Friday, October 25, 2013

{il mio cuore appartiene a Italia}

**Oodles of thanks to Miss Kendall and my Glenny, who let me use billions of pictures to supplement a few of my own so that I could share our Italy experience with you! 

It's been a little over 5 months now, and still, I can't get Italy off of my mind. I still get mildly depressed and weepy when I'm at World Market and pass by the authentic Italian wines and foods. I'm even teaching myself Italian with an app I found on my iPhone.

As an Art History major, I had always wanted to go to Italy for the obvious reasons - to see the Sistine Chapel, take photos next to Bernini's fountains, the basic art nerd stuff.

A photo from our trip including both the Cypresses and the Umbrella Pines
But as soon as our plane began to land at the Fiumicino – Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (which, first of all, UHH I'm already basically obsessed because it's named after one of the most amazing artists and inventors in all of ever - so fabulous) everything just became so real. I couldn't stop staring out the window - even though it was about 18 miles from our hotel in Rione Monti, everything was already SO so Rome. More than anything, I was just amazed by the trees - studying Italian art, all of the landscapes had seemed so fake to me, like the painters were just putting in a bunch of fluff to fill space behind portraits and human subjects. But on my flight into the aeroporto, all of the trees I had ever seen in paintings by artists like Raphael and Giorgione were becoming real life - Umbrella Pines and Italian Cypresses dotted the landscape, and made me realize how absolutely ignorant I was about basically just art and life in general.

And so I immediately fell in love with not just the city of Rome as I was before, but the entire country of Italy, including the not-so-artsy rural areas.

As soon as I landed at the airport, my cousin Glen, the World Traveler, met me so that I wouldn't get horribly lost taking the train to city center. The airport, though nothing incredibly fancy, was complete with an enormous, wooden Vetruvian Man sculpture after the famous drawing by Leonardo. I was basically like a giddy little five year old, and I'm pretty sure Glen regretted taking this trip with me after how excited I got about the airport-art.

Even more exciting was when we got to our residence for the week at Hotel Saturnia, where our friend Kendall was waiting for us and studying travel guides to get ready for the day. Our hotel, in an ally caddy-corner to Santa Maria Maggiore (don't even get me started on how great it was to wake up and see this every morning), was very small, and our room ended up not being directly inside of the hotel, but in an extra room a short distance down the ally from the hotel lobby. Sounds a little sketch, but it was so great, like having our own home in Italy. Not to mention, some of our hotel staff were super amazing and would make us cappuccinos when we came home at night (even though that's totally not okay - just FYI, cappuccinos are breakfast only. and Italian coffee will make you miss Starbucks, hardcore.)  

Our hotel key
Hotel Saturnia's ally
The old Fiat that sat outside our room

Our favorite pizza shop - you can see me in line in my grey cardigan
And from our little home-base at Hotel Saturnia, our trip began.

Pizza by the Pantheon
So obviously, most of yall are wondering how amazing the food was - and to keep it short, the local food is probably some of the most delicious stuff you will ever eat ever. Being there for a full week though, we found favorites - our absolute fav was a small pizza shop right outside of the Pantheon. The owner was amazing and sarcastic and seemed like he probablyyy didn't love American's, but I think he was okay with us because he was apparently a fan of Dallas. Needless to say, we got pizza from this shop at LEAST 3 times during the week we were there. The food was amazing, and one of our favorite things to do was go get our slice, which was really just a huge, rectangle of pizza folded in half and wrapped in paper, and go sit on the steps of the fountain in front of the Pantheon. Sometimes we would share with each other, mostly because Glen and Kendall were adventurous and would try new pizzas and I was a super-nerd and obsessed over one with a spicy-tomato topping. I think this is probably one of my absolute favorite memories of Italy.

And some of the other foods we had on our trip-

But despite the amazing food, the best thing ever was just getting to see the different parts of Italy, and getting to spend time with some amazing people.

So I leave you with these photos - we probably took three million pictures each, but these basically summarize my favorite parts of our trips and some of the best memories I'll ever have.

Gelato was an everyday event for us
Filling my water bottle in a fountain by Pietro Bernini, Gian Lorenzo's father
Cousin teamwork on a photo project
We absolutely LOVED the Colosseum, especially lit up at night
Firefighters in Rome
Rubbing the hogs snout in Florence

Climbing Vesuvius...
...and the descent

My travel buddies in Florence
Borghese Park
Glen at St. Peter's
Our slightly-pervy tour guide in Pompeii
My amazing travel buddies/the best dinner dates ever
Ponte Sant'Angelo
In St. Peter's, with Bernini's baldacchino behind us
Overlooking Rome
Our favorite lunch spot - the Pantheon
Overlooking Florence
Licking the Colosseum (but not really). Just because I'm weird like that.
Tossing a coin in the Trevi
Galleria Borghese

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