Our first full day in the Eternal City was a trip back in time. Way back! Giordano delivered us to the Flavian Ampitheater, better known to us as the Colosseum. Our local guide for the tour was a Roman woman named Luica. She was very nice and gave us so many new facts. At sometimes it was a little boring but very educational. We took many pictures around the arena which was where the Romans would have to fight the animals that were put in the arena. We learned that the animals were brought up from underneath in a cage. When there was one person left in the arena the emperor would ask the audience if the Roman should die or live. The emperor would give a thumb up for him to live or a thumb down to die.
Roaming around Roma
We went in many piazzas while in Rome. Piazza Navona had many street performers. One of the street performers was a comedian. He didn’t talk and grabbed people who were walking by to make fun of them. There was also a fire spinner. He had ropes and other things that he set on fire and spun around. There were also many street vendors who would get up in your face to try and get you to buy something.
Campo di Fiori
Campo di Fiori was packed full of different people, products, and vendors. There were so many tents set up selling things such as Rome souvenirs, fresh fruit and juice, different shapes of pasta, and a personal favorite, the large selection of flowers to buy. Selling at 4 euros a piece were beautiful roses that a few girls decided to buy, Also in Campo di Fiori was a vender that Mr. Lovera referred to as “The Vegetable Guy”. While walking around the square we reached his set up, where he shreds and cuts different vegetables into extraordinary shapes. He put carrot shreds in someone’s hand, then added “dressing”, calling it a salad(which was VERY good).
While we were in Rome one of the coolest things was the Torre Argentina. It was a little area where a bunch of cats all lived together. There were 20-25 cats in total and we got to see about 10 of them. There was one cat very close to us and we got to pet it and he was surprisingly friendly. Then Charlie fell in love with him and wanted to take him home. The cats were adorable and I think we would adopt them all if we could. It is said that the bloodline of the cats has been here since ancient times and that the cats know the history of the city. For this reason, no one ate them even during WWII>
In the Villa Borghese we rented two 2 wheel bikes and 2 4 wheel bikes, it was really funny to watch everyone on the 4 wheel bikes,( I stayed on the 2 wheel) and then they tried to have a race. Also, I fell off the two wheel bike and Payton almost got run over (well, almost) but it was still fun. Kids that did't want to ride bikes, chilled on the grass.
The Spanish steps were very pretty but there was a car ad above them which ruined the sight Unfortunately, the steps were undergoing some renovations. There were so many people sitting on them and hanging out. The park above them had an amazing view of the city.
Other cool things
The rooms…..doubles, triples and QUADS!!! Sharing a room with new friends was an adventure. Our rooms all had their own bathrooms!
Toilettes!! Some would wonder why the Italians who have such amazing architecture and lush gardens would short change their bathrooms. Three complaints…..1.) the women’s rooms are missing toilet seats 2.) there are not enough public facilities and 3.)each stall is its own compartment which causes ventilation problems…ewww.
After strolling up a hill for a beautiful panoramic view of Rome, Giordanno left us in the capable hands of Francesca, our Vatican City tour guide.
St. Peter’s Basilica
This very famous church with mosaic tiled ceilings was breathtaking. As we walked in we were soaked in the sunlight that was shinning down from the circular windows in the ceilings and walls. We could hear the children’s choir preparing for services for Easter. We found the glass coffins holding previous Popes very fascinating!
How do you describe one of the most beautiful Piazzas in Rome? Where else could you see artists, Bernini and Boromini, trash talk using their sculptures, amazing artists painting and selling their work, cafes with food and a view to die for, street performers, beautiful architecture, all in a former horse racing/ship battle ring in a large oval shape.
BEN STILLER!!! Yes, he followed us to Rome. Giordano spotted him walking down a cobblestone street where we were having dinner. Mrs. Scepura yelled out , “Ben!” as if they were long lost friends. Some of us thought the teachers were playing an April Fool’s Day joke, but the teachers will never admit that.
This is Mrs. Scepura, and it was totally Ben Stiller walking down the street into Piazza Navona. He must not have heard me call his name.
21 Feet Below
Throughout the city we were able to see examples of the ancient Rome exposed among the modern day Rome. In ancient times there were no bulldozers so instead of tearing a building down, they just buried it and built on top of it. The result is a modern day city that is about 21 feet above ancient Rome. We were able to see the ancient city in places around the city such as Piazza Navona, Piazza Argentina, and other unexpected random places.
Finding WiFi that actually works in Italy is like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. We are currently on the Isle of Capri and blogging from a cute little cafe. Everyone is loving the Amalfi Coast. Details of our time in Rome will be posted soon.
Hey parents! We had so much fun today! For lunch we had real Italian pizza and gelato. Then, for dinner we had delicious food with Mr. Lovera's family. We walked around and saw street vendors and performers. There was a hilarious comedian and a guy spining fire! The first day was so much fun. Can't wait for tomorrow!
Trip of a lifetime 2015 is about to begin! Leaving from Dulles Airport to Amsterdam then Rome!
We will hit the road running in Rome. Saying goodbye to family was bitter sweet but we are sooo excited for the days ahead! Stay tuned!
In the tightest Top Chef ever, Team Scepura used creative accounting to pull off a huge upset over Teams Lovera, Brandt and DiBenedetto. Congratulations to all of our master chefs. The leadership and teamwork exhibited by the contestants was the highlight of the entire evening. The next time we cook together, we will be outside of Firenze (Florence), Italy in the Tuscan countryside learning how to make pasta from scratch.
We would love to hear from you (including parents and family)! Using the comments, post:
13 days & counting!!!
It's hard to believe, but we are only 25 days away from departing for ITALIA!!! 25 days until we are walking the streets of Caesar. 25 days until we are chilling by the Trevi Fountain. 25 days until we are enjoying the best pork panini on earth off the Campo di Fiori. In 25 days, dreams you haven't even dreamt yet will come true!
In the meantime, we will hopefully get a reprieve from Mother Nature and hold our last few weekly meetings. What do we have left to do?
The Top Chef competition is being generously hosted by the Allmon Family on March 14. The four teams, Team DiBenedetto, Team Brandt, Team Scepura, and Team Lovera, has been planning a traditional 3 course Italian meal to be served to their parents and judges. Each team is led by one of the teacher chaperones. The judges for the event will be the travelers parents.
The winning team will be rewarded with a free lunch in Rome paid for by Mrs. DiBenedetto, Mr. Lovera, Mrs. Brandt, and Mrs. Scepura.
As this is our 4th trip, we are confident in describing this adventure as an authentic Trip of a Lifetime!
Ci vediamo presto (see you soon)!
Mr. Lovera and 3 Brave Women!