Papa Francesco è molto fico!

Ciao a tutti,

After the recent horrid events that are happening in this world (It is really scary to be honest), I found this video clip floating round. Matteo mentioned it to me just a couple of days ago what Papa Francesco actually said, so it was quite cool to see the proper video clip. It just makes me love him even more!

Enjoy x

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My top 5 places in italia

Ciao a tutti,

Haven’t been on here for a while… you know how it is, life gets in the way and all that! I realise I need to start practising more italian. But I guess I will get there in the end.

I though today I would do my top 5 places in italia! In saying that, next time I go to italy these will probably change again, because I haven’t seen all the places I would yet like to see. But here we go. In no particular order of greatness.

1. Roma

Who doesn’t love rome, from being the very essence of the roman empire, to being the capital of Italy, roma which is in the region of lazio has everything, from current trends to thousand year old buildings such as the Colosseo, you can’t go wrong with roma, considering it has a history expanding more than 2500 years since it’s legendary founding in 753BC definitely the place every tourist needs to go when visiting italia! If you want to know the history of the founding of roma, I could story to look up would be the story of Romulus e Remis

View of palazzo del popolo

View of palazzo del popolo

il colosseo!  Photo credit: Me

il colosseo!
Photo credit: Me

Fontana di trevi

Fontana di trevi

The spanish steps! Such a large crowd!  Photo Credit: Matteo

The spanish steps!
Such a large crowd!
Photo Credit: Matteo

2. Stato della Città del Vaticano

One thing I love about Italia, is that while it’s a country itself, it actually has 2 more countries within it, that of San Marino and vatican city, while I am yet to see the former, I love vatican city, it’s hard to even realise that you’re actually in there, considering you can see it from any high altitude point of roma, with a population of less that 840 residents, it is definitely a place to visit. And we all know the swiss guards look so adorable in their little clown costumes. 😛 haha. I mean I love everything in that “Country” from san pietro, to piazza di san pietro, to the musei vaticani and the sistine chapel. It is all so glorious and beautiful!

beautiful ceiling in the vatican museums

beautiful ceiling in the vatican museums

The Apostle Peter? I think, in the piazza!

The Apostle Peter? I think, in the piazza!

View of st. Peter's from inside the vatican museums

View of st. Peter’s from inside the vatican museums

Pieta, my most favourite artwork in all of italy

Pieta, my most favourite artwork in all of italy

3. Firenze

I travelled to firenze, in my first trip to italia, back in december 2012, my main reason for even wanting to go there was to get myself a puzzle ring, I remember my first evening there, I found the shop I needed to go to and set on a walk to get there, and a man in his maybe mid 30s, stopped me and asked for the time, so I told him, when he realised I only spoke english, he thought it would be a good opportunity for him to practise, and I asked him for directions to the shop I was looking for, he said he would take me, although, I was following maps on my phone at the time, and realised he was leading me in the wrong direction and to his car…. and he kept on wanting to hug me and take selfies with me, needless to say I got a bit scared, quickly told him I had to go, and walked as fast back to the hostel as I could, so unfortunately that put me off going out in naples after 4pm. But I did get to see some amazing things during the day, I love the wee markets they had, I got some funky looking masks, and walking up the dome at the cathedral with the magnificent views of all of firenze, to all the other little piazze I stumbled upon. I definitely would like to go back again… next time though, I will NOT be alone! haha

One thing I do love about florence, is some pretty amazing notable figures came out of there, including Dante – the father of modern italian, to michelangelo, the medici family who created the bank system, and giotto! All remarkable people!

Firenze from the cupola Photo Credit: Me

Firenze from the cupola
Photo Credit: Me

One of the beautiful churches I stumbled across on my walks around firenze

One of the beautiful churches I stumbled across on my walks around firenze

Dante!!!

Dante!!!

The big cathedral!

The big cathedral!

Another view of the cathedral!

Another view of the cathedral!

Brunelleschi's dome

Brunelleschi’s dome

4. Taormina, Sicily

Taormina is in the region of Sicilia it is about midway between Messina and Catania, I spent 2 glorious days of sunshine there just after new years in jan 2013. While the hostel I stayed in was quite unsavoury, since when I arrived people were in my room, and they never topped up the toilet paper at all. So was not very happy, considering the owners were never there for me to ask. But I had some nice walks down the main drag of taormina, beautiful views of mt etna, and just all beautiful scenery! Definitely a place I would like to return too. I remember when I was catching the bus back to Catania to get the train back to roma, bus driver said to me “fa freddo, fa freddo” as I only had a singlet top on (or vest as some people call it), because it was like 20 degrees! That’s not cold!!!

