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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.

Amsterdam to Rome Cruise Post #2 – ‘St. Malo, Brittany: The Walled City of Pirates’

Traditional garden of a "Malouinière," Montmarin, France.

Traditional garden of a “Malouinière,” Montmarin, France.

St. Malo, France is an ancient walled city situated on the North Coast of the Province of Brittany. It is now a busy fishing port and seaside resort, with a long and proud history of nautical explorers, traders and pirates. The city sustained damage during World War II by the Germans but has since been restored. It was named for the 6th century monk who converted the locals to Christianity. It was also an important port in the voyages of discovery. Cartier sailed from there to Canada in 1534. Soon after, St. Malo began to flourish as a trading port.

Old walled city of Saint-Malo

Old walled city of Saint-Malo

From the ramparts of St. Malo, one can peer down over the beautiful town, built in solid-gray granite with uniform black slate roofs. The city became notorious as the home of ruthless French privateers and pirates, terrorizing all on the high seas. Even the French King had a certain grudging respect for them, and often helped fill their coffers with booty.

Le Petit Bé: fort Vauban à Saint-Malo

Le Petit Bé: fort Vauban à Saint-Malo