Thursday, October 16, 2014


Our leased Citroen took us 4,200 miles
We had to return our leased car at the airport in Rome since the limit on the lease is 5 and 1/2 months. While there, we picked up a rental car as we had 10 more days to go. During the transition, we stayed at a beautiful old villa above the town of Frascati.
Park Hotel Villa Grazioli 

Our hotel in Marina di Grosseto
From there we drove north. We had never been along the stretch of coastline that runs north of Civitavecchia and is known as the Maremma Region.  It is an extensive area bordering the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Sea and covering parts of northern Lazio and southwest Tuscany. 

Our apartment in Castiglione della Pescaia
Maremma is a very popular summer destination with the Italians.  Europeans have begun to discover it but it is largely unknown to Americans.  We stayed in two very nice beach towns. Being October, the tourists had gone home and the first, Marina di Grosseto, was like a ghost town.  But the hotel we stayed in was modern and had a beautiful pool and spa area.  The next stop, Castiglione della Pescaia, was originally a medieval fortress but today it is an attractive modern city with a large marina and long stretch of sandy beaches. The big attraction for us though was a charming apartment with a washer and dryer.  Ron finally had a reprieve from washing all our clothes by hand.

One of Tarquinia's city gates
Tarquinia's ancient city walls
Tarquinia is churches & towers
We had another nice apartment in Tarquinia, a city a few miles inland from the coast.   The main street through the town divides the old city and the new -- the old being medieval and the new one from the Renaissance period. Both are encircled by walls that are 8 kilometers long and date from the 4th century. 
Santa Maria In Castello 1435

Tarquinia is one of the most ancient of Etruscan centers and has a myriad of streets and alleys to wander. There are 20 towers within the gates and many churches. Paintings adorned the walls and ceilings of the early Roman church as most people were illiterate and the illustrations told the story of Christianity.  Some of the art work has been restored.  

Just outside the city gates is a necropolis where the tombs of people from the Etruscan period were first discovered during the Renaissance. Only the aristocracy could afford to have tombs built and painted, and some of the wall paintings have survived to this day.  Cement containers from as early as the 11th century BC can also be seen at this site.  Cremated remains were placed in urns and then put inside the containers.  

We returned our rental car in Civitavecchia and will board the Celebrity Reflection here on October 17.  At that point, we will have spent 6 months and 6 days in Europe and another month at sea sailing over and sailing back.  We covered a total of 4,500 miles between Italy, Croatia and Austria and stayed in 50 different places.