Coastal images

Coastal images

Beautiful views of Etna

Beautiful views of Etna

my selfie in taormina

my selfie in taormina

coastal views

coastal views

more coastal images

more coastal images

5. Assisi!

Now if you love medieval towns along with a bit of Christian history Assisi is the place to go. I remember my first trip to Rome, I had actually booked a tour from Rome to Assisi, but unfortunately it got cancelled, so to my surprise on this trip, I woke up one morning, and Matteo said “Let’s go to Assisi”, after 3 odd hours on the road, and a bit of getting lost, we finally arrived to Assisi, with the beautiful views of the abbey from the hill below. I love that Assisi is just a small town on a hill with like 5 or 6 churches!

With great artworks of Giotto in the basilica, to the statue of San Francesco’s parents. It was all amazing, I literally felt like I had stepped back in time (well minus the vehicles but we were walking everywhere)… with breath taking views of Umbria. It’s definitely a place I want to return too.

View of Assisi from the car on the way there.

View of Assisi from the car on the way there.

Hanging out with the parents of francesco!  Photo Credit: Matteo

Hanging out with the parents of francesco!
Photo Credit: Matteo

Me with the gorgeous view behind me! Photo Credit: Matteo

Me with the gorgeous view of Umbria behind me!
Photo Credit: Matteo

 

I hope you enjoyed! I unfortunately haven’t been to as many places in Italy as I would like to go! I’m sure the next time I go I will find another top 5 places for you to come see with me!!!

Ciao miei amici!

Anna x

My top 8 favourite places in Roma

Ciao a tutti! 

Now I love Roma, everything about roma makes me fall more in love with it everyday. So I thought I would share with y’all, my favourite places I love about Roma. Not in any particular order of favouritism…

 1.    Bocca della Verità

 Or as we are familiar in English, “The Mouth of Truth”  is an image carved from marble, (Pavonazzo marble to be exact),  located just before you walk into the cheisa or church of Santa Maria in Cosmedìn. It is thought to have been part of a first-century ancient Roman Fountain, or perhaps a manhole cover portraying one of several possible pagan gods, probably Oceanus (that big triton (think little mermaid’s dad) like dude that you see at the fontana di trevi). Although most romans believe that the bocca (mouth) represents the ancient god of the river tiber.

Although today the most famous characteristic of the Mouth is that of a lie detector. Legend says that if you place your hand in the mouth and were a liar, your hand would be bitten off. Other stories say that a priest was on the other side of the sculpture, and would chop your hand of with a axe or other sharp instrument if you were a known liar.

La Bocca della Verità was placed in the entrance of the Santa Maria in Cosmedìn, in the early 17th century.

Bocca della verità! Didn't lose my hand! woo hoo!  Photo Credit: Matteo Castellani

Bocca della verità! Didn’t lose my hand! woo hoo!
Photo Credit: Matteo Castellani

 

2. Colosseo

 Also known as the Colosseum, or Flavian Amphitheatre, it is such a beautiful piece of history, smack bang in the middle of roma, with a 12 euro charge to get through the gates it is worth it to re live the history of the colosseo, when you walk out into the viewing platforms you can’t help but image yourself there. (Although I know if I was there, I would probably be in the pit running away from the lions for my faith, luckily there is no actual proof of this though!) but it is just such a majestic experience to look upon real live history that you are WALKING ON.

Unfortunately a lot of the deterioration of the colosseo was due to a lot of the papal reigns, taking out pieces of floor to go into their halls, which are now in the Vatican museums. But still, it is nice to imagine. I reckon they should rebuild the colosseo back to original form, imagine reopening that thing! Obviously not for what it was used for 2000 years ago, but you could definitely do something with it, I mean they receive millions of vistors annual. They would already get over close to 12 million euro for just 1 million visitors in the year! It wouldn’t be hard!

il colosseo!  Photo credit: Me

il colosseo!
Photo credit: Me

View of one side of the colosseo! I think I really need to go back to get some nicer pics!

View of one side of the colosseo! I think I really need to go back to get some nicer pics!

3. Arcibasilica Papale di Giovanni in Laterano

 Also know as Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, is my favourite chiesa in all of Roma, It even for me ranks about st. peter’s.

