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Italy – Rome: Vatican Museum (1)

The Vatican Museum is an overwhelming experience of the greatest painting ever created by human hands. It is dense with mythology, religious history, Roman history, exquisite uses of color and form crowned by the intricately frescoed ante-chambers leading into the Sistine Chapel. In the Chapel itself (final 7 photos below) there is inescapable awe and

Italy – Ruins of Pompeii

The ancient city of Pompeii was very impressive and beautiful before it was smothered by the dust and mud of Mt.Vesuvius in 79 AD. Today, even in ruin, the beauty of the city is still visible in the many mosaics, frescoes, architectural varieties, gardens, fountains, temples and a huge colosseum. Read the stories about gay

Italy – Rome: Walk (5)

A walk from the Sant’Angelo Castle, across the river over the beautiful Sant’Angelo Bridge with its decorative statuary to the Parliament building and on to the stunning Pantheon, an ancient place of worship to all the gods and burial place of Italian kings. Read the stories about gay Italy

Italy – Rome: Walk (3)

A walk from the Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps along the trendy streets (Condotti, Borgognona, etc) with their high fashion boutiques and cafes including the famous Cafe Greco, established 1760. The cafe’s interior looks more like a museum. Toward the River Tiber is the crumbling mausoleum of Augustine and the modern white exhibition

Italy – Rome: Walk (2)

This walk takes in the neighborhood of the Campo dei Fiori starting on the Ponte Sisto moving past Piazza Trinita dei Pellegrino and Piazza Campo dei Fiori a along via di Monserrato and back through via Giula to Piazza Farnese, passing the impressive Palazzo Ricci with exterior frescos sketched by Caravaggio in the sixteenth century

Italy – Rome: Walk (1)

This walk wanders around the foot of the Capitoline Hill from the Arch of Janus and Piazza Bocca della Verita to Piazza Campitelli, Piazza Margana along via Dei Funari and its church. After which is the Trevi Fountain. Details can be found in the guidebook RomeWalks by Anya Shetterly. Read the stories about gay Italy

Italy – Rome: St. Peter’s Dome

Ascending to the crown of St.Peter’s dome is fairly easy via steps(an elevator goes up to the base of the dome). The size, proportion and beauty of the engineering are stunning and nearly incredible when one thinks the place was built with no power equipment. From the top the views of St. Peter’s Square display

Italy – Rome: Spanish Steps

The gracious marble Spanish Steps, built between 1723 and 1726, leads down from the church of Trinita dei Monti to the Piazza di Spagna/Spanish Plaza  (so named for the Spanish embassy in the plaza). The boat fountain Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Old Boat) at the bottom  of the steps was built a century earlier

Italy – Rome: Vatican Museum (2)

The second ‘half’ of the Vatican Museum happens after the Sistine Chapel as one makes the 1500 meter walk back to the entry, passing through another giant hall of painted ceilings and a separate museum with still more masterpieces by great Italian masters. The exit is via a new spiral ramp that leads countless thousands

Italy – Rome: Colosseum & Forum

One of the most famous buildings in the world, the Colosseum was built for sports and entertainment, which included combat between gladiators who usually killed their opponents and included watching wild animals attack and kill unarmed civilians. Today the only competition is preening and cruising among countless thousands of students who visit the Coloseum each

Italy – Rome: Audience with Pope

Every week the Pope appears before an audience of several thousand tourists and pilgrims in the purpose-built audience hall (an ill-suited modern building crammed against the baroque and neo-classical structures of St. Peter’s Square). He reads a message (in Italian) after which the various attending groups are announced by a cardinal. As their names are

Italy – Rome: Gay Rights Rally

On March 10, 2007 a huge demonstration was held by Arcigay, Italy’s national LGBT rights organization, to urge government passage of domestic partnerships (DiCo) benefits. Such legislation was up for likely approval until Prime Minister Prodi and his ruling coalition received a ‘no confidence’ vote (in February, over a separate issue) and had to resign.

Italy – Sicily: Taormina

The hill town of Taormina is a small slice of paradise overlooking the sea and Mount Etna. Old stone houses and shops line the cobblestone streets as people pause in outdoor cafes for coffee and a pastry or wander the narrow lanes viewing the art galleries. The quiescence today masks a colorful gay history that

Italy – Sicily: Agrigento Ruins

Along the south coast of Sicily are the city of Agrigento and the vast ruins of ancient Greece in the Valley of the Temples. Here are temples similar in design to the Acropolis in Athens. The temple of Olympian Zeus (photos #36-40 below) was the largest ever designed and was still incomplete after 70 years.

Italy – Sicily: Palermo

Palermo is the bustling main port of Sicily on the north coast. It is replete with an opera house, concert hall, fountains, statuary, ornate churches adorned with intricate ceiling frescos and crowned by an enormous cathedral. The famous 12th century Capella Palatina, inside the enormous Normanni Palace, is a stunning gold-mosaic-lined chapel of great intricacy

Italy – Sicily: Hill Towns

Scattered around Sicily are numerous charming hill towns such as Enna and Ragusa with old stone buildings, churches or forts and panoramaic views of the undulating land. South of Enna town is the ancient Roman villa del Casale with some of the most extensive and beautiful floor mosaics to be seen anywhere. In Ragusa is