Friday, May 22, 2009


The other night I put a different memory stick in the camera, one I rarely use. When I downloaded the images there was this random one from September 2006, in with the pictures I took that night, how odd! I know I’ve used that memory stick several times in the last 2.5 years, where has it been hiding? And why did it show up now? I’m taking this as a sign I should do a plant picture post about our trip to Italy! The flashback picture (above) was taken from the roof top of our hotel in Rapallo, Italy; I loved the collection of potted plants sitting on the cool green tile and I wanted to see what was on the other side blocked by the building!

I’d been planning a trip to Italy for years. The obsession started when I saw Cinema Paradiso, simply the BEST movie, ever. I came close to going alone in 2002 but then I bought a house and it wasn’t really financially possible. In the end it all worked out perfectly because I got married in 2004 and the trip was so much better because I was able to experience it with my husband.

We flew in and out of Milan, making a big circle of Milan to Venice to Florence to Rapallo and back to Milan. Milan was gorgeous and so damn fashionable! Everywhere we looked there were beautiful people, buildings and things. Venice was magical. I’ve heard so many people talk it down, referring to it as an “Italian Disneyland.” For me that was not the case at all. There were tourists sure but you can see past that and concentrate on the beauty of the place. I would go back in a heart beat.

Florence was my least favorite city. It suffered by comparison to Milan and Venice, but was still wonderful. Maybe if we had spent more time touring around Tuscany I would feel differently. Rapallo was the random pick for our stop on the coast, on the way back to Milan. I had never heard of it and knew nothing about it. We got lucky - it was a gorgeous little town and we loved it.

Our hotel room in Milan opened into this courtyard. Doesn’t it look like a movie set? I totally expected Sofia Loren to lean onto one of the little balconies and start yelling in Italian at someone below. There were fabulous private courtyards all through the city, we caught glimpses of many when a car would enter or exit but I never managed to get a great shot of one of them.

This empty pool was in a park in Milan, I thought it was so beautiful. Better filled with leaves than water.

Another “movie set worthy” balcony shot in Milan.

Now we’re in Venice. Just random happy pictures with happy plants.

A basil plant at the end of the train platform in Venice. You could tell there were others at one time but they had been eaten. There were tomatoes in pots on the next platform over. Can’t you just see an employee coming out and picking tomatoes and basil for their lunch?

Florence - this was the first thing we saw arriving at the train station. Nice huh?

We looked out at this apartment from our hotel. That was their kitchen, I loved watching them move around the kitchen and pluck the herbs from the window sill.

A plant at the Uffizi, growing in a light well at the end of a hallway. After looking a painting after painting of baby Jesus and the Virgin Mary this was a welcome sight to rest my eyes on.

The Ponte Vecchio seen from the Uffizi, I loved the manicured green space along the Arno.

The Boboli Gardens, it was nice, but a little too formal for my tastes.

On to Rapallo. I loved this green bridge and parking strip. There is an enclosed garden under it; you can barely see a huge agave next to the light pole.

That’s me next to a bunch of gnarly big agaves.

A parting shot of the gulf. The last shot before leaving the next morning. I can't wait to go back!


  1. How did you know that I needed a vacation exactly right now? Thanks for taking me on a whirlwind tour - such beauty! You really know what to point your camera at!

  2. We're going next summer, and I can't wait! Thanks for the appetizer.

  3. Viva Italia! I have been lucky to visit there a few times, not for a while though, your pics are making me want to go back so badly! Florence is not my fav city either, too noisy and polluted, but geez, the art, the buildings, you gotta go there at least once! Other parts of Tuscany can be much more mellow. Pace of life is so much different in the little villages, they know how to live life eh? Funny that you took pictures of a parking strip and some agaves! :)

  4. Those agaves look like giants! The pictures are all so beautiful. TQ for sharing. I like the colours they use to paint the walls and seeing greens on the balconies. Also the bridge that has creeper all over. And looks like the weather was just nice for you to enjoy the scenic town :-)

  5. I love how the every day details, like laundry drying in the sun, seem like art when you don't see that at home. It's one of my favorite things about traveling. I've never been to Italy, but I hadn't considered all the good plants they can grow there, maybe some day I'll have the chance to go. That bridge is unreal.

  6. Don't we all need a vacation Germi! If I won the lottery tomorrow I'd take us all on a horticultural tour of Italy...imagine the fun we'd have! Glad I could take you away from it all if only for a moment.

    Kim, where are you headed? Please let me know and post your pictures!

    Karen, I had a hard time keeping this post 'short' I took so many pictures and had so many stories to tell. I broke my little toe in Florence, we fought of luggage thieves in Milan. Met Portlanders (from Maine) in Florance and fell in love all over again in Venice. I would love to hear more about where you've been!!!

    Stephanie - we were so lucky with the weather! It drizzled a little in Florance, but nothing bad at all. It was heaven! Milan was amazing for the balconies...everyone planted something, not at all like in the U.S.!

    Exactly Megan! The details were amazing. I have an entire series of pictures of floors. I would never do that at home! I pared down the pictures to not overwhelm anyone. I have one of the other side of the bridge that is even better. It was beautiful! The laundry pictures look so like they were made up but I took these pictures after an entire day of walking when we had done our best to get lost and were in some completely non-tourist part of Venice. We hadn't seen anyone that wasn't living there for hours. These were peoples homes! I was in heaven.

  7. Oh, dg, I'm just getting to your post on Saturday morning, and it makes me want to pack up and fly away to Europe! That's beautiful tour, and I specially love the courtyards/backs of buildings with the balconies of plants and lines of laundry. The closest I've been to Italy is the south of France (also gorgeous and vegetated) but it's always been on my list.

  8. Pack your bags Jane! Oh, I bet the South of France offered a multitude of beautiful picture opportunities!

    * A note about my spelling of Florence as Florance was a Friday night and I'd had a couple of glasses of wine before getting behind the keyboard! Oh and we fought OFF luggage thieves not OF luggage thieves! Darn spell check why doesn't it know what I am trying to say!!

  9. Very cool to see a picture of you. Italy.... my heritage, and what a beautiful country it is, yet it took me a long time to finally experience it. Most beguiled by your tale of the memory stick. And that first photo, which captures the essence of travel. A glimpse inside a place, away from tourists and the well-known places we long to see.

  10. Alice you are correct, that is exactly why I loved that photo so much!


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