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Author Archives: Fred Hoyt

How to Spend One Day in Florence, but Don’t Try This At Home

August 22, 2017 With only one day, I had to plan carefully to get my ration of churches, forts, palaces—and here, Renaissance art museums. I’m happy to say that, despite the challenges of being one among 22 million, I was reasonably successful. The morning began with a local guide taking us past the highlights: the … Continue reading »

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The First Italian Meal in America–Verrazzano tartare

  August 21, 2017 Twenty-two million tourists visit Florence every year, and while they aren’t all here now, the presence of 22 million in a city of around half a million certainly is obvious. It’s Florence’s biggest business (public restrooms are 1 euro—x  million); the other is fashion.  The Ferragamo family owns one of the … Continue reading »

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Two surprising days in Siena

August 20, 2017 When people ask me, “What’s your favorite place,” I usually respond, “Where I am.” While that’s unusually diplomatic for me, it may well be true about where I am now; Siena would definitely earn a place in my top ten. It certainly has many attractions that have kept me busy the last … Continue reading »

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We’re ruin-ed

We’re ruin-ed August 16, 2017 We saw a (bad) movie, “My Life in Ruins” on the boat, which was about a tour group in Greece. Our ten days has been about “ruins” and yesterday we arrived in the “biggest open-air museum in the world,” the city of Rome. The day began with ruins.  We woke … Continue reading »

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The Pontine Islands

The Pontine Islands August 15, 2017 They say a picture is worth 1,000 words.  If that’s the case, our visit today should be worth over 100,000 words, since I took over 120 pictures on our two trips to the island of Ponza, the biggest island in the Pontine chain. I’ll try to make it shorter…. … Continue reading »

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I Was in Hell (again)

I’ve been to hell (again) August 14, 2017 I say again because you may recall last year hell was in Lalibela, Ethiopia. That was then.  This is 2017, and hell—the Roman entrance to it at least—is but a short cab ride from our boat in Pozzuoli, Italy.  I went there today, and discovered it is … Continue reading »

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Capri-cious

Capri-cious August 13, 2017 Heeding the strong northwest wind that more than rippled the waves, our captain changed course slightly today—we left Salerno at 5 am, bound along the Amalfi Coast for Sorrento, about 40 miles away. While that meant we didn’t get to see much of the small villages tucked on high cliffs (I … Continue reading »

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Pompeii The Ultimate Melting Pot

The ultimate melting pot—Pompeii August 13, 2017 We’ve spent the three days in the shadow of Papa Vesuvius, along the Amalfi Coast, one of the most scenic parts of Italy.  Two days were in Salerno, where the highlights were the Greco-Roman ruins discovered in the 18th century when Carlos VII, a Bourbon, was King of … Continue reading »

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A cheesy day in Salerno

A cheesy day in Salerno August 11, 2017 We’ve moved another hundred miles up the coast to Salerno, scene of one of the major landings in World War II and one of the farthest north remnants of Manga Graciae, that set of Greek colonies that marked the Ancient Western world and defined Greek civilization around … Continue reading »

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The Great Italian Caper

The great Italian caper August 10, 2017 We sailed through the Straits of Messina last night, from the protected channel between Sicily and the rest of Italy, into the Tyrrhenian Sea.  The Straits, the closest land distance (about 2 ½ miles) between the mainland and the island, have been of historic importance for at least … Continue reading »

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