Ciao Italia

We arrived back in the states on Sunday. I painted all day yesterday, and I’m trying to catch up on my blog and emails today. Lots to do. I have several freelance projects I need to dive into, as well as finish work for the show in May.

All these photos plus many, many more are on my Flickr page. Mike took quite a few of these of course, and we also have some of Kate and Jared’s photos up there as well.

(Click on the images to view larger.)

Vatican Museum

The interior of the Vatican is beyond belief. It’s an immense structure. We booked a “scavi” tour a few months back that gives access to the underground archaeological excavations below the Basilica. We started our visit under St. Peters, seeing the remains of a Roman necropolis and the previous basilica, all built around what is believed to be the burial site of St. Peter. At the end of the tour we saw the tomb of Pope John Paul II, and then walked up into St. Peter’s beside the altar. No lines, no security – just the angels singing hallelujah.

Fresco by Raphael. This is just before we reached the Sistine Chapel. We could take all the photos we wanted until then.

Statue of Laocoön at the Vatican Museum

This is the skull of St. Valentine. We stumbled on it by accident at a different chapel.

View of the sun setting over the Colosseum and old Rome on our last night.

After Rome we took the train up to Venice for a few nights. The weather was beautiful when we arrived but went downhill from there. The next day was miserable – cold, windy, and rainy. We beelined toward the Accademia and were lucky enough to find a Titian show, as well as Bob and Doug from Florence who decided to take a road trip. It was quite a surprise and great to see them again.

On the way to our hotel in a vaporetto.

Sunset in Venice. It would be the last time we saw the sun in several days.

Doug, Bob, Kate, Jared, me, and Mike in front of the Rialto Bridge.

We picked up a car at the Venice airport and drove to Padua to see the Giotto frescos at the Scrovegni Chapel. It was then on to Bologna. One quick night there, and we were off again towards the medieval hilltop city of Perugia. Weather sucked there too, but we explored as best we could and also kicked back for drinks at a few bars-a place called Merlin’s and then an Irish pub.

On the Roman aqueduct in Perugia.

At least it wasn’t rain!

Our last full day was spent in Orvieto, a beautiful medieval hill town.

Again, don’t forget to check out the rest on Flickr. There are over 1000, but it’s easy enough to browse through them. It was easy to get carried away with the photos. Even in the rain and snow it was picturesque.