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29 May 2011

Discover the Birthplace of the Renaissance – Florence, Italy!

Replica of Michelangelo's David outside Palazzo Vecchio in Florence where original once stood.  
If you’re as fascinated by the Renaissance as I am, then a visit to Florence, Italy, is a mandatory component on any Italian itinerary. This is where the Renaissance was born!  From the moment you arrive, you are surrounded by churches, museums and monuments steeped in the rich history and traditions of the Renaissance or the age of "rebirth."  During this time of enlightenment, Florence led the way out of the Dark Ages and into the light through the work of its masters of art and architecture some of whom were cultivated and nurtured by the influential Medici Dynasty.

22 May 2011

Adventures of Driving Under the Tuscan Sun in Italy


For anyone who has read the book or has seen the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun,” each different but equally brilliant, then you can imagine what it’s like to drive through the winding hills of the golden Tuscan countryside.  Here – where the sunflowers bloom, where rows upon rows of olive groves and vineyards offer their bountiful harvests, and where Cyprus-lined roads wind around hillsides to enchanting hilltop farmhouses – is where you'll find your Tuscany.  If ever a destination exists that delivers upon and exceeds expectations, it's Tuscany!  It's everything you would imagine it to be.  If Florence, Siena, Montepulciano, or even Cortona are on  your Italian itinerary, make sure you set aside an extra day or two, perhaps an entire week, for a drive under the Tuscan sun!

15 May 2011

Saint-Denis' Basilica in Paris – Magnificent Gothic Cathedral Steeped in the History of France and the Monarchy


Saint Denis is a journey to the end of the line, so to speak, to the end of Strasbourg / Saint Denis line that terminates in the 18th arrondissement in northern Paris. Once there, you will find one of the most magnificent Gothic cathedrals in all of France – Saint-Denis Basilica! Renowned as the burial place for many a French Monarch who ended up here..."at the end of the line" as well as its groundbreaking Gothic-style architecture; Saint-Denis basilica, France's West Minster Abbey, is one of the most fascinating cathedrals I have ever visited and should be at the top of every Parisian itinerary!

08 May 2011

A Guided Tour Through Rome With Angels and Demons Pointing the Way

St. Peter's Square
Piazza San Pietro or St. Peter's Square, Vatican City, Rome

If this is your first visit to Rome, Italy, and you’re not sure where to start, where to go or what to do, then seek out the "Path of Illumination," pun intended, on one of the most popular tours in Rome – “Angels and Demons Tour.”  Direct from Dan Brown’s highly acclaimed bestseller “Angels and Demons,” this tour introduces Rome’s most famous landmarks as you follow in the footsteps of Brown’s fictional character Robert Langdon as he sets out to rescue the cardinals and save the Vatican from impending doom.  Not only is this a great way to familiarize yourself with the lay of the land, it’s quite the fun-filled adventure through the eternal city, whether you’ve read the book or not! Your guide? Well, angels and demons of course – okay, sort of.

01 May 2011

Captivated by the light!


 Cathedra Sancti Petri or St. Peter's Chair behind the High Altar at St. Peter's Basilica, Rome.  
We’re all drawn to the light; whether it’s the translucent tapestries of stained glass windows of Sainte Chapelle, or the setting sun melting into the Mediterranean, or brilliant beams of sunlight radiating into St. Peter’s cupola, we can’t help but want to preserve that moment when the light is "just right" and thus we persevere until we get that “Kodak moment” captured forever – sometimes with surprisingly delightful results!