Following the sensory over-load of Venice and Florence, we have decided to change the blog format.
We will use selected pictures for each place but give a link to the mass of other photos on another site kept just for that purpose.
That way I can promise to sort out the rest of the photos during the long Winter evenings… maybe.
Also, we are going to try and add the Latitude & Longtitude to the places. In a little while, we should be able to do this with each photo when we get the new toy – a phototracker!
From Florence we travelled South to Castel del Piano (42.8906 11.5391), a small town up in the hills of Southern Tuscany, beneath Monte Amiata.
The village was pleasant enough but really gave us a base to visit Montalcino and Pitigliano.
Our pitch gave us a very nice outlook over the valley and the site was run by an elderly couple who were amazed to have two British visitors at all, much less on the same day!
Montalcino (43.0606 11.4891)
This part of Tuscany is littered with hill-top villages. Many of them clinging to a peak in ways that defy gravity.
Montalcino is a very wealthy village based on their local vino. It is in very good condition and every third shop is an Enteca or wine seller.
It is dominated by a medieval fortress, much restored and well cared for.
The town is compact to say the least and is a rabbit warren of alleys.
Resulting in what must be one of the world’s smallest footprint Town Hall – but impressive for all it diminutive size.
Pitigliano (42.6339 11.6660)
At Pitigliano Town from the South
This town sits on top of some very soft sandstone and was largely developed by the Jews as a real ghetto! The town itself is minute and the houses and streets are equally small. They have been cobbled together without any apparent planning or reference to any qualified structural engineers…
Rome (41.9611 11.4799)
Having looked at the coast at Orbetello and been rather unimpressed, we decided to head straight down to Rome and got ourselves installed at Flaminio Village Campsite (41.9611 11.4799).
Although we have been here for a week, we have done little more than keep out of the rain and make trips for shopping.
We are not far from Italy’s largest shopping mall at Porta di Roma where there is a Leroy Merlin and an Auchan. It seems that the French are trying to capitalise on Italy’s general lack of supermarkets.
This also allowed us to buy materials to repair the trailer frame which had collapsed under the weight of puddled water on the roof.
This done we have made two forays by train into the city.
The first trip got us to the Trevi Fountain where the crowds were phenomenal, especially considering this is November. What it must be like in the tourist season, we can hardly imagine.
There were a couple of police to see order was kept – at least between themselves.
and the Pantheon.
where we came across a legionnaire on a mobile phone
and we admired the world’s largest non-reinforced concrete dome – really, this was made in AD120!
Patrick spent a happy half hour taking pictures of people milling around the fountain and the temple.
This guy has got to be Cosa Nostra, hasn’t he?
and I’m sure I recognise that pony tail
A typical day in Rome – Not!
Our second trip to the city, and we both forgot our cameras.
We arrived out of the tube station to find the Colosseum right in front of us. Quite a shock! But within a few minutes we found ourselves in the middle of more riot police than we have ever seen and a protest march which one of the participants explained to us was “football hooligans protesting about plans to take their photographs at football matches.” Certainly the press and TV were taking a lot. Thunderflashes took us by surprise several times and the whole of the Colosseum quarter of town was locked down for a couple of hours. Frightening but fascinating to see.
It was also a day for “reclaiming the streets”. This involved more police and vast numbers of people wandering around the Via Corsa where they had banished almost all the traffic.
From this, we headed to the Piazza Popolo to find ouselves in the middle of a rally of the CGLI or Communist Party. We even understood the odd words from some very impassioned speakers. They clearly have to make a move on the Bellisconi government very soon or, judging from the crowd, their supporters will have all died of old age. Very stirring stuff. Finished off, of course, by the playing of The Red Flag – of which there were many!
At this point we caught the train home with some of the geriatric communists singing along to two accordianists busking in our carriage.
Rome promises to be an interesting city.
Sorry we have no piccies!