After Pompeii and Sorrento we head back to Rome and the hotel, Buenos Aires for a few more days in Rome.
A few hours after arriving we jump back on the coach and drive to the Tivoli Gardens, incredibly beautiful!
The lovely tiered gardens with MANY steps, multiple water falls and features was listed by UNESCO.
The gardens are immaculately kept with many shrubs, trees, roses and ancient Olive Trees.
We also roamed the rooms of the Villa d'Este built in 1550 for Cardinal Ippolito d'Este, the son of Lucrecia Borgia and Alfonso d'Este.
Brightly coloured frescoes decorate the walls and ceilings and I look out of the window down onto the tiered gardens..
Rome is amazing! Italy is amazing!
The Colosseum, The Vatican, the forum, every where we turn there are ancient monuments, Roman walls and roads.
Left; Tivoli Gardens, & a fresco from inside the villa.
We head back to Rome to get prepared to go out for dinner. the coach takes us up the mountain to the hilltop 'ristorante'.
There is much celebration that night as it is Barbara's birthday and a young Aussie couple, Dwain & Sarah, announce their engagement.
We are serenaded by a trio of musicians; one ancient guitarist, an accordian player with teeth missing (my favourite instrument..NOT) and a beautiful operatic singer. She spends most of the night playing up to a few of the men in the tour, obviously hoping that her 'charms' will persuade them to buy the CD she flogs to us at the end of the night...it didn't work :)
We climb back on the coach to head back to Rome and bed, Gerie, the lady from New York, dances down the aisle of the coach and Pasquale tells her off. Only he's allowed to dance in the aisle, due to safety reasons that is.
Next, morning, Saturday 8 May, we head for Vatican City. I couldn't take many photos as it isn't allowed, to protect the treasures from the flash of the camera.
On the walls hang the biggest tapestries I've ever seen. Greek and Roman statues adorn the corridors.
We also saw Raphael's frescoes depicting the pre-Christian Aristotle, Plato, Socrates & Diogenes.
On entering the Sistine Chapel, where Michelangelo's magnificent ceiling depicts the story of creation, I am surprised by the amount of people they have crammed into the room. Wall to wall.
Every few minutes a security guard screams 'QUIET!!!" at the top of his voice.
We move through the mass of bodies and head to the vast, richly adorned & stunning St. Peter's Basilica.
Oh my goodness! What a stunning building.
Housing Michelangelo's 'Pieta', Bernini's altar work of the starburst 'Dove Window' & the 'Throne of Peter'.
And also his seven story, bronze canopy. I can't put in to words the size of this place.
We wander for quite a while, trying to absorb what we see and imprint it in our memories as we can't take photos, it being, primarily, a place of worship.
My mind is buzzing with ideas for artworks to paint when I get home. Occasionally I pull out my visual diary and try to draw but I'm so tired I can't think straight.
-It's practically impossible to paint or draw while on an organized tour, there just isn't time to stop and really get into the 'Zone'. If you are planning a trip and want to paint etc then I would recommend either going it alone, organizing your own itinerary, or jumping on one of those 'Artist Tours'.
anyway, we leave Vatican City and head for the Pizzeria to buy lunch. Delicious pizza and latte at a small table is a welcome refreshment.
Picking up our local guide, again we head back to the Roman Forum & Colosseum for a walking tour. We saw these amazing feats of architecture at the beginning of the tour so I won't bore you with more!
that night we had our farewell dinner. Every one exchanges email addresses and promises to be in touch. Of course once every one gets back home and into normal life that falls by the wayside!
After dinner, back in the hotel room, Ian and I prepare our suitcases for leaving early in the morning to catch the train to Florence.
We will be on our own from there and are looking forward to a slower pace and some time by ourselves.
I'm excited and have trouble getting to sleep, as I will be visiting Bologna in the next day or so. Specifically, the Gallery De Marchi, where my art work is in an International Exhibition. I can't wait to see it and meet Paola, the curator.
Oh, how I wish I could shake off this flu', I still feel ill and one of the ladies on the tour gives me some tablets to take. She is a Doctor and has her medicine bag with her.
(When I get back to Australia three weeks later I'm still ill and get a 'roasting' from my own Doctor for not going to the hospital while in Italy. I have seasonal asthma and didn't realize that I had a serious chest infection that could have been really bad news for me. She now recommends that if I go over seas again I must take antibiotics with me, just in case. Handy tip).
time to sleep, more later on strolling in Florence and getting lost in Bologna!
Ciao for now