Bonnie and me walking down The Spanish Steps

These boots are made for walking, the streets of Italy that is. I was concerned with my recent trip to Italy because I knew that cities in Italy are walking cities. While I normally love walking a city, my concern was that this summer I broke my big toe and have been slowly making my way into shoes. I have tennis shoes (for working out only) and high heels. So, I purchased a pair of booties just prior to my departure and hoped they would support me through my days in Rome, the Tuscany Region and Venice. You see, in Italy you don't see many tennis shoes. It's all about fashion. The average person is fashionable but their old sidewalks and uneven pavement are murder on heels. Booties don't fail me now.

I actually wore my booties on the plane. They have one zipper at the heel which makes them easy to take off and put back on. They have a one inch heel and are of the softest leather. Boy, were they comfortable even after my feet swelled a bit. Can't seem to lay off the wine!

We began touring right after arriving with only enough time to check into our room and freshen up. First stop, Rome and a walk around the outside of the Colosseum. What was evident to me after listening to our guide is that my history of the Colosseum was derived from movies. While Hollywood stays pretty close to the true history, some creative embellishment has been implemented. For example; As told by our guide, the symbol for "to the death" is not a thumbs down. The gesture is made with the thumb to side with a swipe across the throat. Another misrepresentation pointed out by our guide is that masses of Christians were persecuted at the Colosseum. The Colosseum was the arena for wild animals brought in from Africa battling during the day and gladiators battling in the afternoon. How are the feet? So far so good! Later that afternoon the Trevi Fountain and The Spanish Steps. Absolutely love the energy at both. Filled with crowds of tourists from all over the world taking photos and just hanging around along with locals busying about. Trevi Fountain, Fontana di Trevi, is a beautiful site and half the fun is jockeying for position to throw your coin in, in hopes of a return on your investment of returning to Rome, a tradition of legend that doesn't seem to be lost on anyone. It's a beautiful piece of art that stands out among the crowds and chaos. The fountain was completed in 1762 by Nicoli Salvi, who was commissioned by Pope Clement XII. It took 30 years to be built. The Spanish Steps or Piazza de Spanga ascends to the French Church Trinita dei Monti. At the bottom of the steps is Fontana della Barcaccia, the fountain, shaped like a small boat. The 137 steps in three tiers begs a climb to the top for a fantastic view of Rome and the square below. So far my booties are still comfortable. Suggestion: Do your reading on the history ahead of time and do these two sites on your own so you can take your time and soak up the scenery. Side bar: On our walk from The Trevi Fountain to The Spanish Steps we window shopped. Store window after store window wowed us with the most stylish shoes and hand bags. The highest heels I've ever seen and the sharpest styles. Red ones, black ones, ones covered in crystals, feathers or fringes. The most outlandish...a pig bag. A large bag shaped like a pig covered in crystals!

After our day of touring the hunger pangs started knocking. We gathered the group and headed to Renovatio La Soffitta for our welcome dinner. La Soffitta is a small restaurant, as most are in Italy and is located near The Vatican. When in Rome, well you know the rest...we had a traditional five course meal starting with Antipasti (dried meat selection, cheese selection, olives and marinated vegetables). First Course or Primi Piatti or Pasta course; Rigatoni alla Marinara and meat lasagna. Third course insalata or salad. Main course or Secondi Piatti, Saltimbocca alla Roma, a thin piece of veal with a lemon sauce. Fifth course DESSERT. We had a selection of different Italian desserts, a lemon cheese cake made with ricotta cheese, of course tiramisu and a variety of tarts Italian donuts, one was soaked in Ameretto that was like taking a shot.

Nothing to do with my booties, my feet needed a well deserved break and now with my belly full, my body needed a good stretch and a good night sleep.

I've been to Rome a couple of times and had never gone to The Vatican Museums. Actually, I never had an interest in going. I know what you're thinking. Who's not interested in The Vatican. I can't tell you why, I just wasn't. Needless to say, I am so very glad I did. It was fa-bu-lous! The architecture, the paintings, the tapestries, the history, the serenity. I could go on and on. There are currently 13 Vatican Museums that make up the complex housing works of art through the centuries with different Popes adding to the collection over time. It was founded by Popes Clement XIV and Pius VI. But of course the most famous are the Sistine Chapel and the works of Michelangelo. There's a photo I took and I'm not sure it captured what my natural eye lens saw but it's of a group of cardinals in a corridor. This sounds simple enough but the lighting and placement spoke volumes. We were then in the midst of a parade of cardinals with varied styles, different head coverings and swagger, yes swagger. One had on a fedora and a top coat draped over his shoulders. They were of different ethnicity from different parts of the world. What a treat! From the beginning of tour outside of the cathedral to the end finishing with Swiss Guards colorfully clad, I was enthralled! The Vatican City is a must see. By the way...booties and feet still feeling fine! Suggestion: Go on a guided tour so you'll know what your seeing and to skip the long lines.

Where we stayed: Hotel Giulio Cesare or as we would say Julius Cesar. This is a four star property located at Via degli Scipioni and near St. Peters Basilica. If you go to the roof top at night you get a beautiful view of the Basilica. This is a 19th century partician villa that has every bit of Italian charm.


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