Saturday, February 23, 2013

Ritorniamo negli Stati Uniti

After hitting up the duty free shops in the airport we are on the plane getting ready to depart for Atlanta! See you soon!!!

Friday, February 22, 2013

What did you buy?

One of our favorite parts of the day was our bus ride back to the hotel when our tour leader, Cristina, would start the game - Whaaaaat did you buy?

First, Cristina would show us all of her purchases which included 6 different pairs of shoes and boots and super cute coat.

Many of us made some exciting purchases ourselves... Roma shirts, rosaries, BOOTS (of course!!!), purses, gloves... And the list goes on and on. You are definitely lucky people at home because we are bringing you some great gifts.

We are all packed and ready for our 5:15 am wake up call tomorrow (well, really this morning). Can't wait to see you soon!

A presto!


Out feet are killing us!!! We have walked all over the lovely city of Rome and back. Each street gets prettier than the next. The little shops with people sitting outside, drinking coffee and eating and chatting, create an ambience that is full of good feeling. The little bakeries and stores are fun to explore. The monuments and historical aspect of the city are out of this world.

We're calling it "the boom factor". We're just walking along and minding our own business when "BOOM!" there's the pantheon or "BOOM!" there's the cat pit or "BOOM!" there's the Roman Capital.

This morning we toured the Vatican Museums with Paolo. There are really no words but I'll try. Room after room overflowing with beautiful paintings and sculptures and tapestries. One after another- Raphael and Michelangelo, contemporary pieces, and maps. Did you know that Raphael and Michelangelo were painting in the Vatican at the same time? Raphael actually respected Michelangelo very much even though they were rivals, he painted Michelangelo into one of his most famous frescos... Right in the front, while is own self portrait is within a group of other men in the fresco.

The Sistine Chapel was beautiful. Amazing to be there. You'll all have to take your girls back and see it yourselves. They might know enough now to do a mini-tour for you!

After the Vatican Museums we went over to Saint Peter's Basilica again and this time Paolo could add a dose of history. Then we drove back to the Roman Capital (the wedding cake is what we're calling it because it looks like one!) and had lunch and some free time.

Then we went to Saint John Lateran. On our way we walked around a rally of the people's movement because their elections are on Monday. The church was gorgeous and the rally was very interesting to see- a lot of people were out and about!

Now we are on our way to our final dinner together as a traveling family. We are grateful for each others company, shoulders to sleep on, friends to bond with, and the memories were making. Can hardly believe it's almost over.


Thursday, February 21, 2013


Hey guys! We're back at the hotel after another long and lovely day. It's going so fast and we often break out randomly into song more often than in the movie The Sound of Music.

Today we started out the morning sleepily gathering for breakfast. The girls are pretty good-natured (are they like this at home?! Maybe it's the Italian air? Or maybe it's Nelson, our lavender shirt wearing bus driver who is super cool and reminds us of George Clooney). Our group leader, Cristina, is also a bright point of our morning. She is so helpful and bubbly and suggests very cute shoe stores (which I'm pretty sure everyone coincidently met up in today).

Anyway! Getting ahead of myself. So this morning was the Colosseo and the Roman Forum. So incredible to be ACTUALLY WALKING THROUGH THEM! Our tour guide-Paulo (insert Lizzie Maguire reference here) was so knowledgable and told us so many interesting things that we could hardly keep track of all of the information. I can't believe that the girls are so lucky to experience all of this history and culture in high school. It's truly a wonderful opportunity.

After the tour in the morning we had free time and everyone ate (panini, tortellini, fettuccine, GELATO!!) and everyone SHOPPED! This was the day to get all of our souvenirs because we've been completely busy with tours. It was nice to meet back up for dinner with all of the groups and share what we had seen and bought. Cristina even introduced us to the game, "What did you buy?"

We had a delicious dinner at... ? I can't even keep track. But it was great! Pasta, chicken with mushrooms, and creative tiramisu (lady fingers instead of cake- but incredible. Everything's incredible).

Tonight was our last concert - which was entitled Floods of Love for Duquesne University Rome Program student Christina Flood who suffered an accident while studying in Rome. It was at the Generalate of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth (they treated us like we were home- Nazareth is really a family. No matter what country or continent).

The orchestra and chorale sounded gorgeous and the Sisters were proud.

Buona Notte tutti!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The full Vatican Experience

This day could just not get any better... We are all going to bed with big goofy smiles on our faces. We just sang a mass at the Main Altar of the Vatican!!!!!!!!

But before we get to that we started off our day with a walking tour of Rome. We saw the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and the Spanish Steps. The coolest thing is that you turn the corner and these beautiful buildings and huge pieces of history just suddenly appear. We had an awesome local tour guide named Paolo (I think we are were excited for the Lizzie Maguire reference) and we received a lot of really interesting important tidbits of Roman history.

We had time to shop and eat lunch around the Campo dei Fiori/Piazza Navona area and then went to the Vatican for our big debut.

We had to be on our toes to keep up with the Vatican Organist who would tell us when to start our songs. The mass was in a mix of Latin and Italian. What made the mass extra special was that Cardinal Comastri was at the mass - which according to our group guide, Cristina, was a big deal. He is the Arch Priest of the Vatican Parish. So coming to mass on a Wednesday at 5pm was not a regular thing for him. He also gave us relics of Bl. Pope John Paul II and a special thank you at the end of mass. It was an indescribable experience.... As one student put it "Is this real life right now?"

We had an enjoyable dinner of different types of pizza and ended our evening with some free time exploring the sites at night.

Really looking forward to our visit to the Colosseo and Roman Forum tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tastefully Tuesday

Some of the meals we have enjoyed so far
After an awesome day in Firenze and Assisi we are all tucked into our hotel in Roma...

Sunday, February 17, 2013


We are finally all tucked into bed after about 36 hours of nonstop traveling and sight seeing... And it has been a blast. We had two uneventful flights, one short and one long bus ride, attended one mass in St. Peter's Basilica, saw one Pope with 105,000 other people in the piazza, had two delicious Italian meals, enjoyed many cappucino and gelati and are happily exhausted. 

We are looking forward to our day in Pisa and Florence tomorrow along with the thrill of our first concert of the trip!