Friday, April 29, 2011

Italy Day 19 {Loreto}

View of the basilica from our balcony at the Hotel Loreto

Moon over Hotel Loreto, from our balcony
Outside view of the marble chapel encasing the Santa Casa in Loreto
 Following in the footsteps of many holy men and women, (including our friend, Paul, from Sacred Heart who loaned us the book, "Catholic Shrines of Western Europe," which guided many of our stops along our Italian pilgrimage), we visited the Holy House in Loreto.   St. Therese of Lisieux made a momentous pilgrimage to Loreto before entering the Carmelites (described at length in her autobiography); St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Frances Cabrini, Blessed John Henry Newman, St. John Neumann, and St. Francis de Sales also made pilgrimages to this holy site.  Our friend from San Giovanni Rotondo, Father Michael Pio, having lived there as a Capuccin priest, sent detailed descriptions of some of the artwork in the basilica, the times of the friars' prayers in the Church, and notes about the Holy House:
"...there are inscriptions by the first Judeo-Christians who visited the Holy House when it was still a part of the original dwelling of the Holy Family in Nazareth. There is notably one which combines Greek and Hebrew signs and means "O Jesus Christ, Son of God". It is matched by an identical invocation which is still to be found in a grotto in Nazareth close to the Grotto of the Annunciation." 
Dozens of priests sat in the various side chapels and in the old fashioned wooden box confessionals offering the healing sacrament of reconciliation (confession).  So many people were lined up, by languages (posted on each station) in order to be freed from sin in this special sacrament.   The feeling of repentance and healing in this holy place was both overpowering and inspiring.   Inside the Holy House, prayers, petitions, thanksgiving and praise were offered up to our Lord through our advocate and Blessed Mother, Mary.   A hushed silence filled the Holy House even as it was completely packed with pilgrims of every age, from all over the world.

Peter and Joseph play competitive coin rolling games at the fountain in the square at the basilica in Loreto.

Angels and saints and unbelievable beauty on the ceiling at the basilica in Loreto

A patron saint looks down from above.

  • I forgot to mention that Tim was able to repair the damaged camera (on day 2 or 3)!
  • The AA battery camera, previously used by Peter (on the days he had finger injuries from all the shutter action) burns through batteries at a rate we could not have foreseen, and has thus been retired for the time being. 
  • We are continually entertained by the different methods used by the Italian police to keep order, including using little hand-held stop signs to pull over cars in traffic.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Italy Day 18 {Lanciano}

Then many of his disciples who were listening said,
"This saying is hard; who can accept it?"
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them,
"Does this shock you?" 
 -John 6:60-61

The 8th century Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano, depicted in stained glass

Our view from the Adoration Chapel inside St. Francis Church (San Francesco, 1258), built over a pre-existing 7th century church.

To adore Jesus' Real Presence in Flesh and Blood, we drove from Vieste to Lanciano, home of a Eucharistic Miracle from the 8th century. Doubts about Jesus' Real Presence in the Eucharist began at the very moment He said, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him." (John 6: 53-56)
An 8th century priest holding the Blessed Sacrament at the consecration, doubted whether or not it was really Jesus' flesh and blood. He suddenly found himself holding flesh and blood (later scientific studies have confirmed the type of tissue as heart muscle; the blood types of the flesh and blood is a match). 
We were somewhat shocked at the sheer number of visitors waiting to enter St. Francis Church in Lanciano, re-opening at 3PM after reposa.  Being a Sunday, the crowds at this pilgrimage site even in the "low" season were vast.  Not expecting to have a very intimate experience among such a throng of pilgrims, we entered the Church, and to our amazement found most were seated in the congregation, as if for Mass, listening to an Italian lecture (probably a teaching about the Eucharistic Miracle).   We entered a chapel in the back of the Church, and in private silence adored the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord; True Flesh and True Blood, incorrupt since the 700's!  Like a miracle at the miracle, we were blessed with a private viewing and found the silence for prayer and adoration awesome, especially considering what we had expected would be a crowded and less-than-intimate experience.

