Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 2 of our Labor Day Weekend Adventures....

After a semi-nights sleep we were on the road again! Only for a small jont before we had to stop for a Cappiccino! :) Must experiance a real Italian cappiccion to understand the appreciation for this coffee. Anyway after a quick stop we were on our way to Verona Italy.

Our first stop was to see Arena di Verona. The Roman Arena was used in the past for the gladiator fights, but now is used for operas and other cultural events. Part of the outer building was destroyed in the 1117 earthquake. The boys really thought this was cool, especially the people all dressed up as gladiators!

Arena di Verona was used in the past for gladiator fights, but is now used for operas and other cultural shows. Part of the outer building was destroyed in the 1117 earthquake, however this being one of the biggest theaters in Italy it is also the best preserved. Next we walked down Via Mazzini to get to Piazza delle Erbe (center of the city.) Mazzini is a perdestrian only street that is lined with chick boutiques. These particular boutiques are filled with Italian designer clothing!! :) Which is probably why we never stepped foot inside them! LOL

Next we headed over to the ever so famous
Casa di Giulietta (House of Juliet.) Juliet's balcony dates back to the 13th century. You can pay 3 euro and go inside the house to the balcony for a fun photo op, but there was to many people and wasn't really worth the wait. The brass statue of Juliet in the courtyard is another big photo op. Many believe that if you touch the right breast of the statue that you will have good fortune. Had Clark's hand not been on her right breast you would notice just how worn that breast is compaired to the left! :) Juliet's wall is another must see. Many believe that writing on the wall will make their love everlasting! OOPS we forgot our sharpie! It is also a tradition to put small love letters on the walls (Letters to Juliet) Regularly the walls are all cleaned and the notes are all taken down, just to keep the courtyard clean. They must have just removed all the notes when we visited because there were non on the walls. 


Gelato, Cappuccino, and lunch time. Yep in that order too!

After filling our bellies and getting a jolt of pick me up we finished our stay in Verona with a couple more tourist stops. We ventured onto the Scaligieri Graves, which are on the grounds of St. Maria Antica's Church. In front of the Church the Della Scala Family erected their own cemetary. Over the Church's front door there's the Cangrande Idella Scala Grave (1329) the most important Veronese monument from the 14th century. In the Arche Mastino II and the Cansignorio grave, rest in peace other members of this family that ruled Verona from 1260 to 1387. This monument was also open for touring for a fee, but we passed on going inside.
Next we made a quick pass by Casa di Romeo. Romeo's house was not preserved and so it is not open to the public for touring so there really wasn't much to see here.

   So this concludes our very fun weekend touring Pisa and Verona Italy! Be sure to check out my Facebook page for many more pictures. 


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Traveling Across Italy

Okay so it we might not have traveled ACROSS Italy, the drive was only 4 hours 4 1/2 tops, and on the Autostrada with the right person driving that time could be cut in half! Over Labor day weekend we decided to caravan with our neighbors to Pisa and Verona. Our neighbor was so gracious in finding a hotel in Pisa right on the beach for our night stay! We really have enjoyed our little road trips through Italy because there is always something to look at, and it is all new. The Italians don't believe in blowing up a whole mountain just to get to the other side, instead they like to go through them! There are tons of tunnels and the boys get a big kick out of them. The first time we drove through one here I honked my horn like we used to when I was a little kid! Don't think the Italians appreciated my childhood American tradition! :( 

This is in the heart of Pisa, the outside of the Mideivel City wall, which was built in 1155, and is perfectly preserved!

There are always lots of people dressed up to take pictures with for a Euro or two!

On the inside of the midieval walls is what is called the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles.) This cosists of The Leaning Tower of Pisa, The Duomo, The Baptistry of San Giovanni, The Monumental Cemetary, and a Museum.      

 The Leaning Tower began in 1173 as a bell tower for Pisa's Cathedral, but began leaning five years later. The tower was being built on a dense clay mixture that was not strong enough to hold the bell tower, and construction was halted for nearly 100 years. After several architects and a few centuries later it was completed in the 14th century. The top can be reached by climbing 294 steps which rise in the form of a spiral on the inner side of the tower walls. Clark and I wanted to climb up to the top but didn't want to wait the 3 hours to do it. Figured we would be able to visit it again in the near future. Of course we had to get a picture of us holding up the leaning tower! EVERYONE was doing it! 


Even today it continues to sink very slowly. Unknown for sure but it is said to be sinking 1mm every year. Just being here and seeing the beauty of architecture not only in the tower but in all the buildings makes it feel so sureal! What a once in a lifetime journey we are on and so thankful for the opportunity!

The Cathedral (Duomo) is the oldest building in the complex and it was dedicated to the Assumtion of the Holy Virgin Mary 800 years before this was declamed a dogma of the Catholoc faith. Of course all these buildings were open for you to go in and tour, but with the 5 kids, and long lines and small fee we decided we would just be in awe over the outside of the buildings.

The second building to be built in the Field of Miracles was the Battistero di San Giovanni (The Baptistry of St. John.) The construction started in 1152 and was completed in 1363. This building to was built on unstable clay and leans at a 0.6 degree. The Baptistry is said to be a fearsome enemy to the students of the University of Pisa. Urabn legend has it that if you are an undergraduate and you walk around the Baptistry you will never get your degree??!!

We ended our visit to The Field of Miracles by enjoying a lunch at NONE other than the golden arches! Yep we broke down and enjoyed a greasy American meal in Italy! We have heard nothing but bad things about the Italian McDonalds and how it tastes NOTHING like it does in the states, so we have been staying clear of McDonalds while over here. It was just to tempting.....and as you can see Luke was was beside himself! :) I do have to say that it tasted just like McDonalds, but that I really didn't miss it as much as I thought I might have. Guess that is a good thing!                                           

After our afternoon of being tourists we decided to go find our hotel and let the kids play at the beach for awhile. The beach has been good for wearing the kids out! After lettinrg the fish be fish for awhile we decided to get cleaned up and go find somewhere to eat dinner. After finally figuring out what was on the menu, with a little help from the waiter who spoke about as much English as we spoke Italian we just picked a few things off the menu hoping it was going to be good. Of course the kids are always safe when they order their margarita (cheese) pizzas! As it turns out we all ordered some really good Italian meals! Dinner with great food and wonderful friends! The perfect end to a great day in Pisa Italy. Oh wait I take that back we ended the evening with a couple bottles of fabulous vino (wine)!! That was the perfect ending to a wonderful day with friends!
 TO BE CONTINUED..........................................................