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Several lucky friends of mine were in Italy lately, and I’ve gone to Italy with them – vicariously.

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As I’ve followed their travels through FB and e-mails, I’ve also dug deep into my collection of art and travel books.

Physically I haven’t been to Italy in many years, but I can go there anytime I want with my books, some old photographs, a few websites, my CDs, and a little imagination.

Anything to get me out of Trump’s America – if only temporarily.

I have my favorite memories of Italy –

… wandering around Venice at night with the Tiny Goddess and no destination … visiting my daughter in Florence when she spent a semester there … two visits to Giotto’s Arena Chapel in Padua … Midnight Mass at the Duomo … a walk around Florence on Christmas Day when everything was closed … a stay at the Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio on Lake Como when the TG and I were very young  … “AIDA” at the Baths of Caracalla in Rome … the Fra Angelicos in San Marco in Florence … the Sistine Chapel with small binoculars … the Tintorettos in San Rocco in Venice … a few fine meals with my family … a room with a view on the Arno.

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There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Italy: it has the food, the people, the scenery, the music, and the art.

As Erica Jong said, "Whenever I go anywhere but Italy for a vacation, I always feel vaguely disappointed, as if I have made a mistake."

She might have a good point.

Here are some instant Italian vacations:

Maria Callas sings “Vissi D’Arte” from TOSCA (1964, Covent Garden) – very late for Callas, but still….
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nk5KrlxePzI

Renata Tebaldi sings “Un Bel Di” from MADAME BUTTERFLY (live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1woH96ROG-c

Franco Corelli sings “Nessun Dorma” from TURANDOT (lip-syncing)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eg-59NoES2o

Website for Giotto’s Scrovegni Chapel
http://www.cappelladegliscrovegni.it/index.php/en/

The Official UFIZZI Site
https://www.uffizi.it/en

The Official PITTI PALACE Site
https://www.uffizi.it/en/pitti-palace

VENICE IN 3-D – a two-minute tour, thanks to Google
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAqBt4wUIjM

Venice by Night and Gondola ride – a nice, short clip
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sf32GkIQGA

A good, one hour documentary about Venice and its islands
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKUd8QbLp3U

How Venice Works
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IH4RYm63M_g

A walking tour of Florence
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68nPtuty6Nw

Florence in 4K
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfW-Tn231Sk

The MOTHERLODE – 1.8 million images from the world’s great museums
http://www.openculture.com/2016/05/1-8-million-free-works-of-art-from-world-class-museums-a-meta-list.html

Ten places to see in Florence (inside a cheesy commercial)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KQ-gIdJmF4

Rick Steves goes to the Ufizzi
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61uXUxmpKWg

Rick Steves visits Michelangelo’s DAVID
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_u8LDXhFzPo

Two people visit Michelangelo’s PIETA in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbWGusfynCw

Images of “Italian paintings from the Renaissance” – for your browsing pleasure
https://images.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=AwrTceCn1uRZ._wA3YcPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTByNWU4cGh1BGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw--?p=italian+painting+renaissance+paintings&fr=yhs-Lkry-SF01&hspart=Lkry&hsimp=yhs-SF01

 

 

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