The Anchorage Concert Chorus had a concert in the church of Chiesa di Ognissanti. Another beautiful church. It would have been nice if they had more people there but the ones that were totally enjoyed their concert. It sounded wonderful.
Florence is one of my favorite places in Italy. It is really beautiful. We left our hotel in Montecatini and after about 40 minutes we arrived. We were given several hours on our own to find lunch a look around. David and I stopped for lunch at an outdoor restaurant. I sat down and was trying to take my camera off when I found that my hair was stuck on the button on the back of my shirt. David started trying to get it out. Next thing I know our waiter comes over and starts making the motion of scissors with his fingers. I am going no, no! Then a waitress comes over and is trying to help David. David finally gets it out and everyone cheers him. I did get my pizza in Florence.
After our free time we went on the walking tour with our local guide. I do enjoy these because they tell you things that you don’t read in tour books. It was very interesting to see the marks that were on the buildings to show the flood lines. Some of them were 6 feet up in the main square. This still happens in modern times. Also, on the first Sunday of every month is “Sunday at the Museum” and there are no entrance fees so the lines are long.
David is at the Accademia Museum but the lines were so long we did not go in. The photo that I have included is a replica of David. I have seen the real one before on one of my other trips over here. Besides I have my own David.
I had picked up some rosaries at the Vatican for my family members. There was a big sign in the store that said it was illegal to sell blessed rosaries anywhere in the world. I decided that I would still get them blessed while I was in Italy. Shouldn’t be hard to find a priest in Italy. We were moving along so fast most of the tour that I never had time. While in Venice we were standing outside of Basilica di San Marco and David says there is a priest. I go over and ask if he would mind blessing some rosaries for me. Expecting to be answered in Italian it came to great surprise to me when I am answered in a midwestern accent. I did get the rosaries blessed in Italy by an American priest who happen to be good friends with our arch bishop in Anchorage.
To start out I will say I have finally got an internet that I can use. I have to sit in the lobby but maybe I can catch up a little bit before we are off on the bus again.
After the chorus sang mass at St Peter’s we headed to Montecatini. We stopped at an autogrill to go to the toilette and grab something to eat. We were approached and asked if we would mind going to another hotel for the night because the one we were supposed to stay in was overbooked. We said sure. Sounded like an adventure to us.
We arrived at the Grand Hotel Nizza where we got off the coach and then grabbed our luggage. Then we were shuffled into a taxi go about 1/2 mile to the Astoria Hotel. When we stepped out of the taxi the spell of the flowers was like a light perfume. That night we were so tired being that it was midnight that we did not look around much. We took the tiniest elevator I had ever seen up to our room. Our room was small but very comfortable with a small balcony. We opened the windows that over looked the quaint little street and off to sleep we went.
The next morning we got up went down stairs to have breakfast. We ate in the garden taking in the old and friendly charm of the hotel. As we ate we took in the wonderful smell of the flowers and saw the lemons on the small lemon trees in pots. After breakfast we walked around the hotel taking in the old charm of it. We then met the owner who told us that he was the fourth generation and his son was going to take over for him soon. His wife made beautiful flower arrangements all over the hotel. I would highly recommend this hotel.
I haven’t seen one of these phones in a very long time.
Yes, the green shorts are still with us.
I am having a terrible time with the internet in Italy. I can’t seem to get an photos uploaded. That is why I am not posting every day.
What an honor it was for a chorus from Alaska to get to sing during mass at the Basillica. They sounded so wonderful.
I got to sit in the front pew because I was Catholic. If you weren’t you had to go sit in the chairs in the back as a visitor. I can’t believe that I have now actually received communion at St Peter’s Basillica.
After leaving the forum we went for a tour of the Colosseum. The seating wouldn’t have worked very well today because the ground floor was for royal and government. The next floor was for the men and the very top is where the slaves and women were allowed to sit.
There were holes all over in Colosseum and David asked where they came from. He was told people had stolen the rebar out of the building. Until the time that the Pope came and put a cross up in the colosseum because of the Christians being killed it was not a religious place. After that time the church and other organizations started saving it. We were told that they believe now that the killing of Christians took place at the Circus Maximus.
