Here are my favorites from my Italy trip in May 2006.
San Pietro in Vincoli Basilica with poppies in the foreground (Rome)
Man watching his tiny little car, my favorite (Rome)
Bramante’s Tempietto (Rome)
Somewhere in Rome…I can’t quite recall
A garden path at our hotel (Siena)
Trevi Fountain (Rome)
Other side of the Arno from the Ponte Vecchio (Florence)
Basilica of Santa Croce (Florence)
Hotel Flora (Venice)
The pigeons and Meme and Rachel (Venice)
Inside the Doge’s Palace (Venice)
On the Bridge of Sighs (Venice)
Doge’s Palace (Venice)
Street scene (Venice)
La famiglia (Venice)
Fresco at St Marks (Venice)
Basilica di San Marco (Venice)
New best friend at Trattoria Mario, home of best pasta bolognese ever (Florence)
Monument to Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (Rome)
Trattoria Mario (Florence)
Monday, May 29, 2006
There are a few things I have noticed in the hour or so I have been in Italy. First is Italian men. They dress better than any other men in the world. They are fashion conscious and aren’t ashamed of it. Styled hair, tight fitting blazers, tight jeans, designer Italian loafers or “athletic” shoes that have never done anything more athletic than strutting. It really is beautiful, even in the rain. There’s so much history. I wish I could have seen it when all the great artists were studying light. The architecture astounds me. The other thing I noticed is that no one drives American cars. They are all small flat hatchbacks except for the luxury cars. It makes me sad to see gorgeous old buildings covered by brick or graffiti. People study these places. Why not speak words instead of spraying them?
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Yesterday was difficult. I practically didn’t eat anything. I hope it gets warmer and sunnier. Venice just isn’t Venice in this weather. It was MISERABLE in Murano. We got out of the rain when we went to see the master glassblowers. It was very interesting, but I don’t have the patience or grace to make something. We came back to Venice in enough time to find tourist shops and go to Doge’s Palace. I bought a thong out of a vending machine in Murano for 2 Euro. We saw David boxer briefs that we want to buy Juan. It would be funny. Doge’s Palace was huge and extravagant. I bought a charm and some postcards. We ate dinner and lots of creepy Carnivale costume shops next to the Hotel Casanova. I didn’t know until today that he was an actual writer. Seeing that movie did make Venice more magical. Too bad the weather was terrible.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
We left Venice today on the day it finally turned sunny. We sat on the train for a very long time. It felt so European. We met a girl from Marietta who went to Pope and lives on Johnson Ferry and now goes to Ole Miss. She and her friend were going to Rome after spending 2 weeks going through London, Prague, Amsterdam, and other places. They still have another month to go and don’t know their plans yet. The Italian countryside was beautiful. Many suburbs looked like they could be in America. We finally arrived in Florence and I knew it would be my favorite. It is more of a city. Our hotel is an old palazzo that is furnished like a castle. It has views of nearly everything. It is right across from the Ospedale degli Innocentes, created by Brunelleschi. It was Europe’s first ever orphanage. You could bring the child and place it on a stone that was turned around. It was named for the innocent children Harod of the Bible killed trying to get rid of Jesus. It is still used as the UNICEF building. We wandered towards the Florence Cathedral but didn’t go in. It is absolutely mind-blowingly MASSIVE. You can’t look at much of it at once. It would take lots of shots to capture it on film. We bought some postcards and had some fab fettuccini alfredro. We wandered through the market but didn’t buy anything. Tomorrow we get to see lots of art! Then we have to leave to go to Siena. But then we will be in ROMA and I can go to an internet cafe to see who my roommate is and what building I am in. Then I will home and sleep lots.
Thursday, June 1, 2006
I slept great on the roll away bed, surprisingly enough. We woke up early to go to the Accademia. We saw the David and it was astounding. Its impossible to describe how intense it is. It really is perfect and you really do have to walk around it to fully experience Michelangelo’s intricacy, just as Ms. Hardage says. We met a guy who has a daughter at James Madison and Boston. We made the enormous trek to the top of the Duomo. We were so high that my legs turned to jelly. One of the frescoes was of the Devil eating a human. Gross. I walked around the Cathedral twice trying to find everyone. I found lots of monks and nuns. My memory card was full, so we got the pictures put on a cd so that I have enough disk space for Siena and Rome. We wandered through the market and got lots of junk. I got a Firenze shirt. I really want a Florence soccer jersey. We ate lunch at Trattoria Mario. Mario’s sons (he is now deceased) now own it. Fabio and his crew made excellent pasta. It got really crowded because it is only open for lunch and you may have to sit with people you don’t know. But it adds to the experience. On the way back it started raining and it hasn’t stopped since. After a few minutes of relaxing in the hotel, it got sunny again. We went back to Santa Croce, where the famous Florentines like Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Alberti, Dante, & Machiavelli are buried. After getting more gelato, we slowly made our way to the Palazzo Pitti. It was a long walk through the Gentilleschi and Rubens covered Versailles-like rooms. We took forever to get back, but we finally settled at O.K. Snack Bar for dinner. Me and dad found a closed internet cafe and convinced the manager to let us stay for a few more minutes. Tomorrow I am trying to go to the Uffizi, but apparently it is booked full until June 10. Sometime we will take the train to Siena for one night before going to ROMA!
