Walls of the Sistine Chapel (the official residence of the Pope in Vatican City)
Just one of the many painted ceilings in the Sistine Chapel
Another view inside the Sistine Chapel
Danny and Terri...the reason we were able to go on this trip...thank you!!
Best friends and cousins and travel buddies...William (10) and Joseph(7)
Dropping Presley off at "MawMaw Camp" for the week...this was very difficult for me...but not for her! She had the time of her life!!
This was one of the most amazing things that we did. Lem, Joseph and I went inside this church and climbed 28 steps on our knees as we prayed.
The 28 marble stairs carefully preserved in this handsome building are traditionally the steps walked up by Christ on his way to trial before Pontius Pilate. St. Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, was a pioneering collector of relics, and the staircase is supposedly among her finds, brought to Rome in c.326 AD.
Devout pilgrims still mount the steps on their knees, praying. The rate of progress is very slow and looks suitably punishing. Nowadays the stairs are protected by wood, although there are holes cut through above marks which are supposed to be Jesus's blood (you won't be able to see through these unless you do the kneeling). Which we did!
The Pantheon..The Pantheon stands as the most complete Roman structure on earth, having survived 20 centuries of plunder, pillage and invasion.
overlooking a hot spring in one of the villages nearby
outside our villa, heading to dinner.
coming up the driveway to the villa....
another view of the villa...
waiting and waiting and waiting at the airport...our first flight was cancelled, then the second flight was cancelled the next day, then on the third day we took off!! we ended up leaving 2 days later than planned. very frustrating, but the trip was worth the wait!
About to take off!
Joseph's very first plane ride!
Our first morning in Italy, Lem is awake very early and drinking coffee in this coat of many colors bath robe..;)
The view from our villa..Poggio di Sopra
Poggio di Sopra...the back view...the pool was overlooking the wine vineyard
The European way..swimming caps..William and Joseph
Standing on the outskirts of a village in Pienza
A replica of the David outside of Galleria dell'Accademia..the original can be found inside the Gallery...no pictures can be taken inside.
Joseph's first glass of wine at Castello Romitorio
Dinner in Montalcino
This magnificent piece of work is St. Peter's Basilica (the largest church in the world)..... in Vatican City
A very happy couple standing in St. Peter's Basilica..this is right next to the Sistine Chapel. St. Peter is buried here, as well as all of the Pope's. We toured their tombs.
One of Michelangelo's famous paintings, "The Creation of Adam" on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. This is only one of many paintings on the ceiling..it was truly incredible.
Standing in front of the Colosseum
Jess, Rob, Me, William and Joseph enjoy one last day in Rome
I think I have finally figured out why the delay in posting about our trip to Italy. Just like how I never finished reading the sequel to "Gone with the Wind"...I just couldn't bear to let it end.The same holds true to our trip to Italy. My heart wants to hold onto the memories and not share them for fear of releasing them from my soul. Weird, strange and creepy, I know.
Italy has a piece of my heart and always will. I can't explain how a vacation can change you, and change your view of the world, but somehow it did. Those of you reading this that are fortunate enough to travel the world and see much more than I have probably know this feeling. Mere words cannot describe the beauty of this country and the vast differences in their culture. Differences that I want to remember and adhere to in some way.
Since we have returned, Lem and I have been true to Italian traditions by having a glass of red wine each evening together after the children go to bed. It has become quite fun trying new wines from the Tuscany region(with a small budget in mind). We discovered that our favorite wine on the planet is Brunello di Montalcino by Castello Romitorio. This happens to be the same winery that we toured and the owner of the winery actually owns the villa that we stayed. He is an artist who became famous after moving to New York City. He lives in a castle half of the year, and in New York the other half. This delicious wine is made from the sangiovese grape, which is only harvested in Tuscany. It cannot be harvested anywhere else in the world. Isn't that fascinating? If you want to try it sometime, we have discovered that none other than the trusty old Sigman Bottle Shop in Conyers has this wine. The cost is a whopping $50.00. However, if you want something that is made from the same region by the same grapes, for a LOT less....you can find something for around $16.00 a bottle there as well.(Much more our speed!)
Lem, Joseph and I have been able to see a view of the world like no other. The bond that we share in being able to partake in European traditions, culture, cuisine, and art will intertwine our hearts eternally. With this in mind, I am adamant about taking Presley when she is old enough to appreciate and savor the opportunity as we did.
My heart swells with memories and remembrances every time I look at our pictures. The overwhelming sites and historical churches and monuments are almost too much to breathe in. Head spinning and mouth wide open is the way that I would describe the way I looked the whole trip. Not a pretty sight, but I really couldn't help myself. God's handiwork was apparent at every turn. If you don't believe me, just look at the pictures. They say a picture paints a thousand words, and for this I'm grateful. My meager vocabulary cannot express the majesty of this place.
Buona Serra for now ,
P.s...I am posting many more pictures at our Shutterfly sharesite as we speak..check them out if you would like at:
Many thanks to our wonderful travel companions Rob, Jessica, William, Danny and Terri for making this trip even better by enjoying it together with all of you!