FC: The Road to Italy and Greece Summer 2008 Book One
1: * Rome * Pisa * Florence * Padua * Venice * Perugia | * Delphi * Athens
2: July 5: Rome - Vatican City When we got to Vatican City there was no waiting for our group, although there was quite a long line. We first walked through a hall of sculptures, then a hall of tapestries, and finally a hall of maps. We were impressed by the grandeur of everything. The hall of maps was particularly interesting . The maps were very detailed and amazingly they are accurate with only about 20% errors in each map. That's incredible for maps made hundreds of years ago! After the hall of maps we went into the Sistine Chapel. It was not a very big place but it was very crowded so perhaps it just seemed smaller. Still we were able to look up at the ceiling with reverence and awe for the
3: undertaking it must have been. Michaelangelo must have had such perseverance. Even so four years seems little time to have completed such a masterpiece. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to photograph the ceiling. Next we visited the enormous St. Peter's Basilica where we were able to see Michaelangelo's Pieta, the beautiful dome, and many other wonders. In St. Peter's square we walked by the obelisk and the fountains. We looked up at the pope's bedroom window which was shuttered, meaning he was not at home. The whole Vatican was amazing and we enjoyed seeing such an important place during our visit there.
4: (Left) One of the beautiful hallways in the Vatican Museum (Right) The famous Pieta | The entrance to the Vatican Museum | One of the tapestries in the Gallery of Tapestries | Another of the Flemish Tapestries.
5: To the left is an altar where only the pope is allowed to preach. On the right you can see the monolith and the massive scale of the buildings. | Julie in front of St. Peter's Basilica | The important chimney they use to show whether a new pope has been chosen. | This is just a picture of the beautiful dome inside of St. Peter's Basilica. The Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world.
7: Rome - The Colosseum After visiting The Vatican we headed to the Colosseum. On the way we went by the ruins of the real Cesar's Palace, aqua ducts, the Constantine Gate, and the three remaining pillars of the temple ofCastor and Pollux. It was just incredible to be walking on such historical ground. The Colosseum leaves one speechless. Even though it is in ruins it is still a magnificent place. We were not able to go to all the levels but could see under the stage where people prepared for the shows. What an intriguing place!
8: That evening we took a walk with our tour group through the city. Our first stop was the Pantheon where we saw the tomb of Raphael. He chose to be buried there because he thought it was the most
9: beautiful building in all of Rome. Just outside the Pantheon we stopped to get some gelato which was delicious. We walked through the shopping district and ended on The Spanish Steps. We walked up all 138 of them and found they lead to the Spanish church. Later we went to dinner in an Opera restaurant. The food was very good and we were entertained by an four talented singers.
10: The next day (July 6) we decided to strike out on our own. We wanted to spend more time at the Colosseum and walk around the Circus Maximus, the largest stadium in ancient Rome. We also wanted to visit the H
12: A visit to the famous Trevi Fountain where we both threw coins in to ensure that we would return to Rome one day. We stayed up late this evening to take photos of Rome by night.
14: We got up early on the morning of July 7th and headed toward Florence. On the way we stopped in Pisa to see to leaning tower. We didn't have time to climb to the top of the tower so we walked around it and took a look inside the cathedral. Before we headed back to the bus we decided to grab a bite to eat from a little food cart. Even though it was just a fast food version we can say we actually ate pizza in Pisa in Italy. Unfortunately our lunch got interrupted by a downpour and we were forced to wait under the awning of a nearby shop until the bus arrived to take us on to Florence.
16: July 7, 2008 - We arrived late afternoon in Florence, one of the most beautiful cities we have ever seen. We had a short time at the hotel before heading off to a Tuscan dinner. Later that evening we walked into town and had our first glimpse of Florence. We spent the next two days wandering through the magnificent and stunning city!