|Bethany and I in the Colosseum|
On Wednesday, we were able to visit the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, the churches of St. Ignacio and St. Mary above Minerva, the Trevi Fountain and Piazza Novana. The sites were all really cool but unfortunately for us the Trevi Fountain was under construction and did not have any water running. That did not stop me from throwing my coin in anyway! Later that afternoon we went to the Capitol Museum and there was an exhibit on Michelangelo which was really cool to see. We also saw the original Marcus Aurelius statue and it was impressive to see that it was still in tact almost 2000 years later. After dinner we decided to take a stroll by the river which was peaceful.
Our visit to the Vatican was on Thursday morning and it was amazing. We first strolled through the Vatican Garden which was spectacular. Everything was so well kept and colorful.There was a wide variety of plants from a row of cacti to palm trees and roses. The roses were massive and they even had several bushes of yellow roses that reminded me of home. The only thing that would have made it better was if the temperature had cooled down a little from the steamy 95 degrees. After lunch we headed into the Vatican Museum which held many priceless and famous pieces of art. Once we finally made it to the Sistine Chapel I was amazed at how well the artwork was preserved. Looking up and seeing the most famous ceiling in the world was breathtaking. I cannot fathom how Michelangelo was able to lay on his back and paint such wonderful images on such a large area. Once we left the chapel we went into St. Peter's Basilica. As soon as I walked in the front doors I had chills. The decor was so elaborate and beautiful that I was left speechless. As we look at other churches from now on I am sure they will be gorgeous, but none will compare to St. Peters. It turned out there was mass offered right after we left which was disappointing as I did not see the signs. It just means I will have to come back to Rome and Vatican City again.
On Friday we had a free day to explore so a few of us went wandering around the city and just took in the sights. It was nice to have a free day to see what we wanted and not be on a schedule. We went back to the Spanish Steps at night and enjoyed the view of the city from a higher view. We then had to pack up because we had an early morning train to start our journey to Sorrento.
The weekend spent in Sorrento was fun and relaxed. We were able to have spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea from the top of our hostel. The beaches were very different from back home because they were rocky and not sandy. On Sunday we took a boat tour around the Island of Capri which was very pretty. We even got the chance to jump in and swim for a few minutes. The water was unbelievably salty and I could see the salt accumulating on my skin when I got back on the boat.
On Monday a group of us took the bus to Positano, a small town on the Amalfi coast. The bus was kind of frightening speeding around blind corners and it felt like we were going to fall over the cliff at any moment. Once we got to Positano we were rewarded with stunning views. It was like being on a postcard, but what else is new with being in Italy! We enjoyed the morning wandering around and checking out some of the different stores. We had to stop and take pictures every 5 minutes because the farther down into town we went, the better the view was. It was really cloudy so the colorful houses didn't pop quite as much in our pictures but we still had a great time! The way back home to Castiglion Fiorentino was quite an adventure but the important thing was that we made it back home! It's crazy to think that I already consider Santa Chiara my home after only a few weeks. We are headed off to Florence tomorrow and then to Paris for the weekend. It will be another busy weekend but I cannot wait to see what France has in store for us!