Italy-The Vacation of a Lifetime: Pt. 2

It’s that time again! Recap of my trip!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013   3:30 pm

We are currently in for ‘siesta’. While not all stores close, some do. By now we have already been awake and sightseeing for seven hours. It is a nice time to rest our feet! As I am writing this, I am glancing up to see the storm clouds rolling in and other tourists parading around the Uffizi. Vespas are roaring around on the street below our apartment. This description may sound like the introduction to a classic movie of sorts. Add the Frank Sinatra I am listening to, and now we have something!

Earlier today we visited the Palazzo Pitti. The palazzo was home to the Medici Dynasty among others. It was quite the interesting living quarters/ mansion/ fortress. It showcased hundreds of paintings in the Palatine Gallery. Raphael, Botticelli, and Rubens paintings fill the enormous gallery. It is simply amazing how the structure came to be the way it is displayed today. There were many pieces depicting Christian figures (Mary, John the Baptist, and of course, Jesus). It was so lovely!

Today I also bought my first real leather piece. It is a gorgeous, magenta wallet. It had a scratch on it and I was concerned about it and asked the store clerk if he had anymore in the same color. As he did not, he told me that he had been working with leather his entire life and would be more than happy to fix it for me (this was all in broken English). He was able to fix it with no extra charge by rubbing some sort of leather protectant (I am guessing) into the wallet and it was gone! The price was 55 Euros which would be equivalent to about $70. I believe it was money well spent!

I was thinking about yesterday and I forgot to mentiom two details that I thought were very interesting. Yesterday, outside of The Duemo, I saw a monk! A real life monk! He was dressed in the traditional brown robe of sorts with a white rope keeping it all together. All the while carrying a mandolin! In addition, we were serenaded by a talented accordian player while eating gelato. It was definitely an Italian melody and made the experience a hundred times better. Here I am in Italy outside of 1,000 year old buildings, eating gelato, and listening to an accordion player! How many 18 year olds can say that?! Yet, as I stated yesterday, everyone is very direct and instead of American street performers who wait to be tipped, this performer went up to tables asking for tips. Very odd. In correlation, today we were asked by a street vendor to buy a necklace. We were sitting at an outdoor cafe and the vendor just came up to us! It must be acceptable here to do such things as they are still going on. So interesting!

Anyway, it is very apparent why Italians are so thin! The food is completely fresh and is not as processed. Chemicals do not make it into food, or rather, if it does, there is significantly less. You would think with the food they serve, Italians would be heavier. Today I had a crossant, toast (one with butter and one with jelly), and a cappuccino. I did not expect that to keep me full for the five hours that it did. Whatever is in the food, is doing its job! In addition to the food, the exercise level is higher. More people walk and use bicycles than I am used to seeing. In two days alone, I have walked about six miles!

7:52 pm
I have been finding myself speaking Italian more consistently. I am using simple words such as si, no, and gratzi. Regardless, I caught myself saying ‘si’ without even realizing it! Maybe by next week I will be using full sentences!

Tonight we went out for gelato and I got a nutella and vanilla cream mixture. OH MY GOODNESS. SO DELICIOUS! 😀

I am very tired indeed for those who may be wondering. With that statement comes my conclusion for this blog post.
Until tomorrow, arrivaderci,
Beth:)

 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

As with every day, we are back at the apartment for siesta. We visited the Basilica Di Santa Croce this morning. The Basilica is a sacred place as well as a burial center for many influential Italians. Those such as Galileo, Michelangelo, and Niccolo Machiavelli are buried and honored there. Three very prominent figures in Italian and world history.

It was a very interesting Basilica. I also thought the way they buried nearly 250 people was fascinating! The tombs are flat against the floor as the people are buried beneath the floor of the Basilica. Each tomb is marked in its entirety by marble and some have inscriptions, coat of arms, or outlines of the bodies that are buried there. The reason the tombs are like this is to symbolize the humility of man. It is supposed to show that everyone’s inevitable outcome and destiny is the same, to be walked on (according to the audio I listened to). Although, tombs of the famous were higher, off the ground, and marked by busts of the deceased and allegories.

In other news, I bought a very beautiful grey, 100% silk scarf! It has a gorgeous fringe hanging upon it and like I stated, is absolutely beautiful! I bought it at an outdoor market outside of the Basilica. Interacting with the merchant was fun. She would unfold the scarf and let it flow in the breeze so you could see the colors. There were hundreds upon hundreds of scarfs. I am a lover of scarves so it was like Heaven!

As I mention everyday, the people are very direct. We have come across a few painters who, if you are sitting, will come near you and open their portfolios. They tend to stand for a moment until you glance over and then they try and convince you why you must not leave without their magnificent painting. At least I think that is what they are saying…they are speaking thick Italian. They will say, “quanto costa?”, meaning, ‘how much does this cost’. Using my context clues I believe they are asking me, ” do you want to know how much this costs?”. Unfortunately, I do not make eye contact, nor do I speak. Which I know is rude, but I have learned that the only way they leave, is if you do that to them… However, I do admire their perseverance! They are out their trying to make a living for themselves instead of begging. I think that is wonderful of them!

Arrivaderci!

Beth 🙂