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From Amsterdam to Rome Cruise Post #19 – Rome, Italy: “The City of La Dolce Vita”

Rome, Italy

Bella Roma, Italy

“When I was a boy, I wanted to travel and see the world… but then I found Rome and found my world.”
– Federico Fellini

My final stop Rome– ‘The Eternal City’–

Plaque on the exterior of Federico Fellini’s apartment - Rome, Italy.

Plaque on the exterior of Federico Fellini’s apartment – Rome, Italy.

Whenever you need a very quick high, all you have to do is walk the streets of Rome– with its seemingly crazed, screaming honking- drivers, towering crumbling edifices, iconic fountains and cathedrals and those Spanish Steps that lead to forever.

Turning down a quaint, flower-box filled alleyway into the historic piazza Campo de’ Fiori, I walked toward Federico Fellini’s colorful looking apartment building (and a few doors down, Audrey Hepburn’s old digs.) During my walk, I was beginning to understand a bit of what this ancient city had fed into Fellini’s night- time dreams that later he  brilliantly transformed into his iconic films (i.e. La Dolce Vita, 8 ½ and Roma) When the young Federico moved into his Campo de’ Fiori red splashed building at 18 years of age, it was just the beginning of his wild, lifetime love affair with this dramatic, almost ‘operatic’ city.  Across town, I later stopped by another of my Italian idols’ residence– quietly stepping into the great Anna Magnani’s elegant apartment lobby. As I gazed around, I  saw the doorman walking toward me …I smiled, waved and disappeared. I had done my paparazzi pilgrimage. It was time for some serious historical sight seeing.

From Amsterdam to Rome Cruise Post #18 – Amalfi and Positano, Italy: “The City of the heavenly lemon, muse to both Steinbeck and The Rolling Stones, and home to the most romantic foreign film of the 90’s.”

Karen at Positano Beach - Positano, Italy

Karen at Positano Beach – Positano, Italy

Ah, Amalfi and Positano… When you are in love, this is the place to come.

Natural Rock Enclave - Amalfi Coast, Italy

Natural Rock Enclave – Amalfi Coast, Italy

Lying in the mouth of a deep ravine at the foot of Monte Cerreto and surrounded by dramatic cliffs, is the coastal town of Amalfi. As our little tender whizzed though the Mediterranean waters, it was instantly clear by my goose bumps, why the majestic beauty of Amalfi has magnetized painters and writers throughout the centuries.Two other times I remember having this “perfect sight” experience…(seeing the Taj Mahal looming in front of me as the sun rose-–and suddenly turning a bend on a dirt road and gazing upon the heart stopping ancient city of Petra.)

Houses Sitting Above the Amalfi Beach - Amalfi, Italy

Houses Sitting Above the Amalfi Beach – Amalfi, Italy

Greek sailors from past ages admired the breathtaking landscape, even imagining parts of the coastline as home to mythic creatures. Later, wealthy Roman nobleman built seaside villas along the coast and created some of the first settlements. In the 1920s and 30s, the town was a popular holiday destination for British aristocracy. Now it is a city of artists and wealthy bohemians.

From Amsterdam to Rome Cruise Post #14: Monte Carlo, Monaco – “The City of Glitz, Glamour, Beauty and the Most Expensive Penthouse in the World”

Yachts along the shore of Monte Carlo, Monaco

Beautiful Monte Carlo, Monaco

Monte Carlo is situated at the base of the Maritime Alps along the French Riviera. Its name is of Italian origin meaning “Mount Charles,” in honor of the then-reigning prince, Charles III. Monaco is a sovereign city-state, governed under a constitutional monarchy, currently held by Prince Albert II (a constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which the monarch is legally restricted within the boundaries of a constitution).  Monaco is the second smallest country in the world next to the Vatican, and is also the most densely populated country in the world (with a population of 36,950 citizens within an area of 1mi2).

Casino de Monte-Carlo - Monte Carlo, Monaco

Casino de Monte-Carlo – Monte Carlo, Monaco

Yachts along the shore of Monte Carlo, Monaco

The harbor of Monte Carlo, Monaco

The principality’s mild climate, beautiful scenery and gambling casinos, have contributed to Monaco’s status as a premier tourist destination and haven for wealthy escapees. Monaco levies no income tax on individuals, thus attracting a considerable number of affluent “tax refugee residents” from European countries… who derive the majority of their income from activity outside of Monaco (ie: Ringo Starr). Monte Carlo is host to the Circuit de Monaco racetrack, on which the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix takes place. The lavish Casino de Monte-Carlo has been featured in numerous films, such as the James Bond series and Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief, starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly – the then future Princess of Monaco. There is a scene in To Catch A Thief, when Grace Kelly drives her car very fast and dangerously along the steep winding roads of Monaco – a sad coincidence to her actual death in 1982.