01 August 2006
Family visit, heat, comune visit & trip to Abruzzo...
We have been busy the past 2 weeks, despite the heat wave gripping Europe –including Italy- with temperatures in the upper 90’s along with high humidity. Being from New Mexico the heat is not a major issue for us, but we just aren’t used to the humidity here on the Mediterranean coast…even with the beach 100 yards away. With the humidity, the temperature does not drop at night and makes for poor sleeping conditions, which seems to be a favorite topic of conversation among locals.
My brother, Wayne, and his wife, Brenda, and their daughter, Leann, were in France for 10 days and then met us in Firenze for a day. Wayne works for Kent State University and they have a small facility in Firenze which we toured, and then we did a quick tour of the major sights: the Duomo, Baptistery, Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Vecchio and, of course, Michelangelo’s masterpiece, “David” at the Galleria dell’Accademia. We enjoyed seeing Firenze after many years, despite the heat but it seemed like English could be heard at every corner (and along the block in between).
The next day we all took the Eurostar train to Roma for 3 days to again do a quick tour of the major sights: Castel Sant’Angelo, St, Peters, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, The Pantheon, the Forum and of course the Coliseum. One day we tried to use the Rome 110 open top double-decker bus with poor results. The route on the map looked like it would go exactly where we needed to go to hit some of the major sights, but our luck was out on this hot and sticky day as they took several detours from the planned route and one of these made for a very long and hot walk to the Coliseum, after which we hailed a taxi and squeezed in the 5 of us for a ride back to our air conditioned hotel. We rented a car to bring all of the luggage to Anzio and then to the airport the next day for their flight back to Ohio.
Since we had the rental car we decided to check the status of our Permesso di Soggiorno at the local police. Fortunately the line was short but the news was not encouraging. From what we could understand through the glass window and intermittent speaker, the official told us the paperwork was sent to Rome and with August being the traditional vacation season in Italy, it would be September when we would get our documents.
We then drove to Abruzzo to revisit the town of Sulmona, which we had seen briefly a few weeks ago. This medieval town sits in a wide valley surrounded by 6,000 ft mountains on all sides, and the surrounding hills are dotted with picturesque stone villages. This trip was to give us a reprieve from the coastal heat as well as to get a second look at an area we are considering for the long term. Sulmona has the mountain views, medieval center, small shops and road access that we are looking for…definitely on our “short list”.