When Pope Benedict announced he was stepping down recently I couldn’t help but think about where I was when Pope John Paul II died. So where was I? In Italy!
My mom was the administrator of our Homeschool co-op which included a Latin class. The teacher (a dad of one of the families in the group) decided he wanted to take some of the students to Rome, Italy to learn more about the Roman Empire whose language was Latin. My family was invited to go with them and we jumped at the chance!
We spent 10 days in Italy mainly in Rome exploring the city, seeing everything from the Parthenon, to the Coliseum (our hotel was a few blocks away from here), the catacombs, Piazza Navona and The Spanish Steps. One of my favorite places was the church of San Clemente, which is a 12th Century church, but you down one level and it’s the remains of a 4th Century church, you go down one more level and it’s a 2nd Century pagan temple. There’s so much history and contrast in one place!
After spending a few days in Rome we headed to Naples for the weekend, where we visited Pompeii which was an amazing experience, before heading to the island of Capri off the coast of Naples. We had to take a ferry over to the island which is where we were exactly when the Pope died. Once on the island we took a small train to the top and that’s when we heard the church bell tolling. I’ll never forget standing in the square hearing that bell toll. We didn’t know at first what was going on, but we quickly found out. Making our way to our hotel we turned on the tv in the lobby to the BBC (the only station we could get in English) and learned more about what was going on.
We still had a few more days in Italy and had left most of our stuff at our hotel in Rome. Fortunately we already had our train tickets for the trip back to the city. The next day we went on a boat trip around this beautiful island. (If you ever go to Italy go here! It’s absolutely gorgeous!) Then we took the train back to Rome, which was completely full!
For our last few days of our trip we were supposed to go to the Vatican, but we didn’t know if we would even be able to get close, however we decided to give it a try and I’m SO glad we did! Each of the kids had to give a report on something we were going to see on our trip and mine was Saint Peter’s Basilica. I wanted to see it SO badly! We decided to go to the square at least, but once we were there we were surprised that the line to get in was not too long so we decided to go in. It was incredible to be inside the second largest church in the world especially at such a historic time, and to see the things I had been reading about. We weren’t able to go up in the dome because it was closed, but it was still incredible! A couple of hours after we left they brought the Pope’s body inside which made the fact we were able to get inside even more amazing!
The following day we were supposed to go to the Vatican Museum where the Sistine Chapel is, but we didn’t know if we would make it. We had taken the subway the day before and while it had been more crowded than before it wasn’t too bad. The next day was a completely different story! We couldn’t even get on it, and the buses weren’t any better! So we decided to walk the 2 miles to the Vatican. This was by far the longest we had to walk the entire trip but we made it and it was well worth it! We actually got inside the Sistine Chapel a few hours before they closed it!
Overall, the trip was incredible and not just because we were there at such a historic time. We saw so many amazing things and learned so much. It’s something I’ll never forget!
Day 86: Thank you Lord for my trip to Italy, and for all the amazing things I was able to see and experience while I was there.
What are you thankful for today? Leave a Comment and let me know, I’d love to read it!