Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuscany to Rome

We spent a glorious week in the warm caress of Tuscany. The smell of hot grass soothed my soul as I walked with pans of food to the house the kids stayed in. It was seven days of slow moments that ultimately went by too fast.

We spent one day driving to and from Florence

Taking the advice of some Swedish visitors, we visited some beautiful thermal hot springs.

Warm, but not too hot, it was the perfect balm for whatever "ailed" us.

We visited a volcanic lake and some other hilltop towns, eating pici with pecorino and pepper.

Before we knew it, our warm Tuscan adventure was over and we were off to a palace in Rome.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Warmth on the Inside and Out

We left Venice on Saturday, hauling our bags up and down about twenty raised Venetian bridges. At the train station we rented our maxivan, a nine seated Fiat "Scute", with a stick shift. After three previous European trips involving driving, Tom and I have figured out that he is a way better navigator and I LOVE to drive. Just the thought of navigating makes me sweat, but something about taking on the Italian highway makes one side of my mouth raise in a sly smile, with an added wink.

A four hour drive took us south, past Florence, toward Pisa until we reached our beautiful hilltop town of Pienza.

Tom did it again. He researched extensively and found us a working farm one kilometer outside of a sweet little medieval town. This time it was for Kieran, who loves animals. The farm had cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, and geese. Tom, the little kids and I were in the main farm house and the big kids were down the road a little ways in their very own cottage (WOOOOO HOOOOO!!!!!).


The Clock Tower of 1493

This is why Tom is the best husband for me: he shows his love by planning based on what we all love. I think this day was for me.

In San Marcos Square, in Venice, there is a clock tower with a celestial dial on it. For the last ten years (spanning our last two trips), it has been covered by a facade while they fixed it up.

It is open now, and Tom scheduled a tour for us.
This is a painting I did before our tour. I put Domo and Mr. Nilson as the bell-ringers.

It rained that day.
We were like a flock of ducklings making our way through the narrow streets.

Aidan found a Ferrari store.

The clock tower used to be inhabited by a clock-keeper, who would reset the pulleys regularly all day and night, every day. The clock was built in 1493. It was the most sophisticated piece of machinery the world had ever seen. It was a sign of the intelligence, craftmanship, wealth and technological superiority of the Venicians. It had five layers and had something going on on each layer in the way of moving parts. It was the worlds first digital clock. It also showed the phases of the moon, the position of the sun as it related to the constellations of the zodiac, and it could give you your horoscope (just kidding!).

The numbers on the digital clock change every five minutes. The hours side is shown in roman numerals.

These guys ring the bell on the hour, five minutes before and five minutes after.

We are happy at the top of the tower!!

We had the best view in Venice.

Aidan got a feather quill pen too.

Cadence and Matt Join the Family

Did you know that when you order "hot chocolate (cho-co-la-tay)" in Venice you get a cup of warm brownie batter? Aidan will probably relocate to Italy at some point in his life.

Up bright and early day two, we headed out to find some fun.

While waiting for an exhibit on Leo DaVinci's machines to open, we compared eye colors.

DaVinci was amazing. He was a true Renniasance man, designing hundreds of machines and tools for use in naval warfare, flight, water pumping, pulley lifting, catapulting, castle wall scaling, castle wall protection and much more. He was also a pretty decent painter.

Kieran bought a feather quill with ink. She did not drink all of this wine.

Matt and Cadence flew in from Maine, bragging about all the movies they had watched on Air Lingus. All we watched on our flight over was the backs of the seats in front of our noses.

After dinner in Piazza Santa Margarhita, we showed the boys the place we have stayed the last two trips.

The tower window was the bedroom where Tom and I slept.