Sally and I just returned from a trip to Italy to visit San Pietro
Avellana and Sant'Eufemia a
Maiella, the hometowns of Mark's parents. We were in Italy from
August 5th to August 28th. The trip also
included stops in Roma, Firenze and Venezia. The trip occurred just
after we got married
but was not officially a honeymoon.
San Pietro Avellana Panorama, my mother Benilda Frazzini's hometown.
Mt. Maiella Panorama (Taken from Roccacaramanico,
near Sant'Eufemia, my father Pasquale DiVecchio's hometown)
What follows is based on five journal letters
that Sally wrote to her sister, Mary. We used this as the basis of our
trip report by adding new commentary and photos after our return to San
Diego. The new parts are enclosed in brackets .
In San Pietro, we met a local artist. His name is Pino d'Antonio. His
family is not from SPA originally but he has adopted it as his home
town. He lives and works in Torino. An example of his work:
For reports on other trips that Sally and I have taken, Click here.
Tips for travelers:
Now that I am a seasoned (!!) traveler, I can make a few suggestions:
ATM machines are great for getting Euros. Look for machines
called BancoMAT. They operate in many languages, including English.
They seem to have a better exchange rate than using a Credit Card. The
bank in Italy charged my account $3.50 service fee for each withdrawal.
you want, change $50 or so at the airport but use the BancoMAT (and pay
Pack light. Get a suitcase with solid, substantial wheels. Don’t
plan for every emergency. Drug Stores
(Farmacia) in the big cities take turns being open on weekends and
People in Italy dress a little more formally than we do in the
everyone wears sandals. Almost no one wears sneakers with socks (except
women wear shorts, instead they wear dresses or capri pants. Women
almost always need to have their shoulders and knees covered to get
into churches. Men seem to be able to get away with shorts (except for
S. Peter’s in Roma).
Many tourist places sell advance tickets. Although we didn't do
it, if you are pressed for time and really want to see everything, get
advance tickets if they are available.
We got an MCI phone card at Costco before we left. It worked out
real well. You get a toll-free number in Italy and a 20 cents per
minute rate to the US. We called home from the hotels (with no charge
by the hotel) and from payphones.
Internet Cafes are great. Cost about €1 for a half-hour. We found
them in all
of the larger cities (but not San Pietro Avellana or Sant'Eufemia a
Maiella). Most ISP
give you a way to send and get email over the web - find out how to do
it before you leave the U.S..
Electricity - Italy uses 220VAC 50Hz. You will at least need an
adapter for the US plugs. Many devices, like digital cameras, now come
with a charger that runs off both US voltage (115VAC 60Hz) and 220 VAC
50Hz. Just get a plug adapter and you can use it in Italy. I would
especially look for such a capability if you are buying a digital
or a notebook computer. Here is where I bought a plug adapter : http://www.magellans.com/,
specifically this one: http://www.magellans.com/store/Electrical___Plug_AdaptorsEA23MIG
Driving in Roma:
You can seem like a Roma native by following a few basic rules:
Give no quarter and expect none - drivers cut off each other all
the time and don’t get upset about it. The next time, it will be you
cutting someone off. People treat it like a game.
If you can’t find a parking space, no problem, park with one set
of wheels up on the sidewalk and the other in the roadway. If its
really a problem, park entirely on the sidewalk or entirely in the
Ignore any lane lines that might be painted on the roadway. If
four cars fit across the road, then it’s a four lane road.
Drive in the opposite lane whenever you need to.
Expect motor scooters to come at you from all directions and
expect them to be going 100 kmph.
Ignore speed limit signs.
Observe traffic lights and what few stop signs there are (yes,
that's right - drivers in Roma do not run red lights!).
Pedestrians are the lowest form of life and are to be treated as
If you are lost, just stop in the middle of the road to check a
map or ask someone for directions.
Even if you are not lost, stop in the middle of the road to chat
with a friend coming in the other direction.
Mark and Sally
This site prepared and maintained by Mark DiVecchio