|Vatican Plaza seen from St. Peter's Basilica|
Kristin and I decided to explore the culturally and historically rich country Italy more in depth this year. In the past, we have done quite a bit of traveling in Italy to Rome, Vatican, Venice, Florence, Pisa, Milan, Turin and even Amalfi. This year, we planned to explore deeply into southern Italy and Sicily on one trip and on another trip to explore the Tuscan hills.
We arrived in Rome via Bangkok and Doha, taking approximately 20 hours. After we arrived at Hotel Santa Constanza, we realized that it was not this hotel to meet up with the tour leader. By God's grace, however, we went to American Palace Hotel.
For the Southern Italy and Sicily tour, the leader was Shabby. Apparently, she has been using this nickname for a long time and has even adopted it as a legal name. What...? But she disliked her original name Keeley and prefers this unique name. Hmmm. She seems very lively, bubbly and energetic. She said she was a lead singer and played drum and guitar in a punk rock band. Wow!!!
We have visited and spent time in Rome for several days, so we skipped the walking tour after dinner and decided to take it easy after a long travel. I think it was a good decision.
But, we still visited a few places not to skip this gorgeous city completely.
We had dinner at Alfredo Restaurant. Initially I did not pay much attention to the restaurant. But I soon realized that this restaurant was the birthplace of Fettuccine Alfredo. Fetuccine Alfredo is famous in the U.S.
We ate for dinner egg parmagane, fetuccine with alfredo sauce and tiramisu. It was too much cheese for me, but it was an interesting experience.
The restaurant walls were covered with photos of the celebrities who visited the restaurant. I noticed that Ingrid Bergman was also among the photos. Cool!
On the night we finished the tour to Tuscany, we dined at a restaurant with a Roman soldier greeting us. Obviously they wanted to take a photo with each of us and try to sell the photos. We are not interested in buying things like it. So we passed. But the dinner was quite good.
Vatican City is a city state with its independence recognized by the U.N. and the world. Actually, it is the head office for the Roman Catholic with the Pope residing in this city and the palace. We took some tours to its museum - actually the palace - as well as St Peter's Basilica technically located in Rome.
Vatican Museum houses the collection of primarily sculptures and many art works collected from all over the world. The walls and ceilings are decorated fully with paintings and sculptures as well
It was interesting to see a sculpture of an idol goddess of the gentiles at the Roman Catholic museum. I am sure an art was considered an art although it is from the pagans.
More arts on the walls and on ceilings.
Some of the paintings looked like 3D, but in fact they were 2D with perfect drawing of the shadows.
St. Peter's Basilica is the largest in the world. Its interior walls are covered with mosaic tile arts which I could not recognize without the explanation and without looking closer to the works. They are perfectly drawn and laid. Gorgeous!
La Pieta is another master piece work of Michelangelo, with Maria holding dead Jesus.
Swiss Guards are famous for their unique uniforms and also for the rigorous selection process among only Swiss men who meet quite high qualifications.
Sistine Chapel is famous for Michelangelo's masterpiece work on the ceiling, but no photography is allowed. Most famous are the creation on the ceiling and the last judgement on the wall.
We had a farewell dinner with the Tuscany group at a restaurant where four of the members received a birthday celebration from the group. It was fun to meet new people, but no relationship really lasts any longer than the duration of the trip. A Philippine family, an Indian-Malaysian family and many others...
Rome is a big and crowded city, particularly in the summer, but it remains a city that you want to return to as many times as possible. - Jeffrey