Debra decided upon a coach trip to Italy is besides me.
The feeder coach to Dover was ok, but our holiday coach
did not turn up at Dover and the replacement was totally
inadequate. The air conditioning had broken down and
we were on the coach for 22 hours; it was very very hot
apart from when going through the French and Swiss Alps
in the early hours when it was quite cold and I thought
my fur would freeze and drop off.
hotel staff very friendly to me, but then I am so cute.
Rizla, who had been traveling in the suitcase, was immediately
let out. We had a quick explore before returning to the
hotel to see who wants to go into town for food.
Debra slept, us bears had a bit of a booze on the hotel
stairs where we learnt a bit about Fiuggi.
was originally called Anticoli di Campagna. It is situated
about 70 kms Southeast of Roma (Rome).
have been claims of healing properties in the water.
It is said that during the 1300s Pope Boniface VIII had
claimed the mineral water from the Fiuggi spring had healed
his kidney stones. About two hundred years later they
were rumored to have relieved the artist Michelangelo
of what he called "the only kind of stone I couldn't
love." Soon the miracle water acqua di Fiuggi
was being bottled and was sent to all royals across Europe.
is two towns
is really two towns on a hillside. The old town called
Fiuggi Città is 2500 feet above sea level. There is a
nice church with drinking fountains, regularly attended
by the thirsty.
the foot of Fiuggi Citta is the slightly more modern 20th-century
spa town, called Fiuggi Fonte.
is home to spa called L’acqua Bonifacio VIII and the famous
healing water. Admission fee to the spa was - at the
time I was there in late May 2002, - 11 Euros or about
£7. In Fiuggi Fonte there are plenty of shops to browse
and a few small nightclubs dotted around
leave the hotel at 4.50am; it’s still dark. The gate
was locked so we all climb over it.
Monastery was founded by St. Benedict around about the
year 529. Montecassino became renown for the life of its
Founder. It was seen as a holy place, and one of beautiful
art and culture. It was rebuilt in the early eighteenth
century a very long time after it was destroyed by the
Longobards of Zotone, Duke of Beneventum, in about 577.
Brescian Petronace was person asked by Pope Gregory II
to rebuild the monastery.
15th February 1944 during the final stage of world war
2, Montecassino a German stronghold was on the firing
line between the two armies: this peaceful place of prayer
which served as shelter to civilians, was destroyed in
about three hours.
Benedict was born about 480 A.D. in Norcia (Perugia).
After studying, he went to live in Rome. He was however,
disgusted by the vice that was present in the city. He
abandoned everything and retired to Subiaco where he lived
like a hermit. He was asked by some monks living nearby
to become their Superior and Mentor. St. Benedict accepted,
but when he tried to correct their far from perfect way
of life, they tried to murder him with a goblet full of
poison. But he shattered the goblet with a miraculous
sign of the cross.
having founded twelve convents, he left Subiaco and ventured
south with a few disciples in tow. He chose the mountain
"a cui Cassino è nella costa" for the
monastery, adjusting the existing temple. He died on
March 21, 547 A.D. His body, and that of his sister Scolastica,
rests beneath the High Altar (70).
photographed us three bears at various sites around the
home to the Romans of the 1st century, became
ruins after Mount Vesuvius, a volcano, erupted in 79AD.
The residents of Pompeii did not know it was a volcano,
so it must have come as some surprise when it erupted.
The ruins of Pompeii are big and a good many more hours
than the two we had are needed to see the place. It is
athrong with heaving tourists from all over the globe
and getting people free photos is very hard.
and myself paid a visit to the local Pompeii brothel.
Choc-Ice stayed outside with Aunty Anne who teddy sat
next day the coach leaves 8.30am for Rome. it’s a real contrast
from the quiet laid back Fiuggi
Coliseum was built in 72 AD during the reign of Emperor
Vespasiano. It was originally called The Amphitheatrum
Flavium. The name Coliseum was used because it was this
huge oval shaped building stood next to the colossal statue
of Nero. The arena could hold over 50,000 people. It
was over 160 feet high and had 80 entrances. The events
held there were; Gladiators fighting, animal hunts and mock
battles. Slaves were used as fighters, there were even
volunteers and up to 10,000 people would be killed during
these fights in the name of entertainment. Seating in the
Coliseum was made of marble for the upper class and wood
for the lower. Linin was used on the top story to protect
spectators from the sun.
leaving the Coliseum next visited theTrevi Fountain. It
was built and rebuilt in the first millennia including contributions
from Pietro da Cortona and Bernini. Nicola Salvi completed
it between 1732 and 1751. It is so beautiful and it’s big.
It’s hard to get the whole of the thing in when photographing,
and there are lots of people getting in the way, trying
their best not to. Rizla and I dipped our feet paws into
the cool soft water. The song ‘Three coins in a fountain’
was about the Trevi Fountain. The history of the Trevi
Fountain goes back to ancient Rome. It was built where
a virgin was said to have found the spring intersecting
“tre vie” – three ways.
headed off next to the Spanish Steps, entering at the top
by Church of Trinita de Monti where there are artists painting
and sketching away.
soon we had just over an hour to get back to St Peters Square
by 5.20pm. We asked a friendly policeman which bus to get
after running down the street for 10 mins stopping only
to ask a suited man sat upon a very scooter if he’d hold
us for a photo.
needed to get through the square to get to visit the Vatican
before going back to the coach. Apparently President Bush
was in the Vatican for the NATO-Russia summit. The police
of course could not let us through but were very helpful
and polite. President Bush soon left and there was a long
convoy of cars and vans behind the one he was in. Once all
had past people were let free. By now there was no time
to go to the Vatican.
took a photo of me and Rizla sitting outside the Maddonaica,
behaving ourselves. The were a couple of
teenagers around, proberly wondering what this mad-woman
was doing photographing teddy bears by the Madonna.
is adorned with lemon and orange groves; we visited a
small one where they sold lemon liquor, which we sampled.
Yummy we all agreed. Rizla and I played hide and seek
from Debra, who doesn’t miss a trick and photographed
us from our hiding place up a lemon tree
walked narrow streets wit nasty mopeds speeding down them.
spent about 3 hours at Marina Grande. We talked to these
four men and Debra Took my photo with them. The three
older ones were trying to matchmake Debra and the young
man. One of them wanted to buy me. But Debra said he
is not for sale.
found a place were there were sun loungers. Debra thought
it would be nice to chill out sunbathing for a couple
of hours, seeing as we were by the sea. We had a peaceful
couple of hours listening to the waves, the bells of the
boats and the church bells. There was some beautiful
Neapolitan Opera playing from a restaurant, we went to
eat there and sat in the sun eating Spaghetti Vongole
alle (Clams). It was so nice, that Debra only let us
have a little taste and kept the rest all to herself.
exploring the shady maze of streets we stopped by a monument
where Debra went to take Rizla out of the bag to photograph
us both against the view. To our horror Rizla had gone.
She took everything out of the bag, but no Rizla. What
was Debra going to tell her boyfriend, the owner of Rizla.
He didn’t even know he was on holiday with us. She wanted
to surprise him by taking photos of Rizla in Italy and
she’d got him a passport.
our last morning we took a couple of cabs with some of
the others from the tour to the market in the old town.
Not much of a market but we had a walk around the narrow
streets of the homes behind the church. We chatted to
some locals outside the church for a while and then it
was time to get the cabs back to the hotel to depart for
the long homeward journey.
day departure was a sad day as departure days normally
are. But this was marked with a profound sadness. We
had to leave without our friend Rizla. I love you Rizla.