We believe that at every Holy Communion, at every Mass, we encounter the True Presence of Christ, given to us as the Bread of Angels; supernatural nutrition for our journey on Earth. Adoring the Eucharistic Miracle in Lanciano helped us to grow closer to Christ and deepen our faith as a family, and we will forever remember this divine encounter on our pilgrimage.


Olives for sale at the street fair in Lanciano, which we visited during reposa.

An interesting billboard in Lanciano

Monday, April 25, 2011

Italy Day 17 {Vieste on the Adriatic Sea}

Splashing toward shore, Peter and Joseph cool off in the  Adriatic Sea.

With the cliffs of Vieste behind him, Joseph builds sand mounds on the beach.

Drivers doing donuts on the sandy beach; our first glimpse of Vieste.
Fresh seafood and a room with a view awaited us in the seaside town of Vieste, along the shores of the Adriatic Sea in south eastern Italy.  A planned destination for rest and relaxation, Vieste delivered on both and then some. The quaint cliff-side town sprouted up from the sea shore like a barnacle, and since we arrived at the end of "low" season, the miles of beachfront hotel properties leading into town were still boarded up.  Odd to pass through the likes of a ghost town along such an amazing stretch of sandy beach on a gorgeous Friday evening!  A bustling social scene filled the streets of the center of Vieste, making our initial approach and search for a hotel somewhat challenging.  After a few unsuccessful laps around the town we found the first beach-front hotel open and inviting, as well as reasonably priced.  Our new home on the beach had a balcony with sweeping views (plus a much needed laundry line) and a breakfast offering cold cereal, a craved item.
Posing for the junior photographer at a viewpoint outside Vieste

More posing, more amazing views near Vieste along the shores of the Adriatic Sea in Italy
Altar and tabernacle at San Croce, Vieste, Italy

Barefoot on the sandy beach, we played in the (cold) Adriatic Sea and relaxed in the sun.  Finding sunscreen in the "off" season required great effort, and eventually great expense ($20US).  Hard to believe a few of us managed to get sunburned despite our "being prepared" for our day at the beach!  The sand claimed half of each boys' sandwich, and was found spilling out from our pockets for many days after our Vieste stop.  Sadly, the amount of litter on the beach was shocking.  We wondered if maybe in the "high season" the efforts at beach clean-up are better.

Vieste at night; glimpsed from an alley on our walk from Mass at San Croce to dinner.

The remains of a fish soup shared by Joseph and Tim for dinner.

Vieste at 21:41 (9:41PM); the temperature reads 21 degrees Celsius (69.8 degrees Fahrenheit).

Carried into the restaurant's kitchen in an old bucket by a man in his 70's, the night's catch soon landed on the table in the form of an exotic looking soup.  Heads, tails, fins, shells; simmered together and served in a delicious, spicy tomato broth to the brave eaters at our table (Tim and Joseph).  Also served up (without being ordered) were what we mistakenly assumed were free extras: cold water and fresh bruschetta!  When the check arrived at the end of our meal, however, we realized that these offerings were actually charged to our tab at a cost of about $18US.  Laughing about how anxious we were of the Italian "pickpockets" we realized that consistently it's the restaurants that seem to be picking our pockets.  Cover charges are common at most places we've dined, and run about $3-5US per person just to sit down, water's not included. 

  • Do feel suspicious if your 13 year old son, otherwise not very interested in (or perhaps averse to) photography offers to take a group photo on the balcony one sunny morning.
  • It's your own fault if said photographer laughs and locks the door after the suspects, including you are in position.
  • Do expect the joke to end quickly once the fun's been had and you've requested to be let back into the room.

Locked out!  And we thought Joseph was just being kind in offering to take our photo on the balcony!  Little did we know he'd been plotting... this boy really misses his play time!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He Is Risen!

