Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

The Italian region of Tuscany is well know for its wine fields and rolling picturesque countryside. You probably have heard of Florence, its capital city, and of Pisa and its famous tower.

The Royal Princess docked for a day in the port of Livorno. A bus tour took us northeast to the city of Pisa to see the tower. The city is on the Arno River.

Plazza del Miracoli

The Plazza del Miracoli or Place of Miracles is made up of three parts representing the cycle of life. In the foreground, the round building, is the baptistery representing birth. Behind it and largest  building is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. It represents life. On the extreme left (north side of the square) is a long building. It is a cemetery and represents death.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta – Duomo

The leaning tower, on the right of the picture above, is not a separate part of the early design. It was built as a free standing (leaning) structure to be the bell tower for the duomo, church. If you look carefully at the picture below the bells can be seen at the top of the tower.

Top of the leaning tower of Pisa.

The church is so large compared to the size of the square, I had to stitch two photos together to show it all at once.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta – Duomo

book ahead online for a spot in line.

Although we arrived early in the morning the crowds had already created lines to do anything, including taking the typical tourist photos.

Oh, look at the tourists!

Our tour did not allow time for us to endure the lines so we left the interior views for another trip. It was a long walk from the bus to the entrance and we had to make a washroom stop before “bus-tling” off to our next attraction.

Did I mention the crowds?

crowds to get in past the vendors

and crowds to get out past the vendors

After you leave a comment,
click to study more.

– Where do you want to go today? –

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Santa Margherita Church

Santa Margherita Church

Shoulder to shoulder with the other residential buildings in the town square a beautiful church claims its place in the history of this town. Inside you will be overwhelmed by the adornments which are as closely packed as the buildings are outside. The lighting from the chandeliers augments the natural light filtering in from the stained glass windows.

Santa Margherita Ligure Church

beautiful mosaic tiles in front of church

bell and clock tower

elegant stained glass window in front.

delicate carvings over the doors


Statues on the left

and statues on the right

Standing tall among the neighboring buildings

The interior is designed to impress.

an altar to be remembered with pulpit on the right.

Paintings and carved statues as a reminder

focus on the altar

stained glass windows are everywhere

Light comes in from the dome

The detailed carvings are strategically placed

But if churches are not for you, there may be a game of golf in the streets.

Golf anyone? Who needs grass on a fairway?

What is calling you today?

the bells are calling, it is time . . .

– Where do you want to go today? –



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Rapallo Ligure Italy

This city of about 30 thousand permanent residents is known for the Castello sul Mare (Castle-on-the-Sea), built in 1551 to defend the city. people have lived in the little bay since the 8th century BC.

Castello sul Mare (Castle-on-the-Sea), built in 1551

A waterfront resort town on the northern Mediterranean

not a lovely beach

The shops line the beachfront road.

Parking is limited in the city center.

You might find an apartment to rent for a longer stay.


Even dock space is limited.

Streets leading away from the waterfront are narrow.

There are churches,

And there are restaurants.

The central square is  off of the waterfront. The ceiling of the band stand is worthy of a cathedral.

the bandstand

look at the ceiling of the bandstand


the boat launch ramp


The boat launch ramp still had its Christmas decorations. I could not figure out if it was for a hop scotch game. I was not the only one trying to figure out how it works.

hop scotch anyone?

– Where do you want to go today? –


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Santa Margherita

Santa Margherita Ligure

The bus ride along the mountain ridge included a light shower, but the skies were clearing when we arrived at Santa Margherita. This is a beautiful resort town with a permanent resident population around 10 thousand. The tourist season was just beginning so the crowds were very light.

16th century castle

The port was once mainly a fishing port but now tourists are docking here to enjoy the Mediterranean weather and scenic mountainside. It is a short drive from Genoa, and close to Rapallo and Portofino. Camogli is on the other side of the tiny peninsula.

about 35 km from Genoa

North of Portofino, south of Rapallo

restaurants line the seaside street

there is a bit of a climb up to homes and hotels


What is a town square without a statue, a fountain and a cannon?

The shops are open for you r souvenirs and beach wear.

On a windy day you may have to lean into it.

Prevailing winds leave their mark.

waiting for a fair breeze

Which one of these is for you?

plan where you will go next.

The Mediterranean has a long coastline.


– Where do you want to go today? –

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Genoa, Italy

Genoa (Genova in Italian) has always been a major Mediterranean port. It is currently the second busiest port in Italy. It is also the name of the province in the Liguria region of Italy. The city population is around 600 thousand and has been steadily declining since 1971 when it was over 800 thousand.

Genoa Harbor

There is another Italian harbour the port of Gioia Tauro in Calabria,which handles the container ship and it is the busiest. It is at the toe of the Italian boot, conveniently close to the Suez Canal.

The historic city of Genoa

The records show the town was taken over by the Carthaginians in 209 BC. At one time it was ruled by France under Napoleon.

There are many churches.

The scene reminds me of the small homes in South America that are built wall to wall and climb up the hillside. In this case they are apartment buildings.

We took a day trip out to a couple of resort towns, Santa Margarita and Rapallo. Look for separate post on those.   –  Santa Margherita  https://jarvie.ca/santa-margherita/


Here are a couple of maps to let you know where in the world we are.

Mediterranean map

Liguria region, Genoa Province

Rapallo and Santa Margarita are on the right side of the bump, about 30 kilometers from Genoa.
The scenery driving along the coastal highway was beautiful with the mountains on one side, and the Mediterranean Sea on the other. It is hard to take a good picture from a fast moving bus.

In the afternoon, when we returned, the skies were a little brighter and the pictures of the harbor look a little brighter. There were some interesting ships in port.

see me coming?

