Day 8

In the Campo di Fiori

In the Campo di Fiori

Our Italian adventure has come to an end. We had another busy day in Rome and kicked things off at the Campo di Fiori where some shopped, others sat in a cafe and enjoyed a cappuccino and others explored the farmers market.

We then strolled over to the Pantheon and happened to catch some of a choral performance inside. Not far from the Pantheon was a gelato shop we have been hearing about all week. It has 150 different flavors of gelato–from Mars Bars to pistachio. We all had to try it!

Then it was back to Vatican City where we split up for lunch before meeting our guide Simone and heading into the Vatican Museum. We jumped in front of all the other tourists waiting in the long line in the hot sun — we’ve certainly gotten the VIP treatment this trip!

Simone guided us through the enormous museum, where we saw famous paintings and mosaics, ancient sculptures and tapestries, and the ostentatious apartments of long-ago Popes. There was so much to see, it was overwhelming! Our tour ended in the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica–both magnificent!

We relaxed in St. Peter’s Square before heading to dinner at Insalata Rica and celebrating Olivia’s 16th birthday. Danielle even taught us how to sing “Happy Birthday” in Italian. We concluded our trip with a stroll through the Piazza Navona.

We will be up bright and early tomorrow morning to catch our flight back to Atlanta via London. We’re worn out, and our feet are sore from all the walking, but it’s been a wonderful trip!

Ciao!

Touring the Vatican Museum ... not a bad view of St. Peter's dome

Touring the Vatican Museum … not a bad view of St. Peter’s dome

So much gelato!

So much gelato!

In front of the Pantheon

In front of the Pantheon

Navigating Rome's public transportation system has been an adventure!

Navigating Rome’s public transportation system has been an adventure!

Inside St. Peter's

Inside St. Peter’s

Happy birthday, Olivia! Sweet 16!

Happy birthday, Olivia! Sweet 16!

The Piazza Navona at dusk

The Piazza Navona at dusk

Day 7

Rome from the Pincio

Rome from the Pincio

 

Another beautiful day in Rome! We’ve been so lucky with the weather … with the exception of a quick shower earlier this week, we’ve had nothing but sunny skies!

We started the morning in the Borghese Gardens. We walked through the gardens and to the Pincio, where we got a beautiful view of the city and the Piazza del Popolo.

From there, we split into small groups to explore Rome’s shopping district around Via del Courso. The girls shopped until they dropped on the Spanish Steps and enjoyed delicious pizza and pasta for lunch. The boys and Donice rented bikes and rode around the Borghese Gardens before hopping on Segways to see more of the city.

We reconvened in the Gardens and walked to the Villa Borghese, a beautiful villa that is now a museum. Inside, we saw famous works by Bernini, Raffaello, Canova and Caravaggio (Donice’s favorite!).

We went to a restaurant near the Vatican for dinner, where the boys ordered massive amounts of meat. On the way home, we had our first run-in with a pick pocket on the metro, and Alex’s phone disappeared from her bag. Fortunately, she took it in stride and already has a new one on the way.

We’re now sitting at breakfast before heading out for our last full day in Italy. Today, we’ll see the Pantheon and tour the Vatican before celebrating Olivia’s 16th birthday at a special dinner.

Ciao!

– by The Breakfast Club

Seniors!

Seniors!

Juniors!

Juniors!

Resting in the Borghese Gardens

Resting in the Borghese Gardens

Jayla's hungry!

Jayla’s hungry!

Man vs. Food

Man vs. Food

Day 6

Today we (the boys) woke up late … and because of that, we “have the privilege” of writing this blog tonight.DSC02122 copy

We raced through breakfast to make it downstairs in time to walk to the Colosseum, or that’s what they called it back in the days of yore. It was massive and held 40,000 people, and brought back memories of the movie “Gladiator.”

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We took some panoramas of the Colosseum and then walked to the Forum. Palatine Hill was next. We walked through the ruins and saw amazing views of the entire city. By this time, Donice was quite agitated with Hunter, who kept asking about things unrelated to what we were seeing.

