Monday, November 4, 2019

Italy - Part 5 - Pisa, Banfi Winery, & Rome

Click here for Italy - Part 1 - First Timer's Perspective & Observations
Click here for Italy - Part 2 - Tuscan Hill Towns
Click here for Italy - Part 3 - Florence & Lucca
Click here for Italy - Part 4 - Cinque Terre

We had a scheduled tour of Castello Banfi Il Borgo Winery & Vineyards, so we left early from Monterosso. We passed right by Pisa, so of course we had to stop and take a quick look at the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa

the adjacent cathedral and baptistry on the Leaning Tower grounds

the obligatory tourist Leaning Tower photo

We arrived at Castello Banfi Il Borgo Winery. What a beautiful place. Greg suggested we visit it and after doing some research, we decided to splurge and stay there one night. Earlier in the week, we had visited both a small and a medium sized Italian winery. So it was fitting that we were now visiting one of the largest wineries in Italy. 

Banfi was using the latest state of the art innovative technologies in their wine making process. They produce over 10 million bottles a year globally. 

They also make their own balsamic vinegar - here are the balsamic vinegar barrels aging in the basement.

Italian sports car - Ferrari anyone?

I'm fascinated by the terra cotta tile roofs.

the view from our room

we had use of eBikes and mountain bikes and went for a ride.

Our last full day before flying home - it was a beautiful morning with fog in the valley.

We set off for Rome, found a nice parking spot near our Domus Caracalla B&B apartment (we stayed here only one night and while it was small, it was very comfortable and very affordable) near the Colosseum, had a nice lunch, and arrived in time for our scheduled afternoon private guided eBike tour of Rome.

This is Alessio, our excellent guide

The eBike was a great way to see a lot of Rome in a short amount of time. 

the world famous Colosseum - it was completed in AD 80 and used to hold between 50,000 - 80,000 spectators. 

The group photos were taken by our guide Alessio.

This is the original stone street that ran in front of the Colosseum.

The Roman Forum - contains ruins from some of the oldest structures in the city

The city hall of Rome - Comune di Roma

another bustling piazza

Piazza Navona

public water fountain - many of these throughout the city

the world famous Pantheon - a former Roman temple, now a church and one of the best preserved ancient buildings in Rome since its been continually used throughout its history.

Palazzo Montecitorio - a palace in Rome that acts as the seat of the Italian Chamber of Deputies (Parliament Building)

the Obelisk of Montecitorio was brought to Rome in 10 BC by the Roman Emperor Augustus.

Villa Borghese Gardens - it was like a small Central Park.

The Vatican

the Castel Sant'Angelo - built in 123-139 AD, it was used as a fortress, a residence, and a prison at one point. Its now a museum.

Ending our eBike tour along the Tiber River

last meal in Italy - whole sea bass (deboned by our waiter)

our last evening in Italy