Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Italy: Spring 2012: April 25: Day 1: Livorno

Day 1: Livorno

We are off again....

The flight from Dulles to Brussels and on to Milan is very comfortable..empty seats next to us and extra legroom in Economy Plus.  Even the food is palatable.   I sleep a good bit, Diana not at all.

Rental car pickup goes smoothly and we get on the autostrada for the 3.5 hour to Livorno.  Sandwiches on the Autogrill....very good as usual...and by mid-afternoon, we are entering the center of Livorno.  Shops are closed and traffic is light (we had forgotten that this is Republic Day, a national holiday.)

As we drive along the waterfront, there are many strollers out for their holiday passeggiata.  We find our hotel, the Grand Palazzo, easily--a large, imposing building just across the street from the Mediterranean.  
Our room is high ceilinged, nicely decorated and light, with a balcony looking out over the water.  

I take a quick reconnaissance stroll around the neighborhood while Diana sleeps and then we go out together to explore a bit.  First we head up to the roof of the hotel....there is an amazing terrace with a bar, restaurant and swimming pool and a wonderful vista of the town and water.  Right across the street is the Terrazza Mascagni, a large, extremely attractive park with a broad pedestrian esplanade right on the waterfront.  Today being a holiday, it is very lively....families with children, young people, African salesmen, kite fliers....enjoying the sunny, cool day.  We walk with them for while, then sit on a bench and watch people and the ships out in the harbor.  

We decide on an early, simple dinner in the neighborhood...I had walked past a pizzeria/ristorante around the corner on my earlier stroll and we walk over there.   It turns out to be a great choice...the people are pleasant and the food is very good.  Irresistible white pizza, spaghetti with clams for me, pasta with lobster and artichokes for Diana, a green salad, a carafe of refreshing white wine....we are happy.

And tired....luckily, it is only a few steps back to the hotel.  But we are very happy to be back in Italy.

Tomorrow, the weather forecast is for warm and sunny....and we will explore Livorno.

Jim and Diana

PS  Pictures will appear tomorrow...I have to work out a few technical snags.

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