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May 2019 - Mamma Mia in Italy, North to South, Family Roots

In the second half of May my mother joined me to tour from Northern Italy all the way South to Sicily checking out our family roots on the way. What a wondering idea, although a true test, it will always be well remembered.  Thanks for joining me Mom.

Day 1 - Mom arrived to Marco Polo Airport just outside of Venice.  I picked her up in the 20 Euro/day Panda rental and we made our way to Barbisano very close to Vidor where my grandfather's family came from.

Yeah Panda

Welcome to Italy

Great hospitality at Speta en Minera

Priest Costa in Vidor Cemetery

Not Costa, but incredibly old

Grotto was my Great Gandma's Name

Special place

A town named Costa???


Slow traffic

Riserva lago del Restello

Touring the rainy foothills of
the italian alps

Getting lost with the GPS

Day 2 - Began above touring around the foothills of the Alps, then ended in Padova after dropping the car off and taking a 5 Euro bus 1 hour to the beautiful city.

seems important

Saint Anthony seen across Prato delle Valle

Padova Cathedral
Santa Guistina

Saint Anthony

Day 3 - On to Bologna the home of Ferrari and Lamborghini and kinda a small Milan maybe.  A quick stop to try the food and check out the Kissing Towers. 

Only in Italy "Kiss and Ride"

Oh Bologna

Kissing Towers

San Petronio

Moving fast

Piazza Maggiore

Day 4 - Early rise and a long train day to Assisi to check out a very famous Saint Francis and hang out in the quaint town of Santa Maria degli Angeli. Three train changes later and we arrived...

Thats not the way out

That's the way out

Can I have a nap now?

Somewhere in the middle of Italy
Great B and B Iris below Assisi

Great spot

Check out the named bricks

Funny and quick geckos

Saint Francis in the distance, 2.5km from our BnB

Up and up

Happy dayz

Oh there's some tourism

Check out the Monks posing for a photo

Love this photo

Note the tree growing on the edge
of the building

Assisi in the night from our BnB
Day 5 - Another quick turn around as we marched South in search of warmer weather and even cheaper, yet great, accommodation in Tivoli.

Stretch it out

Tivoli tucked away in the hills

Not bad and close to the train

Really close to the train
Tivoli a hilly tourist town about 20 min from Rome by train which was full of spots to search out on the tourist map we received at BnB IL Vecchio Treno.

What a valley


Temple of Vesta

Love the laundry tunnel

Piazza Garibaldi

Looking back to Rome

Rocca Pia

Day 6 - Off to Pompeii for only one night as well.  Travelling like a true can't stand still Italian.  Another avoidance of a big city, Naples, to enjoy a calmer tourist town on a Sunday...well not really calmer...

Leaving my mark

It's not all giggles

Pontificio Santuario della Beata Maria
Vergine del Santo Rosario di Pompei
Busy by the bell tower

Begin the Ruins

What's going on here

Check out the old classic "cokish" photo

Huge Lemons

Back to the main square

What an awesome radio

Love the delivery of coffees, etc

Pompeii from the Bell Tower.


Hold the bags will ya

Looking to Pompeii ruins
Day 7 - Keep going to Paola on the Calabria coast for a couple nights in order to visit Mangone town where my Grandmother's family was from, the Mazzeis.

On the train to Paola, not so level...have a look.

South of Amalfi coast

Praia a Mare

Tour of Joe's apartment, which would be a climb if he didn't pick us up from the Train. Thanks Joe and what a place, biggest of the trip and very nice!

I thought Europe was more advanced?

Porta San Francesco di Paola

Fontana dei Sette Canali

View from above

Very nice

Wonderful "A Rua Nova" Resto

Day 8 - Up in to the hills of Cosenza to catch a tiny old one cart train to Mangone. With the train to Consenza under construction we had to find the bus stop, ride for 1 hour ish, find the little train, then figure out which stop it was ("Mangone" would be the no brainer, right? Wrong), walk the tracks to a road then up to Mangone for a few hours, then back down to the correct "non-abandon" train station "Piano Lago" and bus back to Paola.  Took about 8 hours and a well deserved nap when we got back to Joe's apartment.

Early start from the Paola beach

Great views climbing up to Cosenza

Wow, what a train, Diesel!