Jesus is Risen!
Peter and Joseph as thurifer/boat bearer 
lead the recessional after the Easter Vigil at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Bellingham, WA
After 11AM Mass on Easter Sunday, Father Qui Thac leads Michael and Selloane and family as they praise God for an anonymous parishioner's $50,000 gift to their family. 
As Acolyte/thurifer, Zachary leads the recession on Easter Sunday following the 11AM Mass; closely behind are Peter and Nolan as a candle bearers and Joseph as cross bearer, and our beloved pastor, Father Qui Thac, who brings us Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

 for this solemn day on which we recall
our Savior's Passion and death on the cross
for our salvation:

Station XII: Jesus Dies on the Cross
The culmination of evil and the eternal victory of Goodness coincide!  He died for us, that we might live!  Every true good, every true love, every true life springs forth from this most blasphemous and most sacred moment.  He has reconciled everything!  Cloud and darkness are his raiment, his throne justice and right (cf. PS 97:2). There is no contradiction in God.  He is Peace.

Station XIII: Jesus Is Taken from the Cross
 This dead body is our handiwork. This is what we are capable of doing... We are those for whom Jesus died.  He died so that when we repent and seek forgiveness, the well of his mercy will always be open and full... How many friendships have ended because one who has betrayed will not forgive himself and so will not allow the other to forgive him?  This is the story of Judas.  Let us rather follow Peter.  He is absent from the way of the cross, but he leads the Church in the way of repentance.  Peter's life and preaching feed us by witnessing to Christ's infinite mercy.
Station XIV: Jesus Is Laid in the Tomb
In the Genesis of salvation history, God foreshadows the promises of Christ by bringing forth life from a barren womb.  Sarah gives birth to Isaac who bears the wood up the mountain.  In the fullness of time the virgin womb of Mary gives birth to Jesus Christ who bears the wood up to Calvary.  When it is finished, Christ is placed in a virgin tomb.  Three days later, at the pinnacle of salvation history, this barren tomb will bear witness to the promise of promises.

Majesty of God, behold the effects of unspeakable charity!  Look at your dear child's mangled body.  Examine those innocent hands from which flows sacred blood, and, once appeased, forgive the crimes which my hands have committed!  Look at this defenseless side, pierced by a cruel sword; rejuvenate me in the flow of the holy fountain, which, I believe, has gushed forth from him...
Merciful Father, why do you not look at the head of this most beloved young son, at the drooping neck, at this unusual death, and abandonment? O Gentle One, who produced us, consider the humanity of this beloved creature, and have pity on the weakness of all created flesh!  His bare chest is white; his torn side is red; his dessicated insides burn! The royal face is livid! The arms are completely stiff; his sturdy legs are left hanging; and from his pierced feet flows a wave of sacred blood! Oh! look at your Son's body, all torn, and them remember, O glorious Father, of what nature I am.  - Father John of Fecamp (+1078)

Good Friday Stations of the Cross reflections from Magnificat written by Fr.Richard Veras

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Italy Day 16 {San Giovanni Rotondo Cemetery, Monte St. Angelo}

Cemetery at San Giovanni Rotondo

Father Michael Pio translates the inscription on St. Pio's father's tomb stone.

Departing San Giovanni Rotondo was unlike any other departure on our pilgrimage.  We were not only leaving another little Italian town we had briefly explored and enjoyed; we were leaving a dearly loved new friend, Father Michael Pio, who had become like a family member to us in the hours we spent visiting.  After checking out of the Villa San Pietro, we departed together for the San Giovanni Rotondo Cemetery on the outskirts of town.  Father Michael Pio gave us a guided tour of the cemetery, beginning at the Capuchin Chapel in which are buried St. Pio's parents, brother, and sister; his spiritual daughter and Third Order Franciscan Adelia Maria Pyle; his superior, Padre Pellegrino Funicelli, and others closely tied to St. Pio.  Remarkably, while we were standing at the gated entrance to the chapel, a grounds keeper came along and offered to open the building for us.  Once inside Father expressed his amazement, explaining that in all the times he had visited this site, it had never been opened.  We were once again in awe of God's grace!  Father taught us about the lives of the holy men and women interned there and translated the crypts.  We prayed.

Father Michael Pio's mother's grave, which he visited daily, was housed in a crypt for fourth order Fransiscans.  We stopped there to pray together for the repose of her soul, and for the souls buried there.  We also visited the new Capuchin Crypt at the cemetery and Father shared personal stories and memories, and prayers for the Capuchins buried there.  Our departure followed, and Father stayed behind at the cemetery to pray.  With hugs, blessings and very fond memories we left San Giovanni Rotondo and our dear Father Michael Pio.

Picnic lunch at the Castle in Monte St. Angelo, which we only explored from the outside, as it was reposa.

In the year 490AD, St. Michael the Archangel consecrated a cave in the hills of the province of Foggia, which has been a holy place of worship and a destination for Christian pilgrims since the middle ages. In the town of Monte St. Angelo, and known as the 'celestial basilica,' this shrine dedicated to our patron St. Michael the Archangel, has been visited by some of our other patron saints, including St. Bridget and St. Thomas Aquinas, as well as many popes and St. Francis of Assisi.  An awe inspiring place, the cave is now a part of a beautifully decorated Church, many feet underground.  No photography allowed, we spent our time in prayer both at the cave and in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.  On display in the museum were dozens dozens of "thank you" cards to St. Michael the Archangel for his protection and prayers for many in need. 



St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Art work given in gratitude to St. Michael the Archangel.

  • Many Italian cemeteries have florists (up to 3 vendors) on site at the entrance.
  • Many Italian grave sites are decorated with fresh flowers and regularly visited.
  • I was always fascinated with cemeteries when Tim needed help navigating; I had to shield my eyes in order to stay focused on the task of map reading and not get distracted by cemeteries!  At least one wrong turn a direct result of cemetery fascination.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Italy Day 15 {San Giovanni Rotondo}

The 5th Station of the Way of the Cross in San Giovanni Rotondo: St. Pio, who received the gift of the stigmata (visible wounds of Christ) is shown bearing the cross for Christ, in the place of Simon of Cyrene.

The image of our Resurrected Lord and Savior; at the final Station, looming large behind the altar upon which Holy Mass is offered atop the hill in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy.

A steep uphill climb from Villa San Pietro to church helped us walk off the double cappuccinos and croissants served at breakfast. "Stair guessing" has become a favorite pastime (competition) for the boys, it's amazing how closely they can estimate the exact number of steps in a flight of stairs (from 24 to 200+). A fine substitute for all the missed homeschool math lessons.  There were 241 steps to the image of Christ's Resurrection behind the outdoor altar atop the hill overlooking San Giovanni Rotondo and St. Pio's hospitals. Peter guessed 200 steps.  Realizing we had reached the glorious finale, the Resurrection, without first entering into the Passion, we retraced our steps (241 back down).  We followed the stations of the cross (Via del Crucis), back uphill praying at each stop as we recalled with gratitude the suffering our Lord endured for our salvation.
View from the 241st step at San Giovanni Rotondo's outdoor Stations of the Cross.

A mandatory reposa for Pietro (Peter) who showed signs of extreme fatigue, likely a result of sleeping on a brick (his pull-out bed) meant a few hours of down-time at the hotel for all of us. Realizing that the banking would have to wait until the bank re-opened at 15:00 (3PM), Tim joined the reposa. Joseph accessed his email account and changed his password from a 40 character mega-password (that he had been unable to remember) to a simple password and learned that his friend Collin got a cell phone for his 13th birthday. He memorized the new phone number, in anticipation of calling or texting him frequently once we're home.

Hanging out in our make-shift living room at the Villa San Pietro hotel lobby, we passed the afternoon in the midst of the Italian family reunion that each day's reposa brings. Children break from school, parents come home from work, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends come together. Wine is poured, olives, cheeses and breads are put out; the daily afternoon break in Italy. Businesses close, churches are locked, tourist sights are (mostly) off limits; taking rest is mandatory.
Photo of a photo of Father Michael Pio's ordination (circa 1985) by Blessed Pope John Paul II, St. Peter's Basilica, Italy.

Touched by divine providence once again on this pilgrimage, during reposa we made the acquaintance of a wonderful priest who had stopped at the hotel to greet friends.  Our family benefited greatly from our time with Father Michael Pio: a linguist, fluent in six languages; a former Capuchin-now diocesan priest; raised Protestant by Asian parents who travelled to San Giovanni Rotondo after the death of his older brother, and only sibling; his family converted to Catholicism after encountering (personally, physically) the touch of St. Pio and witnessing their first Catholic Mass celebrated by St. Pio; Father Michael Pio was an answered prayer to really enter into St. Pio's San Giovanni Rotondo.  Not only did he give us a powerful, personal witness to the real effects of St. Pio's apostolate, but he also shared many fascinating stories of his family life, his beloved mother (may she rest in peace!) and his journey to and within the priesthood. 

