Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Così tanto succede in così poco tempo!

Ciao ancora, cari lettori!
(Hello again, dear readers!)

I know I have not written in what is quickly becoming an inexcusable amount of time, but I have been (excuses aside) too busy to sleep these past few weeks, let alone to write.  So, with that said, AVANTI!

Part of what has prevented me from writing for so long was a visit from i miei cari genitori (my dear parents).  While they were here in Bologna, I had a chance to re-explore the city from an outsider's perspective and eat really, really well.  Not only did I have a chance to try out some of the nicer trattorie e ristoranti in the city, I was also able to enjoy a delicious breakfast of warm croissants, fruit, and cappucini at the hotel at which they were staying.  After several days in Bologna and an unfortunate bout of food poisoning, we headed south to Firenze (Florence) and then Roma.

Some of the highlights in Florence for me, other than eating delicious Tuscan cuisine and climbing the Duomo of course, were the long conversation I had (in Italian!) with a man selling belts on the street and the re-discovery of a certain piece of street art that I had seen first when I was in Florence two summers ago:

It has certainly aged a bit over the years.  "Vietato Morire," by the way, means "It is forbidden to die."  Death, judging by the illustration, presumably means taking a tumble from the top of the Duomo.

Speaking of climbing the Duomo, not only is the view from the top absolutely incredible, but the path up to it takes you right up close to the painting covering the inside of the dome.  Unfortunately none of my pictures do the interior justice, but here are a few that give a taste of the exterior view:

View of the campanile (bell tower).

View of Santa Croce.

View of il Palazzo della Signoria.

View of la mia famiglia (sfortunatemente meno Roberto)!

Also in Florence, we saw "la tomba spirituale" ("spiritual tomb") of Dante at Santa Croce (to match the physical tomb of Dante I saw in Ravenna).

Dante striking an imposing figure outside Santa Croce.

Sad Dante sitting on his "spiritual tomb."

This was alongside the tombs of a few others whose names you might have come across once or twice...Galileo, Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Raffaelo (Raphael)...no big.  

After Florence we took the train down to Rome, and continued to eat well (spaghetti cacio e pepe, anyone?) and see beautiful old things.  Esempi (examples):

Castel Sant'Angelo.

Saint Peter's (la Basilica di San Pietro) from the top of Castel Sant'Angelo.

Angel sheathing his sword atop Castel Sant'Angelo.

Il Colosseo, seen from our little ristorante.

Il Foro (the Forum) with the Monumento di Vittorio
Emmanuele II in the background.

Il Panteone (the Pantheon).

San Pietro as seen from the line to enter.

Why we didn't enter.
(Guess who had a knife?)

Proof that I was actually there, in the Forum.
Also a pretty flower.

I got back to Bologna on March 16th, just in time for the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy (and you thought I was going to say Saint Patrick's Day!).  There were flags all over the place and all the storefronts were red, white, and green, but overall I found the celebrations somewhat lacking.  There were certainly a lot of people out and about enjoying their days of from school and work, but there was nothing like the American 4th of July spirit (and certainly no fireworks).

Decorations on a street in Florence.

Flag lights in Rome.

Piazza Maggiore in Bologna.

If nothing else, all the flags were certainly a reminder that I am in Italy!

Expect more soon, cari lettori.  I won't abandon you for so long next time!

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