Finally, we’ve reached the final day of our Italian adventure – and Sunday in Rome is a wonderful way to do this.
This morning we said good-bye to Massimo, our host at the Roman Residence, since we will likely be gone for the airport by the time he arrives tomorrow. We recommend him and his four-room hotel highly. Massimo could not have made us feel more at home (and even had a load of laundry done for us). Being a native, he can give you all the tips you need to know.
We spent our last day here just wandering through the ancient ruins and the old central city. We visited and worshipped in a number of churches, viewing relics …
St. Peter’s chains
Fabulous sculpture …
Cute little terra cotta …
Barb says this is a lady’s purse with a crawfish
And, even found another church with three more unexpected Caravaggios …
Caravaggio’s The Calling of Matthew (don’t you love the “you talkin’ to me” look on Matthew’s face as Jesus calls him)
Of course, we had to see the ruins, including the Roman coliseum …
… Constatine’s Arch …
… and the Roman Forum … ending with the ostentatious Victor Emmanuel Monument.
And, what trip to Rome is complete without seeing the statue of the She-Wolf with Romulus and Remus …
And a statue of a Caesar, in this case Marcus Aurelius …
But, the highlight of the day was just wandering from piazza to piazza, each with its own wonderful sites, statues, sounds, and shops.
Bernini’s Four Rivers fountain in Piazza Novona (this man represents the Ganges)
But, the most meaningful moments to us were based upon a prayer I had this morning during my quiet time … it was that the Lord might lead us back to the young crippled man we had met yesterday. I realized the odds of this prayer being answered were pretty low … but, the Lord was pleased to do just that (isn’t that just like Him?).
We didn’t see the handicapped fellow by the Trevi fountain, as we had yesterday, but rather, just caught a view of him on a side street. He was watching an artist draw a comical characture of a Roman woman. As her family smiled and laughed, so did he – off to the side, at a distance.
Despite his terrible physical condition, here was a young man apparently full of joy.
We knelt down and introduced ourselves. He smiled from ear-to-ear. I’m sure he recognized Barb.
He said his name was Nicholi and that he was from Armenia. We gave him almost all of our remaining money as a gift and blessed him. We pray he uses it wisely. We pray also that we might meet him again, healed, in Heaven itself. Perhaps you’ll offer a prayer for him, also.
As we left him, I hugged Barb and handed her my handkerchief. We exchanged no words. But, I believe that when our hearts are broken (or, at the very least, saddened) by the poor and their plight, that somehow we are closer to the heart of God.
After a romantic lunch, our last gelato, a good-bye to the Trevi fountain, and a last metro ride, we’re back at the hotel. We’re packing now … but not just our clothes.
We’re also bringing home memories that we think will last a lifetime. Viewing a history and a culture allows one a better view, I think, of him or herself. St. Augustine once wrote, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Amen.
We cannot travel without learning not only more about our world and her people, but also more about ourselves.
Our trip to Italy was, then, more than just seeing many wonderful sights; it was a change in us, a change that will go on and on – one that will be, should be, deep and permanent. Or, as Henry Miller wrote, “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”
And, we pray, we come home different … more sensitive, more inquisitive, more knowledgeable, of people and their Creator. For, “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness,” said Mark Twain.
And, for those of you who are thinking … I wish I could do a trip like this … our encouragement would be … DO IT!
Mark Twain rightly recorded, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
And, let us know when you go, so that we might enjoy sharing in your blog.
Thanks for joining us for our trip. Join us in praying for a safe trip home tomorrow. And, if you haven’t, put Italy on your bucket list.
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.