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Northeast Italy




On many occasions in the past two years, the band has traveled to Northeast Italy to perform outdoor public concerts.  On the map above, you can see the area just north of Venice around Treviso.  We performed many concerts at beaches on the Adriatic Sea, and many more in inland communities.  We drove the entire way (about 600 miles) through Salzburg, Austria.  That, in itself, is a beautiful trip.


The first thing you notice about Italy in the summertime is the HEAT and HUMIDITY!!!!  Our concerts were all in the evening, and around sunset, the humidity “rolls in” and coated everything in enough water to make you think it had rained.  This is not good when you are touching electronic instruments that are plugged in to 220 volts (the European standard).  But we survived with nobody getting zapped.


There are many interesting aspects of Italian life to explore.  First, the idea of communities still exists here.  There are no Wal Marts, Sam’s Clubs, Sears, or even McDonalds.  Everything is Mom&Pop stores with the exception of a few grocery store chains.  This really adds a “homey” individual touch to each village.  Another very nice touch is the importance of the church in each community.  Churches are open every day from sunrise to sunset, and are located at the very heart of town in the shopping/ sidewalk cafes area.  People stop in for meditation during the course of their daily activities.  Church is not just for Sunday mornings here.


The Italians are rightly famous for their fashion tastes.  Watching people in the middle of town, I soon noticed that NOBODY was wearing old blue jeans or t-shirts.  Everyone from kids to adults was dressed in comfortable slacks and nice shirts, and most women wore dresses.  Nothing showy or glitzy, just nice, comfortable cotton summer clothes.  When Italians visit America, they must be shocked at the sloppy way most people dress: ratty, torn clothes and “blue light special” t-shirts.  I’m just as guilty myself.  But it really made a positive impression of an entire city to see everyone dressed nice.  There’s a lesson to be learned by all Americans.


Another aspect of Italian life that took a lot of getting use to on my part was the fact these people love the night!  Walk downtown at 9:00 or 9:30 in the morning, and the place is deserted.  Shops don’t start opening until around 10:00, and stay open until about 1:30 or 2:00.  Then EVERYTHING closes for afternoon siesta (nap-time) until about 5:00.  Then they reopen until about 8:00 or 9:00.  But the restaurants don’t open for dinner (supper) until around 7:00 pm at the earliest, and stay open until about 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning.  Where in the USA (except Denny’s) can you go out to eat at midnight and have a choice of restaurants?  And meals are not the “chew and run” affairs we Americans are use to.  Plan on spending at least 2-3 hours at dinner. 










Desenzano del Garda











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Aviano view 1

A view of the Aviano area from a nearby mountain.




Aviano 02

Aviano is the home to Aviano Air Base, where our activities were centered.

The large mountain in the background is the first mountain of the Alps.

Up to this point (coming from the south and east), it is very flat.



Aviano Angelica store

Main Street, Aviano.  The Angelica is a hardware store that actually has a nice selection of hand-painted ceramic and pottery for sale.

 I bought a flower vase and a set of salt/pepper shakers.





Aviano Madonna Del Monte rainbow

The Santuario Madonna Del Monte is visible on the hillside above Aviano.

One morning, I awoke to find a rainbow pointing to this beautiful church.






Aviano view 3

Here is a view down from the mountain behind the Santuario Madonna Del Monte.

Our hotel was in the upper right-hand corner of this picture.





Aviano church Madonna del Monte 1

The Santuario Madonna Del Monte church (from previous photos).





Aviano church

Inside the Santuario Madonna Del Monte church.





Piancavallo 01

Continuing up the mountain from the Santuario Madonna Del Monte church, the winding road

 leads to Piancavallo, a ski resort visible in the far background.






Piancavallo hill motorcycle 01

The winding road to Piancavallo is also very popular with the motorcyclists in the area.





Piancavallo 02

Another scenic view on the way up Piancavallo.






Piancavallo 03

There are several narrow roads winding through the mountains surrounding Piancavallo. 

What a beautiful area!  Biker heaven!





Aviano tower 1

A nice view of a church bell tower on one of the narrow streets around Aviano.





