Italy

Tips for Your Trip to Italy

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A friend of mine recently emailed and asked for any tips about traveling in Italy.  Here are some of our hard-won pearls of knowledge: Bancomat = ATM machine When ordering things sold by the pound, you will often see prices listed in Euros per L’etto/a.  This means ‘per 100 grams.’ In the shower in your apartment or hotel room, there will probably be a long cord coming out of the wall, attached to something that looks like a light switch.  You may be tempted to pull it, just to see…

10 Colosseum Facts and Tips For Your Visit

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The Colosseum was one of our favorite sites in Rome. Here are 10 fun facts about the ancient world’s largest amphitheater and some tips for your visit.  If you don’t care about fun facts, click here to skip straight to the tips. 1. When it first opened, ancient Romans wouldn’t have called it “the Colosseum.”  It would have been the “Flavian Amphitheater” to them, named after the Emperor who built it in 72 AD. 2. But, they did call it the Colosseum eventually. The Emperor Nero erected a mammoth statue of…

Italy: A Tale of Two Farms

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We had the great pleasure of escaping to two farms in Italy while we visited. “Agrotourism” is a big part of the tourist industry there and knowing how much I love every moment we get to spend at Harvest Sun Farms with our friends in Ohio, I was definitely excited. One thing I learned quickly while looking at the Agrotourism in Italy site is that many places are just countryside homes, and not actual working farms, so you have to read the descriptions closely to get what you want. We…

Fun Florence Street Signs

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Florence: center of the Renaissance; birthplace of the Medicis, great patrons of the arts and sciences; home of Michelangelo’s David; one of the most beautiful cities in the world. You might think that with all that history and culture, it would be hard to choose our favorite thing about the city.  But if you were to ask us, the answer would be easy: the street signs. Some enterprising street artist/vandal must have been hours roaming Florence by night, retouching the city’s street signs to turn them into funny and subversive…

Hanging With the Pope in Assisi

Our first Pope-sighting!

This is a story of how serendipity once again intervened in our trip and gave us the opportunity to see Pope Francis.  It is also the story of an actual miracle that occurred during his visit. Read on for details… Two weeks ago, we were trying to figure out where else to go for our remaining time in Italy. “Assisi is supposed to be nice,” Amber said. And so we looked into it and, sure enough, it looked nice .  And when we consulted our trusty Catholic Liturgical Calendar (never…

Parmesan Heaven

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I spent some time in heaven this week when we went on a tour of a Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese factory. We met our guide at a factory about 20 minutes east of Parma. Once we arrived we entered the processing room, where raw milk, starter whey and rennet combine with heat to make curd. Once the curd is formed, the 180 lb. balls of curd are gathered in the strongest cheese cloth I have ever seen. Then, they are divided in two, making a set of twins. Like my Dad and Uncle.…