We started off the day with breakfast at the hotel. This is the first time on the trip we’ve had breakfast included in our stay. We had yogurt, fresh squeezed juice, croissants, and fresh fruit. The kiwi was yummy!
Then we headed up the hill to the village of Orvieto. This area is just South of Tuscany, this provence is called Umbria. Here are some views from the look-outs.
Inside the village there is a cathedral dating back to 1200. I loved the black and white marble strips inside and out. Here we were able to walk in just as the mass was starting since it was Sunday morning. The pipe organ was playing, amazing! I took some video clips, hopefully the sound turns out. Then an Italian choir sang, which was also wonderful, we stood in awe and praise of our Savior for a few minutes in this beautiful cathedral. It was nice to be able to see the cathedral being used for worship. We didn’t stay for the whole service because we had plans in Rome today & it was in Italian. :)
We walked around the Orvieto Village for a little bit. I finally found a mortar and pestle at a cute shop. I started collecting them from different countries and I haven’t seen one on this trip until now. It was hand carved from olive wood. I hope to find one in a few other countries on our visit. There were all kinds of beautiful pottery, handmade tapestry, scarves, and woven items. Here are a few fun shots in town.
We arrived in Rome and found our apartment outside of town. This was a bit of an experience, the apartments didn’t have numbers and the neighbors didn’t speak english. We finally were able to get pointed in the right direction. We found our host’s boyfriend and then he showed us to her. The apartment/b&b is very nice. The profile on airbnb said she had a hot tub but we asked about that she was very confused and after trying the words; hot swimming pool, jacuzzi, and spa I completely confused them. Her boyfriend spoke better english and he then tried to direct me to a full service spa, ha! I wish that was included. :)
The next challenge was getting into town. We followed her directions to the bus stop and we came to a bus/train station, but it looked deserted with 1 bus there & it wasn’t the number we needed. So after a few tries, we finally were able to locate a metro station in the GPS. The metro here in Rome is cheaper than Paris, it’s not as big either.
We parked and took the metro into Rome and took a much needed food stop! We just had a cheese pizza flatbread to hold us over until dinner. Dustin and I took a tour of the Roman Colosseum for 1/2 the price of the tours we almost booked on-line. We got to skip the line and go right in. It was a very good Roman history refresher and we learned some new things as well. Did you know the word arena comes from the latin word for sand? This is because there was sand in the bottom of the arena to soak up the blood after the fights. Here are a few pictures.
Josh and Sarah joined us on the tour of the Roman Ruins and Roman Forum. It’s amazing to see pieces of architecture so old, some areas dating back to 8th century BC. The largest palace on the hill was formed by the emperor Domitian, and was built in in 81 AD. Much of this area was destroyed in an earthquake in the 1800′s and then a large amount of marble was repurposed to build churches including parts of the Vatican. At least it didn’t go to waste.
Here is a picture of the Arch of Septimius Severus. It had been damaged due to erosion and It was refurbished later. The area right underneath the archway is original. This is the arch that the Arc de Triomphe design was based on.
After the ruins we headed towards the pantheon, which we learned used to be a place where pagans worshiped, but when Constantine was emperor (first Christian Emperor), he converted pagan churches to Christian churches. Unfortunately the pantheon was closed early since it’s Sunday.
We took another restaurant suggestion from the airplane travel magazine and it was awesome! The resturant was called Antonio al Pantheon. We were able to sit outside to eat along the street on the cobblestone street, it was up into the 80′s today which made the evening still warm at 70. We had insalada verde & pasta. The green salad was topped with local olive oil, it tastes so much better here! I had ravioli with meat sauce and Dustin had spaghetti with olive oil, red pepper, and roasted garlic. Here is a picture to make your mouth water.
After dinner we walked around the Piazza Navona. This is a city square that was built on the site of the Stadium of Domitaion in 1st century AD, it follows the form of the open space of the stadium. Ancient Romans would have come here to watch sporting events. The piazza was lined with artists selling their oil paintings and sketches.
We walked around for a bit, then ended the night with gelato and headed back to a metro. There are not many metro stations in the city, so we had to walk about 15 min back to the Colosseum, but that was ok because we were able to see it at night.
We came home to relax and we were able to use our iPads to iChat with our moms and my grandma. Happy Mother’s day again to the women who have invested so much into us & to all the other mother’s reading!