Monday, June 18, 2012

Italy : Part Four {Northern Tuscany & Lucca}

Last stop: Lucca in Northern Tuscany. It was the perfect place to go after a wonderfully exhausting 3 days in Rome. Our medieval monastery turned hotel was about ten miles out of town with olive groves and vineyards as far as they eye could see. Lucca is a small, medieval, walled town that seems frozen in time. Not medieval times, thankfully, but maybe a hundred years ago. Shopfronts still bear original Art Nouveau signs in etched and gilded glass. We meandered through the narrow streets going in and out of shops and cafes. I think I want to live there. Maybe my husband can plant a church next to our enchanting little hilltop hotel.

Entering Lucca.


This was Composer Puccini's favorite cafe. Lucca is his hometown and they LOVE him.

After our car ride from Rome, the caretaker brought us a little Italian "snack" - their wine, their olives. Yes, I ate every single one of those olives.

Breakfast. I so miss starting every day with Italian coffee and croissants.
Our Hotel

Adore that place.
More piazza sitting.
Roadside poppies everywhere.
The hotel ristorante. Possibly the best meal we had in Italy.
 We tore ourselves away and made our way to the airport.

Going home.
 Nine days with my husband in Italy. Absolutely dreamy.

Italy : Part Three {Rome}

Three days in Roma! We saw so much it was hard to take it in. There was an occasional taxi drive to dinner, but we mostly just walked the city. The streets were fascinating, magical, full of energy.
I can't wait to go back.

A smallish sampling of the zillion pictures we took...

The Colosseum
I think I consumed about this much bread in Italy. All dipped in olive oil, of course.

There are no benches in Rome. Just steps and ruins.

AMAZING exhibit at the Capitoline Museum - The Vatican Secret Archives
We were blown away by the things we saw here! This is the first time the Vatican has released this sampling of the archives for display. The Papal Bull excommunicating Martin Luther. The Edict of Worms. The letter from Parliament to Pope Clement VII urging him to annul Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Mary Stuart's hasty letter before her execution asking Pope Sixtus V to recommend her soul to God. Erasmus of Rotterdam's praise of moderation. Condemnation of Galileo for saying we were a heliocentric universe. The list goes on and on. It was AMAZING!

Roman Forum - from Capitoline Museum

One of the many photos texted to our kids. Coliseum was on Will's spelling test this day. I'm still not sure how I'm supposed to spell it.

Gelato. What we ate when we weren't eating bread and pasta.

Best Gelato of the trip.
Gallery of Maps - Vatican Museum
Raphael (in black) watching us all admire his School of Athens at the Vatican Museum. The Raphael Rooms of the Vatican - I could have stayed there all day.
Sistine Chapel. Unbelievable. Absolutely thrilling to stand there.

The crazy long line for St. Peter's. We decided to come back first thing in the morning.
St. Peter's Basilica
Swiss Guard - Vatican

Oh, the markets! And the samples!

The Pantheon

Back to St. Peter's at 7am on a rainy Monday morning. It was practically empty. Perfect.
Bernini's Baldacchino above the Papal Altar.

Breathtaking. Michelangelo's Pieta, tucked in the front corner of St. Peter's.
This was as close as we could get because of services. Sigh.
Trevi Fountain
A stop at a "Snack Bar" - fantastic people watching.
We saw SO many beautiful churches. This ceiling is said to be made from the first gold brought back from The New World.
Trevi Fountain at night.
The scene.
Spanish Steps at night
 Ciao, Roma!


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