Friday, June 28, 2013

End of a new beginning!

Buon giorno!
The days in Italy are still running into days back in America. The last leg of our journey was in Rome. While I wrote this post in Italy, I am posting it from my kitchen table back in Texas...
Pantheon in Roma!
Shannon and I washing our apples! 
Water rushed over the skin of my green apple. I rinsed my breakfast and as a group of us stood facing the Pantheon early Saturday morning enjoying fresh frutta, ready to begin our last day in Italy. I am going to pause for a minute to let you soak up the fact that we casually strolled less than 1 kilometer from our hotel to have breakfast outside the PANTHEON! The historical building is in the midst on a typical Italian plaza with shops, restaurants and the usual hussle and bustle. After breakfast we set off toward the Spanish Steps and the Medici Villa. The Medici family was once the most wealthy family in Italy. They owned several villas and dozens of famous paintings and art works. The villa we visited set up above the Spanish Steps and had a spectacular view of the city. We ventured into the garden grounds that stretched over three kilometers. The grounds were lined with sky high trees that canopied the garden making it a beautiful retreat for the warm day. An area along one of the edges was filled with a variety of roses. The group took our time meandering through the paths and taking in the change of scenery that laid in the middle of Rome. People spread out blankets on the lawns to take afternoon naps, others peddled around on bikes and some enjoyed their picnic lunches on the serene benches. 
Take three of our group shot. 
John, Kim, Shannon and me in the Medici Garden.
As I wondered past ancient sculptures and freshly pruned hedges I thought back to the Boboli Garden and the differences between the two garden grounds. The Medici grounds are used as more of a public space, welcoming everyday visitors to spend time in nature. The past three weeks had been filled with site seeking and train rides, so having a few moments on a park bench brought my mind back to something very important. I study Recreation, Parks and Tourism Science at A&M and I have spent the past two years in classes learning about the importance of nature and it's restorative abilities. Traveling Italy has been an amazing journey but my moments in nature are the moments that stand out most to me. The days we got to enjoy the rolling hills of Tuscany, the wild poppies on the side of every road, the olive trees that were hundreds of years old, the moments of complete silence looking out our windows in Castilion Florentino. The importance of restoration is easily forgotten when we walk among our everyday lives, so having time in the Medici Garden in Rome was a blessing to the end of a wonderful adventure. 
Rose garden in the Medici Garden.

As I reflect now on the time I spent in Italy I am overwhelmed with how much I learned. While lessons about plants and cuisine snuck their way into the trip learning about Italy and about myself was more than I could have imagined. I am still jet lagged but if there was a way for me to get back on a plane I would be back in Italy in a heart beat! 

Until next time Italia, Ciao! 
Josie E

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