Trevi Fountain – Rome

Everything in Rome is big, just BIG. I thought the Trevi Fountain was huge until I later saw the Altara della Patria. Standing at over 26 metres high and 49 metres wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city. I really wished I had a wide angle lens to capture the Trevi Fountain properly, and I wish I had taken some photos of the massive amount of tourists thronging around the fountain. We were there in April, which is not even peak tourist season, and it took us quite a while to get to the front of the fountain.

The Trevi Fountain was finished in 1762 and is mostly made from Travertine stone; a form of limestone.

Coins are meant to be thrown using the right hand over the left shoulder. We got it wrong:


Go to my complete Rome Flickr album.


Pantheon and the Piazza della Rotonda – Rome

The Pantheon is a former Roman temple, now a Catholic church (also called Santa Maria Rotonda), on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD). The present building was completed by the emperor Hadrian and probably dedicated about 126 AD. He retained Agrippa’s original inscription, which has confused its date of construction as the original Pantheon burnt down so it is not certain when the one now standing was built.

It is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings, mainly because it has been in continuous use. Masses are celebrated there on Sundays and holy days of obligation.

The square in front of the Pantheon is called Piazza della Rotonda. This was a small crowd compared to other places we went too:


The Fontana del Pantheon, constructed in 1575:

My Rome Flickr album. More to come.


Montechiaro Estate, Tuscany

Not far from Siena, we stayed on the Montechiaro Estate for the night and enjoyed some wine tasting and beautiful views. The family has a winery, a family church, and villas. In 1720, the family bought the local castle and village, Monteriggioni castle, where they have restaurants and a wine shop; unfortunately, we didn’t have time to venture to the castle.

The family house  – an 18th century villa2016april22_tuscany_hayley-1

Wine and Olive Oil tasting

The family church

Our villa

We stayed in the Villa Capanna. These photos are of the villa, the views, and some of the other buildings on the estate. Siena can be seen in the distance.

Complete album: Dianne’s Flickr album.

Hayley’s Flickr album.

Next stop = Rome.



To get into the historical centre of this stunning town, we parked our rental car outside the old city and then rode a series of indoor escalators to get up the hill. My full photo album is at

Piazza del Campo

The main public square, a shell-shaped piazza, of the historic centre of Siena; a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is regarded as one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares. It is renowned worldwide for its beauty and architectural integrity. The twice-a-year horse-race, Palio di Siena, is held around the edges of the piazza, and has featured in the James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace.

Palazzo Pubblico (town hall) and Torre del Mangia (tower)

Built in 1338-1348, the 88 meter tall tower was built to be exactly the same height as the Siena Cathedral as a sign that the church and the state had equal amounts of power. Literally meaning ‘Tower of the Eater’.


The Fonte Gaia (“Fountain of the World”)

An endpoint of the system of conduits bringing water to the city’s centre. Built in 1419 it replaced an earlier fountain completed about 1342. The side reliefs depict episodes from Genesis: The Creation of Adam and The Flight from the Garden of Eden. The wolves spouting water, represent the mother-wolf of Remus and Romulus.


Medieval streets of old Siena

Duomo in Siena (Siena Cathedral)

Built between 1215 and 1263 on the site of an earlier structure, the gothic cathedral is in the form of a Latin cross with a slight projecting dome and bell tower. The exterior and interiors are decorated in white and greenish-black marble in alternating stripes, black and white being the symbolic colors of Siena.



Burano Island (Isola di Burano)

Less than 3,000 people live on this small island. Burano Island is in the Venetian Lagoon, about 7 km away from Venice, about 40 minutes on a vaporetti (Venetian motorboat). The island is known for its lacework and brightly coloured homes. The colours of the houses follow a specific system originating from its development; if someone wishes to paint their home, they must send a request to the government, who will respond by making notice of the certain colours permitted for that lot. It was busy when we visited in April; I would imagine it is crammed shoulder-to-shoulder in peak tourist season.

The complete album with fullsize photos: albums/72157678240720016. Also, check out Hayley’s album and Olivia’s album.












Church of San Martino, founded in 959. The current church dates from 16th Century, It has no façade as its west end abuts onto houses. Its bell tower is at an incline of 1.83 meters:



Finally some photos from Venice, one of my favourite cities, just a mere six months after our visit. The complete album with fullsize photos: albums/72157669859746623. You can click on the ones here to see the larger version.

Hayley’s album: albums/72157675577709196

Olivia’s album: albums/72157672113997913

First lunch in Venice:

And from our first lunch in Venice, Olivia’s photo of her favourite meal from our whole European trip…She still raves about how tender the chicken was. And, the first time the girls tried real Italian gelato:

View from our apartment:

The amazing canals, lanes, and piazzas:venice_hayley-5

2016april21_venicebyolivia-4 2016april22_venice-50




Night time walk


Part of our stash; now the girls know why I love Sephora:

A few other shops: