Friday, June 27, 2008

Our Anniversary in Milan, Italy!

This year's anniversary might go down as one of our best! We celebrated our 16 years in Milan, Italy! I wonder how many people can say that. Thank you Air Force. The trip started a few weeks earlier with our friends, the Polizzi's offering to watch our girls so we could take off to Milan.

We started off early that morning by dropping the kids off and rushing to the Sacile Train Station to catch the 9:00 train. Everything went perfect as we caught our connecting train in Mestre, and ultimately got to Milan by 1:00. After a short walk in some pretty intense heat, we were at the Hotel Windsor, where we would stay overnight.

After a quick freshen up, it was off we went to conquer Milan's metro system. It was very easy, and before you know it, we were walking out of the metro looking at the world-famous Duomo (cathedral). Our research told us the Duomo was the 4th largest cathedral in Europe behind Rome's Vatican, London's St. Paul's and Seville's Cathedral in Spain.

The cathedral of Milano is often described as one of the greatest churches in the world. The ground plan is of a nave with 5 aisles, crossed by a transept and then followed by choir
and apsis. The height of the nave is about 45 meters, the highest Gothic vaults of a complete church (less than the 48 meters of Beauvais Cathedral that was never completed).

The roof is open to tourists (for a fee), which allows many a close-up view of some spectacular sculpture that would otherwise be unappreciated. The roof of the cathedral is renowned for the forest of openwork pinnacles and spires, sitting upon delicate flying buttresses.

After Duomo, we headed across the Piazza Duomo, where Mussolini was actually hung by Italian loyalists, to the Galleria. The Galleria was a sight to see and arguably has some of the most expensive shops in the world, to include a Gucci Cafe that made their own Gucci beans for coffee.

After the Galleria, we walked around town for a couple more hours stumbling in to some of the most beautiful churches we've seen, as you'll see be the million pictures Michelle took. The day was quickly getting away from us so we went back to our hotel, got showered up, and headed out to an Indian restaurant we found online. The restaurant was amazing and the food was equally delicious. We finished eating around 11:00, and it was time to head back to our hotel for some shut-eye.

The next morning we woke up to a great breakfast at the hotel and then we were off to the Castle Sforzeco. The Castello Sforzesco was transformed into a ducal residence in 1450 by Francesco Sforza, son of one of Milan's dynastic families. The castle's origins date back to the 2nd half of the 14th century during the time of Galeazzo II Visconti. Sforza's goal was to rebuild the castle and not only to restore it as a bulwark of defense but also make it a symbol of power and beauty in Milan. Sforza was considered one of the greatest, most honest and organized "condottieri" of Italy's great Remaissance soldier-heroes. After the unification of Italy, restoration was again conducted in 1833 and again after it was seriously damaged in 1943 during World War II.

Today the Castello houses municipal museums containing art, antiquities, musical instruments and the highlighted "Salle delle Asse", a frescoed room some attribute to Leonardo da Vinci.

After the castle, we quickly headed to Montenapoleane, which is also known as the Gucci street where some of the most famous (and rich) people often shop when visiting Milan. By then, it was lunchtime and Michelle and I had a hankering for Sushi so we found an awesome Sushi Place and ate before heading back to the train station.

Back at the train station we caught the bullet train back to Sacile and relaxed in an air conditioned cabin watching movies, and drinking wine all the way home. All in all, it was an amazing time with Michelle and one I won't soon forget.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Monkeys In A Tree.

If my girls happen to find a tree they're definitely climbing it.
They're like two little monkeys swinging in a tree.
I think they might of picked it up by hanging out with the Polizzi boys.
I took these photos while we were at a restaurant waiting for our food. - Too cute!

Grado, Italy - Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie

Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie

The basilica was built in 1484 around the revered image of Our Lady.
It was renovated in the 6th century and restored to Baroque in 1640.
This monk seemed to fancy me...

Grado, Italy - Basilica di Sant'Eufemia

The Basilica di Sant'Eufemia was built in the late 5th century. The church was once preceded by a quadri-portico, one of the columns of which is now in the center of the Patriarch's Square. The current appearance of the church dates from the reconstruction in 579. It also has a simple facade and a bell tower (15th century) on the right side, which is surmounted by a statue portraying St Michael and known as the Anzolo (1462). The interior has a nave and two aisles. The main point of interest is the mosaic pavement from the 6th century, restored in 1946-48 which was absolutely beautiful and in better shape than the Basilica in Aquileia.

The outside of Basilica di Sant'Eufemia

The interior of Basilica di Sant'Eufemia

Mosaic pavement (floor) in Basilica di Sant'Eufemia

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Grado, Italy

Grado (Gravo in the local Venetian dialect) is a town in the north-eastern region of Italy, located on a peninsula of the Adriatic Sea between Venice and Trieste. Once mainly a fishing center, today it is a popular tourist destination, known commonly as L'Isola del Sole ("The Sunny Island"), also famous because it is also a spa town; together with Marano Lagunare, it is the center of a lagoon, which is famous for its uncontaminated nature..

Old Town & Cafe's

The Harbor

Grado's Lagoon

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Father's Day

If all these Kisses aren't enough,
There's four hands to help with chores and stuff.
If all these hugs don't work their charm,
There's four arms to help keep you warm.
If this gift doesn't show how much we care,
We always have REAL hugs & kisses to share!

Hopefully Daddy had a great Father's Day. We started the day off by sleeping in and skipping church. I prepared Daddy a great breakfast consisting of bacon, eggs, and biscuits. Hailey then gave Daddy all the gifts she made him and we headed out for the beach at Grado. The day was perfect! First we stopped at a cool restaurant for lunch where Daddy had a salmon, ruccola, and ricotta cheese pizza. The pizza must have been very good because he quickly polished it off without offering to share it with any of us.. We then explored the city of Grado and climbed the rocks looking for crabs and other sea creatures. After that we drove to Aquileia and explored the ruins. Daddy, Happy Father's Day! We love you! - Sarah

Aquileia, Italy - Military Cemetery

Behind the Basilica in Aquileia is a military cemetery where, among others, there are ten unknown American soldiers which were found on the battlefields of Italy after the First World War.

Graves & Memorials for Italian Soldiers