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Italy Tour 2015

Today we visited the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia and the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy. Both have beautiful mosaics in blues, greens, reds and golds.  These are very old – 500s – and contain depictions of Jesus as the good Shepherd which comes directly from the Gospel of John. …

Today we left Florence and drove to the town of Pisa to view the Leaning Tower, its Cathedral and Baptistery. Piazza del Cuomo – Duomo: Pulpit of the Pisa baptistry:   Waiting for the bus:         Then we drove to Ravenna.

Breakfast this morning in our hotel in Florence & the First Church of Christ Scientist, Florence:  This morning we walked to the Museum di San Marco and saw the beautiful frescoes of Fra Angelico.  This was once the monastery of the Dominican Order and the artist drew these magnificent frescoes …

We had a wonderful day in Florence! Here we are gathering outside our hotel: We started our day by first seeing the North Doors of the Baptistery by Ghiberti. They are magnificent pieces of art sculpted on these doors. North Doors: East Doors: Outside the Baptistery: Then we walked to …

Today we left Rome and drove to a beautiful hill town of Orvieto which has one of the most amazing cathedrals in all of Italy.  Its medieval facade with sculptures greet the visitor. Its striped basalt stone is a wonder to behold. Orvieto Cathedral: We visited the San Brizio chapel …

This morning we visited the Colosseum, but first our guide had to race against other guides to get our tickets.  That was quite a something to behold. Here we are waiting outside the Colosseum to get ready to enter: We learned that no Christians were executed in the Colosseum, but …

Today was our time to visit the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. The Vatican: In high season, they move 21,000 people per hour through these gates.  It was quite a sight to behold. In the Vatican, we saw Raphael’s Transfiguration, Caravaggio’s The Deposition, and the …

Our first stop today was to the Aventine Hill.  The entire group saw Santa Sabina Church with its crucifixion and other biblical narrative carvings. Then we looked through a key hole at the Knights of Malta door and saw an amazing view of the dome of St. Peter’s. Site seeing …

Our first visit this morning – early – was to Santa Maria del Popolo – which has two Caravaggio paintings – one is The Crucifixion of St. Peter, and the other is Conversion on The Way to Damascus.   Both masterpieces draw the viewer into the space of the paintings as …

This morning we began with a visit to St. John Lateran – the first Christian church built by Constantine the Great in the 4th century.  In ancient times the site was occupied by the palace of the family of the Laterani.  The porticoed structure found in front of the palace …

Today our first stop was the Galleria Doria Pamphilj – which houses a fabulous art collection and which is likely the largest in Rome still in private ownership. Walking to the Galleria Doria Pamphilj: This is the first stop today on our way to the Galleria Doria Pamphilj. This is …

This morning we hopped on the Italo train from Venice to Rome – barreling down the tracks at 180 mph.  We made it to Rome in 3 1/2 hours.  Fabulous! Below is our first view of Rome: After checking into our hotel, we went to the famous Piazza Navona where …

Canal in Venice, Italy   This morning we visited the Galleria Dell’Accademia and viewed some magnificent paintings.  One was Titian’s Pieta which was a rare subject for him.  Titian worked on paintings for a long time and returned again and again to them.  Another one was Tintoretto’s The Miracle of …

Grand Canal   We began our touring with a visit to St. Mark’s Basilica – built to house the body of Mark which was stole from Alexandria, Egypt in 829 C.E.  The consecration of the first church was in 832.  It burned, and the building we see today was begun …