  • Banking in small Italian towns is best done with an "in." Tim had both an "in" and an interpreter in Fr. Michael Pio, and still felt like he was being booked into jail rather than exchanging dollars for Euros.
  • Although the main streets of Italy have been fairly clean (save scores of cigarette butts), the "just out of sight" areas are filled with trash. It's shocking.
  • A good nap (or reposa) can turn your whole life around.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Italy Day 14 {Goodbye Zachary; Hello San Giovanni Rotondo}

Pretty simple and straight forward sign posted at the Church of Santa Maria della Grazie.  
It would be nice to see signs like this at other Churches; or better yet,
imagine if no one even needed such instructions!

A set of alarms set for 3:30AM, Tim and Zachary shared a room in the posh Marriott at the Rome airport. Taken for a ride in more ways than one, their cab fare to the airport (1.5 kilometers) at the indecent hour of 4AM cost e20. Seriously. Given extra cash, an emergency only credit card, a boarding pass and series of "how-to's" for flying alone internationally, Zac departed for SeaTac and his first trip to Italy came to an end.

Groggy after napping from 7-9AM, Tim wandered down to the swanky breakfast restaurant, and ordered his morning cappuccino "dopio" (double espresso). Joseph's appetite led him astray, and although warned to avoid greasy, heavy foods to let his body recover slowly, he couldn't resist the bacon and eggs (truly a rare and welcome sight at an Italian breakfast). Within a few minutes of finishing only a few bites, he retired to his bed and spent another hour in recovery while the rest of us dined in fine style.

Checking out at noon, we began the next phase of our Italian pilgrimage as a four-some in a Peugeot Tim rented at the airport. "It's a very big car, sir, a very big car," he was warned by the clerk. The auto-everything and the roomy, fully adjustable seats made it a big hit with the passengers; a big improvement over the tiny box we drove to Assisi.

More like a video game than driving, the journey to San Giovanni Rotondo on the Autostrade gave us plenty of adrenaline filled moments. After about 4 hours of autostrade madness, we arrived safely in San Giovanni Rotondo, and drove straight uphill past several major tour bus parking lots (full in the high season, empty today) to the Church of Santa Maria della Grazie.  Just in time for 6PM Mass!
Peter, Joseph and Father Teng with a few darling Italian girls whose family owned and operated the hotel.

First a miss, then a hit on our hotel hunt in San Giovanni Rotondo. Keenly aware that Zachary's arrival time at SeaTac was approaching, we were thankful that our hotel, the Villa San Pietro, had wireless Internet. Sure enough, within minutes of landing, Zac's "here safely" email arrived, and we were at ease. The family owned hotel/restaurant/gift shop, staffed by 6 brothers and one sister and mama, offered us an opportunity to feel like we were staying in an Italian home. The powerful smell of (liturgical) incense in the hotel's second floor hallway foreshadowed how most of our hours in San Giovanni Rotondo would be spent: in the company of a delightful priest, who had been blessed by Padre Pio as a young boy when his parents made a pilgrimage to San Giovanni Rotondo.
Joseph takes in a mosaic of Padre Pio answering mail, at the tomb of St.(Padre) Pio, San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy

Italy Day 13 {Last Day in Rome}

Stained glass masterpiece in Santa Maria Sopra Minerva

Santa Maria Sopra Minerva

Waking up at 5am to the sound of Joseph groaning in pain, Tuesday was a day to forget in some respects. Vomiting for about 7 hours, Joseph stayed in bed most of the day. By the grace of God, none of the rest of us fell ill (until Zac arrive home to the US, sick). Zachary theorized that Joseph contracted the sickness while rolling around on the hotel floor when the 3 boys jammed onto one double bed (really two twin beds pushed together) sleeping arrangement hadn't worked out so well. He WAS the only one to roll around on the hotel floor... who knows? We were also in a "non potable" water area on our journey into the mountains, so perhaps he picked up a bug there? Or was it the chicken at the Autogrille?

