Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Moon, Eyes, Pizza Pie... That's Amore!

I've put it off long enough... August was an amazing month and I haven't yet said anything about it! The last time you found us, we were in Geneva, Switzerland, enjoying some weekend expeditions and calm, methodical week days. At the end of July, we were closing in on the end of the term for Ethan, which also meant the end of our European experience. For now. But to give ourselves one final hurrah, we planned a trip to Italy.

 So, after Ethan's last final, we boarded a south-bound train and traveled beyond the rolling vistas blanketed in sunflowers, vineyards, green crop fields and the quaint country homes of Switzerland, to the sunny state of Italy. We arrived in Rome a little late and a lot exhausted, but were thrilled by our adventure.

 Our first day was spent in Rome, wandering a street market peppered with local artists and drowning in tourists, so we felt right at home. We saw the stunning Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps, and drank in the general Roman ambiance. What a day!

 The Trevi Fountain was an impressive piece of art, to say the least. Learning a little about it's history helped us better appreciate what we were seeing.

Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain and the Blevins Family 

The Spanish Steps 

 Day number two was spent at the Vatican Museum. The amount of art in that massive museum was overwhelming, but we were able to spend a few good hours gazing in wonder at man's inspired genius, not only in the frames and on the pedestals, the the building itself was impressed with an artistic hand.

I wish I could remember what this is....

Maybe it's a little weird that I took pictures of this, but there was an entire section of Rafael paintings. This is The School of Athens, a huge mural on one of the Vatican walls which depicts quite a few Greek philosophers. Because the room just wasn't big enough for me to capture the entire painting with my beginner photography skills, here are the front-center features, Plato and Aristotle.

Ethan with his good buddy Anubis in the Ancient Egypt wing of the Vatican.

After the grand finale of the Sistine Chapel (where we weren't allowed to photograph) we sought out the sunny day on a patio where we ran in to a couple of Ethan's classmates from Geneva! They were kind enough to take this. 

 That evening we went to eat at Osteria Romana, a restaurant off of the Palazzo Di St. Calisto. Tasty!

Ethan ordered lasagna at every restaurant, just to compare. This is him with his favorite version at Osteria Romana. 

 Day three in Italy we trained an hour north to spend a day in Firenze (Florence).

We were given some great advice and purchased our museum tickets early and blessedly surpassed the snaking lines. Our first museum was The Accademia, which turned out to be our favorite. Maybe part of it's appeal was the absolutely incredible sculptures. Or the comparatively small size so we could better appreciate the art. But I'm convinced part of our devotion has something to do with the 20 foot naked Biblical figure featured there.

 Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take pictures of Michelangelo's David, but it was one of the major highlights of our European jaunt. I wish I could provide words, but there are none. Suffice it to say, he was magnificent.

 In the hall with the David were also a series of unfinished statues unofficially called Michelangelo's Prisoners or Slaves. These were surprisingly powerful and worth going to the Accademia for, even if the David weren't there. My pictures didn't turn out well of these, mostly because I stopped photographing... I wasn't sure if we were allowed to or not. But here's a good link of some photos I found online.

 The Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna was one of my favorite pieces. Not in a morbid way, but emotionally, it had a way of pulling you in and demanding undivided attention. The Accademia features a replica of true likeness, but the original is in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence.

The original Rape of the Sabine Women

Henry in front of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore

 After the Accademia and a quick walk-by of the Duomo, we stopped for some lunch at a little restaurant down one of the hundreds of Florence side-streets. Of course Ethan had lasagna, his staple in Italy... and it never disappointed.

 Once satiated, we set out for the Uffizi, an imposing museum adjacent to the Piazza della Signoria. But I am embarrassed. I took so much time to write this post that I've effectively forgotten most of the Uffizi Museum, and, as pictures were forbidden, I have no visual guide to remind me. But I do remember being wowed. (Shameful, I know).

I also remember after the Uffizi making sure Ethan got himself a chocolate gelato cone. 

 After our museum expeditions, we spent some time walking around Florence before we boarded our train back to Rome.

 Our last day in Italy was a Saturday. We let Henry enjoy a morning nap on his make-shift bed.

Then we got him dressed for our last outing in Roma.

We deliberately planned less in to our schedule while in Italy so that Henry wouldn't hate us for lack of sleep. And we didn't want to put ourselves through the torture of a screaming baby again. No fun. So our only agenda item for the day was the Colosseum, a 2000 year old, truly colossal, amphitheater that was originally used for gladiatorial events. In it's completed state it could seat around 50,000 people, along with under chambers for prisoners, animals, etc. Although earthquakes, time, and men have taken their toll on the structure, we were still in awe. Very impressive, ancient Romans!

At least Ethan and I were impressed. Henry looks unaffected. 

 After the colosseum, we browsed around Rome a little more and saw the Trevi Fountain again at night. It had a romantic charm, although it was just as crowded at night as it was during the day. After our last Italian supper, Italian style, we bused back to our hotel and got a little shut eye before our train ride "home" to Geneva.

Arriverderci, Roma!

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