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After 48 hours of travel — we finally made it to Rome about 1030 am this morning (Sunday, May 10). We were upgraded to first class which was a hoot. The seats actually lay flat into a bed. Unbelievable — a great night’s sleep on an international flight. And, the food was pretty good, also.
The plane had to fly up over Greenland and Iceland, and then come south from Norway to Italy just to avoid the volcanic dust. So, that added a couple of hours to the flight.
Since it put us into Leonardo di Vinci Airport late, the plane had to park on a taxiway and we were bussed to the terminal.
After retrieving our luggage (yes, it did arrive), we took an express train from the airport to Rome and then walked the two blocks to our cute little hotel (Roman Residence). Massimo, the owner, met us at the door and had us situated, comfortable, and organized in no time at all.
Our room at the Roman Residence
We had reservations at the Vatican Museum for 11 am, but couldn’t make those. So, Massimo rescheduled us for 2 pm. We hopped the metro (only a block from the hotel) and made it to the museum with plenty of time to spare.
Through all of our FaceBook notes, we had learned that one of my directors from my Fox Health Network days was in Rome and to be at the Vatican Museum at 2 pm also, but we were not able to connect with Danny and his wife. Bummer.
But, the artwork in the museum was overwhelming in quantity and quality.
Incredible art (Raphael’s Transfiguration)
Incredible sculpture (The Loacoon)
And, of course, at the end of an amazing afternoon in the museum, we ended up in the Sistine Chapel. We sat for sometime just examining and studying Michelangelo’s masterful frescos.
The Last Judgement (above the altar of the chapel)
The creation of Adam
Barb liked Noah’s Ark
Then, thanks to Rick Steve’s Guidebook, we found a side exit to the Sistine Chapel and were able to get over and into St. Peter’s Basilica.
Some tourist in front of Michelangelo’s dome.
Over 200 yards from front to back, it’s a massive basilica.
Bernini’s high altar in St. Peter’s
The beauty of Michelangelo’s Pieta
Well, it was a wonderful introduction into some of what we will see over the next couple of weeks, culminating in attending Ann Hartman’s wedding right here in St. Peter’s on Friday, May 21. Now, we’re even more looking forward to this wonderful event.
After wearing ourselves out, it was back on the metro to our hotel and dinner at a small neighborhood restaurant where two brothers from Naples made us a an amazing pizza and calzone.
Now, it’s to bed early — we’re exhausted — and then up and to the train station for our trip to Venice tomorrow.
Here’s the entire series:
Dr. Walt and Barb’s Italian Adventure — May 8-25, 2010
If you’ve ever wanted to go to Italy (or even if you have in the past), you’ll want to come along with us and enjoy the sites, sounds, food, and art.
Hopefully, this blog will stimulate you to put visiting these amazing cities on your to-do list. Just click on any of the days or cities you want to visit with us.
- Days #1 and 2 – Flight Nightmares
- Okay, so you think you don’t know anyone whose plane to Europe was canceled due to the volcanic ash … or who were on another plane that blew two tires on take off and had to make an emergency landing … well now you do!
- Day #3 – Rome
- Rome and the Vatican Museum. Come visit the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and Michelangelo’s Pieta.
- Day #4 – Venice
- The tourists call it ‘Venice,’ the Italians call it ‘Venezia,’ while the Venetians call it ‘Venexia.’ Barb and I call it romantic and captivating. Come on an afternoon and evening stroll and be quickly drawn into her whimsical wonderment … right to the Rialto Bridge.
- Day #5 – Venice
- We were awakened by the sound of an accordion and an operatic voice, singing to a couple taking a romantic ride in a gondola in the canal just outside our hotel window. Then off to Piazza San Marco, St. Mark’s Basilica, the Bridge of Sighs, and an amazing discovery.
- Day #6 – Venice to Cinque Terre
- We spent the day traveling to the Cinque Terre. If you’ve never heard of it, you’ll want to visit the next two days with us.
- Day #7 – Cinque Terre Day #1
- We awoke this morning to throw open our shutters and let in the fresh sea air and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. The music of small children laughing in the square, and the smell of fresh-baked bread from the bar below us wafted up and in our window. Today we explored Riomaggiore, the ‘Via dell’Amore,’ Manarola, and Corniglia. Come along with us.
- Day #8 – Cinque Terre Day #2
- Cinque Terre is a remote mountainous chunk of the Italian riveria that is called “the traffic-free, lowbrow, underappreciated alternative to the French Riveria … just sun, sea, sand (pebbles), wine, and pure, unadulterated Italy … exploring, hiking, shopping, and evening romance in one of God’s great gifts to tourism.” Join us as we visit Monterossa.
- Day #9 – Florence Day #1
- A trip by Carrara (home of the world famous marble), Pisa (home of the world famous tower), and then to Florence for quick visits to the Duomo and the Baptistery to see Ghiberti’s bronze doors. And, it was a hot night in Florence.
- Day #10 – Florence Day #2
- Come visit the Oltrarno area, to the south of the Arno River, to get a sense of rustic, old Florence. Then, off to the Santa Croce Basilica and the amazing tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, Dante, and Machiavelli.
- Day #11 – Florence Day #3
- The Uffizi Museum, the greatest collection of Italian art anywhere, was our morning adventure. Then join us at Piazzale Michelangelo, where we saw a second copy of Michelangelo’s David, and relived our memories of romance 30 years ago … followed by an evening at the Palazzo Vecchio and a wonderful meal at the Fescobaldi Wine Bar.
- Day #12 – Florence Day #4
- Join us at the underappreciated Duomo Museum and then the Academy, to meet the real David. Our afternoon was Fra Angelica and the Santa Maria Novalle Church. For our Florentine finale, the Lord was pleased to provide us a riverside, bridge-view table near the Ponte Vecchio for sunset.
- Days #13-14 – Rome Days #1-2 – The Wedding
- We’ve been to a lot of weddings in our lives, but a wedding at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican comes right at the top. We had a magnificent time with dear friends, accompanied by fantastic fellowship and food.
- Day #15 – Rome Day #3
- Join us for a journey through the Trastevere area of Rome, and then to devotions at the Church of St. Cecilia, followed by our amazing trip to the Villa Borghese Gallery. Our evening was capped off at the magnificent Trevi Fountain and the the world-famous Spanish Steps.
- Day #16 – Our Last Day – Rome Day #4
- We’ll start at the Roman coliseum, an tour by the Arch of Constantine, the ostentatious Victor Emmanuel Monument, and Bernini’s Four Rivers fountain in the Piazza Novona. As well as a visit with an amazing young man.
We’ve hoped you’ve had fun accompanying us on this trip to Italy, and that one day you’ll be blessed to experience and enjoy her yourself.