Sippin’ on a Super Tuscan and exploring Rome!

I SAW DIANE KEATON ON WEDNESDAY!!! After my on-site class I was standing talking to some of the girls in my class and I turned my head and there she was. Of course at the time I couldn’t remember her name for the life of me but it was her!

Diane Keaton!
Diane Keaton!

Remember when I said in my last post that the Amalfi Coast was the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen? Well Tuscany is giving Amalfi a run for it’s money. On Friday, a group of us went to the small town of Montalcino in the hills of Tuscany. It was a school run trip so we didn’t have to worry about planning anything, which was nice. We got on the bus and sat through a sort of grueling 3 hour ride and finally arrived at Caparzo Vineyards, which was absolutely beautiful. I had forgotten what silence sounded like and it was nice to see some grass again. Julia, our tour guide and host, took us on a tour of the winery and it was really interesting to see all of the work that goes into making a single bottle of wine. All of the wine goes into huge wooden barrels and the wine will have certain flavors depending on the kind of wood the barrel was made out of. Julia is a member of the Caparzo family and she knows everything there is to know about wine.

Caparzo Vineyards
Caparzo Vineyards
In front of the HUGE barrels of wine!
In front of the HUGE barrels of wine!

After the short tour we were taken to another building where there was a light lunch and wine tasting set up for us. It was really nice! There was cheese, a selection of meats, tomato bruschetta and chicken pate bruschetta, bread, and small pieces of cake. I tried the pate because “I’m in Italy, why not!”, but I was not a fan. I’m sure if I got past the chicken liver part I might have enjoyed it, but I didn’t put that much effort into it. Over the course of the lunch we were served four different types of wine; one Brunello di Montalcino, one Rosso di Montalcino, a wine made at the winery, and one Moscadello Vendemmia Tardiva which was a white dessert wine. I liked the Rosso the best and the dessert wine the least because it almost tasted like perfume, that’s how sweet it was.


After the tasting was over we all headed outside to take pictures, because how could 20 year olds resist the urge to take pictures with glasses of wine in Tuscany?! It was a perfect day for photos and I sort of regret not bringing my camera with me because those would have been some great pictures. I love my iPhone camera, but it just doesn’t capture landscapes as well and the landscape was the best part of the trip.

Alex, me, & Ashley
Alex, me, & Ashley

At about 2:00, the bus took us to the town of Montalcino where we went on a guided tour and walked around the town. It was so quaint and quiet and I would have stayed there forever if I could’ve. Montalcino was an important place during the time of Napoleon because it had a fort and was positioned on the top of a hill. I actually went up into the fortress with a few others and we could see for miles. The soldiers in Montalcino would use the fort as a lookout to see if any uninvited visitors were coming. After the tour we walked around the town a bit more before boarding the bus back to Rome.

VIew from the top!
View from the top!

On Saturday my two new friends Alexa and Shubhi and I headed over to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. It’s amazing how many tour groups are out on any given Saturday! It only cost each of us 12 euros to get into both sites which is relatively cheap and a great deal because these are two places that I wanted to see during my time here. It’s amazing how old both the Forum and the Colosseum are. My friend Alexa mentioned how cool it was that we were walking on the same roads as Caesar did over 2,000 years ago. I was surprised at how small the Colosseum looked in comparison to all the pictures I’ve seen of it. In both of these places we were transported back in time, which is always a humbling experience and made me realize how small I am in the grand scheme of things.

Alexa, Shubhi, & me in front of the Colosseum
Alexa, Shubhi, & me in front of the Colosseum

After we had enough of the ruins we parted ways for the afternoon, but later in the evening we went out for a few drinks and dancing at a club called Shari Vari which is over by the Pantheon. But before my friend Maddy and I even made it inside we had to make a pit-stop for gelato. At this point it was almost 1am so most of the cheap gelato places were closed, but we found a place called Don Nino which was bit more on the “expensive” side. I only say expensive because I’ve been paying two euros for gelato and not 4.20. Regardless it was delicious. I had mint chocolate chip and Maddy got tiramisu. I couldn’t even finish mine because it was so much, and if you know me not finishing ice cream is a SIN. Now I want that gelato again… We talked to one of the servers and I asked him if he’d ever been to New York City and he said no but his “American dreams are there”. We then walked over to the club and danced for a few hours and called it a night around 2:30.

Gelato makes us happy
Gelato makes us happy

Even though I went to bed super late, I forced myself to get up for mass because it was my first time going to mass in English here. Two weeks ago I went to one in Italian, but I was lucky to find one in English. Santa Maria della Scala is a really ornate church and I am always surprised by the opulence of each and every church I walk into. There was an old, little, precious nun there who didn’t speak a word of English, but I was lucky enough to be able to understand her. She told me and the other girl I was with about the story behind the church and that every time you come to the church you should write a “grazia” to the blessed mother and of course we did. She then asked me if I wanted to read the first reading and responsorial psalm and she asked someone else to read the second reading, they couldn’t understand her so I just read that too. While I was up there reading it hit me that I was lectoring in a church in Italy. There were a few other John Cabot people there too, which was nice to see.


Now rain is falling in Rome and I should start my homework which I’ve been trying to do all day and it obviously hasn’t happened yet. I’ll leave you with a picture of my dinner from Saturday… Chicken parm from Tony’s in Trastevere which is considered the best in the city and we will be back






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