Friday, June 2, 2006
Me and mom woke up early to try to get into the Uffizi, but by the time we got there, the line was as long as the building. Instead, we looked at the statues outside and took pictures. We started walking to find a cab but we ended up exploring until we could see the Duomo. At that point, I found our way back. We stopped across the street and went in the Ospedale degli Innocenti. We saw pretty artwork and the stone you could place your child on. The UNICEF offices are still there and there was a hospital, too. We got on the train for Siena. It took longer than anticipated, but I am almost done with my book. We met some Canadian boys who had been traveling for 2 months. At the hotel, they overbooked, so they offered us a stay at the villas. It is very nice and we each have our own beds. We came to Siena and bought me some skinny jeans that I immediately put on because it was so cold. We Eubanks women are expert shoe shoppers, but our skills are rivaled only by Italian men. We ate gourmet at McDonald’s. We explored more of Siena and it got very cold and windy. We waited for an hour for a taxi but finally came back. We watched Just Married and CSI in Italian before going to sleep.
Saturday, June 3, 2006
We boarded the train for Rome. The first train was plush and clean. The second was not. It has closed cars and food trolleys like Harry Potter, but not as nice. Trains are more romantic than airplanes. I finished The Da Vinci Code and bought Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth at Siena station for 6 Euro. We got to Rome and I was pretty much sick of it. But we got a nice room at the hotel, so it was copesthetic. We ate at Bella Roma and I had some amazing four cheese penne. In my top ten pasta meals, I would say. We walked down to the Roman Forum and Coliseum area. A guy asked us if we wanted to go on a pub crawl tonight because we are old enough to drink here. My feet weren’t very happy to be smashed into those heels on cobblestone streets, so I changed into my beloved Rainbows and went to get some gelato. Cioccolatta, of course. We returned to the hotel to regain strength.
Sunday, June 4, 2006
It’s a bright sunny day in Catholic country. We woke up early to see the Coliseum. At first, we had to stand in a long line, but a tour guide told us we could jump lines if we went to the audio tour line. It was very big and very interesting. We saw Palantine Hill, but my memory card got fully again. I keep having to delete pictures to make room. We passed Trajan’s Column and the monument to Victor Emanuel. Lunch was at a Spanish and Italian restaurant called El Conquistador. We went to the Capitoline Museums and saw Romulus & Remus with She Wolf, Dying Gaul, Boy with Thorn, Constantine’s Statue, and many many more. We went to the Mouth of Truth and returned with our hands, so we must be fairly truthful. For today at least. I wanted to go see Bramante’s lovely Tempietto, but it will have to wait til tomorrow. I can’t see Discobolos because it is closed tomorrow. Tomorrow we visit the Vatican and I can’t say I’m sad it is our last day in Italy. I desperately need my own room and bed and a break from the family time. Tonight we are trying to see the Trevi fountain, Spanish Steps, and Pantheon. After a quick break, we went back out to the Piazza del Popolo. We saw the Spanish Steps, but had to run for cover when it started to rain. We ate dinner at Don Chisciotte. We visited the Trevi fountain and a man gave Sammi a flower but then demanded for money for it. We learned our lesson with every one after that. At first it bothered me that he thought she was pretty enough for flowers, but it was something I didn’t have to deal with.
Monday, June 5, 2006
We started by going to the San Pietro in Montorio across the river. It is the site of an old church, a Spanish school, and of course, the beautiful Tempietto. It had a locked gate around it, but we went inside the church. Rice and paper hearts covered the steps because there had recently been a wedding there. It was nestled in the hills, a perfect place for such an event. Then we went to the Pantheon. It really is an architectural wonder to have survived so many wars. We went to Vatican City and joined the When In Rome tour with Julia Charity, a British woman with a quirky lisp and a vast knowledge or art and architecture. At the Vatican Museums, we saw Laocoon and His Sons and the Sistine Chapel. It was smaller than I expected, but very intense. I couldn’t experience it the way I wanted to because of the crowds. Then we went to St. Peters. It was really beautiful. I was really disappointed that the Pieta was so far away behind such thick class. We saw Bernini’s Baldacchino and altarpiece. After leaving there, we had to eat because it had been a long time since our last meal. We went towards the Pantheon to eat and shop. We didn’t find anything good, so we went to Zara and souvenir shops to buy presents for friends.