“All Roads Lead to Rome.”
While the expression may not hold the truth it once did, our road from Florence today through Tuscany did, indeed, lead to Rome. But before we reached the “Eternal City”, we first stopped along the way at the home of the famous Franciscan brotherhood in Assisi. Francis, the saint for whom the newest Pope is named, established his order in the rolling foothills between Florence and Rome. Our bus pulled into the classical medieval city just after 10am where Brother Joseph from Zambia showed our group around the different chapels of the church. We admired frescos and learned about the life of St. Francis and how his connection with nature, austere lifestyle and most importantly his work benefitting the poor were qualities which Pope Francesco hopes to champion during his papacy. In Assisi, Arian H continued his search for medieval paraphilia, but came up empty handed once more. Mr. Audia took time in Assisi to highlight the fact that our trip, historically speaking, has taken a journey back in time… starting with Venice during the height of its trading power in the 1700’s, to the Florence’s renaissance of the 16th and 17th century, to the medieval architecture and frescos of Assisi and finally to the Roman empire and the time of Christ.
Our final destination today was Rome. We first ventured into the fray of tourist throngs at the Spanish steps. High end shopping stores at the foot of the stairs pulled the girls in, preoccupying them to such a degree that they arrived back at our meeting place late. A lovely lasagna dinner mere bocks from the steps was our first Roman meal. We walked it off by making our way down to Trevi Fountain where each student took turns tossing a coins over their left shoulder in hopes of one day returning to Rome. Cole G’s toss was the most enthusiastic, almost clearing the fountain entirely. A short walk from the fountain was a gelato pit stop, and then our final bus ride of the day back to the hotel. With just our first taste of Rome, everyone is excited to be up early tomorrow, 6:15am, to explore the city more thoroughly.