Saturday, July 30, 2011

Road to Rome

Montepulciano- where’s Edward?
The Twilight Saga’s New Moon was filmed in Montepulciano even though the story takes place in Volterra. Both cities are amazing, but Montepulciano was chosen because it seems to be more “medieval” and beautiful than Volterra. Both cities are relatively undiscovered and don’t have many tourists. On this road from Florence to Rome we decided to stop by Montepulciano and see what all the fuss was about since we had never been there. There is a scene in New Moon where you see Alice driving a yellow Porsche down the road and then you get a view of the city. Well, we saw that view first hand! It’s pretty amazing to see the city pop out from the trees on top of its hill. The city of Montepulciano is designed in rings that go towards the city center (similar to the yellow brick road), and there are few cars allowed inside the city walls. The city is full of enotecas and gelato shops, so naturally the boys were excited (Josh was excited about the enotecas and James for the gelato). It was another hot day and all we wanted to do was eat gelato! But, but we kept it to only one gelato stop. The city is known for its wine “Vino Nobile di Montepulciano”, cheese, pici (a type of pasta), honey and pork.

Pinocchio clock tower

well in the city center

We walked up the main road to the city center and along the way we found a lot of churches and beautiful views of the region. When we arrived in the city center I could definitely recognize it from New Moon. There is no fountain in the center of the square as the movie shows, however there is a great church and Communal Palace. This city was a welcome relief after the craziness of Florence… there were hardly any tourists in the city! It seems that this city is an undiscovered medieval location.
view from the city
Communal Palace

One of the many churches
After spending some time in Montepulciano we continued on to Rome. Most of us slept in the car on the way, but once we got close to Rome we were all pretty excited. The energy in the car kicked up a notch about half an hour outside of Rome. Once we arrived we checked into our b&b and walked by the Vatican. Sofia was dying all week to see the Vatican and couldn’t wait to see it. So we walked by at night and it is amazing when it is all lit up! Since we were all famished, we decided to go to another part of town for dinner. We stopped to buy bus tickets on the street from one of the vending machines and the machine tried to eat a 50 euro bill! The machine spit it out because it would have to give more change that the limit of 6 euros change and the slot was blocked. We sought the help of the carabinieri that were standing 10 meters away, but they just looked at us like we were crazy. I’m sure they were thinking “stupid Americans”… After a few minutes of prying with our skeleton key, Josh was finally able to get the 50 back. Phew!! When we finally made it to dinner we definitely enjoyed it. We were all so tired and hungry that I think someone was about to throw down on that ticket machine!

After dinner we walked back to our b&b and on the way we saw the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and a few other fun places. Rome is such a great city with so much history! For me, the best part of Rome is the knowledge that people walked the streets thousands of years ago. It’s a concept that is surreal to me, but makes me feel like I am a part of something special. The architecture in Rome is unbelievable and I know my dad would love it! He’s an architect and he would be like a kid in a candy store in Rome. Hopefully he’ll be able to visit and see the city! I remember as a kid he would pull out a thick book from college that he studied from and he would show me pictures of the sites in Rome. He was so excited about the architecture in Rome but he has never had the opportunity to see it. The next couple of days we were able to explore the city and see some new sights. There is so much to see in Rome that a solid week would not be enough time! Unfortunately we only had a couple of days, but there will be other trips!

Fountain at Piazza Navona

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