Gandolfo, Italy: Where Pope Benedict is Headed For Vacation

In light of Pope Benedict XVI's recent retirement, I thought I would dust this post off. Gandolfo is where Pope Benedict is headed today, for a much needed vacation. 

I was a little nervous about today's nine hour excursion, about my ability to do it.  The excursion guide said it was the equivalent of 1800 yards, but it was more like 1800 miles.  Just kidding, it wasn't that far, but it was a lot of walk, and a lot of walk at an incline which really makes my back twitch and complain.  

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as we rounded each corner, I was certain we were there... NOT!

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uphill the whole way

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beautiful building I saw on the way up

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 Another view of the building
 
But I made it!  And I was rewarded with beautiful sights 360 degrees around me.  I learned that the Pope vacations here in Gandolfo in his private villa in late July and August.  The town then becomes quite the tourist destination while he's there.  AKA busy.  I'm glad there weren't many people but our tour, it kept me from getting lost because I was always behind.  Not so much because I couldn't do it, it was because I wanted to take pictures and the group was walking way to fast to allow that!
 

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seen on the way up the hill to Gandolfo

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narrow streets

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skinny building
 
Castel Gandolfo is a little Italian town in Lazio, Italy, that occupies an area overlooking the beautiful Lake Albano.  It's about 15 miles south east of Rome in the Alban Hills.  As soon as we arrived at the top I said to hubby "cappuccino fredo please now" and we sat down at a little coffee shop.  I've really got the hang of ordering my cold cappuccino now, even my dialect is fairly good.  Hubby had a local beer and when we were through, he shopped for a little something for his daughter while I wandered through the town taking photographs.
 

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The Popes Villa (the buidling with the clock)

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the angel on the popes villa

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the front door of the Popes Villa

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a chapel in town

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souvenir shops

I was so worn out from climbing the hill to Gandolfo I wasn't sure if I wanted to make the trek down the small hill overlooking Lake Albano.  I'm glad I did.  Lake Gandolfo is a volcanic crater lake formed by two craters.  (again with the earthquakes!).   In 1960, when Rome hosted the summer Olympic games, the lake was used for canoeing and rowing.   

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one more hill- Lake Albano

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lovely little village

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Lake Albano

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More scenery from above the Lake

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villas on the mountain side (tour guide said rich people come here)

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Another breathtaking view

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He's a sight for sore eyes too! :)

 

After taking a bunch of photos, hubby showed up (it was a really small town) and we hung out just admiring the view.  I got my flower of the day there, but soon it was time to climb back up the hill and make the long trek downhill to our tour bus.  It was waiting there for us to reboard and head for a special lunch at a countryside farm.
 

Flower of the Day

Flower of the Day

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Beautiful wall art

Again, you can find many more photos here:  

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wishingforpar/sets/72157630496505686/with/7536065138/ my set full of photos of the Roman countryside.

Next stop:  A little restaurant for a private lunch after a pasta making lesson.

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