ITALY

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170902 Lauria on s585 Italy

After Nice we decided to head for Portofino on the Italian Riviera. Coming to Italy from France it looses much of its glamour and slow pace caused by a seemingly endless conurbation along this stretch forced us onto the Autosrada where we made good progress though somewhat disconcerting at times with gusting windows on the high bridges that span the gorges that characterize this coastline. By evening we had come to San Margarita and it and Portofino rival any scenery on the French Riviera and our stay was memorable.
180902 Portoifino
180902 Portpifino Italy

With Portofino behind us we decided to head for Pisa and Florence. Arriving in Pisa in scorching sunshine we decided that it was not worth the 4 hours delay to queue for the tour as we intended to stay in Florence that night. And after taking the typical photographs we made our way to Florence for a few days. Florentine buildings are so beautiful and to stroll around it on a balmy night was so relaxing.


There was one night in the Piazza of the Ufazi, which seemed to epitomize the whole place for me. A lone violinist was playing classical music that filled the entire roofed area while up and down in front of him glided these 4 roller-skaters, obviously professional skaters or ballet dancers practicing off season, one of whom, a girl, was so graceful that her movement and the musicians music was in such perfect harmony that it held all of us who watched and listened spellbound in a timeless place.


190902 Leaning Tower
190902 Maiori Amalfi Italy
190902 Pisa Italy

Rome somehow seemed too hectic a prospect to us to venture into so we decided to make headway south by again using the autostada all the way down to the Amalfi Peninsula.


I had not been back here since '65 and yet there were familiar landmarks I remembered from a holiday that obviously left an indelible impression on my childhood. As with France in September, this is also the ideal time to visit the Almalfi coast as it is nothing like as congested as it in the summer. John and I had this wonderful coastal road to ourselves along some stretches, something you would never get in summer and yet the temperature was every bit as warm, being in the mid 30C, as indeed it had been since Clermont Ferrand in France though we were particularly lucky in hitting this spell. We stayed on the peninsula a few days and ate lunch at the beach restaurant in Postiana against a backdrop of super yachts in the bay. This was one of these moments that at one time seem idyllic and yet enough to drive one back on the road again.


200902 Amalfi Italy
200902 Hotel in Gades

For me the stretch of road south of Salerno on leaving the Almafi was a pleasant surprise. While unquestionably Tuscany and Umbria are beautiful parts of Italy to tour, I found this region of Cantabria, as it cut through the mountain, to be very beautiful with the S585 being a particularly memorable road that rates up there with any. This road took us down to the coast and it was a strange experience to drive past mile after mile of beaches with no one on them. This area must be the tourist destination for the local Italians and with late September here the season as such was over. We managed to catch the ferry over to Messina in Sicily and stayed there that night. Messina is not the prettiest of towns but our hotel was very good and was a welcome relief after a very hot day, which John found particularly tiring.


FRANCE        ITALY         SICILY

200902 our hotel in Gades

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