2024: Last Day in Italy

At the famous Colleseum in Roma Italy

by Johnny Punish

I am back!  At least, back from vacation.

Back on Dec. 10th, I took off to Paris from my secret hideout buried under an ancient Mayan pyramid in Mexico.  My goal was to get to Gaza and the West Bank.  But as most of you know by now, that is NOT happening as the Israeli’s with American Taxpayer money and the full support of its indoctrinated and bribed government continue to bomb and abuse the occupied indigenous peoples of Palestine.  They are blocking entry and, at this time, no way to get in.

So instead, I headed out to Italy to wait it out.

Now, I have been to Italy before.  But this time, I was with some family members who were first timers.  So naturally, we did all the tourist stuff.  And it was fun.  And each time, I learned something new.  So that’s that’s cool.

Anyways, here’s my impressions…

ROMA (Rome)

Well, this was my 3rd time in Rome!

The first time was in the early 1990s when the EU was a dream, the ITALIAN LIRE was king and I am sure I saw Audrey Hepburn on her Roman Holiday Vespa.

The 2nd time was in 2021 during COVID-19 when Masks were the zuppa del giorno.  And now…

But this this time, I traveled with family who were first-timers. So naturally we did the main tourist stuff again; Colleseo (Flavian Amphitheater), Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Vatican, and Sistine Chapel. But each time I go I learn something new. So it was cool.

Oh, and we spent Christmas Eve with the Pope at the Vatican Christmas Eve Mass too! That was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all of us.

Oh, and we did have a chance to walk over the Tiber River to Trastevere, a local neighborhood, where we went to a local church and were invited to have mass with the community. That was very special indeed.

Yes, I had a lovely time in Rome again! Great place to visit for sure!

Pizza Class in Napoli Central. Mine was the worst of the bunch but still tasted great!

NAPOLI (Naples)

Wow! Where do I start?

What a crazy city!  Walking up and down the steep hilly city and New Year’s Eve like I have never seen before. They light up the whole city with fireworks for hours! It was the most incredible irreverent celebration I have ever seen in my life;  truly incredible.

Of course, Napoli had the best pizza in the world, by far.  It just is, period!  So accept it!

Oh, and the Neopolitan people are very expressive with their hands, and very vocal in attitude and mannerisms.  They are unique in that they are Italian but very Greek and Arab too.  So they have a strong sense of culture that is uniquely Napoli.

At Pompeii. We also visited the Archaeological Park of Herculaneum which was even more impressive than Pompeii because it’s so well preserved. I loved it.

And the cars and scooters!  Oh Boy!

Napoli is a very passionate place with tons of crazy drivers and traffic jams in a clogged full of love city centre.  Napoli has lots of soul. Of course, my great grandparents Anthony and Theresa Magnetti (nee Negri) come from Napoli so I instantly recognized and identified with the culture 100%. They are my people!

I loved the energy of the city. Wild!  But for those coming from a more conservative background, well, yes, go to Napoli but bring your open-minded side of yourself because you will be in for a treat that will stimulate your senses 24/7.

For me, I had an excellent time in this wild, unique, and beautifully chaotic city.

Betty is taking a lovely photo of the oldest most famous bridge in Florence; Ponte Vecchio! Oh, and Frank and Dolores too!

FIRENZE (Florence)

Okay, so coming from lovely chaotic Napoli was a culture shock. Firenze, in northern Italy,  is calm, clean, quiet, and reserved.  It has excellent shopping everywhere with specialties in leather goods and higher fashion.

Of course, Florence was the center of The Renaissance.  But for me, Renaissance means Medici Money Bags and Bad Behaving Catholic Popes.  So its’ history is NOT my thing but our family enjoyed it.

The Uffizi Museum was okay but NOT so interesting to me.  And we all missed The David Statue at the Academia Museum because of some time conflicts. Nevertheless, we spent 3 days in the city and it was much better than I expected.  There was NOT alot of tourist traps or people hassling us.  So that was good.  To me, seems like a very livable small city in Italy.

Betty, Dolores, Frank and I hanging out in Pisa


OK, that was better than expected. I enjoyed seeing the Leaning Tower and the Cathedral; a good day trip. Worth it.


OK, much better than expected. If I were to live in Northern Italy, Lucca would be a great choice. Besides, that is where Puccini was born.  So that’s cool.  They have excellent walking and bike riding trails along the Medieval walls that surround the city. The medieval streets are very interesting and super great for walking and doing the PASSAGIATA!

Betty and I standing just outside the Venice Santa Lucia Train Station where you can see the canal just behind us.


I dreaded Venice because it seemed like one big tourist trap. I imagined being hassled by Gondola sales hacks and street vendors selling me trinkets from China.  And in many ways, the city is just for tourists.

Most Venetians live on the mainland not here on the Island. So yeah, it’s one big city full of just tourists.  But it was NOT annoying at all.

Nobody hassled us at all which made it so much better than expected. The lack of hassling gave us a chance to walk the beautiful city and just enjoy it as it should be. The canals are quaint and truly unique.

And when one combines the experience with taking a strong summary of its history and how it was built, well, the positive experience is amplified by 10.   So yeah, it was cool.

Oh, Betty and I attended a fantastic local Opera production from one of the schools for just $ 45 per ticket.  It was in an old theatre about a 4-minute walk from St. Marks.  That was super cool.

Opera in Venice! Puccini, Mozart, Verdi and more

But what about St. Marks Square?

Well, because it was raining there were hardly any people there.  So that was cool.  Nevertheless, St. Marks Square was not much for us. We preferred just walking the narrow streets, going over bridges, and getting lost in the great labyrinth that emerged in the 9th century and peaked in the 15th.

Oh, we found an INDIAN restaurant hidden in the backstreets; the best food we had in Venice! Go figure! We spent 4 days….just enough to see everything at a slow enjoyable pace!

At the Bridge of Sighs in Venice; just behind the Doge’s Palace off St. Marks Square


Well, I want to go back to Sicily to explore the whole island. I love Sicily. And for the north?  I want to visit Cinque Terre because Betty, my wife, wants to check it out and so there’s that!


Tomorrow, I am off to Vienna Austria to hang out with my cousin for a few weeks. It will be super cold.  But I am ready.  Mostly, I will lock down and develop GLOBAL THINKERS; my next good-for-the-soul business venture that will help others build wealth and realize their dreams.

Most everyone who knows me understands that MONEY is a passion for me.  No, not the greed vain part but the part that moves it; how it works and runs our lives every single day.

I have spent over 50 years trying to master this wayward man-made construct.  After so many decades of wrangling with it, I think I finally got a very good handle on it.  I know I can help the up-and-comers figure it out so they can also have great success in their lives too.  That seems like a great place for me to hang my hat on as I move into my 60s and 70s.  So stay tuned because I will be launching forward in just a few weeks.

As for Palestine?  Let’s wait it out and see what happens.  Maybe I can get in there and help out…..hopefully.