Our first stop in Italy is Messina, Sicily. I have been to Palermo in 1998 with my son, Eddie when we took a Mediterain cruise in 1998 for his college graduation present and then again in 2014 for granddaughter’s high school graduation present. The volcano, Mt Etna began to erupt just before be got to Sicily. The sky was cloudy so we did not get a view of this area but the sun came out and I had a great day going up and down the mountains through small villages.
I took the ship tour that explored the areas where “The Godfather” was filmed. I took a bus through Messina and then headed to Forza d’Agro, taking a scenic drive along the coast to the top of the mountain. The 1971, 1974 and 1990 films had scences from this area that included the Church of Santa Agostino. I took time for a cappochino and cannoli (excellent) in this charming village. The scenery was breath taking.
Our next stop was Savoca which is nestled in a saddle between two hills. At the entrance of the village is Bar Vitelli where Frances Coppola filmed some scenes from “The Godfather”. The church on the hill in the picture below was where Michael was married. They played the music from the Godfather as you walked up the hill to see the church.
SORRENTO is our next stop. You can view the southern tip of the Swiss Alps from this small city of 19,000 people. Our ship anchored in the Bay of Naples and I could easily visit Capri, Positano and Pompeii from this point. Eddie and I visited Capri in 1998 and it would have been my first choice if I had not already been there.
I took a ship tour to the ruins of Pompeii which is 17 miles away. The volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD hid the city in ash for 1,700 years. The majority of the city has been excavated and the ruins are exceptional. Mt Vesuvius’s top was blown off in the explosion. My tour guide said that it was due to erupt again. I was amazed how large this city was.
ROME was my next stop and third visit to this city. Lisa and I took the 90 minute ride to the city from the port and went to St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world. The square in front of the church can hold over 300,000 people. The collection of art work from Bernini and Michelangelo was worth seeing again. We went under the church to see where St. Peter and the Popes were buried. After St. Peters, we wondered through the city stopping at small shops and eating at cafes.
LIVORNO which is located in central Tuscany is my last stop in Italy.
I have been to Florence so I chose Pisa to see the famous Leaning Tower. This World Heritage site contains a cathedral, baptistry and Bell Tower (the Leaning Tower) built in medieval architecture. The Bell Tower took 200 years to construct, but began to tilt as soon as the third level was completed because the settling subsoil was unable to handle the tower’s weight. Galileo studied in the cathedral.
I have 37 days left. I will be in Monte Carlo tomorrow then 2 ports in Spain before I have one sea day. I then have 6 more ports in a row in Spain, Portugal and France. Greece and Italy have been beautiful and the weather has been in the 70s.