Definitely wasn't a fast train

Conductor made a special stop to
the abandon and closed station.

Walking the tracks to any road, please!

2.5 km uphill walk

Getting close

We're here, Mangone, Calabria

Mazzei street in Mangone

Of course a climb like that has a good view

The main war memorial

The true Mangone train station

Going back from Consenza

Gum jerks are everywhere

Back to Paola

At Capone

Nice town
Day 9 and 10 - Continuing South to Tropea near the bottom of the Boot! A fantastic spot with most of what you could want; an old town full of restaurants on cliffs over looking the marina and beaches.

Let's party

lovely coast of Calabria 

Orange trees and Mt Stromboli in the distance

Lots of Cacti

Down to the water

Rocky beaches

Mom touching the Med

Still not high season

Tropea coast

The canadian giant

A room with a view
Great apartments with an incredible view.

Not sure those tennis courts
are ready

Sky 1

Sky 2

Sky 3

Marvelous meal by my midday
wifi provider near the flat

Santa Maria dell' Isola

Beyond Santa Maria looking North

Fixed docks, not ideal

Tight streets

Pulling Lobsters out to adjust the tank

The classic two old gents
discussing the world

Sweet electric assist bike

Lovely seafood pasta, but only wine by
the glass or bottle, not a carafe

Day 11 - Over to the Island of Sicily and down to Giardini Naxos nestled along the east coast just below the very touristic Taormina.

Train views along the final bits of the Calabria coast heading for the ferry to Sicily.  It was thought to be a train that went on a boat over to Sicily, but when we arrived at the San Giovanni port to cross it we actually had to buy a separate ticket as foot passengers to Messina, then get back on the next train which was already paid for. A long day covering only 250 km.  Absolutely amazing scenery the whole way as seen below.

Enjoying the ferry ride

Coming in to Messina, Sicily

Bit of a run to the last train.

Back on track

Holy moly, not much room to walk

Only one road through town
during rush hour

There are some views

Spectacular view from the apartment terrace

Looking South to Naxos

Best views from a bus stop ever!

Night view of Naxos

Good morning

On Day 12 and 13 - We headed to Catania the second biggest City of Sicily. But before that we quickly shot up to Taormina to have a look around. 

Busing up to Taormina


Can we go down there without a
tour guide?

Let's not walk behind the garbage
truck the whole time, yuck

"Honey, did you bring the 85mm"
"Ah crap, back to the hotel"

Always nice to look at Naxos, haha
Views from a lovely Giardini della Villa Comunale park looking out to Giardini Naxos

Nice tree and fountain

built in 1900s


Oh Europe, always crazy roading

Roberto's super expensive 

Pano that!

Big f'ing apples

Beautiful view at this cafe, if you want to pay the cover
Then off to Catania...

If I can just fit out the door

Live in Catania!


They tracked me through Africa

Very impressive town centre

Cathedral of Sant'Agata

Inside Agata

Fontana dell' Amenano

The old Italian Wedding cliche

Villa Bellini

Looking to MT. Etna, cloudy

The Bohemian area which leads to a dodgy immigrant
street that was quite uncomfortable

Well if we have to, haha

cheap and delicious at
Trattoria Cavaliere

"Video Killed the Radio Star" the Italian version that I found at some Irish bar as I roamed around fueled on red wine soon to be beer.

Tasty and Fresh

Africa Bar for some really good live music, English and Italian covers and great hosting.

Day 13 - Rainy and relaxing.

Amazing food bar

1000 piece puzzle for a rainy day

Day 14 - The Final Day (for mom).  Crossed the country to stay close to the Palermo airport to make it easier for mom's 6am flight.  Although the train ride was only 3 hrs we covered a lot of landscape.

Split crops right down the middle

Getting close to Palermo

The North Coast

Final team selfie of the trip

In Piraineto the closest station to the Airport yet still a
20 euro taxi in the wee hours of the morning

Not only the longest Wifi pw at this
Airbnb, but a dirty pool too.

Other Stuff

Heavy lifting in Padova

Sweet parking move

Why the dip?

One of the more impressive
homeless set ups in Rome.
An Old Fiat Panda 4x4 in Mangone
Those people have taste!

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