in Italian.   Hard to fathom, but we have been on Italian soil for just one week. I feel like it’s been my birthday, a week where every day a friend takes


Sunday morning in Tellaro…   There will be days on this trip when nothing is going right, when the clean, quaint apartment we saw on the internet turns out to be a dump, when the view outside o

By the sea, by the sea,…

The sea has changed. That glassy surface that we slipped our bodies into on Sunday is gone today, that calm flat unrippled Mediterranean that deceived us into thinking she was always like this, always

Men, work, happiness

Yesterday morning I spent four hours writing, first on a stone bench near the sea and later up at the café in the town piazza. In the meantime Dolora was teaching Liam about the Greek alphabet and ge


    I am not a city person. I love what they offer, the variety, the diversity, the important landmarks, the choices. I am not a great lover of a lot of people. I like my moments with people and

The skies have cleared

It’s been a gray and rainy day, but now at 6:20 pm the sun is breaking through the clouds. For two days the waves have pushed so far up the incline of the harbor that the fishermen have moved their

The concert

It is nearly 8am and no one is awake. Take that back: the dog that chews plastic bottles and takes a dump in the middle of the sidewalk, he’s awake. But otherwise, the town is asleep. The woman at t

The leaving

We missed our bus from Tellaro. The schedule says 10:45am, and yet it arrived and left nowhere near that time. Liquid Italy: the down side.   Well, that gives me a few unexpected minutes to jot d

Our Italian dinner

How long are your Sunday dinners? What time do you begin, when do you end, how many people are around the table?   For us in Franco’s home it’s been a three-hour affair on this Sunday afterno

My bicycle ride with Sophia Loren

I have a dream.   And that dream is to ride a bicycle through the streets of Italy alongside Rosanna, the 78-year-old aunt of Franco and Lino. She calls me “Richard Gere,” her kisses linger o

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First morning in Rome

    We arrived last night after a flight from Bergamo in the north to Rome in the south. Our only glimpse of Rome was the madness of the bus ride from the southern airport into the center of

The Vatican

It’s now 9pm, and I’m lying in bed (or is it “laying in bed”?) trying to ease the ache out of my legs from walking to Vatican. Yes, at 5pm we finally roused ourselves and left the apartment. T


I admit it. I find great pleasure in having Italian cousins. Ever since I was little, I wanted to be special. Maybe because I was the last of 6 children, I longed for undivided attention. But I was al

My night as a Brazilian

I’ve heard that we’re in Rome.   We’re hardly aware of it. For these first three days we’ve stayed in an apartment in the northern part of the city in a quiet residential section near the

Sunday in Rome… and Liam goes to Waldorf

It’s Sunday morning in Rome. I’m sitting on a bench near the Tiber River with runners and bicyclists passing by on this path at my feet. Behind me is light traffic, the loudest sound coming from t

While I’m waiting…

I dropped Liam off at school at 8:30 this morning. It’s too far of a commute to return to our apartment in the center of Rome and then return to Monte Mario to fetch him at 2:40pm, so here I sta

Liam’s day at school

Liam spent a full day in class at Waldorf Rome. How was it? Here are his cryptic comments verbatim to our questions:   What was your favorite thing about today?   English class.   What

An apartment day

It’s 4pm on a warm Tuesday in Rome. Outside our apartment in the old section of the city, where the cobblestones from a thousand years ago are uneven and shiny, the church bells are chiming an hour

Ruins and monuments

Early morning in Rome—my favorite time in any city. I walk the streets in a different way than everyone else, the young Romans off to school and the merchants raising the their gates and the older m

A birthday morning

It’s not so early this morning, 8:37am, a late exit from the apartment because a naked Liam jumped into bed with me and discussed the Cleveland Indians’ baseball game. He has very strong opinions

The show moves on…

I left you yesterday in suspense: Would we receive our package from California, our Kindle that we’d come to realize is essential if we want books in English. It was now sixteen days after Jessica s

Tweets (Only not, cause I don’t do Twitter)

I want to be the guy who shushes tourists all day in the Sistine Chapel, “#Silenzio!”   The #Italian Postal System sucks.   #Michaelangelo should have directed Avatar   Jim

Saint Streetcleaner

  Sunday morning in Rome, just me and the pigeons and six old men at a nearby table at this sidewalk café. A streetcleaner is coming by. I love those machines, its big brushes and water and man

winding down in rome

Leaving is fascinating.   We are down to our last day in Italy, a final sunny morning in Rome before catching an 8am flight to Greece tomorrow. This is it. After 33 days in Italy that began with

Last entry from Rome

Late at night here in Rome, my last night before an early morning flight to Crete, Greece. Dolora said at dinner tonight that she’s nervous about the next step. Until now we’ve known the terrain,