Ciao from Italy! We have been here for 6 days now and we love Italy. It is prettier than the pictures on postcards and travel books. After a long day of travel we were able to explore the beautiful streets of Ariccia. It is a small town with a lot of food, culture, sweet people, and history at every corner. The Chigi Palace is stunning and a fun fact is that Bernini renovated it from 1664 to 1672. It is surprisingly very spacious for 22 girls to live in and has an incredible park with ancient Roman ruins in our backyard.
We have been traveling around Castelli Romani, which means Roman Castles. We went to Castel Gandolfo, Frascati, Nemi, Genzano, and Grottoferrata. They are all small towns, but they all have different, unique attractions. Nemi has delicious, tiny strawberries that are so sweet they taste like candy. Grottoferrata has the breathtaking Abbey of Santa Maria di Grattaferrata. The chapel is stunning with so much detail, stunning marble, and beautiful paintings. Frascati is fun to explore and is the home of the lovely and palatial Villa Aldobrandini.
It has been more of a challenge with communicating than we were expecting. The first time a few of us went to buy cappuccinos was a shock because we could not tell them our order. Luckily, the townspeople are all very sweet and welcoming and they understand that we speak little Italian. Even though the language is difficult, we have still been able to translate the menus to figure out what to eat. The gelato is out of this world and the gnocchi is, so far, my favorite pasta. We are all so excited to learn more about this amazing town, Italy’s history, explore Italy, try every food possible, and get to know one another even more.
Mary Cameron Faison