Throwback Travel Thursday: My trip to Italy

Venice, Assisi, Rome, The Vatican, Florence, Verona, Pompeii and more.

I was blessed by the Pope (the actual real live Pope, known as a 'Papal Blessing' or 'Apostolic Blessing'), saw the statue of David, went to the Sistine Chapel, roamed the coliseum of Rome, saw the body of St. Francis of Assisi, went to Pompeii (like the movie but REAL), Rich got food poisoning, went to the pizzeria the Jersey Shore worked at and saw amazing beautiful sights that I'll never forget. 

November 2012 I took a trip of a lifetime to Italy. We had been planning it for about a year but what we didn't plan on was that I'd be 6-ish weeks pregnant :-/ 
Me.... A wine lover in wine country and I couldn't partake in the chianti served at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. To compensate I ate my weight in lasagna and bread. 

This is going to be an extremely long post about Italy since I have over 600 photos so I'm going to break it up into quite a few weeks of: 

Throwback Travel Thursday 

The Vatican & Sistine Chapel in Rome

Note: The photos were taken on 2 separate days. Since I was extremely unorganized in filing/sorting my photos I don't know anymore which are of the Vatican on the way to meet the Pope and which were on the way to see the Sistine Chapel. Feel free to correct me wherever you see fit. 

Unfortunately Rich got very bad food poisoning the day we went to the Sistine Chapel and wasn't able to see it in person. To this day I still feel terrible for him for that. We were on a tour group so there wasn't a way to go on another day, everything was scheduled. 

My words can't express the beauty that was the Vatican so I'll shut up and share some of the photos I took that day.

This hallway literally took my breath away. The ceiling was created with so much detail and went on and on.

I found this so awesome and creepy at the same time. The crosses were in the case for a number of years and then removed. Leftover were the markings on the back wall.  

My ticket to to the Pope. #3691. It was total chaos outside the vatican waiting in line to get your seat. Everyone is from all over the world so we couldn't communicate with one another. There was budging and pushing and line cutting all over the place. Oddly enough right before meeting a religious man…

Prior to him coming out they were announcing the countries that were there and if you were from that country you would stand up and scream and shout. Some countries were very into this having horns and confetti.

The Pope did readings and speaking to the crowd in various languages. He then gave a blessing to everyone there and you could bless items such as rosaries if you had them. I bought one in Assisi for my Grandma and had it blessed by the Pope there. Merry Christmas Grandma, from your now favorite Granddaughter!
Background: I grew up Roman Catholic with my very strict Catholic Grandfather. We went to mass every Sunday, went to confession often, followed a very strict lifestyle and our mass was in Latin. Not so fun when you're 10, but I survived. It helped that I had a crush on one of the alter boys so I would just stare at him with dreamy eyes during mass.

If you're heading to Italy yourself click here for information on tickets to the Papal Audience.

Pope gear
This is the casket/tomb of the daughter of an Emperor
These guys were EVERY.WHERE. Initially I was sweet in saying 'No Graci' to them but they get right in your face and follow you and literally grab your hand to touch their scarves and fake handbags. I tried ignoring them without success numerous times. They're outside of every single touristy location in all of Italy. Finally I decided to just have fun with it and would walk past them saying, "not interested but SHE is" pointing to my friend 6 feet behind me. They ditched me and flocked to her like stink on shit.

Italy Tips!

1. To conserve energy a lot (or most) of the hotels require your room key to be in this room key type thing inside your hotel room. This way you aren't leaving the lights and TV on while you're not in your room. How do I know? Well on day 1 I got in the shower while Rich was unpacking. We were parched so he decided to go down to the corner store for water while I freshened up. He took the key then left. After 3 minutes all the lights went out. It was pitch- frickin- black in the hotel room. I shit you not, I could NOT see my hand 2 inches from my face. There I was in the shower in the darkness in a hotel room I hadn't been in longer than 5 minutes so I wasn't going to try to find the window and open it so I could see. I fished around with my arm looking for a towel but NOTHING. I had to wait in there until he got back cold and nude. He didn't rush either, he had no idea the lights were out. Like I said, the lights went out after about 3 minutes so he was long gone and I couldn't yell for him to come back. So Rich dilly dallied in the supermarket because, why not? It was all new to us. By the way, the will NOT give you two room keys so that you can leave your camera or phone charging in your room while you're gone. 

2. Be open to new foods- especially at breakfast. I am usually very very open with new foods but I couldn't stomach the breakfast. I loved lunch. I loved dinner. I loved snacks and I wish I could say I love the wine. Breakfast. Was. Nasty. They don't have eggs, bacon, rolls, milk, cereal, etc. like Americans do. They have milk, but it's weird. They don't have bacon, it's pancetta. Not even a bagel to hold you over until lunch unless you like sugary chocolately croissants (I don't). Their coffee however is incredible. 

3. Learn a little bit of the language before you go. Don't invest in Rosetta Stone or anything, I mean unless you want to. But I went knowing: yes, no, please, thank you, and excuse me. Some very helpful phrases to know are: Do you speak English?, Excuse me, I don't understand, where is…, I'm pregnant. The last one was helpful only to me when people would very sweetly try to buy me drinks. 

Tune in next Thursday for Throwback Travel Thursday: Venice

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