Devoted father, Tim opted to stay at the flat with Joseph as he slowly recovered Tuesday; reflecting on the bitter Passion of Christ and the terrible sword that pierced the heart of Mary at the sight of her Son's terrible suffering. Joseph's temporary discomfort was by comparison minuscule; never the less, Tim recognized his own sadness at seeing Joseph sick in light of the sadness of a our Blessed Mother as she watched her child in agony.
Tomb of St. Philip Neri; Chiesa Nuova, Rome, Italy

Daily and Sunday Mass and confession times posted on the door of Chiesa Nuova, Rome

On his final day in Italy, Zac joined Peter and I for another blazing tour of the city. We didn't get going until after 10:30AM, due to the poor night's sleep, but we hit the ground running... rather sitting on a bus in a maddening urban traffic jam. Our route had been marked out the night before by our friend, Oana, who gave us a list of final must sees in Rome: a 5 basilica route, visiting and praying at the tombs of St. Augustine, St. Philip Neri, St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Clemente, St. Cyril, and many others. The three of us walked, bussed, rode the Metro and then jogged to make it back to the flat by 5:30PM for our reunion with Tim and Joseph.

Packed up and ready to vacate our flat, our friend, Pietro, called a cab and arranged that the fee would not exceed e50. Four of us across the back seat of a small sedan, one up front, our prayers for a safe journey to the airport Marriott were answered; though we panicked a bit when the driver sped past a Marriott (which we thought was our hotel). Arriving safely and under the e50 agreed upon cost, our next adventure into Italian accommodations began. "Your reservation is for two, but I can see that you are more than two..." followed by a bit of red tape and added expense. This night's reservation was a Christmas gift from Grandpa Cliff & Grandma Billie. The eve of Zac's departure at the Marriott was by far our most comfortable, pampered night thus far in Italy, and the extra charge for the extra people (the US reservations center could not take a 5 person reservation for Italian hotels) was money well spent.

  • Total number of postcards purchased so far: 25+
  • Total number of postcards written so far: 4 or 5
  • Chances that most of our Italian postcards will be mailed in the US: 100%

Monday, April 11, 2011

Italy Day 12 {Rome}

We thought we were in a lane; only the fittest will survive a drive on the Autostrade in Italy.

Pulling into Rome after 9:30PM without hotel reservations made for an intersting evening.  Plan A had been to head back to our flat (which was being held for us), but finding it in the dark after the terrible back up at the toll station entering Rome was beyond our capabilities.  We settled on a clean pair of rooms at a hotel next to Termini train station in the center of Rome. Unfortunately, there were no triples, so the 3 boys had to share a double bed, which was actually twin beds pushed together.  Not the best night's sleep; beyond the cramped quarters and lousy matresses, the night life outside our window lingered on, but thankfully the carousing was in a foregin language. 

Breakfast in the train station, espresso and pastries, before catching the Metro to get back to our flat.
Another gorgeous day in Rome, we stopped at the local grocer for lunch supplies and picnicked in our garden patio.  Tim studied the map of Italy and charted out the final week of our pilgrimage, set to begin after Zachary's departure for the US.

Art on the ceiling at Santa Croce, Rome

Back on the Metro for an afternoon excursion to Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, suggested as a "must see" by our friend, Oana.  In the Chapel of Relics, we prayerfully contemplated the Passion of Christ, while gazing upon the sacred relics (nail, thorn, section of true Cross and the pillar).  A full-sized, exact replica of the Shroud of Turin was on display, and Tim quietly taught the boys about the Shroud.

Oana, Bridget, Joseph, Peter and Zachary; evening tour of Rome, Italy

St. Peter's Dome over Peter's dome

Our evening outing, organized and led by Oana, involved a few miles' walking tour including Trinità dei Monti and the Pincio Terrace in villa Borghese where many flock to view St. Peter's in the sunset. A quick bite at the Autogrille (buffet style Italian fast food) and a bus ride back to Cipro Station, a few blocks from our flat.