After Napoli, we took the train back up to Rome for a few days. I have A LOT of pictures of Rome already, so I actually didn't take a ton on this trip. I just tried to take it in with my eyes and enjoy being there again. However, we go out and see a lot of the coolest tourist things at night. Out past 9:30pm this time woot woot! Monuments and buildings are so much more awesome at night!
Gelato/granita in hand always. Shae complimented the gelato man on his panna (whipped cream) so he gave us extra the next day when we went again. #winning
Piazza Navona is probably my favorite piazza,
and that fountain was even more gorgeous lit up at night.
Same with Trevi. Maybe this is my favorite fountain actually?
How can you actually pick one? I don't know.
The vatican at night is empty. Guess those missionaries gotta be home at 9:30 too.
Shae taught me that all the angel statues on this bridge in front of Castel Sant'Angelo are holding a different object attributed to the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Look at that, me taking a lesson from Shae in art history! So proud.
No shortage of Colosseum pictures in my library.
The cool thing about Rome is that while it's super huge and there's so much to see, you can actually hit all the main tourist spots in one night, like we did here, because everything is well connected with the metro, and it's actually not very far to walk between some of the key spots.
Shae has a v special talent of ALWAYS ordering the very best plate at the table when we eat out.
He just has a great talent for ordering the best dish possible (even though he does take a while to settle on his choice haha), and his meal is always better than mine.
He went for the gnocchi this time, which was the right choice.
My pasta was good too, of course, but I thought about that gnocchi for days after.
We got to take a little trip up to Ladispoli, which is a city on the coast of Rome where I served for six months. We got to spend the evening with one of the best families ever - The Giorgianni Family. And lucky for us, their mom was in town who we knew from Messina, so we got a taste of Sicily in our trip as well! And the I got to meet the baby S.lla Giorgianni was pregnant with when I served there! Such a great night with the greatest people.
Here's the part about the EARTHQUAKE. While we were in Rome, there was a 6.2 earthquake in central Italy, so just north of Rome. We woke up in the middle of the night to our entire building shaking (our Airbnb where we stayed was on the 6th floor of an apartment palazzo). It felt like we were on a bumpy train ride. Shae thought I was just being annoying and shaking the bed, but yeah that wasn't me buddy. All the italians were out on their balconies yelling and freaking out, but really, Rome didn't have any damage at all. The damage was up in the smaller mountain cities on the very northern border of our mission, and it was so devastating! I'm praying for all the people up there.
So that was my first earthquake experience, and sometimes even now when Shae rolls over at night and makes the bed shake a little bit I wake up all worried that it was a mini earthquake. Yeah ... So hopefully I get over that soon haha.
We took a train ride up to Florence for a day because that wasn't part of our mission, but it was one of my favorite cities I saw on my study abroad.
That duomo is almost too much for real eyes to handle. It's so beautiful and intricate and HUGE.
Italy tip: if you don't want people in your pictures, go out between 1-4pm and it will be a ghost town. Pranzo naps are real.
Florence was a cool time.
One thing that we didn't really expect to have happen while visiting our mission is that it gave both of us a really good sense of closure. Being there felt like being at home, but it also felt completely different from when I was a missionary there.
When you leave your mission, you're pretty sad about it. You think about it all the time and you miss it and you want to go back. Going back to visit after the fact, with a new mission president in place and new missionaries that are too young to remember that you even served there, you definitely feel like you aren't meant to be there anymore. I don't feel this longing to be out there anymore. And I think that's a really good thing.
I will always love Italy and love to visit there and miss the people I met, but it's nice to finally know that that chapter can be closed now and I can feel totally good about it. This trip gave me a really good ending to what I started there. Italy will always feel like home, and I'm so glad I got to go back and reminisce about how much being there impacted my life. Italy, ti voglio bene.
Next is Chapter Three: London.