Monday, November 17, 2008

Dream Itinerary For The Grape Escape

Hurry jump on your Vespa and let's start my dream tour of Rome. Nowhere else can such a unique combination of history, religion, art, and culture be found. We'll see ancient ruins, religious landmarks, famed museums, and remarkable public squares – not to mention eat some wonderful food. So hold onto your scarves and fanny packs and let's get this show on the road!

The Pantheon
The Pantheon - is one of Italy’s most beautiful and stunning buildings and has stood for nearly 2,000 years. Admission is free and is open during daylight hours. Built around 120 A.D., the Pantheon is the best preserved of all ancient Roman buildings. Originally dedicated to the major Roman gods by the emperor Hadrian, this building was consecrated (and thus saved) as a church in the 600s.
The Parthenon

The Colosseum
The Collosseum - one of the world’s most famous structures and the gem of Italy. Tickets are €8.00; hours are 9:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. during winter). The Colosseum is located near the ancient center of Rome, and although not as well preserved as the Pantheon, is still a marvel to behold. Commissioned by the emperor Vespasian in the 70s A.D., the Colosseum was originally used as a sports complex where gladiators fought. When Constantine took over Rome and began to Christianize the empire in the 600s, he outlawed all forms of gladiator games and blood sport. Following this time, the Colosseum was abandoned and stripped of many of its treasure.

The Coliseum

St. Peter’s
Over two thousand years of Roman and Christian history are represented and found in the history of St. Peter’s. History tells us that St. Peter (one of the original twelve disciples and founder of the Church) was crucified around 65 A.D. in Nero’s Circus. It is said that he was buried nearby in a small cemetery on Vatican Hill. This spot is thought to lie directly below the current dome of St. Peter’s and is marked by a magnificent baldacchino. The Vatican is the home of the papal seat and the center of the Catholic Church. Artistic masterpieces and architectural design by such greats as Michelangelo, Bramante, Bernini, and Maderno grace its halls.

Inside St. Peter's Basilica

The Roman Forum and Palantine Hill
Unlike the Pantheon and the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Imperial Forums, and Palantine Hill are ruins. They no longer exist in the original magnificence. Still the ruins leave behind important clues about what once was and with a little imagination, you can picture yourself walking amongst Rome’s ancient rulers and elite. The Roman Forum is the most famous of the Roman ruins and is a must see sight in Rome. The Palantine Hill also includes many famous ruins but is not as fully excavated or as popular – it is a great quiet place of a picnic and wander at will amidst the ruins.

The Roman Forum

San Clemente
In San Clemente, you can truly see the different layers of Roman history. First you enter into a medieval church built in the 1100s and decorated with frescoes that date from the 15th -18th centuries. The current church is beautiful – but what is even more wonderful is what lies beneath it – three older structures, each taking you further back in time! Find the staircase in the back right corner of the sacristy and descend into the ruins of a fourth century Christian church. Even more remarkable, descend further to find the ruins of two ancient Roman structures – one an ancient house with three rooms dedicated to the worship of the Persian god Mithras, the other an ancient warehouse.

San Clemente

Piazza Navona
The Piazza Navona sits upon the ruins of the ancient Circus Domitianus. The present day piazza is ovular in shape and owes its shape to the ancient race track that once occupied the space. The Piazza is marked by three beautiful fountains, the most famous being the center fountain by the great Bernini. The center of the fountain is marked by a tall Egyptian obelisk and surrounding it are four figures representing the great rivers of the world. Another famous landmark in the piazza is the church of Saint Agnese. The facade of St. Agnese was designed by Borromini. Legend says that Bernini designed one of his figures in the fountain (the one covering its face) as a reflection of his thoughts on Borromini’s design – the two were great artistic rivals.

Piazza Navona

Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain is a large sculptural fountain in the Baroque style. The fountain is famous for the legend that if you throw a coin into the fountain you are sure to return to the Eternal City. The fountain has been used as a backdrop in movies such as Roman Holiday and Three Coins in the Fountain.

