Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Visit To Vinci, Italy.....Birthplace of Leonardo.....

While we all know Leonardo da Vinci as a painter many do not realize what a genius he was in so many other areas.  He excelled as a mathematician, engineer, inventor, scientist, architect, botanist, musician, sculptor, botanist, anatomist and writer. With a great curiosity of all things he lived to study and educate himself and is considered by many to have one of the greatest minds of all time.










Born on April 15, 1452  on the foothills of Montalbano in the village of Anchiano, Leonardo was the illegitimate child of a domestic servant named Catarina and Piero de Vinci, a lawyer. While he was raised mostly by his father who went on to marry several times and fathered more than a dozen children, Leonardo maintained  a relationship with his mother throughout her life. He was sent away to apprentice with sculptor and painter Andrea del Verrocchio who helped him perfect his skills.







Throughout his life he kept notebooks full of drawings and ideas of things that he invented.  Some of his ideas were the helicopter, a tank, a calculator, a parachute, robot, a telephone, evolution, and solar power just to name a few. 








Considered to be by many one of the greatest painters of all time, his two most famous paintings are of course The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.






The town of Vinci is about a 90-minute drive from where we're currently staying.  Our 11 euro entrance price covered three different museums located in different areas of the town. One of the nicely done features was a movie featuring a life-sized hologram of da Vinci himself as an older gentleman. He comes to life and recounts the details of his life giving specific details and sharing memories that only an insider might know. 








Another building is the actual three-roomed house where Leonardo grew up as a child. Nestled among a grove of olive trees overlooking the valley below, the lovely landscape alone perhaps gave him inspiration to paint? A complicated genius of a man to say the least we came away with a greater understanding and appreciation of one of the greatest minds and painters the world has ever known.









Down the road a few kilometers is a gallery with copies of his greatest paintings along with explanations of each.  The basement of the building was reserved for The Last Supper that takes up an entire wall.







Who knew that so many famous people were from Italy?  Certainly not me. That is one of the things we love about travel.  Learning new things, seeing new places and experiencing new things.....along the gringo trail.

Terry and Clyde are able to "Travel The World House Sitting"  and so can you!  We have created a website to help people who want to learn about house sitting.    Information for both the prospective house sitter and for someone who needs a house sitter.

the New Website                          -->  CLICK HERE

How to Get Your First House Sit -->  CLICK HERE

How to find a house sitter          ---->  CLICK HERE

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Naked Statues And Long Lines......In Florence, Italy.....

Less than a one hour drive from our present house sit is the city of Florence, Italy the birthplace of the Renaissance. The capital of the Tuscany region, Florence is home to many museums, art galleries, cathedrals, and other tourist attractions.  The historic city center attracts more than 18 million tourists a year and is known for its culture, architecture, monuments and Renaissance art.

Everyone told us to take the bus into Florence since driving and parking in the city is reserved ONLY for locals.  Anyone caught driving in the limited access zone will be fined several hundred euros. But despite what we were told Clyde is always up for an adventure so off we went for a drive in. As usual Clyde did his research before we left the house and had a plan in mind.

The scenic 45-minute drive from the house took us past colorful vineyards where leaves had changed from the normal green to the colors of fall.  Rows of bright yellow, red and lime green leaves of the grape vines cover the hillsides reflecting off the sun in a radiant hue. Olive groves are strewn with tarps on the ground as farm hands pick the fruits of the season. The occasional castle can be spotted high up on a hillside overlooking the valley below. In the six or seven weeks we've been in Italy now the beauty of the landscape has been ever changing, yet still never ceases to amaze and delight us.

Cypress Trees Are Everywhere

Drove By This Yesterday
An Abundance Of Vineyards And Wine Tastings

Colorful Vineyards



As we pulled into Florence we headed directly to a parking lot on the edge of the city. Our plan was to leave our rental car there and take a public bus into the historic city center. Nearby we waited at the, "fermata," or bus stop until our bus arrived.  Soon we disembarked the bus amidst the hoards of tourists in downtown Florence. And where there are tourists there are lines......long lines to get into special attractions. 

Our first stop was The Galleria dell Accademia to see the famous statue of David done by Michelangelo.  But before we could see the incredible work of art first we'd have to wait in line, with the thousands of other tourists. As soon as we took our place in line we were approached by a girl selling tours.  We declined the tour but then were enticed by her offer to get us into the museum immediately bypassing the long line. While the normal price of admission was 8 euros per person for 15 euros each she could walk us directly in. We looked at each other and said, "let's do it." So in we went to see the famous sculptures, artwork and more.

Michelangelo's Statue Of David
Very Impressive!












From there we made our way around the city for the rest of the day, enjoying the sights, sounds, smells and tastes. When we had enough we took another bus back to the parking lot where our car was parked. Surprisingly we paid just 2 euros for the whole day of parking, a great bargain apparently because it was so far from the historic part of town.


Cathedral Of Santa Maria Del Fiore





Ponte Vecchio Over The Arno River
Filled With Jewelry Shops


Shops With Apartments Above









Another day of exploring naked statues, artwork, monuments and long lines of tourists in Florence, Italy......along the gringo trail.

Terry and Clyde are able to "Travel The World House Sitting"  and so can you!  We have created a website to help people who want to learn about house sitting.    Information for both the prospective house sitter and for someone who needs a house sitter.

the New Website                          -->  CLICK HERE

How to Get Your First House Sit -->  CLICK HERE

How to find a house sitter          ---->  CLICK HERE