Enjoy our photos
The forum was just amazing. I love all the ancient marble and stone ruins. I did find out why the heads are missing on a lot of the statues. The heads were worth lots of money, so the rich would collect them.
The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum (Italian: Foro Romano), is a rectangular forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum.
For centuries the Forum was the center of day-to-day life in Rome: the site of triumphal processions and elections; the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches; and the nucleus of commercial affairs. Here statues and monuments commemorated the city’s great men. The teeming heart of ancient Rome, it has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world, and in all history. Located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, the Forum today is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and intermittent archaeological excavations attracting 4.5 million or more sightseers yearly.
Many of the oldest and most important structures of the ancient city were located on or near the Forum. The Roman Kingdom’s earliest shrines and temples were located on the southeastern edge. These included the ancient former royal residence, the Regia (8th century BC), and the Temple of Vesta (7th century BC), as well as the surrounding complex of the Vestal Virgins, all of which were rebuilt after the rise of imperial Rome.
Other archaic shrines to the northwest, such as the Umbilicus Urbis and the Vulcanal (Shrine of Vulcan), developed into the Republic’s formal Comitium (assembly area). This is where the Senate—as well as Republican government itself—began. The Senate House, government offices, tribunals, temples, memorials and statues gradually cluttered the area.
Over time the archaic Comitium was replaced by the larger adjacent Forum and the focus of judicial activity moved to the new Basilica Aemilia (179 BC). Some 130 years later, Julius Caesar built the Basilica Julia, along with the new Curia Julia, refocusing both the judicial offices and the Senate itself. This new Forum, in what proved to be its final form, then served as a revitalized city square where the people of Rome could gather for commercial, political, judicial and religious pursuits in ever greater numbers.
Eventually much economic and judicial business would transfer away from the Forum Romanum to the larger and more extravagant structures (Trajan’s Forum and the Basilica Ulpia) to the north. The reign of Constantine the Great saw the construction of the last major expansion of the Forum complex—the Basilica of Maxentius (312 AD). This returned the political center to the Forum until the fall of the Western Roman Empire almost two centuries later.
I hope you enjoy the photos.
Today we left the hotel around 8 and headed to the Vatican. Where we went to the museum which is actually like 11 or more museums. We didn’t do all of them because of the time. It would have taken days. We went into the Sistine Chapel but you cannot take pictures there. It was amazing. We then went to St Peter’s where the Concert Chorus will be singing in on Saturday. The place was packed. David and I just had to get out. I figured while they are rehearsing and doing their sound check I can take photos then. After that we had a short time to go to the restroom or to the shop before we left for the town center. We had a meeting place and when we started walking to the bus winding this way and that way. Then down to underground parking we notice that our friends were not on the bus. Their was actually 5 people not on the bus and one of them was one of the camera crew who was doing a documentary on our trip. We kept telling the tour guide people were missing. They tried to find them but said they had to get moving. When we were almost where we were going Roland got a phone call. They trying to get a taxi and wanted to know where to meet us. The guide told them the name of the restaurant, but that wasn’t enough. They wanted the address, so while they were trying to get that information I guess one taxi driver got pissed off at them and said they could not ride with them. Finally, they got a taxi driver to take them to our meet up place. While Janet, David and I are waiting for our lost friends the camera man shows up that was with them. We ask where the rest are and he says around the corner on the next block. We hurry to go try to find them. There they are sitting at a table getting ready to order food. We tell them we have been waiting for them. At least, they were ok. We then got a table and sat down to eat some lunch too. I am sitting across from Janet who all of a sudden says, “OH, CRAP!”. She brushes something off her arm which then lands on my arm. She was not kidding about the crap. A pigeon shit on her and she flung it on me, so we both got crapped on at lunch. After lunch we went to the Spanish Steps, visited a couple more churches, sat by a fountain and visited with some very nice nuns. We headed back to where we started for dinner and then back to the hotel. It was a long day but lots of fun. I am putting some of the pictures up now but you will have to wait for rest when I have more time to explain what is in the photos. Ready for bed now.