Italy Marsure grocery store 01

Marsure is a small town along the foot of the mountain just down the road from Aviano.

This is the local grocery store.





Italy Marsure church 01

Directly across the street from the grocery store is the church.





Italy Marsure  church 02

This is the view inside the church at Marsure.  The most impressive view, though, is up.

(See the next picture)






Italy Marsure church ceiling 01

This is the ceiling of the church at Marsure.  Beautiful!





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Podenone is located about 6 miles from Aviano Air Base.  It is a city mixed with both old and new. While the city center is still a narrow street best suited for pedestrians, the outer areas have many new stores (sorry, no Wal Marts).  We often stayed in Pordenone and used it as a “base camp” for our tours to other nearby cities.




Pordenone shops 4

Pordenone is the place we stayed most often. 

This is the street that runs through the shopping district.  It is lined with cafes and small shops.





Pordenone Town Hall 1

At one end of the shopping district is the City Hall of Pordenone.




Pordenone St Marks Cathedral

St. Martin’s Cathedral is a large church in Pordenone.




Pordenone St Marks Cathedral 1

Inside St. Martin’s Cathedral in Pordenone.  There are numerous old paintings on the walls

(note the bottom of the column on the right) that were preserved during renovations.





Pordenone St Martins church 142 fresco

This is the column mentioned in the previous picture’s notes.





Pordenone St Marks Cathedral painting1

This painting was along the back wall.  It was left uncovered during renovations.





Pordenone St Marks Cathedral portal 2

One of many small naves along the side of the sanctuary.





Pordenone St Martins Church 140

The ceiling above the nave. Truly fantastic artwork!




Pordenone bell tower and fountain 3

The bell tower of St. Martin’s Cathedral.  There is a wine shop in the base of the tower.





Pordenone porch and flowers 1

Many balconies and windows around Pordenone were decorated with flowers.





Pordenone Carabinieri

This is Italy, and everyone is very style-conscious – even the Carabinieri (Police).

No old Ford or Chevy for these guys.  This guy drives an Alfa Romeo!






Pordenone Holy Trinity church1

The Holy Trinity church is the oldest in Pordenone. 




Pordenone sign AL GALLO 2

A very creative sign for a local tavern.





Pordenone market 10

I was fortunate to be in Pordenone on Market Day.  This traveling market sets up in 6 different towns each week on a rotating basis. 

Thursday was Market Day in Pordenone.






Pordenone market 2

Pordenone Market Day – the flower ladies.





Aviano grapes1

This is what makes Italy famous – grapes for wine!





Aviano winery1

We made a stop at one of the local wineries.  They make the wine and bottle it

 right at the vineyard.  Jugs and bottles of all sizes – up to 5 gallons!

There are many great wines for $3-$5 per bottle.





Aviano winery3

Don’t know what you want?  Try before you buy! (Unless you’re driving)




Aviano winery Dad1

I’ll take this jug!!!





Pordenone hotel toilets

OK, I thought I’d throw this one in just for the heck of it.  In most Italian hotel restrooms, you will find you have a choice of fixtures when you need to get rid of all that wine. 

Well, I don’t know exactly how it’s used, but the one on the left is.. uhhh… for “washing” afterwards (and I don’t mean your hands).





Pordenone Dad on Bike 01

A couple of us took our bikes to Italy. 

Here, I stopped by a cornfield for a break from the heat.



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Barcis 06

One day I drove up to Barcis, one of the most beautiful settings in all of Europe!  

This lakeside resort is nestled in the Italian Alps just a 30 minute drive from Aviano and Pordenone.





Barcis bridge 05

This is the highway bridge across the lake at Barcis.  Yes, it’s for cars!

Look at the next picture if you don’t believe me.





Barcis bridge 02

OK, but one at a time only.





Barcis 04

To the side of the bridge is this swimming pier.

What a great setting for a cool swim!





Barcis 01

When you’re done looking at the beautiful scenery, you can wander through the village of

Barcis and look at the many shops.



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Desenzano del Garda



Desenzano del Garda 1

Desenzano del Garda, a beautiful lakeside resort town in North-central Italy.