Capitoline Museums
Italy and its museums are home to some of the most renowned statues in the world. The Capitoline Museums are open from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (closed Mondays); tickets cost €6.20. The museum contains many ancient sculptures from Rome, Greece and Egyptian, such as the fragments of a giant colossal statute displayed in the museum’s courtyard. It also contains a picture gallery.

Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel
The Vatican Museums are vast and contain many treasures collected over thousands of years. The Vatican Museums are located in the papal palace and the most famous room inside the museum is the Sistine Chapel. As many know, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel contains Michelangelo’s most famous fresco painting.
After all of our sightseeing I hope you won't be too tired for some grape stomping and wine tasting. Dash over to Muse Swings and The Birdbath Chronicles and you won't miss a thing. See you later!


  1. Hic-cup) I must advise you that we have a security breech on the Mojo deck and surveillance video shows we have a double agent on board, could be Sparky. (Hic-cup) My newest agent, Pierce, is currently enroute... I will keep you advised as we monitor the situation here at Headquarters.
    Cha Cha

  2. Italy is on my "must see before I die" list! Gorgeous pix!

  3. Ciao Amica!

    I think we might be the only ones who have not drunk too much of Cynthia's wine or Lavinia's Compari -- lol! Janeen is searching hard for the spy amongst us and Trish is being carried away by sweet music :-)

    Thanks for all the wonderful information about the special sights in Roma! It makes me want to go back again soon!

  4. Beyond compare, beyond description. Italy is one of the premier treasures of the world, as your post has so amply demonstrated. Wonderful!!

  5. Stevie! Lovely tour! If only I had worn proper walking shoes but I was absolutly smitten by these strappy little jobs at the Italian Custom Made Strappy Little Jobs Shop. They made me put socks on before I could tour the Vatican! Luckily Pat had an extra pair of paisley knee socks in her back pack. Think I'll just sit here and put my tootsies in the fountain for a bit.

  6. Hey Stevie, you've been monopolizing the Cardinal for the past about giving some of us other mortals a chance to get a word or otherwise in edgewise...or otherwise....Hmmm, he must be a most fascinating individual...this happens every time he comes to one of my parties....

  7. Lavinia has just sent an SOS - she's lost in my wine cellar. So grab the Cardinal (as IF that would be a problem) and help us find her! She's somewhere between the 1968 and 1972 Muserino casks. She didn't leave a trail of wine crakers like I told her to.

  8. I am on the Escape too. Beautiful pictures. Mary Lou

  9. Alert! Alert! This is Security Headquarters! Where is your location? Call me on the landline at once! Double Agent Sparky is missing and your GPS was found floating in the fountain. Agent Pierce is still with Museswing and
    Madame Lavinia is well... simply stunning in her Ruby Red jewels!

    BTW, Bring more donuts!

  10. Donuts? In Italy. NONONONONONONO!They have cannoli, and biscotti.

  11. Stevie, you have created a fabulous post! This was so informative and educational. Thanks for the security also. I felt very safe with Avery along knowing that you have a black belt along with several other forms of martial arts. This trip was grand and we will be talking about it for years. Such beauty and atmosphere! Italy is gorgeous!!!

  12. Stevie, I see you in deep discussion with a 'security guard' in the corner. Feeling slightly *nervous* about that. Honestly, I have 'clearance papers' for all my artifacts...honest!

    P.S. Please don't look in the bathroom medicine cabinet. Please!!

  13. I so loved the sightseeing today. The Piazza Navona was my favorite of them all!! :)

  14. What a gorgeous post and so very informative. I enjoyed it!

    I'm a little late but am enjoying the (hic) wine tasting. (burp) ha ha

    Sparky ♥ ∞

  15. Well I think the day was a success even though all the *guests* were all over my agent ~Pierce. He'll need to go back to Basic Training tomorrow. Since you'll be on your on until the next mission I will leave you with the following information decide to accept a position on our next detail:

    As an Agent of Cha Cha Security, you must work under these guidelines to be an effective operative:

    Protect your identity at all costs, never de-mask during a mission, don't get followed home or to identifying vehicles, do not wear any clothing or items that may aid in identifying you.

