Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ravenna Mosaics

Today was the last day of our Rome to Ravenna tour. We spent much of it visiting basilicas and other religious buildings, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, containing Byzantine mosaics for which Ravenna is famous. Some typical scenes here, more to come.

Two details from Basilica di S. Vitale

School children viewing mosaics in Basilica di S. Vitale

Three Kings in Basilica di S. Appolinare Nuovo

Casual observer in Basilica di S. Appolinare Nuovo

Mosaic detail in Mausoleo de Galla Placidia

Restoring the organ in Basilica di S. Francisco

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


We began today with a short hike around the ramparts of San Marino, viewing some of the sights that were obscured yesterday by rain and fog.

Tower of Castle #1, just as the fog was clearing.

We then drove to Verucchio, a small but historically important town in the Emilia-Romagna. A longer walk here, and an exploration of an old castle that was the base of the Malatesta dynasty that controlled the region during the late middle ages and renaissance.

Italian colors, two ways

One of the many old castles in the region

Wall and foliage

View of Verucchio from the Malatesta castle wall

We finished with an excellent lunch in a a very old building in Verucchio, 
served by a pretty waitress. Then on to Ravenna.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Foggy Day in San Marino

This morning it was raining pretty hard, so we abandoned our plan for a hike and visited a few indoor sites instead.

Ceremonial troops awaiting the arrival of legislators at the Parliament

Statue of Santa Rita in the Church of San Marino

Locals chatting over morning coffee

The rain lightened, and it became very foggy, leading to some atmospheric shots.
This is one of a number of "mutoids" placed around the upper town.

Paths branching up and down

Pedestrian walking through an archway

San Marino's "Statue of Liberty" in front of Parliament

Monday, April 27, 2015

Urbino to San Marino

This morning we drove from our hotel on the outskirts of Orvieto through beautiful countryside, finally leaving Umbria and entering the Marche region. The big attraction is the wonderful Renaissance city of Urbino, and particularly its Palazzo Ducale Museum.

Dramatic sky viewed from the heights of Urbino

Urbino is a university town, with many art students in evidence.

Outdoor cafe in the Palazzo Ducale Museum

Portrait of Federico da Montefeltro, founder of the modern duchy of Urbino in the mid-15th C

Fragment of a striking fresco in the museum, 
this part showing a peasant at the foot of the crucified Christ

Section of the original floor of the Palace, showing the intricate geometry, colors, and wear

Two photos of colors through wavy glass, 
the first of a section of Urbino through a window of the museum,
the second of a painting through a bottle of white wine

Two unusual wildflowers on our walk in the countryside near Urbino

We ended the day with a drive from Urbino up very winding roads 
to the tiny independent (but still very Italian) country of San Marino. 
This view to the east from the top of San Marino shows impending stormy weather.

The walk to our hotel in San Marino is lined with statuary busts (literally).

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Picturesque Day in Italy

Gardening materials outside our elegant Marchese del Grillo Hotel in Fabriano

Farm and vineyard scenes along a walk from Fabriano to Cerreto d'Esi

View of Cerreto d'Esi

Scenes in Cerreto d'Esi

Food stand below the Frasassi Caves

Two views in the dramatically lighted Frasassi Caves

Saturday, April 25, 2015


Today was a considerably easier day than yesterday. We drove from Spello east to Fabriano in La Marche, to hike in the hills above Fabriano and visit the Museo della Carte, documenting the history of papermaking and watermarking in the western world.

Behind a gas station on our way out of Spello. Where else but Italy?

Shrine on the trail in the hills above Fabriano

View of the Appenines through trees along the trail

Wildflowers along the trail

Statue of St. Silvestre at the Benedictine monastery in the hills

A splendid picnic lunch prepared by our tour co-leader, Giampiero Faga

Papermaker demonstrating old methods in the museum