Desenzano del Garda boats 4

A view by the boat harbor of Desenzano del Garda.




Desenzano del Garda hotel room patio view 1

My hotel room came with its own private patio and lakeside view to enjoy the sunrise.




Desenzano del Garda church square and swan 5

Out for one of my early morning walks, I met this swan on the city square.





Desenzano del Garda pathway and house

Narrow sidestreets like this show why Vespa scooters are so popular.





Desenzano del Garda street 3

Another narrow street as I walked toward the town overlook.




Desenzano del Garda overview 4

The climb up to the hill above town was worth it. 

The lake was hidden behind the misty veil.




Desenzano del Garda pizza 2

What do you think of when someone mentions Italy?

I think – PIZZA!  This is the real stuff!




Desenzano del Garda restaurant 2

Italy is not just pizza, though.  One day, I found this great restaurant hidden on a narrow sidestreet.





Desenzano restaurant 1

Inside the restaurant.




Desenzano restaurant spaghetti frutti de marre

I ordered Spaghetti Frutti de Marre (Fruit of the Sea). Fresh shrimp and clams.





Desenzano del Garda DAD lake view of Sirmione

After my big lunch, I needed to walk, so I headed out on the rocks by the lake.

The Alps bordering Northern Italy and Austria are in the background.  So peaceful!





Desenzano del Garda sunrise 10

On our last morning in Desenzano del Garda, we had a beautiful sunrise.




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Miscellaneous Pictures





Portogruaro cafe

One day, three of us rode our bikes to the concert site in Lignano Sabbia dOro, about 40 miles from Pordenone. 

It was a beautiful ride through places like Portogruaro (above).  We had a great spaghetti lunch there, and then rode off through a heavy downpour for the last leg of the ride.

  Then the sun came out and we dried off.





Portogruaro lady in doorway

In Portogruaro, this lady stepped out of her doorway to just have a look around.




Portogruaro punts1

In Portogruaro, these punts made a colorful addition to an already nice scene.




1957 Moto Guzzi Dad2

In Casarsa, I met a nice gentleman named Allesandro who is the original owner

of this magnificent 1957 Moto Guzzi.




Casarsa restaurant 3

Middle America?  Nope!  This is an American diner in Casarsa, Italy.





Near Trento 3

The next few pictures were taken as we left Northern Italy on our way back through Brenner Pass into Austria. In the foreground is a vineyard as large as an Iowa cornfield.

 Pardon the glare – this was taken out the bus window.






Near Bressenone 2 stau

Of course, no European road trip would be complete without a traffic jam.





Brenner Pass 3

Brenner Pass, the infamous route from northern Italy into Austria.

The Autostrada can be seen in the background going from the bridge

on the right through the pass into Italy.




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Vittorio stage2

Vittorio is located at the foot of the Alps just an hour’s drive from the Adriatic Sea.

Here, the band was setting up the evening concert.





Vittorio street2

Vittorio’s Main Street.




Vittorio courtyard arch3

One of the many stone arches on the narrow Vittorio streets.




Vittorio church3

This church was just behind the stage where the band performed in Vittorio.





Vittorio Church

This is the view of the alter inside the church at Vittorio.





Vittorio Church ceiling

The church ceiling.  Simply incredible! 




Vittorio canal3

The stream runs right through the center of town, right past this person’s doorway.




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Caorle levee Chapel

Caorle was one of our frequent stops.  This is the chapel along the beachfront levee.




Caorle chapel alter2

Caorle chapel.  Pretty elaborate for a beachfront chapel, eh?





Caorle chapel ceiling

The seaside theme continues to the ceiling of the chapel.




Caorle carving 02

Artists have turned the large stones on the beachfront levee into works of art.




Caorle courtyard2

One of the many small streets in Caorle.  Lots of small cafes.




Caorle beach2

Caorle is very famous for its beautiful beach.  People come from all over Europe.




Caorle square 03

This was the site of my last concert with an Air Force band in August 2001.

What a nice setting!



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Hope you enjoyed Northeast Italy!