Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Oliver and I carved a pumpkin today for the holiday!

Wishing you a frightfully good Halloween! Ciao from Roma!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Appian Way

Today was a beautiful fall day in Rome so we got out there and walked the Appian Way. This quiet, ancient road lies just outside the city center and you are instantly transported to ancient times. The same stones lie in the place they did 2000 years ago.

Our starting point was the church of San Sebastiano, where Oliver played hide and seek.

Then it was a picnic lunch and a nap a little further down the road.

Some sights along the road:

Oliver gets interactive with the ruins:

Ruts worn into the stones after years of traffic:

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Florence Part 2

The weather on Saturday had turned gray and cold and extremely windy. Luckily, I was prepared and brought Oliver's warm jacket - all he needed was a hat, which we picked up first thing, and he was on the go again. The weather wasn't stopping him.

He played among the statues of the Piazza della Signoria:

A visit to San Lorenzo, the oldest church in Florence, dating from 393 A.D., and the Medici family's church:

Our afternoon destination was the Palazzo Vecchio, the "town hall" of Florence:

On Sunday, our first stop was the Laurentian Library, just inside the cloister attached to San Lorenzo. Michelangelo designed this library in 1524.

The weather on Sunday was worse than Saturday and Oliver was getting sick. Walking around outside was not an option so we decided to go to the Palazzo Pitti, which used to belong to the Medicis but is now a big complex with different galleries housing different types of art. Can you say "rip off"? The ticket prices were very expensive and they grouped the galleries together on two different tickets, so if you wanted to go to different galleries you had to buy separate tickets. Not the greatest museum - I think if the weather had been better we wouldn't have spent our time here.

On the way out of town we stopped at the Baptistry (next to the Duomo) to get a glimpse of the famous bronze doors depicting scenes from the Old Testament.

Family Weekend - Florence Part 1

The family took it to Florence for the weekend - kind of a birthday celebration weekend for Andy. Andy and I had been there together 11 years ago and we had such a great time filled with fond memories. Things have changed in Florence since then. The sights are all the same but the admissoin prices are sky high (and you have to pay to get into anything and everything) and the lines to get into anything in the city were miles long. Florence is still a very beautiful city with lots of things to do and see, but we didn't walk away with as many fond memories this time around.

Florence, Friday
The weather was really beautiful, warm and sunny. When we got there we, we ate luch, which was delicious, and walked around, getting the lay of the land.
The most famous Duomo:

The Ponte Vecchio:

Celebrity Sighting!!!! OK - this is very cool, especially if you watch the Travel Channel, like me. I'm walking along when I see a film crew at this outdoor restaurant, and I'm like "huh, I wonder what this is for", thinking its for Italian TV or something, when I peek around the corner and sitting at the table was Samantha Brown. I was soooo excited, ya know, because I watch her shows and everything. Andy got a picture of me standing behind her - I didn't talk to her because she was in the middle of filming, but it was pretty cool.

OK - back to the sights of Florence. The Palazzo Vecchio:

The Uffizi Gallery, which we pre-ordered our tickets to, thank goodness, or we would have never gotten in. The line for non-ticket holders was really long and didn't move.

The Uffizi was a lot smaller than I thought it was going to be but the Botticelli's alone were worth the price of the ticket.