My family and I spent a total of a little over a month in Italy. We spent 20 days in Rome during the Christmas Holidays. Then we spent 19 days in April visiting Milan, Venice, Balogna, Pisa, Cinque Terre, and Sestri Levante.
Italy is a magnificent country next to France, Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia. On the map, the country of Italy looks like a boot kicking a stone. The population of Italy is 61 million people. The Capital city is Rome and the people are called Italians. Their official religion is Roman Catholic. Did you know that Vatican City is the smallest country in the world and lies completely in Rome? Italy’s currency is Euros because it is part of the European Union. A Euro is worth $1.40 Canadian. The type of government is Italian Republican.
The language in Italy is Italian. Hello in Italian is ciao. Goodbye is Arrivederci. You could also say ciao when saying goodbye. We heard lots of people say ciao ciao. Thank you is Grazie. Please is Per favore. You’re welcome is Prego.
The flag of Italy is green, white, and red in a vertical tricolour. It is based on the French flag’s design which was by Napoleon. Napoleon replaced the blue by a green because it was reportedly his favourite colour.
The food here is the delizioso! I will name some of my favourites:
Gelato– Technically like ice cream but better! It is different because it’s creamier and there are lots of different flavours. My favourite flavours are pistachio, mint and Frutti di bosco. Did you know that the Italians invented the ice cream cone, but the Chinese invented the first ice creams?
Lasagna– Like lasagna at home but this is where they invented it. I’ve never really liked lasagna before but when I tried it here in Italy I loved it! Italians sure know how to make lasagna!
Ravioli– is like little pockets full of good stuff! The good stuff is in the inside, they put tomato sauce, cheeses and spices.
Spaghetti– Some good stuff! But I prefer it better with meat sauce instead of tomato sauce.
Pizza– The best pizza we had was in Rome at Marmi Pizza restaurant where they bake it in front of you in a real fire! My favourite type of pizza is Quattro Formaggi.
Our Adventures in Italy:
Rome- World UNESCO Site
In Rome we visited the Colosseum which was ordered to be built by Vespasian in 72AD and was finished in 80AD under the realm of Titus. It is considered to be the greatest works of Roman Engineering and Roman Architecture. It is the largest Roman Amphitheatre ever built. The Forum was located next to the Colosseum.
The Pantheon which was built in 126AD and used to be a temple for all of the Ancient Roman Gods. But in the 7th century they changed it into a Roman Catholic Church.
The Vatican is the smallest country in the world. St Peter’s Basilica is inside of the Vatican. St. Peter’s Square surrounds St. Peter’s Basilica. St. Peter’s is the largest church in the world. It is the capital of Roman Catholicism. Michelangelo’s Pieta is in St. Peter’s Basilica. It is a sculpture of Mary holding Jesus after his Crucifixion. Michelangelo carved it when he was only 24 years old.
The Vatican Museum has the Sistine Chapel and is connected to St. Peter’s Church. Michealangelo’s famous painting about God giving life to man is on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The Sistine chapel is where the Cardinals meet to vote for the next Pope. Did you know that the Pope lives in St. Peter’s? We were fortunate enough to have a Christmas audience with Pope Benedict XVI. We celebrated Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New year’s day at St’ Peters Square, and celebrated mass at St. Peter’s Basilica.
Milan- The Last Supper is a World UNESCO Site
We visited Leonardo Da Vinci’s Painting of the Last Supper on the wall in the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie. I thought it was neat to see a painting by one of my favourite historical figures. This painting is 500 years old!
We had mass in Milan’s Duomo, which is the 4th largest church in the world. Lucy had her 1st communion there.
Venice- World UNESCO Site
Also known as Venezia is a city floating on water. We rode a Gondola on the Grand Canal. Our Gondolier was named Nicolo. We rode the gondola past lots of old palaces. Nicolo had a really long stick that touched the bottom of the lagoon. The stick pushed us along the canals.
Lido Island is where we lived for one week. Lido is very beautiful; it is one of the many islands surrounding Venice. While we were walking around one sunny morning we found a place where you can rent quadracycles. So we rented one and rode around Lido Island. Mom and Peter sat in the back and Dad and I sat in the front. Edmund and Lucy sat in the very front and got to take pictures while we were pedaling. Edmund encouraged us by saying, “Come on! Go faster! Faster! Faster!”
Murano Island is known for its glass. We watched men make Murano glass. They took sand and put it into a fire that was 900°C. When it was melted, they took it out of the oven and put it on a metal tube. They took the big blob of melted glass and magically turned it into a horse! He shaped it with pliers and scissors. It was neat because after he let us put our hand over top of it and see how hot it was. He said it was 600°C, and man it felt way hotter than that!
Burano is an island of colourful houses. Every single house is a different colour. Behind you are houses blue and orange. In front of you are pink and purple. Everywhere around you is red, yellow, green, burgundy and a bunch of other colours.
Bologna- Motor Car Alley
We took a day trip to Bologna to visit the Lamborghini Factory. It’s the only place in the whole wide world where they make Lamborghinis. We actually got to see the machines they use to put it together. My favourite machine was the leather cutter. They took a special computer and laid out the different shapes they need to make a Lamborghini on real leather they had already dyed. Then, they press the ‘go’ button and a big blade comes and cuts every place they put a layout on the computer. Did you know it takes 10 cow hides to make one Lamborghini?
Florence- World UNESO Site
In Florence we visited the Duomo, one of the largest churches in the world. The most magnificent thing inside was the painting on the ceiling. Underneath the church was a crypt and archaeological site where they found a bunch of things. But I’m not sure what they found.
While we were walking down the street, we found a museum. It was about Anne Frank. We watched a movie about her, and this is what we learned: During World War 2, Anne and her family moved to Amsterdam. They lived in the secret Annex for two years until they were betrayed. They were sent to a Nazi camp where everybody in her family died except for her father who survived.
Michelangelo’s David is in Florence. We visited it. It was beautiful. The way that it was sculpted was amazing.
We saw Galileo’s Science Museum. He was a genius! We saw his telescopes and math machines. We even bought a few books about him.
Ponte Vecchio is a magnificent bridge. It is a bridge with houses on it! But most of the houses are jewellery shops. We walked across it, but it was hard because there were lots of people.
We walked to go to the Basilica of Santa Croce where Michelangelo and Galileo were buried but it was closed.
Pisa- World UNESCO Site
Pisa is famous for its leaning tower. We enjoyed taking pictures and playing obstacle course in the grass.
Cinque Terre-World UNESCO Site
Cinque Terre (The five villages) is famous for the awesome hiking trails. We hiked in RioMaggiore and walked Lover’s Lane (Via dell’ Amore). All the other trails in Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso were closed because there was a landslide covering the trail. So we took the train and just walked around each town.
My Favourite Memory of Italy
My favourite memory of Italy is when we had New Year’s Eve at St. Peters. That night we celebrated with colourful candles and we listened to a prayer service in different languages. There were prayers in English, Italian, German, Dutch, French, Spanish, Filipino, Chinese, Japanese and more. Dad got picked to do the reading in English. After the readings we watched fireworks. They were like big explosion of light and colour. It was so magnificent it took my breath away. It was the most magical night ever!