Saturday, January 23
JLD 01 - 05 - 2010

This morning we boarded our coach to leave Florence and started heading to Rome. It was a long bus ride but we made a few exciting stops along the way. I have actually been to all these places in Italy before, but for me it was nice to go back and try to explore things I may have not taken time to see before. Our first stop was in San Gimignano, a small hill town known for its several tall towers. We only had an hour there so many of us did a few small sketches, but I also climbed a hill I haven't seen before and did a sketch sitting on top of a wall where I could see panoramic views of Tuscany all around me. Our next stop along the way was to Siena, which was my favorite part of Italy during my last trip. This time it was even better because the sun was out and many of us got to enjoy eating our lunch sitting in the Campo. Of all the urban spaces we've analyzed I think the Campo is the most successful. Obviously it would be much more chaotic during the horse races, but on a normal day it is a great day for all kinds of people to relax and eat. We made it to Rome after dark, but that didn't stop us from exploring the city. It was slightly warmer in Rome than in our recent destinations and it was a beautiful night. I took a couple of people over to the Trevi Fountain, which is always beautiful at night. But the real treat was when we walked the additional distance to the Pantheon. We found a reasonably priced pizza stand and ate on the steps of the fountain in the middle of the piazza facing the grand building, and as we ate an Italian man began to sing classical opera to the crowd. It was the perfect setting; so many people were enjoying the space even after dark. It was also the first clear night I've noticed and we could see the stars. I have always enjoyed the Pantheon but seeing it at night proves that no matter how many times I go to a place I can always have a different experience. It enjoyed getting multiple looks at different places in Italy.

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