Our group in the Forum

Our group in the Forum

Today is a national holiday in Rome, St. Peter and Paul Day, so the Forum and Colosseum were packed, but they closed the main roads, so we were able to walk through the streets, which was really cool.

We split up for lunch and enjoyed a wonderful Italian meal of steak, seafood and pasta. Then we went to a museum called the Ara Pacis, a monument to peace. Mrs. Kann challenged us to find the snake eating a birds nest in the massive monument. Marc found it and pointed it out to everyone else. Donice and Jake were amazed and entranced by Sebastio Salgavo’s “Genesis” photography exhibit underneath the monument.

Outside the Ara Pacis

Outside the Ara Pacis

We took a break afterward to nap by a fountain and then headed to the Spanish steps. We climbed all 131 of them. Then we went to the Trevi Fountain, threw coins and made wishes to come back to Rome.

Dinner was delicious, but the girls were very picky as usual. The panacotta dessert was incredible.

We had some free time after dinner and tried to get back to the Spanish steps but got lost, so we walked up and down the same street three times, and now we’re here blogging with smiles on our faces.

Navigating the metro on the way back to our hotel

Navigating the metro on the way back to our hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– by Marc Bernstein, Jake Pokalsky and Hunter Cesinger

 

Day 5

So today…

Today we had a wonderful breakfast with croissants, eggs, bacon, and a cake that was like pound cake. Afterwards we proceeded with the most walking ever!

DSC02083 copyWe met our tour guide and he showed us ancient Roman bridges and the neighborhood of Trastevere.

The ancient Romans knew we were coming!

The ancient Romans knew we were coming!

We learned that Rome is built on layers and every time you dig a hole, there is more to see!! We later went to the Mouth of Truth and took pictures with our hands in the mouth of the stone figure. (The Romans believed that if you told a lie the mouth would bite off your hand.)

Later, we went our separate ways to eat lunch in the Jewish ghetto and meet back up afterwards.

Donice and Hunter in the Jewish ghetto

Donice and Hunter in the Jewish ghetto

We met and walked to a park with ruins from an old bath place created by Caracalla.DSC02092 copy

It was very nice to chill and look at the ruins after our long walk. We went to Vatican City and tried to bargain, even though it only seemed to work for Jake.

DSC02116 copyWe walked around the city for a while until it was time to go to dinner (which was really good by the way).

After dinner, we did our nightly tradition (which is buying gelato) and headed back to the hotel for a good night sleep.

Overall it was a pretty good day!! Ciao!! 😉

– by Jayla Ellis

Day 4

We awoke this morning to clear skies and cool temperatures and, after coffee and breakfast, boarded our bus and left Montecatini, the little town just outside of Florence that had been our home base for the past two nights.

Exploring the ruins at Ostia Antica

Exploring the ruins at Ostia Antic

Our trip south took us through the Tuscan countryside, and we passed mountains, fields and picture-perfect Italian villages along the way.

We stopped at a roadside cafe to pick up drinks and sandwiches and made our way to the Roman ruins at Ostia Antica. Once Rome’s port city, Ostia Antica gave us a glimpse into early Roman life.

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We wandered streets laid with large stones and into ancient restaurants, apartment buildings and temples.

We picnicked in the amphitheater, examined beautiful mosaics and took lots of pictures.

Picnicking in the amphitheater

Picnicking in the amphitheater

 

 

Then it was on to Rome! We passed the Circus Maximus, Palatine Hill and the Colosseum as we drove through the city to our hotel.

After saying goodbye to Emilio, our wonderful bus driver, and checking into our hotel, we explored Monte, a neighborhood not far from where we’re staying.

 

Dinner was wonderful — pasta carbonara, veal and fruit. We’re certainly not going hungry! We grabbed some gelato on a corner near our hotel before turning in to rest up for our big day tomorrow.

Symone and Alex before a delicious dinner in Rome

Symone and Alex before a delicious dinner in Rome

The weather thus far has been perfect — sunny with highs in the 70s and no humidity! Tomorrow, we’re expecting cloudy skies and perhaps some rain, but that won’t deter us from exploring this beautiful, vibrant city.

Ciao!