When last we spoke, we were enjoying the very best of Croation hospitality in Umag, Istria. Here is another photo of our friend Sara harvesting truffles in Motovun. Motovun is a hillfort which has controlled land access to Istria since the bronze age.
The Gate to Motovun Hillfort
- this took a while to edit as there were so many electrical and telephone lines strung up and over it!
We had some lovely swims in the Adriatic, the water was very clear and 26 degrees. In Umag there was an old town under the water...
Sara and her sister took us to up into the hills to Brtonigla for a fiesta. There was a male acapella singing competition called 'Klape'. Great food, great wine, great singing. We didn't get back till very late. My video was pretty crap, so I won't bore you with it. Here is a better sound recording of one of the groups.
The Brtonigla Community cooks up a storm
All too soon we had to wish our Croatian friends goodbye and we loaded up the trusty Panda (now called "The Goat" if you have been following our adventure, Dear Reader) and headed back into Italy via Slovenia to Ravenna.
Ravenna was once the capital city of the Western Roman Empire and was originally a sea-port built on lagoons like Venice. Today it's land-locked and linked to the Adriatic by a canal. Lovely old town that's looking a bit dishevelled in her old age, but very friendly and hospitable.
Ravenna is famous in Italy for having the burial tomb of Dante Alighieri. Everyone is Dante mad here. Even in Florence there were statues of him everywhere, seeming almost to rival the Medicis at times... even tho' his absence was due to the fact that the Florence city fathers had sentenced him to death.
There is also another tomb which was of interest to your intrepid travellers reader, and that was the tomb of Theodoric the Great. A very interesting chapter of history. Read about Theodoric the Great here. His mausoleum has a roof made out of one huge piece of Istrian stone 20 metres across...
Next stop, Florence!
By now, the weather had really started to heat up. By a stroke of luck and the Princess' astute internet skills we were delightfully accomodated in a spacious apartment right on the river and just up from the Ponte Vecchio. Here is a photo from our window...
view of the River Arno from the apartment
Florence was pretty much the capital of Europe in the medieval period and was the birthplace of the Renaissance. Florence was established by Lucius Cornelius Sulla in 80 BC as a settlement for his veteran soldiers.
Ponte Vecchio by night
Early Morning. Ponte Vecchio from the Arno
The Duomo of Florence Cathedral dominates the approaches
Roadside altar to St George
Fountain of Neptune, Piazza delle Signore
Church on the Hill...
Lion with Ball
Hehehe... we've put this up original size just to give you an idea of how big this thing is!
We were lucky to be able to stay here for three days and had a great time. Must be one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Time and tide waits for no man however, and we were soon enough on down the road to where all roads eventually lead. Roma!
But that's for the next issue folks! Stay tuned...