…are Steve & Renee now?

Port of Call – Civitavecchia


It is the middle of the trip and we have a very early morning as you can tell from the “Ship’s Time” above.  Most people aboard are getting ready to visit ROME., but not us.  I had looked at this months ago and was already a bit put off by the 1 1/2 – 2 hours EACH WAY to get back and forth.  There is no question about wanting to experience Rome, but a few hours on a tour bus, crammed between hours on a bus or train ride both ways wasn’t “blowing my skirt up” (and I can say that… please see “Formal Night” with any questions).  We’ll come back and give Rome a few days some other time.

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Here’s another reason… It Unification Day.. their 150th… and it’s a pretty big deal.  I’m told it is similar in importance to our (USA) Independence Day (Fourth of July).  Later on we heard from some folks that went it that it made for easier transportation since it wasn’t a ‘regular’ business day.  With officials from many countries coming to Rome for the celebration (US Vice President Joe Biden for instance) I just didn’t feel like rolling those dice.





…So we opted to go the other way (see map below).  We decided to take the”Italian Countryside and Olive Oil” tour to the medieval town of Tarquinia and then off to the Tuscany region to visit an olive oil farm and enjoy fresh olives, extra virgin olive oil, bruschetta and other local foods for lunch.  This should put us back aboard the Magic by mid-afternoon instead of 8PM…


This is the local map of the historical district of this medieval, walled city.  I would have liked to see the painted tombs of the Etruscans from the 7th century BCE but unfortunately they are not open to general public at this time.  They were recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Here’s more information on that… check the very few gallery pictures: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1158/

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The shot below here is by one of the seven entrances to the walled city and it right by the “You Are Here” portion of the site map above.

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…and this is actually where we got off the buss… it’s right where the very tiny blue P for parking is. It gives you a sense of just how large this place is.

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Our guide today is actually a resident of this town.  With it being Unification Day, many things are not operating normally… lot’s of people have gone to the town hall to hear the mayor speak and there’s a parade due to go though later.  Our guide asked if we’d like to see a few things ‘not on the regular tour’ as a result.
”Yes Please!”
So she went up a set of stone steps stuck on the outside of a building and knocked on a small wooden door.  A bit of conversation later and a gentleman came out with her and we wen to the side door of this church.

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We are told that this is no longer actually a consecrated church, but is used for many celebrations and receptions and the like.

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After spending some time in here we are offered an additional opportunity to see something ‘not on the tour’ and climb up a very narrow stairway up the back of the far wall of the city and emerge on top of the city walls, looking out at what you see below…
This picture that took a bit of doing to assemble. This is a panoramic shot was actually 5 separate photos I took and then ‘stitched’ together using a photo compositing tool from Microsoft called ICE. I’ve uploaded the full resolution photo at 10,570 x 2,437 so if you click on the thumbnail below you can get the full-size picture (11MB) and visit some of the beautiful details of the this picturesque landscape… rather breathtaking I thought

If you look closely in the wide shot above on the far left you can just make out the lens hood from Renée’s camera.
I think this picture is just as breathtaking!

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As a final perspective, we were able to climb one more level up a curving, narrow staircase inside a round tower on the wall to the very top.  Here’s a picture, looking down through one of the crenellations onto the plaza and the church we visited earlier:

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A more modern church in the main square.  There’s an engraving indicating it was restored in 1930 and is dedicated to Saint Margarita

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A bit more time and then it’s off to the “Canino” region of Olive Oil country and our yummy early afternoon luncheon


Another classy photo through the bus window as we turned off to the farm


Our hostess at Cerrosughero Olive Farm.  She explains how the trees are developed and the olives harvested.  It not in the video but I hear for the first time that green olives and black olives come from the same olive tree, just a different times of the year. 
Cerrosughero Olive Oil Tour
This place was mostly about the awesome, fresh food served for our lunch.  Indescribably delicious!!
I have no other photos of worth for the olive farm and Renée is still sifting through many thousands, so if she has some worthy one to post I’ll place an update.
We heartily recommend this tour for anyone not going to Rome.
We had such a relaxed and enjoyable day, saw unexpected sights, enjoyed each others company, and spent the last few hours before dinner sprawled on the deck by the pool with a nice chianti.
No port tomorrow… it’s a day floating ‘at sea’ between here and La Spezia

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