Let Us Be Saints!
 
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All the 'kids' at Villa Adrianna.
Today was our first out-of-Rome adventure since we have arrived.  We went with some of the Coulter family (our professor's family that is staying with us) on a day trip to the beautiful village of Tivoli.  Located just east of Rome, it was a beautiful breath of fresh air compared to the loud, busy life of the city.  We had our first experience with the city's metro system (both the red and blue lines!) and then took a bus for about 30 minutes to get there.  It is beautifully nestled on a hill with mountains in the background -  so picturesque! 

We began the day with Via d'Este, a former Benedictine convent converted into a pleasant country home for Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este in the 16th century.  Though the villa has simple architecture, the terraced gardens are absolutely elaborate.  The statues, pools, and hundreds of fountains made this an absolutely delightful visit.  There was even a "Water Organ" - an outdoor organ that plays music several times a day!  We got some great pictures here (see slideshow below). 

We stopped at a bar (what they call little coffee shops here) for a cappuccino and cornetto (a pastry) and then waited to catch a bus to our next stop.  To our great delight there were children everywhere and there was even a playground nearby!  It is sad to say that Italy's birthrate is among the lowest in the world and in Rome there seem to be more dogs than children on the streets.  It was so good to see so many bambini playing outside!  The bus driver was quite friendly and patiently helped us with our Italian a bit. 

Then we arrived at Villa Adrianna, perhaps the richest building project in antiquity, designed wholly by the Roman Emperor Hadrian (AD 76-138).  He had extensively traveled throughout his empire and hoped to recreate many of the monuments and sights he had seen in his travels at his own estate.  After Hadrian's death in AD 138, the villa was soon forgotten and fell into ruin.  It was not until 1870 that the Italian government organized the excavation of this site.  I absolutely loved wandering around the ruins, sitting in the green grass, hearing the birds chirping, seeing the olive trees and wild flowers, and breathing in clean fresh air!  It was incredible to imagine (and see the model) what this complex would have been like thousands of years ago. 

All in all, it was a truly necessary day of rest and rejuvenation!  We got to experience history and the beauty of God's creation and got to know the Coulter family better.  God is so good to us! 
Lizzy
2/20/2011

CAT!!! :D

We miss Audrey's faces. Especially at SHL. Can you tell her we handed out cupcakes?

These are SUCH great pictures! Like out of a magazine. Quite the skills there, Paula girl. Love you! And love the 'thinking' pic of you too. :)

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2/21/2011

Paula! That sounds like a nice little get-away. I know when I lived in Washington DC (which I will use as a comparison to Rome for this example) there was nothing better than an "escape" from city life and hustle bustle even if it just meant getting away to Maryland or Virginia where the streets were less crowded and there was less noises. Cities are exciting, but can be taxing...

Keep up on that Italian! I am so happy to read about your adventures, so keep up on the posts, I miss you!!!

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Sara
2/23/2011

PAULA!

It looks like you are having the time of your life. I miss you here but am enjoying very much reading about your experiences over there. I even shared your blog with my mom. :P

You are an extremely talented writer.

Love you.

Sara <3

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