Posted by: jtccitaly | June 4, 2011

The Final Countdown

Top Five Things I Have Learned About Italy
1.) Sometimes sidewalks are for parking small cars on.
2.) Even when you are in a smaller town, you really have to watch out for those Vespas!
3.) Sometimes you have to pay to pee. (It’s true; there is often a fee to use the toilette in public places. Usually these are fairly clean and well kept at least. In fact, there are times when you might wish for a nicely kept pay-to-pee place. Sometimes, the toilette is basically just a hole in the floor. No kidding. This might be fairly simple for men, but it’s a bit tricky for women.)
4.) When in doubt, just say “Prego!” This is my favorite Italian word. It has several meanings, mostly it’s used for “you’re welcome”. It’s also just fun to say.
5.) Everything tastes better when you are walking for eight hours a day. You can never have too much gelato. Or pasta. Or pastries. Yum.

I really just made those up off the top of my head. I’d love to hear from any of you who have traveled to Italy and I’d love to hear more from our travelers, so add to this list!

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Anyway, that was just a fun way to start off this entry about our last day. We had a more laid back day but we still packed some stuff in!
I started out the morning with my final run while in Italy. Running in Rome was a little more difficult than running in Florence for four reasons. 1.) Hills 2.) Cobblestones. 3.) Traffic (both people and vehicles). 4.) It’s really easy to take a wrong turn and end up running uphill on cobblestones through a mass of people.
Anyway, my run was a little longer than I planned but I did get to see the Forum and the Coliseum again (entirely by accident, but it was still fun.)
We had a brief class meeting after breakfast and then went out for our final walking tour. We started in the Piazza del Popolo (almost as fun to say as “Prego”) and saw some beautiful Caravaggio’s in St. Maria. As the group was finishing up in the church Beth and I went looking for a place with a toilette and came upon a lovely little DaVinci museum. After some discussion, we decided to add it to the itinerary. It was a great museum, focused on DaVinci’s inventions. It was fun to walk around and see all the cool stuff that he came up with so long ago. The flipper hand and the portable piano were my personal favorites.
After that, we walked down to the piazza Navona and visited more Caravaggio’s and were absolved of all sins in St. Luigi del Francesi (legend has it that if you light a candle and say a prayer for the King of France, you are good to go!). We checked out the amazing four rivers fountain and then let folks go for the day.
Everyone went different directions at that point so I can only speak to what I did. I decided to visit Castle Angelo, built in 140 AD, it once held Hadrian’s tomb. After that, it was a fortress inhabited by many Popes (there is a tunnel from it to the Vatican.) It’s a fun place to walk around with fabulous views and a cool museum. The museum has varied objects (armor and weapons, papal sandals from the 13th century, roman artifacts and some wonderful painting and sculpture – my favorite being “Mars Restrained by Cupid” by Il Guercino.)
After that, I made my way back to the hotel slowly, stopping for last minute gifts and to see the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain one last time.
We are all going out tonight for a group dinner to celebrate our last evening. I figure that I will be back too late to post anything about that, but I will try to do a final post or two once we get back. I will upload more photos if nothing else. I’m still struggling with uploading photos with this connection, so I may not get anything else up until we get back.
We will be leaving for the airport early tomorrow morning (6AM Saturday, Rome time.) It’s hard to believe that we won’t get back until Sunday night! I’m trying not to think about that part. I’m just looking forward to hugging my boys and my husband again.
I hope you have enjoyed following along! I hope to have a few post-trip musings from the students eventually along with more photos.



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