In the Hills of Assisi

….my favourite part of my trip to Italy took place in Assisi

Part 1

I’ve saved the best part of my trip for last. As some of you know my son was married this summer. The family part of the wedding took place in the hills of Assisi. In June, B and A were officially married in the registrars office in London, England and the guests that  attended were mostly friends and work colleagues who lived in England.

In July friends from Canada, England, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy and family from Canada, Germany and Iran came together to celebrate the union of our son and his beautiful bride in a traditional Persian ceremony.

The family stayed in a beautiful hillside resort, Casa Rosa, above the town of Assisi. Originally all the cottages had been farm buildings. The cottage we stayed in was formerly the pig barn and then later the horse stables. The view from our patio was breath taking and the property was surrounded by olive groves, lavender, fruit trees and rosemary.

Our accommodations were very comfortable and you would never have known that some of the cottages previously housed farm animals. We were warned to watch out for scorpions, yellow spiders and asps but we didn’t encounter any of these creatures. We kept looking over the hills in hopes of seeing some wild boars but we didn’t see any them either.

We took a walk along some of the trails that surrounded the farm. The trip out was pretty easy because it was mostly downhill but returning was a little more challenging. We passed numerous pieces of abandoned farm equipment along the way.

On our first evening in Assisi we took a taxi ride into the town of Assisi and had a wonderful meal on the patio of a local restaurant. It was our first real introduction to the family of the bride. We pretty much took over the restaurant for the evening. I tried to take photos of all the entrees that were placed before us but sometimes they were so mouth watering that half the plate was eaten before I remembered about taking photos. All in all it was a great evening and a good start to the wedding festivities that followed the next day.

More about the Persian ceremony in a few days.


Rome’s Top 10 – Part 3

….as promised here is my account of Trastevere, the Roman Forum and the National Monument of Victor Emmanuel II.

The Roman Forum

The Roman Forum is a rectangular plaza surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. At the height of the Roman Empire the forum served as the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches and the centre of commercial affairs.

After the fall of the Roman Empire the forum fell into disrepair and in the Middle Ages it was used as a cow pasture. During that time the buildings were plundered for their marble and stone. Excavation of the area began in the 18th and 19th centuries and continues today. It seems as though every time the city undergoes a new construction project it comes across a new archeological find and construction is halted while a new dig takes place. Today the ruins attract 4.5 million tourists a year.

National Monument of Victor Emmanuel II.

This national monument was one of the first impressive buildings that we saw as we were driving to our apartment in the outskirts of Rome. Our taxi driver described it as a war memorial but it was much more than that.  Il Vittoriano was built in 1925 to honor Italy’s first king, who is credited with creating a single Italian kingdom in 1861. It has come under much criticism for being too showy with its thick, gleaming white marble that stands 230 feet (70 meters) tall and is visible from several points across the city. Again we only saw this building from the outside but its immense size and opulent sculptures are a feast for the eyes.

The Trastevere

The Trastevere is a neighbourhood that literally translates to “across the Tiber,” and was once considered the outskirts of Rome. In the three days that we were in Rome we spent two evenings in this Bohemian gem. On our first night we enjoyed authentic Italian pizza in a popular, crowded restaurant close to the Piazza Santa Maria. The cobblestone streets are narrow and windy and one can easily get lost in this quaint medieval neighbourhood. I was glad that my girls had their GPS devises with them. On our way back to the apartment that evening we happened to come across a parade of local residents celebrating one of their Catholic saints.

On our last day in Rome, my son and I ended our whirlwind tour of Vatican city back in Trastevere. After walking over 23 000 steps I needed to take a break and we stopped at a small outdoor bistro where I enjoyed a glass of Proseco while my son walked to the tram to pick up his sister, her daughter and his father. There was no way that they would have found the location on their own. B’s wife joined us as well and we had a lovely final evening together on our last day in Italy.

There are many other wonderful sites to see in Rome. I have mentioned only a handful of interesting places to visit that I experienced first hand. Many of these places I would go back to and spend more time exploring the interiors. Do you have any favourite places to visit in Rome? I’d love to hear about them for my next adventure to to this great historic city.


Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge – Week 42

….on a recent trip to one of my favourite neighbourhoods in Toronto I came across a winged unicorn on the back of a bicycle

Thanks Cee for hosting the Odd Ball Photo Challenge. If you have some photos that you think might fit into the odd ball category why not give this challenge a try.