Wednesday, March 1, 2017

All Roads Lead to Rome This Spring


I’ve never traveled during the spring. 

My family always vacationed in the summer when I was growing up, and when I was in college I didn’t really get a spring break. 

We had a week off from classes but were required to stay on campus for a conference. Back then all I could do was dream about the beach and wait for summer.

So I suppose that's why March doesn't strike me as vacation time, but next week I’m leaving for Rome.

I’m joining author Elizabeth Minchilli and her daughter Sophie who are hosting a food-centric tour of Rome.



When I discovered this trip last summer I didn’t realize Elizabeth’s book Eating Rome, had been sitting on my bookshelf for more than a year. 

I bought it when Amazon suggested I add it to my order to qualify for free shipping, even though I didn't plan to visit Rome. But I changed my mind after leafing through Elizabeth's beautiful photos of her lovely Italian lifestyle.

Now I'll be stepping into its pages, living as the Romans do {for a few days anyway} in a neighborhood apartment, visiting eateries and sampling food.

I’ll also be taking a day trip to Orvieto, one of the most beautiful medieval cities in central Italy with a spectacular cathedral.

Where I’ll also be visiting a goat farm. Again.

It just doesn't seem that long ago that I was visiting with some goats in Georgia so I'm wondering how this city girl keeps ending up on goat farms.

This will be my third visit with goats and really, I'm not that fond of them. 



The Rome itinerary advised us to wear clothes and shoes we don’t mind getting mud or goat kisses on. 

Which as you can imagine sent me into a tizzy. None of my shoes seemed goat-farm-hardy so I bought a pair of very unattractive low-heeled sort of loafers. 

{Even writing the word loafer makes my high-heeled heart cringe a little.} 

But Sophie Minchilli cheerily wrote me that she couldn’t wait to introduce me to her goats. So to take my mind off my shoes, I bought a jacket with lots of pockets that I thought might come in handy for holding little treats for the goats {or maybe a granola bar for me}. 

I'm calling it my goat coat.

And all I could think was, here we goat again. 

{And yes, of course there will be more goat puns!}

Then there's the food, since this is a foodie tour, after all.



Our agenda has us shopping at a local market for ingredients and then spending an afternoon cooking a Roman meal.

I’ll be visiting the oldest bakery in Rome, stopping by a neighborhood pizzeria for fried zucchini blossoms and stuffed olives and tasting Roman cheese, along with gelato and espressos. 

{Did somebody say Italian coffee?!}

I’ve got tickets to see the tourist sites of Rome, too. 

I'm staying a few extra days to tour the Vatican and Sistine Chapel, the Colesseum and Forum and I’ve booked a tour of the palace of Livia Drusilla, the wife of Caesar Augustus.



It's recently been opened to the public after years of work by archeologists and preservationists. 

It's hard to believe frescoes on the walls date from the first century.

Just a few months ago, for the first time I heard Brad Gray, a teaching pastor and historian speak for an hour on this one phrase in Luke’s gospel: “In the days of Caesar Augustus.” 

I sat on the edge of my seat as he described the historical, cultural and geographical aspects of Roman rule and its impact on the people during the time of Jesus' birth. 

It was fascinating and so much different than I'd imagined and now I can't wait to see it.


My grandfather, Louis, is standing far left and my grandmother, Victoria, is standing, second from right.

But most of all, on this second trip to Italy, I’ll also be thinking about my Italian grandparents and great-grandparents. 

In Rome, I'll be a little closer to the southern areas they came from than when I was in Milan two years ago. 

I’ll listen to the language they must have spoken, eat foods that must have been so familiar to them, and see the land where they came from.



I’ve got my camera ready. I have fresh notebooks to jot down my thoughts. 

And I'm hoping for a fresh spring breeze to blow across my wintery, worn out spirit. 

I want to see God everywhere I look in that ancient city because he is everywhere, especially in the same city where the apostles Peter and Paul walked so many centuries ago.

So I'm ready for a spring break.

And I can’t wait to share it all with you when I get back! 

Arrivederci!




I'm having coffee with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart.



32 comments:

  1. This makes me want to visit Rome!! :)

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    1. Hi Nicole,
      The more I read about it, the more excited I am to see it! :)

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  2. Seriously cannot wait to see photos and hear the stories of your trip when you return! I am still laughing at your "low-heeled sort of loafers". You are the only person I know that could pull of ANY heels at a goat farm! Cannot wait to see photos of your goat coat! I love that this trip will bring you closer to your ancestors, that will make it all the more meaningful. I love it all! Hope you have a blast!

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    1. Brittany,
      Well you know I'll be asking you for goat puns! I can't wait to see how the goat coat turns out too -- as you know, it just might be my favorite. But that would mean I DON'T want goat kisses on it! LOL

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  3. Sounds like a wonderful trip, Valerie. I hope you have a beautiful time and return with your spirit refreshed and many stories, goat puns and photos to share with us. Hugs, friend!

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    1. Hi Lois,
      It means so much that you appreciate my puns! :) xo And thanks for your good wishes!