It is so beautiful for me because of the simplicity of the church. How there is nothing incredibly “showy” just simple and elegant. I love the 12 giant apostle statues, and tall walls.

The church stands over the remains of the lateran palace. Even becoming the residence of Pope St. Silvester I.

It also is the oldest cathedral and ranks first among the four papal basilicas or major basilicas of Rome.

And one of the cinctures for me, is that their souvenirs are like 50% cheaper at San Giovanni, than they are at the Vatican, even for the same item!

San Giovanni! Just as beautiful from the outside!

San Giovanni! Just as beautiful from the outside!

random crow like bird. Would really love to know what these birds are called! They seem to always be hanging outside San Giovanni!

random crow like bird. Would really love to know what these birds are called! They seem to always be hanging outside San Giovanni!

The entrance… yes I said entrance! A giantly massive entrance! Photo Credit: Matteo

The entrance… yes I said entrance! A giantly massive entrance! Photo Credit: Matteo

I'm busy being fascinated by the roof! Love the whole building! Photo Credit: Matteo

I’m busy being fascinated by the roof! Love the whole building!
Photo Credit: Matteo

Some of the beautiful ceilings of the church! Cannot get enough!

Some of the beautiful ceilings of the church! Cannot get enough!

 

    4. Bioparco di Roma

 Now, I for one love animals, I unfortunately currently do not own any, but as soon as I put roots down somewhere, it will be happening, I will get to have many animals, from my dream dog husky, to turtles and those little hamster things that cost 8 euro at the pet shop in Italy. I will own them all! But as this isn’t a discussion of all the animals that Anna’s wants, I bring you to the bioparco di roma, now I thought, hmmmm a zoo in Italy, I mean come on, I’ve been to Australia Zoo, so I have seen a zoo before, but I absolutely loved it. I would even quietly say I loved it more than Australia Zoo.

The bioparco di roma was conceived in 1908 to hold exotic animal specials for exhibition. Unlike other zoos at the time which mainly worked for scientific criteria, this zoo was designed for the entertainment and amusement of people. It was not established as a bioparco until 1998. Honestly… not really sure of the difference between a zoo and a bio park, because it just seemed like a zoo. But hey. Oh well! Haha

I loved it, they had these crazy mini monkeys that were so tiny and adorable and super quick, you had to be fast to catch a glimpse. They had these giant size hamsters, or guinea pig type animals, but they were BIG! You would need a rather large cage to keep one of them as a pet. They had the beautiful lynx and leopard. Even a kangaroo! Along with a whole bunch of glorious other animals! And when Matteo and I went in December 2012, they had a Christmas special on, where it was 2 for the price of one, so we both got in for like 8 euros each. If we were in Australia we would have been paying like $120 + for the both of us! I was really stoked! I loved the bioparco di roma so much!

I felt like I was seeing that dude from the lion king when I spotted this guy!

I felt like I was seeing that dude from the lion king when I spotted this guy!

What did I tell you!? Giant hamsters!

What did I tell you!? Giant hamsters!

just laxing with the Cheetah!  Photo Credit: Matteo

just laxing with the Cheetah!
Photo Credit: Matteo

My favourite animal of all in the bioparco! The Lynx or in italian lince!

My favourite animal of all in the bioparco! The Lynx or in italian lince!

Cutest little meerkats in all the world!

Cutest little meerkats in all the world!

5. Fontana di trevi

Now if you want a perfect view of the trevi fountain, do not go during the day, but stay up late, and go at around midnight or just after. You avoid the mass crowds, and enjoy breathtaking views of the fountain lit up to the nines. It really feels as though you’ll the only ones there even if there are a small handful of people along with agitating rose sellers around.

Unfortunately I can’t guarantee your wish will come true, since over 4000 euro a day goes into that fountain, no wonder the gypsies come out when no one is around and empties the fountain!

There is a beautiful legend surround the fountain… it is said that in 19 BC thirsty Roman soldiers were guided by a young girl to a source of pure water thirteen kilometers from the city of Rome. The discovery of the source led Augustus to commission the construction of a twenty-two kilometre aqueduct leading into the city, which was named Aqua Virgo, or Virgin Waters, in honor of the legendary young girl. The aqueduct served the hot Baths of Agrippa, and Rome, for over four hundred years.

Cool hey!

