Lucca II: Palazzo Mansi

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The Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Mansi was a little hard to find. If I was expecting a large, lavish, can’t-be-missed palatial facade — and I was — I was in for a disappointment. What you see from the dark, narrow … Continue reading

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Lucca I: San Michele in Foro

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The streets of center city Lucca, like the streets of many old Tuscan towns, look like this. Our touring bus looked like this. So in Lucca, as in most of the towns we visited, the bus wasn’t allowed in. The … Continue reading

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The HT March Through Rome Part II: Saints & Elephants

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Just behind the Pantheon is the 14th century Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva.  My patron saint, Catherine of Sienna, is buried there, so I wanted to take a quick run in to say hello. At least, most-of St. Catherine … Continue reading

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The HT March Through Rome Part I: From Trajan to the Pantheon

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In Patricia’s version of our day in Rome, she was force-marched through the city, begging for food and water, while I was on my single-minded quest to conquor as many history sites as possible in one afternoon.  That’s so untrue.  … Continue reading

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Communing with the Caesars: the Colosseum & the Forum

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Fun fact: At least one eye-witness account of Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death” speech has Henry saying “Tarquin and Caesar had each his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell, and George the Third may profit by … Continue reading

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No Sexy Legs: In St. Peter’s Basilica

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“No sexy legs,” said our guide, Silvana.  It was her way of reminding us that Italian Catholic churches did not allow visitors wearing shorts.  And since we were on a tour of Italy, which meant seeing a gaggle (plethora? flock? … Continue reading

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Meet Me Under Drunk Noah: At the Vatican Museums

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When our tour group of 25 showed up for our 8 am reservation at the Vatican Museums, there were already hundreds of tourists in the line for individual, no-reservation tickets. Their line snaked around the wall of the Vatican and … Continue reading

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