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  4. You've brought back memories of our travels to Rome. It's been quite a few years since we were there as part of an educational trip called Footsteps of Paul. We only had 3 days in Rome so the tour of the Vatican felt like a sprint but oh, did we enjoy every minute of our time in that beautiful city. And the Italian accent is so beautiful. I know you're going to come back with fresh insights ...maybe even about goats. Your goat in encounter in Georgia...was it Goats on a Roof or is that in Carolina? We stopped there two summers ago. Safe travels my friend. xx

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    1. Hi Debby,
      One of the goat farms was in the heart of Atlanta at a B&B and the other was an hour outside of Atlanta in Serenbe, but I have hopes that a Roman goat farm might be more interesting?! Thanks for your good travel wishes -- your trip in the footsteps of Paul sounded amazing! xo

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  5. GOAT COAT! LOL!!! You were cracking me up today! But seriously also making me fall in love with Rome through your descriptions and menu! I can't wait to live vicariously through your travels again! May your trip be just the change of scenery and breath of fresh air that you need my friend! ♥

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    1. Heather,
      Oh I'm excited to share it with you via IG and here - -thanks for cheering me on and I so appreciate your prayers! Hoping all is well with you! xoxo

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  6. So excited for you, Valerie! I hope you end up having the best time! I can't wait to hear more about your trip. :) Be blessed, my friend!

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    1. Hi Ronja,
      So good to hear from you -- thank you for your good travel wishes. Hope all is well with you! xo

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  7. Dear Valerie,
    I am ready for an armchair travel tour with you! :-) What a beautiful way to spend your springtime! I will be praying that God does indeed show you how He is present in that ancient land. And I'll be looking forward to some more goat coat adventures! Blessings and Grace to you as you travel! xo

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    1. Hi Bettie,
      Any little mishap with the goats (and I'm sure there will be many!) is just a chance to share it here! Thanks for your good travel wishes and I hope to bring you good photos to enjoy! xoxo

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  8. Your excitement shows through here, Valerie. I hope you have a memorable time with heritage eating and your goat coat and goat shoes. :) I'm looking forward to your photos and lessons. It's pretty cool that you will actually be going where Peter and Paul once were. May your wintry, worn out spirit be refreshed and revived! Love and hugs!

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    1. Hi Trudy,
      Thank you for enthusiastically following along with me, my friend! I'm sure there will be mishaps with goats, which make for comical stories afterward. I wonder if Roman goats understand English such as, No! Don't jump on me! :) haha xo

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  9. Oh, my word, I can't wait to hear all about it!! To imagine walking where Peter and Paul walked is just beyond thrilling to me! You will have an amazing time, and it will be so neat to hear all about it here!! God bless you, sweet friend. :)

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    1. Hi Cheryl,
      I loved reading in Acts that Paul stayed in a rented house for two years in Rome, under house arrest, but able to receive friends --oh to wonder, where in Rome that was! So excited to see it! xo

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  10. Hi Valerie! I am so excited for you! This sounds amazing and just perfect! I am looking forward to more beautiful pictures and stories! I am hoping you will include the goat coat of course! :) I am excited as I feel I get to go in so small way too- and see Rome from your beautiful view! I will be praying for you! and hoping to see some pictures on instagram too! Will miss your post next week but cannot wait to hear of your adventures when you return!!-Have a wonderful, wonderful time! sending love and hugs!

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    1. Hi Susie,
      It means so much to me that you'll accompany me in thought and pray for me as I go! I will try to post some photos on Instagram so I know you'll keep a watch out for them! xoxo

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  11. I am so excited for you! And love how the trip ties together with the book you purchased spontaneously. And I wonder what adventures you will have with the goats at this new place! I pray your spirits will be lifted during this spring break, and that you feel God's strength renewing you in every step you take in Rome.

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    1. Hi Lynn,
      I actually thought the book sitting on my shelf seemed a sort of sign or confirmation that I should go :) but I covet your prayers and am so grateful for your good travel wishes! xoxo

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  12. Goat friendly shoes. 😂 I'm dying here.
    The trip sounds amazing and I can't wait to hear about it!

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    1. Sarah,
      Yeah, I don't think there is such a thing as goat-friendly shoes -- it's an oxymoron isn't it?! :) xo

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  13. Valerie,

    Thanks for all the goat puns and for sharing your lovely photos. Rome and Italy sounds divine...and thanks for sharing the photo of your family :-) Praying you have a fantastic time and God blesses you with special gifts of grace just to let you know how much you are loved :-)

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    1. Dolly,
      Thank you so much -- your wishes and prayers mean more than you know! xo

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  14. I'm so excited for you and your fabulous trip! :) <3

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  15. I'm so excited for you!!!! Can't wait to hear the stories/posts when you come home. Praying you have an awesome time and that God speaks to you (in a slightly Italian accent) as you meander the streets of Rome.
    Much love,
    ~Sherry Stahl
    xoxo

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    1. Hi Sherry,
      Haha -- love that! God-whispers in an Italian accent -- how delightful!! xo

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  16. Ah, this trip sounds extremely satisfying, especially the thought of all the food. How fascinating to delve into the history of Rome and connect the dots to the history of your family as well. Can't wait to see your pictures and read about your trip. Have a wonderful time! And hey, I love the goat puns! Remember, I'm a farm girl!

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    1. Hi Debbie!
      More goat puns on the way soon!! Thanks for coming along with me virtually and I can't wait to share my adventure (along with a mishap or two, I'm sure)! xo

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