Our first stop in Italy was in a small town near Venice, Padova. (sadly Venice was too expensive to take our large group). In Padova we saw a church that has some beautiful frescos that are in the process of being preserved. We couldn't take pictures in the Church but seeing the damage and then seeing the vibrant restored frescos was breathtaking.
After the morning in Padova we drove to Florence! Where we got to see Michelangelo's David. There are no words worthy to describe that piece. His magnificence and determination is stunning. Florence was beautiful, it was small and the streets were crowded but it was such a busy vibrant town. Our first night in Florence we went to a concert that was held in the main square. There were local performers, all performing around several world renowned statues, and me and some friends got to see it! Some other things I did in Florence:
- on the first day I ate about 4 cups of Gelato....don't judge that stuff is AMAZING! You thought ice cream was good....just wait till you get a hold of Gelato; it will change your life....literally!
- Hiked the Duomo, (I have hiked 3 domes, 2 towers and I have caluclated to have climbed over 3,000 stairs in just hiking domes and towers!)
- Ate more Gelato
- Went to several museums and churches
- BOUGHT A LEATHER JACKET!!!
Rome is awesome!! We stayed at a little convent with Nuns! It was probably one of the nicest places I've stayed at here! (except for our little Hostel on the lake in Velden, Austria). Anyways the Convent was right in between ancient Rome and the Vatican, so we could walk EVERYWHERE!!! My feet have never been so tired!
The first day in Rome we went to ancient Rome. Saw tons of Churches, including my favorite the Idgnazio Cathedral. I love the illusion created on the ceiling. We ate Panini's in front of the Colosseum and walked through the Roman Forum. After we went to the Spanish Steps and went into an Crypt that has been entirely decorated with bones. At first they may seem gruesome and disrespectful but the more I learned about the reasoning behind this skeletal art the more moving it became. The churches lands were being conviscated and developed and in order to preserve their dead from being tilled into development they dug them up and had to find a way to fit them into the crypt in the church. So a little morbid but incredibly fasinating! (Wish I could show you a picture of it but I wasn't allowed to take photographs).
The Second day in Rome, we went to the Vatican. Saw all the sights from the movie Angels and Demons. haha no we did a lot more than that. We went thorugh the vatican museum and at the end of the museum is the Sistine Chapel. That ceiling is aboslutely astounding. For how much Michelangelo hated to paint and disliked the commission for the chapel he did an incredible job. It was such a spiritual experience to see it and to see the connections and how much understanding he possessed of the gospel. After the Sistine Chapel we hiked another dome!!! Saint Peter's Basillica, and then went into the chapel and saw Michelangelo's first Pieta. This Pieta I though would be my favorite but I wasn't as moved as I had been when I saw the unfinished Pieta, the David, or even the Sistine Chapel.
My favorite part of Rome was going into the Borghese Museum, this museum hold Burnini's scuplutres. I don't have words to describe them, but the detail and the delicasy of those scupltures took my breath away and carried me to the story he depicted. It was incredible
On our final day in Rome we went to see the Pope speek in Saint Peter's Square. That was quite the experience, it was really long so we ended up leaving half way through because we had other places to see.
Rome was so much fun, it was beautiful. Less stressful than Paris but full of culture and good food :P Acutally the food wasn't quite as amazing as I expected in Italy, but we think that was becase we didn't really have the time to discover real Italian food, we were stuck with touristy foods :(
The final thing in Italy was the beach and the ruins. We went to the beach in Italy, so I have now swam the Mediterannean! After the beach we drove to Ostia. I loved the ruins of Ostia that we visited they were so neat. We found ancient paintings that had been left on the walls in some buildings.
(Sorry theres not pictures on this blog, the internet here won't let me add them. So check facebook for photos!)