This is a page from my personal journal dated Monday, June 14, 2010
This morning Kelly, Katie and I were the first to rise. We showered and again took turns with the temperamental blow dryer. Katie, Kelly and I rushed down to the piazza where the farmers market assembles each morning to buy fruit and bread for breakfast. The square was filled with several produce, flower and spice venders. The smells were amazing. The produce as fresh as possible. The artichokes a beautiful green and purple, the peppers as large as I had ever seen. The prices were very reasonable. We selected bananas, some fruit cups for variety. We found a pastry shop for croissants and added some filled pastries for fun. We returned , cranked up the old stove top percolator and set the table for breakfast.
Oh, and, here is a travel tip. When visiting farmers markets, do not pick up any vegetables or expect to be chastised by the owner. Kelly warned me as I was just reaching for a beautiful eggplant.
After breakfast we returned to the farmers market where the vendors had Murano glass jewelry. We found several treasures and were happy with our purchases.
Then it was time to move on, it was up to Barbarni square to exchange dollars for euros and we were on our way. We walked southward toward Vatican City and suddenly we were
at the Spanish Steps. It was a warm day as we made our way down the steps and into the fashion district where Gucci, Bvulgari, Marx Mara, Prada shops reign. I suggested the girls keep their eyes open for actors and they looked at me in disbelief. “Where are the paparazzi.” Emma asked?
We hailed a cab for the drive over the Tiber into Vatican City. It was mid-day and sunny and hot, too far to walk the four miles to the entrance where Paolo would meet us.
The line for entrance to the Vatican wrapped around the block but Paolo had made reservations for us so, after showing the voucher to the guards, we walked right in.. He took a lot of time explaining Michelangelos’ paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by grabbing a book at the shop just inside and pointing out several specific paintings to explain how he created the masterpiece that was commissioned in 1508 by Pope.Julius. It took Michelangelo four years to complete the fresco containing over 300 individual figures. The Sistine chapel is used by the conclave of cardinals when they assemble to elect a new pope.
After the Vatican museum and the Sistine Chapel tours we walked out into famous St. Peters square. And made our way to the Basilica Di San Pietro where it’s 198,000 square ft. interior impresses as the spiritual capital of Roman Catholicism with an overwhelming sense of scale and it’s decorative splendor. The Piata also created by Michelangelo is on your right as you enter, enclosed in glass and breathtaking as Mary holds her now deceased son Jesus.
We walked down beneath the main floor into the catacombs where the bodies of the popes are entombed. We stopped a moment to pray at the tomb of pope John Paul and also to view the tomb of St. Peter who was executed in Ad64. It is humbling to stand in midst of the tomb of the Godliest of men.
We returned to our apartment for some wine and to freshen up for dinner at another of Palo’s recommendations.
Tonight the food was not as good as last night, but we enjoyed our pasta family style and of course a couple bottles of wine. After dinner we found a little outdoor cafe for cappuccino and sat and watched the people and listened to the crowd react to the Italian soccer team as they were defeated in the world cup playoffs.
Tomorrow I will begin my adventure alone, leaving the Baxleys’ who have been so warm and wonderful to me here. Oh, and the girls now call me “Aunt Judi”.