S: Italy November 2011
FC: Italy November 2011
1: Packed and ready to go!
2: After a 9 and a half hour transatlantic flight, I landed in Rome. I couldn't check into the hotel for a couple of hours, so I met up with a few tour mates and hit the streets to explore. We had our first real Italian meal at this cute pizzeria! | Benvenuti a Roma!
3: After our delicious pizza, we went to the Museo Nazionale Romano. There we saw hundreds of ancient statutes that had been collected and preserved from ruins around Rome
4: Beautiful sights to see around Rome! | Taking a break in the piazza!
5: Checking into the Hotel! | Each day our schedule was posted in the lobby.
6: Walking Tour of Rome | Twin Churches Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria di Montesanto | Our first stop was the Piazza del Popolo The People's Square
7: A view from the top of the Scalinata della Trinit dei Monti The Spanish Steps | Fontana della Barcaccia Fountain of the Old Boat | Piazza di Spagna
8: The Trevi Fountain | Throwing my coin into the fountain so that I can return to Rome! | My roommate Amber and I.
9: I told the waiter to surprise me with a good flavor combination and he gave me kiwi, pistachio and vanilla. It was delicious! | First Gelato in Italy!
10: The Pantheon Site of the world's largest dome! | We couldn't go inside to see the dome because Sunday Mass was in progress. | One of the many obelisks we saw around Rome
11: Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in Piazza Navona | The Fountain of the Four Rivers depicts Gods to represent the four major rivers of Renaissance times. | The Ganges River | The Nile River | The Danube River | Rio de la Plata
12: The Colosseum | The entrances of the stadium were numbered. Although events at the Colosseum were free to attend, spectators had to get tickets with assigned seats.
13: "Contiki: Follow the Guide!" | There was a replica of the floor of the stadium. It was covered with sand which was used to absorb the blood from gladiator battles!
14: Arco di Costantino The Arch of Constantine | Archo di Titus The Arch of Titus
15: Foro Romano The Roman Forum | The site where Julius Caesar was cremated. | The oldest sidewalk in Rome.
16: Pizza Dinner and Demonstration
17: Vatican City Museum | Cortille Della Pigna | Picture of a picture of the Sistine Chapel because you can't photograph the real one. | Sfera con Sfera Sphere Within Sphere
18: Beautiful Statues, Ceilings, and Tapestries inside the Vatican Museum! | This tapestry was woven with real gold and silver | The stone that Jesus is walking on is an optical illusion. It rotates as you walk past it!
19: Piazza San Pietro Saint Peter's Square The Pope says Mass here every Wednesday! | If you stand on the Centre Del Colonnato, the columns of the Tuscan Colonnades disappear. Four rows morph into one! Another optical illusion! | The Pope's Balcony!
20: Basilica Sancti Petri Saint Peter's Basilica | The Porta Sancta (Holy Door) which only opens during the Holy Year of Jubilee, every 25 years. | The Dome of Saint Peter's Basilica. The Main Alter | Michelangelo's Pieta This sculpture shows Jesus on Mary's lap after the Crucifixion.
21: Last Afternoon in Rome! | Shopping at the Vatican Gift Shop | Cappuccino with New Friends! | Scarf Shopping! | Yum!
22: Firenze Florence | After visiting Vatican City, we spent the afternoon on the bus traveling to Florence. When we arrived, we couldn't wait to go exploring! It was on this night Lisa and I met the charming "Fernando" and his friend "Donnie."
23: Walking Tour of Florence | Piazza Della Signoria | Fake David at his original location. | Benvenuto Cellini's Perseus With the Head of Medusa | Bartolommeo Bandinelli's Hercules and Cacus | Giambologna's The Rape of the Sabine Women | Fountain of Neptune | Equestrian statue by Giambologna
24: Ponte Vecchio The Old Bridge This was the only bridge in Florence that was not destroyed during WWII, making it the oldest bridge in the city. It is famous for its gold jewelery shops.
25: Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore and Giotto's Campanile
26: Inside Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower) aka "The Duomo"
27: The Last Judgment by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari
28: Climbing the steps of The Duomo - all 463 of them!
29: The view from the top was worth every step! It was breathtaking! I could see the entire city!
30: David by Michaelangelo The original statue is kept in the Gallerie dell'Accademia (Accademia Gallery). It shows the moment when David decides to fight the giant Goliath. According to my audio guide David has "tight buns." I agree!
31: Our Tuscan dinner was the best food included on our trip! Unfortunately, the pianist who was supposed to provide the entertainment for the night could not make it, so the owner gave us all of the free wine we could drink!
32: Enjoying drinks at the Space Electronic Disco. After all the free wine during dinner, we had fun singing karaoke and dancing the night away!
33: After our big day in Florence, the group set out to tour the Tuscan countryside. | Our first stop was the hill town of San Gimignano. | It is also known as "Medieval Manhattan" for the tall towers built to protect the city in the 13oos.
34: The wall that surrounded the city to keep out the barbarians.
35: Wine and Olive Oil Tasting in the Chianti Region of Tuscany
36: Piazzale Michelangelo Michelangelo's Square This overlook has a magnificent panoramic view of Florence. | A view of David's tight buns! This copper replica is David #3 for those who are counting.
37: The Leaning Tower of Pisa Torre Pendente di Pisa | The prizewinning picture I took for the photo contest!
38: Verona Home of Romeo and Juliet! Legend has it that if you touch Juliet's right breast you will be lucky in love! | Juliet's Balcony
40: Venezia Venice | We took a train and a private boat to the islands of Venice. It was cold! Brrrrrrr!!!
41: Palazzo Ducale Doge's Palace was home to the Doge of Venice and where the government met. | Ponte dei Sospiri The Bridge of Sighs was where prisoners crossed the river to be executed and had their last view of the outside world and their families. | The Lion of Saint Mark | Campanile di San Marco | Torre dell'Orologio
42: Ponte di Rialto The Rialto Bridge | Venice is a collection of islands connected by hundreds of bridges and waterways.
43: Murano is an island off the coast of Venice that is famous for glass blowing. | We got to see a glass blowing demonstration where the artisan made a vase and a glass horse.
44: Venetian Mask Demonstration | The Venetian Masks were worn during the Carnevale celebration before the beginning of Lent. People wore masks to hide their identities so they could party it up without fear of repercussions. Doctors wore the long nosed mask during the plague and stuffed the beak with perfume and herbs to hide the horrible smells.
45: Gondola Ride Good Friends + a Bottle of Prosecco + Gorgeous Scenery = One Memorable Voyage
46: Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco Saint Mark's Basilica | A beautiful church covered from top to bottom with golden mosaics from the Byzantine Empire. | The Venetian Lion! | Piazza San Marco St. Mark's Square
47: Palazzo Ducale Courtyard | Santa Maria della Salute The Basilica of St Mary of Health was where people with the plague were quarantined.