I was thinking today was just a travel day, but turned out we had another museum visit. BUT, we had a bit free time before that, so we ran around the corner with Mike and Mary Jo to the S. Maria Basilica. What a treasure!
The “official” museum visit was to the Palazzo Massimo Antiquities, (and I thought “oh, no! Not another museum!”) but it turned out to be pretty great. I figured how good could a little neighborhood museum be… but in Rome? They can be pretty awesome! It is located near the train station and was once a Jesuit College. It now houses a number of important sculptures, mosaics, and remains depicting what a 1st century home in Rome would have looked like, as well as jewelry and other household items. Really nice place to wrap up our tour.
Amazing mosaics (yeah I’m developing a mosaic fetish, too!)
And saved frescos that showed what the interior of Roman houses would have looked like…incredible.
Then it was “All aboard!” the Eurostar for a short train ride to Florence. Road Scholar hooked us up with 1st class seats, so we had plenty of room – nice.
I’d hoped to get photos of the Italian countryside, but instead, I ended up with a lot of:
Suddenly I’m wondering if I ever explained Road Scholar…and I’m thinking I didn’t. So let me digress for a minute.
When we were in London, we were on our own. We’d been there before, knew how to get around, and were comfortable making our own plans.
But going to a foreign country where we didn’t speak the language, were clueless about the lay of the land, culture, etc. we felt more comfortable going with a tour group. AND, since we are not into the “shopping tours” where selling you stuff from the stores they get kick-backs from is not our cup of tea (or espresso) we opted to go with a more educationally oriented company.
Road Scholar started out as “Elder Hostel” but over the years they decided it sounded like a bunch of old farts staying in hostels and wanted to upgrade their image, so they re-made themselves into “Exploritas” but got sued because the name sounded too much like another company, and changed it to “Road Scholar.” I think it’s a cute play on words (like “Rhode Scholar!”) It’s designed for “mature people” (one of the traveling couple has to be 55 or older) who are interested in learning about the areas they are traveling to. They bring in a variety of “experts” to give lectures, often university professors, who give little classes about whatever you’re going to be seeing, to help give it context, or talk about what makes it work…whatever it takes to get a fuller understanding of whatever the subject is.
We took two of their tours when we went to Alaska for the first time, and really enjoyed them, so we went with them again.
In Rome, the speakers were art history professors, who wove the art we’d be seeing into the social, political and religious issues of the time. So, we’re looking forward to more of the same in Florence.
When we arrived, we walked immediately to our hotel,
followed by a quick tour of the neighborhood…
And doors…does Florence ever have amazing doors.
I may be in love with Florence already!