Changed... Rick Steves My Way: Italy in 13 Days tour

Venice was filled with so many and varied sensory experiences we found it useful to hire a local photographer to guide us through the maze of narrow streets and walkways to discover the little gems of this unforgettable city. The morning light around Saint Mark's was breathtaking.
What we loved about the Venice canal experience was not only the canals and the Gandolas themselves but also the Gondoliers. When they were not "on hire" they reminded us of cabbies not too concerned about their next customer.
One of the places we probably never would have found if not for our local photographer guide, Anthony, was the Alta Acqua bookstore. It's a fun quirky place with a gondola filled with mostly Italian books. There is a staircase of books that leads to a ledge overlooking a canal. We also loved running into a small enclave filled with sculptures that put smiles on our faces. Oh, the Jimmy Choo shop was a fun find.......
Another spot we found (top image) with the help of our guide, Anthony, was atop the T Fondaco Dei Tedeschi department store. Very fancy and with a killer view of the Grand Canal and most every other place in Venice.
When we return to Italy, I think Lake Como would be top our list. It's laid back beauty suited us just fine. Cynthia put us in a wonderful hotel , the Hotel Royal Victoria. Beautifully placed right on the lake with wonderful rooms, food, and views.
Here we are at the Royal Victoria with Lake Como behind us.
"Picturesque" is a term bandied about to describe this place. It does not describe the charm of this necklace of colorful towns. There are some folks of stout constitution that walk the trail between the towns. We took the boat.
We stayed in this town of Monterosso. I got myself up early (not all that easy) to see and capture the gorgeous light surrounding the bay.
This town was the last destination on the boat trip; filled with color, boats, great shopping, and tons of gelato!
The scale and abundance of art and architectural magnificence in this city was cause for dropping our collective jaws. It was one of those places where no matter where you turn there is something to capture and take home.
Just a few of the sights as you walked around the Cathederal
Not far from the Plaza is this hole in the wall with mountains of sheer happiness.
I cannot fully describe the richness of this museum. I have never seen so much diverse and profound beauty in one place.
I know it's been said an infinite amount of times, but when we turned the corner to first walk into the room where this masterpiece stands we were stunned by it's powerful scale and sheer beauty.
Cynthia shared that this place held a very special place in her heart. We remain grateful she choose to let us participate.
As it turned out, Assisi was one of our most favorite places. It has a quiet, spiritual feeling as well as great places to eat!
Sidewalk art ....
Rome has a definite quality as you navigate the streets. Cynthia pointed out the wisdom of making eye contact with drivers as one crosses the street. It seems those in vehicles don't prioritize pedestrians. But aside from that, the Sisteen Chapel was beyond extraordinary in the astonishing work done by Michelanglo. We were not allowed to photograph in the Chapel but I did manage to snap a few of the ceilings in the Vatican.
Here is our band of fellow travelers: each and everyone of them a pleasure to meet and to share funny life stories.



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