I won’t say that Gusta Pizza has my favorite pizza, although many people will disagree with me. It doesn’t stop me from eating here often though! I usually will grab one to go and eat on the steps of Santa Croce or up at Piazzale Michelangelo. They are good, but I prefer the very thin cracker crust.The menu is limited, but the prices are great! I had this beautiful and delicious Margarita pizza and a glass of wine for 7,50 euro. What a bargain.I sat inside at a small barrel table with some other folks. Gusta is located just off of Piazza Santo Spirito, via Maggio 46R, and is opened from 11-11 Tuesday-Sunday and closed on Monday.When you enter, order at the counter and tell them whether you are staying or going, then wait for your number to be called. Expect a crowd! There always is!
This is your chance to adopt a medieval neighborhood in Tuscany and help preserve ancient traditions! As I mentioned in my blog a week or so ago, my friend Isabella Dusi and the folks of the Pianello Quartiere in Monalcino need our help. Your contribution can result in some great rewards for the community and for yourself as well!Would you like to hold a ‘Brunello’ dinner party with 8 friends…we’ll supply the Brunello! What about 7 nights in Tuscany? Why not Renew your Vows or choose between a superb new Cook Book, a famous Limited Edition ‘Sputnik in Paradise’ poster, bestselling novels, a gorgeous apron, polo or sweatshirt? Would you like hand sketches, watercolor cards, T shirts or a sleeved pictorial book? How about cooking lessons, having a garden named after you, or a couple of hours on our archery range?Quartiere Pianello is a neighborhood of non-profit volunteers in Montalcino. We offer you sensational rewards for helping us mend our Renaissance costumes, replace a loved but bashed about 3 Wheeler Ape, renew an old stove, save a magical garden from concrete and restore Mannerist art in our church. Join our team, become an Honorary Member of our Quartiere, and help preserve traditions and a precious way of life. Check out your rewards for donating and help us make a difference in this village in Tuscany.
Go directly to this link to read more and to make your contribution!
Haghia Sophia means The Church of Holy Wisdom in Turkish. The first church that was on this site, burned down in 404 and the one that exists today is the 3rd one, built in 537. It is really amazing to see something still standing despite the countless natural disasters such as earthquakes and the many wars in the area.The exterior of the building is not exactly as it was constructed because buttresses were added to secure the structure. (see the photo of a photo above) This distracts a little from the original shape. Inside the structure, the galleries are where the women prayed and there are some wonderful mosaics inside left from the church days.Many of the columns inside were scavenged from the pagan temples and reused in this structure. In 1453, the church was turned into a mosque.The mosaics were plastered over and the mihrab and minbar were added along with the calligraphic roundels. The mosaics were not discovered until 1930 and since 1934, the structure has been a museum. The history of the structure and being inside it was amazing.
The Basilica Cistern is incredibly beautiful. Yerebatan Sarnici, which is the name in Turkish, actually means “sunken palace”. It was as exotic and mysterious as it sounds. It was built as an underground water storage tank by Constantine and expanded by Justinian in 532. It is huge, covering about 11,720 square yards and once held about 18 million gallons of water.The roof is supported by 336 pillars. There are 2 Medusa heads that were once used on ancient Greek buildings and reused here. This place is a popular film location and sometimes they have concerts here. I first heard about it in Dan Brown’s new book, Inferno.
One of the best and most relaxing and enjoyable things to do in Istanbul is a Bosphorus Cruise. The skyline of Istanbul is incredibly beautiful and one of the most famous in the world. Seeing it from the deck of a boat, it is magnificent!After a few days of sightseeing, it is a wonderful way to see even more, from a different perspective, and relax at the same time! The long cruise, which takes about 6 hours (1/1/2 hours down the strait and back and a 3 hour stopover at the small town of your choice) costs about 25 Turkish lira, or 7.50 euro. It departs at 10:35 and 1:35 every day from Eminonu Pier.We had many people approach us in Sultanahmet Square wanting to sell cruises for a variety of prices. Not knowing anything about those, we took the advice of the guidebook and took the public ferry directly from the Eminonu terminal.There is an audio guide available, which is helpful in explaining some of the history and buildings that you are seeing along the way. If you are with someone, just get one. One of you can listen on the way down, and the other on the way back. The ferry has several levels, both inside and out to choose from. There is also a bar and tea service.At the end of the first leg of the cruise, just before you enter the mouth of the Black Sea, the ferry stops at a number of small ports. We chose to get off on the Asian side at Anadolu Kavagi. It was the last stop and we wanted to have lunch there. The small seaside restaurants had the waiters waving flags to beckon us in as we pulled ashore.We sat by the sea and had a wonderful meal and wine, and then shopped in the small shops and took a walk up the hill toward the castle built by Mehmet the Conquerer.One of the ports is called Kanlica and this small town is famous for their yogurt which is said to be the best in Turkey. At the port, men board the ferry and sell containers of the yogurt which is served with powdered sugar to sweeten it. It was yummy!We were here in early November and the weather was cool, but sunny and spectacular! We enjoyed the outside deck going out and returned inside for the trip back. It was definitely a highlight of the trip and shouldn’t be missed!