Either the post office or a bank tower.

Did you see me tucked in behind?

from the cruise ship terminal looking across the city to the mountains.

From the terminal the view extends across the highway to the green lawns and fountains, past the stacked apartment buildings to the mountains adorned with communication towers. The gardens are well maintained.

– Where do yo want to go today? –

youtube link to 1:20 minute road trip by bus through the mountains.

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moving around Marseille

Moving around Marseille

This post includes some video clips from around Marseille France.

I have been struggling with video on my blogs.
In the past I have used links to youtu.be and vimeo. I am not happy with the way they place their adds and suggestions at the end.
It is possible to add video clips to my media storage on my hosted WordPress site but they are limited in size to about what is shown here and the upload speed is variable.

Do you have any suggestions or workarounds? Comments are appreciated below.

The Palais Longchamp and The chateau d’eau.


Outside of Notre Dame de la Garde

That was nice. Now watch how a link to youtu.be leaves my readers.:

Are you wondering how we traveled from Gibraltar to Marseille?


– Where do you want to go today? –

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Aix St Sauveur

Aix Cathedrale Saint Sauveur

The foundations of this church date back to Roman times. It has been modified and added to over the centuries and now has a collection of architectural styles from each of those periods of history.

Organ? Maybe not.

After the organ was installed about 1750, a second organ chest was built on the opposite side for symmetry.  In 1855 a new organ was built inside the old cabinet and it was reconditioned a couple of times, as recently as 1983.

Organ and keyboard

Catholic churches are adorned with many icons and statues.

And of course, there must be at least one stained glass window.

learn more from Wikipedia:    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aix_Cathedral 

– Where do you want to go today? –

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Aix square

Aix, en Provence France has a town square.

Only 30 kilometers north of the Mediterranean Sea, near Marseille, is a lively city with a people friendly ambiance.

Aix town square

Here is a 360 view of the town square. Even on a cloudy, rainy day it is interesting.

GOPR1154 from Doug Jarvie on Vimeo.

After a 45 minute bus ride from Marseille, we began our walking tour in the rain.

Just walkin’ in the rain.

The big church on the left I will leave for another post.

finding a little shelter from the rain

a little hot chocolate would be nice.

The calissons are popular.
They must be on sale today.

Do you buy post cards to get the best souvenir pictures?

some streets in the old town are narrow.

This narrow street leads to another cathedral. It is the Cathedrale de St. Sauveur.

Hotel de Ville is better know as City Hall.

The clock tower

What town square is complete without a clock tower? Our visit in May 2016 was still cool and if the tree was in full leaf I would not have had such clear view from this spot.

clock tower, second floor

clock tower, third floor, astrological clock

It is a latter addition and is referred to as an astrological clock. Looking at the numbers, I am guessing it may be more like a lunar clock.

The top clock

This looks like a good spot for a weather monitoring station.

The fountain is not ready for tourists yet.


Are they saluting or looking for the tourguide or a missing tourist?

Holding up that balcony must give these guys a headache.

Did you wonder what the sign says? Does this help?

Do you want me to translate it for you too?

A nice spot to have lunch and watch the tourists go by.

There are vendors selling fresh produce. The city is surrounded by the fertile fields that make Provence famous.

street market for fresh food.

Doesn’t just looking at it make you healthier?

just picked this morning

do you have a hotel reservation?

Where do we go from here?

there are a lot of choices

– Where do you want to go today? –

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Notre Dame

Notre Dame de la Garde, Marseille, France

On the hill top is the catholic Bascilica which watches over the city and its people. And millions of people come up each year to watch over the city as well.

Mosaics decorate the interior of the Bascilica

Notre Dame de la Garde

Madonna and child

carrying the ark of the covenant

carrying the ark of the covenant

As well as the beautiful Bascilica, the view over the city is also magnificent.

The other major Catholic Cathedral in Marseille. Cathédrale de la Major

Fort Saint Nicolas

Fort Saint Jean

The view over the Mediterranean is also impressive.

Fort St Nicolas on left and Fort St. Jean on right

The remnants of the 1666 defence wall are on the left behind Fort St. Nicolas.


The Marseille FC team practice below in a pitch nestled up to the cliff.

– Where do you want to go today? –


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Marseille is a major Mediterranean port for cruise ships, commerce, and freight. It is the second largest city in France after Paris.

Marseille France

On the top of the hill is Notre-Dame de la Garde , a Catholic basilica. From there visitors get a great view over the port and city. It is the city’s most visited tourist attraction.

View of city from Notre Dame de la Garde

islands in the harbor

The rightmost island is Isles du Frioul, and the center, closer to the city, is Isles of IF. Alexander Dumas made this island famous in his book, “The Count of Monte Christo”.

The Isle of If

Rodger Whittaker  wrote a song called: “I don’t believe in If anymore”. Well, here is proof that IF exists. I’ve seen it, so “I’m a Believer”.

The words to one verse of Rodger’s song are:

Oh I don’t believe in If anymore
If’s an illusion
If’s an illusion
No I don’t believe in If anymore
If is for children
If is for children
Building daydreams

here is the link to the rest of the lyrics:


and the link below will let you listen to the song.


Another of the sights is the Palais Longchamp.

Palais Longchamp

In the old city many streets do not allow cars or trucks. This makes for a pedestrian friendly place.

From the harbor, remains of the old defense walls can be seen. They have been preserved and more modern construction has been built up around it.

The old and the new co-exist

A city of budding artists?

Louis XIV ordered its construction in 1666.

Some monuments you may see when driving/riding around the city are the war monument and two guys who represent the business of the port.

War Memorial

It takes Two to Tango

Countries represented by ships in port

– Where do you want to go today? –






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