From Florence to Rome

By June 10, 20112011, Europe

Whether Florence, Italy was an anticipated stop for us or not, many
were quickly enchanted by this city and its rich history, culture and
scenic and architectural beauty. One of our first stops, and arguably
one of the most memorable, was the Accademia, the museum that houses
one of the world’s most famous sculptures, Michelangelo’s David. This
sculpture, as well as other pieces we saw at places like the Uffizi
Gallery and Opera del Duomo, reminded us, as we often have, that
pictures in text books just do not do justice to these works of art,
and it really is a gift to be able to learn on the road as we are
right now. Also during our stay in Florence we made a day trip to
Sienna before stopping at a three century family owned winery where we
had the chance to taste some Chianti Classico wines and organic olive
En route to Rome we made a short stop in Orvieto, a quaint city atop a
mountain with spectacular views that stretches for miles.
Rome was another ‘long’ stop (4 nights!), but filled with planned and
unexpected adventures! Our stop coincided with the 150th anniversary
of Italy liberation. The streets and transit, as well as many of the
sites were bussling with people who had come to the country’s capital
to celebrate.  A stop to Rome would not be complete with out a trip to
the Vatican museum, Sistine chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica,
interestingly the same morning as the Pope’s address from that very
location. Other highlights included the Capitolini museum (which over
looks the ancient Roman Forum), the  Collusium (a AD 72 arena still
intact enough to catch a glimpse into what ancient Roman life might
have been like), the Pantheon (a temple built around the of Christ and
boasts one of the Roman’s most impressive architectural achievement,
the dome), the Trevi Fountain, Spanish steps, and the Catacombs (said
to have been the burial ground of Peter and Paul for some time).
Our stop in Rome has led many to wrestle through the connection
between tourism and pilgrimage, causing many to realize the importance
of creating intentional spaces to interact and engage with what we see
both mentally and spiritually so as to not get discouraged or
overwhelmed with the tourism around us.

Angela Berry (for the 2011 Europe Leadership Team)

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