Day 28- City of Naples and Pompeii Tour Guide

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We are up and early for a 7.30am breakfast thanks to David’s talking alarm clock that he sets then has about 50 snooze alarms to irritate the whole 3rd floor of the hotel. Breakfast is nothing to write home about but we manage some cold scrambled eggs and so so sweet croissants. Hurray for the English for the best breakfasts.

We wait downstairs for our Viator guide and driver. Maria arrives and introduces herself. Our tour is split into a city of Naples tour and Pompeii tour. Our city tour is just us, the guide and the driver. We meet then driver who takes us a short way to Naples Duomo, the Santa Maria Assunta. The relics of Saint Gennaro, Naple’s patron saint of Naples. The Capella contains the blood phials of his congealed blood which miraculously liquified 3 times a year and also contains his tomb. The church was built around the original 1300’s temple of Apollo. The ceilings are so high. We then drive on to

Day 26- New Year’s Day in Rome 2012

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We slept in and decided to have a stroll around Rome for the day…..well thee were no shops open and it was our last chance to see anything we may have missed. We found Caesars pizza place near the forum…….great having slices of pizza and espresso for breakfast…..well mine was a healthy mozzarella and tomato pizza. We walked past the empty bottles and packets of cigarettes from the New Year’s Eve celebrations. After seeing the number of people injured we were glad that we decided to head back to our apartment at 11.50pm and just get a glimpse of fireworks and the odd throw down outside our window. The baracades we still there and some fallen down. The weather was overcast but the rain looked like it would stay away. The stage from last nights concert was still set up.

First stop was Santissimo Nome di Maria al Foro Traiano, a beautiful Baroque church. We were unsure of taking photos but once I saw one of the sisters taking photos with her camera, I felt assured it was ok….who would tell a nun to stop taking photos. We then continued our walk with the rest of Rome through the forums and ancient Roman ruins. We climbed up to Capitoline Hill to reveal a great view from the back of the Victor Emmanual Monument built for the 1st king of Italy in 1911. At the top is was Palazzo Senatoria designed by Michelangelo along with the other buildings and the geometric paving of the piazza del Campidoglio. The museums are not open today.

Day 24- Museo del Bargello and Traveling to Rome today

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Rough night last night with indigestion and heart burn. Too many vinos last night. Decided not to do the Museo del Bargello as I was just too tired. David crept out at 8.15am for the opening of the museum that has a great Donatello and Michelangelo collection. I then woke up and realized I had to get myself moving and get e kids up as we we’re checking out at 11am and our train to Rome leaves at 12.15pm, so I decided to move quickly and get to the museum also. We were all ready and packed. I made my way to the museum at 9.15am. The security man said I looked beautiful this morning which was a good start even though he may have needed to check his glasses! Only 4 euro to enter and hardly anyone at the museum. The ground floor courtyard had some very large busts and statues. The next floor contained Florentine bronze artifacts and beautiful porcelain plates and terra cotta sculptures and another floor with coin collection and magnificent miniature bronze figures. There was a special room with Donatello bronze sculptures and people who studied with him, as well as his first statue of David in marble. The ground floor had some Michelangelo sculptures in marble and stone even though a few were missing.

I managed to get back to the apartment by 10.30am and was surprised on the way back by a man who was familiar to me….another David. We did the final clean up of rubbish and checking we have left nothing behind and we were already to go. A lady arrived to check the apartment and apparently help us with luggage…..she was tiny so no good asking her to carry any bags. Still cannot understand why we were not Travelling in a taxi and lugging the 4 large suitcases and 4 hand luggage that was growing bigger with each leg of our trip. We made it after a 20 minute walk and pull, dodging poos and sees and zig zagging through the crowds of people arriving in Florence with suitcases…..much smaller than ours. Maybe they learned the hard way.

There was a 10 minute delay with our train so we ducked into McDonalds for a kind of missed breakfast ….I don’t really care what I eat as I am starving….food! The train arrives and as usual you appear to be penalized for Travelling 1st class and have to run for your carriage at the wrong end of the platform. On board David does the suitcase reorganizing to make them all fit. We sit down with iPads being charged and used, iPhones and Nintendo DS games being played.

Day 22- The Duomo and the Basilica of Santa Croce

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Late start today. We grab a bite and cafe on the way. Thomas manages to find hot dog sausages and chips on a plate ready to be microwaved. Hope his stomach recovers after! We line up on the steps of the Cathedral Di Santa Maria Del Fiore with a few other tourists and a number of gypsies jingling their money cups right under your nose. I have decided to keep. Coins in my pocket as they appear grateful and move on after. Once we are inside the Duomo we investigate the architectural features as well as tombs and paintings to be seen. Overall it is less decorative inside as other cathedrals we have visited on this trip so far. The Duomo in Milan so far has been the most breath taking in size and intricate decorations. The Duomo here in PIazza San Giovanni is made up of the Duomo, the Campanile or Giottos bell tower, and the baptistery where Dante was baptized and other parts. It is built of cream, green and pink florentine marble. Inside we admired Paolo Uccellos painting of SIr John and Dante explaining the divine comedy by MIchelino. Inside the dome we saw glimpses of the last judgment by Visari painted on the dome itself. We decide not to climb the dome but to try the campanile. Which we are glad we did. Kate was not keen which was not a surprise. We paid 6 euro each and started the winding climb up over 400 steps trying to pass people on the way was fun…..easier to stop to let people pass as you come down…..not a concept most people got as we tried to squash past them. Finally at the first level of the top of the Giotto’s bell tower where you could get some great city views through a mesh fencing….there I suppose to protect the people below from falling human missiles! The next level was a bit more of a climb and an even better view and the 3rd or 4th stop was the actual open aired top with a caged affect keeping us all in. The view of the Duomo was magnificent and this why we were glad we climbed the campanile rather than the Duomo. Finally I bribed Kate with a new car to come out on the small ledger area to. A 360 walk around the tower. After numerous photos and videos we made our way down which is always so much less of an effort.

At the bottom we witnessed