    Stay cool. Stay cool, especially when harassed. You are an ambassador of Anonymous. Although individuals trying to disrupt your mission will get on your nerves, you must not lose your temper. Doing so will threaten the mission and tarnish the reputation of Anonymous.

    Always be across the street from the object being protested.
    In the absence of a road, find another natural barrier between yourself and the target of the protest. Doing so will make it more difficult for individuals hostile to your cause to come and harass you.

    Stay on public property. You may be charged for trespassing if you do not.

    No violence, our missions are not "hot".

    No weapons. This is a psy-op mission; you will not need weapons to complete your objectives. Play with their minds!

    Anonymous is legion. Never be alone. Isolation during a mission marks you as a target for handlers who wish to provoke an angry reaction from you and other friendlies.

    Bring water. A dehydrated, thirsty Agent is not a useful Agent.

    Wear good shoes. You know, those cute strapy ones you bought today in Italy will be puuuuurfect! Following these rules will assure your comfort during the mission.

    Document the mission. Videos and pictures of the event may be used to corroborate your side of the story if law enforcement should get involved. Furthermore, posting images and videos of your heroic actions all over the internet is bound to generate win, exhorting other Agents to follow your glorious example. Intelligence gathered during this mission will be extremely helpful for future engagements.

    If you are captured or identified, Headquarters will deny knowledge of your existence.

    If enemy operatives identify you, stay calm and call a lawyer. Document any confrontations as soon as possible for legal proceedings.

    The enemy is everywhere. MOLES are among our ranks so trust no one.

    Now go snuggle up with your secret agent and enjoy the crackling fire and more of Museswings vintage vino!

    Commander of Headquarters

  16. Lavinia...what was I doing in the medicine cabinet? Well, I needed some aspirin. No. No indeedy, I did not see any artifacts. None at all. Just there for the aspirin.

    *sidles sideways to the door muttering "does the silly fool think I've forgotten Halloween night when she swiped my credit card in the foofrah around the fire, and absconded on a luxury vacation which ended only when my card was maxed out?*

    Lavinia stars openmouthed in astonishment as my cry rings back 'Hasta luego, suck-errrrrrrrrrrrrr!'

    The moral of the story? Easy. She who vacations last, vacations best, I always say.

  17. Debby, I'm sure I haven't the foggiest notion...I mean...Halloween? I was miles away, caring for my dear bedridden great-aunt Livonia in Oklahoma!...miles and miles away from your credit card...well, really...the noive...the absolute noive....there was never any proof of that...none whatever...not one shred of evidence.....what's that Aunty? Calling me? I'm coming, dear!

    Ciao, Debby....and debby's credit card with the lousy 50,000 grand limit...not even enough for Bebber's Vuitton valise suite.....

  18. Isn't life a journey? For Natale, I was holidaying in west Rome last year. This year I will be holidaying in east rome (=Istanbul). You might be interested in reading my travel notes from Bella Italia, pls check my archieves for Jan '08 and Feb '08.
    Thanks for this great article!

  19. stevie i am so glad you showed all these sights...hubby and i were in rome years ago and saw them all, of course senita and joe were too busy stomping grapes and guzzling the wine to see too much.

  20. hello! to those who will be inspired by this blog to travel to Rome I suggest to start planning your trip on vacation rentals in rome to choose an accommodation from the selection of hotel rooms and apartments...ciao

  21. Bravo ! Italy is such a beautiful & dream place / must visit before die.
    Thanks for the information.

    Glad to hear that you receive my card. Can't wait to receive yours :)
    Thank you.

  22. Me fiancée and I are planning a trip to Italy for our honeymoon.. and your post was a very helpful resource. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Italy is a place where dreams are made and you leave a part of yourself behind. There are indeed many places to see and things to do and one visit is not enough. The Trevie Fountain will bring us back. Thanks for the postings. Really brought back memories. Just got home from Rome and find it hard to get back to the routine.


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