Fontana di trevi

Fontana di trevi

love birds alla fontana di trevi

love birds alla fontana di trevi

 

  6. Piazza San Pietro

Or St. Peter’s Square is something that all tourists to Italy need to see. It was the first place Matteo ever took me, and reflecting back on that day of December 12th 2012, it is a day I will never forget, because he knew how much it meant for me to see the Vatican City. One for me being a Catholic, the pope is obviously a very important part of our lives. So for me to finally see something I had only ever seen on tv or in pictures was such an experience. And then to be able to WALK into that! … I don’t even have the words to describe the feelings. I was talking to Matteo about it yesterday and I had tears running down my cheeks, because he wasn’t to know that something like taking me to the St. Peter’s square would end up being something so important to me, especially because he took me there first. Above any other tourist destination that was the first place we went. With all the saints watching over us from above, to San Pietro looming over us, to a four thousand year old Egyptian obeslik at the centre square. It was all just so amazing and over whelming and arrrrh, I can’t put to words. Definitely something that everyone needs to experience.

The Apostle Peter? I think, in the piazza!

The Apostle Peter? I think, in the piazza!

St. Peter's Square on a rather drizzly december 2012 day!

St. Peter’s Square on a rather drizzly december 2012 day!

7. Pincio

Otherwise known as Pincian hill, is a hill in the northeast quadrant of the historical centre of Rome. It is outside the original boundaries of the ancient city of Rome and is not one of the Seven Hills of Rome but does like within the wall built by Roman Emperor Aurelian between 270 and 273.

The views of Rome from pincio are just breathtaking, with a direct view overlooking piazza del popolo it is just stunning. You can see views of everything, from the parliament buildings to the Vatican.

Just watch out for the annoying rose sellers! They sure are hecklers!

Enjoying the view of piazza del popolo  Photo Credit: Matteo

Enjoying the view of piazza del popolo
Photo Credit: Matteo

View of palazzo del popolo

View of palazzo del popolo

8. musei vaticani

Now I would definitely recommend when seeing the Vatican museums do a guided tour, because you learn so much. I can’t recall who I did my tour with back when, but it made such a difference for my understanding of all the items, especially the Sistine chapel. I never realised that the Medici family and the Florentines played such a big part in the artistry and paintings of those that Michelangelo and others painted in the Sistine chapel. Next time you go and see the Sistine Chapel, look carefully at the images, and you will notice certain characters in Florentine outfits of the time of the paintings, never looking towards Jesus, always looking away, because they weren’t to interesting in him. It was just amazing learning all those things. And thank the Japanese for not being allowed to take photographs; they own the copyright until 2030 on the Sistine chapel paintings!

I loved the musei vaticani though; each hall was so different, from seeing tapestries that nuns hand weaved, to giant paintings of maps of different areas of Italy, to just beautiful realistic paintings! It was such an experience. One I would definitely do again. I don’t even think I saw everything, and I was nearly there for the whole day. I ended up taking a tour, but one of those girls advertising just along the road, then the tour guide was telling us about each hallway we were going through, although they were leaving after the Sistine chapel, so I made the decision to stay on, I handed back my headset and went to explore some more. I spent hours upon hours there. It was just so beautiful, and so amazing, and every hall so different to reflect the different personalities of the popes. Definitely a big high light!

And if you’re on a budget and don’t want to do a tour, although I do highly recommend you do, the Vatican Museums are free on the last Sunday of each month. But be prepared to line up for hours!!!

Beautiful artworks

Beautiful artworks

Hand sewed by nuns! Stunning!

Hand sewed by nuns! Stunning!

No, it's not a sculpture on the roof… its a 3D painting!!!

No, it’s not a sculpture on the roof… its a 3D painting!!!

I could not stop staring at the roofs of some of the halls. They were better looking than some of the walls.

I could not stop staring at the roofs of some of the halls. They were better looking than some of the walls.

la bella mappa di italia

la bella mappa di italia

More sexy roof work!

More sexy roof work!

Casual angel, playing his old school guitar

Casual angel, playing his old school guitar

Got to love the madonna with child always!

Got to love the madonna with child always!

Another funky painting I came across… I have enough photos of the museum to make a 200page book!

Another funky painting I came across… I have enough photos of the museum to make a 200page book!

Another madonna and child! I just love how beautiful all images of our lady are!

Another madonna and child! I just love how beautiful all images of our lady are!

The spiral staircase I had to go down to make my way out of the museum!

The spiral staircase I had to go down to make my way out of the museum!

 

Hope you enjoyed my 8 favourite spots! I’m sure make sure to find 8 more favourite spots next time I go to italia!! 🙂

Ciao amici!

 

Anna x