Tag Archives: Rome

Matters of the heart

They say time flies when you’re having fun.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder.

And they also say you should probably create your wedding video prior to the eve of your first anniversary.

Well I say two out of three ain’t bad.

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since our wedding day. On the one hand it feels like just yesterday we were finalizing details and using all the big-ticket grandparent prayers we could for what turned out to be a beautifully sunny and warm spring day. On the other hand it seems like so much has happened over the past 365 days:

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Dinner and a view. 🌅

A post shared by Sarah Zalewski (@slmurphy) on

  • We enjoyed some romantic meals and date nights
  • And we had a lot of visitors

So since I’m sure my husband is already celebrating our anniversary across the world right now in Goa, India (barring another record heat-induced power outage), I thought I’d share my better late than never look back on the day that I was blessed with the opportunity to walk through life holding this guy’s hand.
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Sarah + Matt

(photos courtesy of the oh-so-talented Wright Photographs)

All Roads Lead to Rome

Believe it or not it’s finally time to wrap up our tour of Rome and end the honeymoon. And unlike our quick 10 day visit, if we count blog time, you’ve been there for nearly a month so you’re practically a resident.

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But there’s still so much to see. The Trevi Fountain.

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The Spanish Steps. Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo, spanish steps, trevi fountain Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo, spanish steps, trevi fountain

The Pope!

Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangeloWe were told that Vatican City was about 40 minutes from our hotel so we decided to make the most of a warm 85-90 degree day (all acclimated now that we live in Florida) and walk. We made our way down through Piazzo Novana to take another look at the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (fountain of four rivers) which was designed by Bernini, who studied under Michelangelo and was known for his attention to detail (i.e. Matt Zalewski biceps).

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Each corner represents a major river. The Nile representing Africa, the Danube representing Europe, the Ganges representing Asia, and the Río de la Plata representing the Americas. Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo

A quick walk across the Tiber and we approached Vatican City. It was a good day to explore the area as there was a parade downtown in celebration of Republic Day so we avoided the crowds and got to see a little of the fly-over along the way.

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Whether you celebrate Catholicism or not, Vatican City is a must if you’re heading to Rome. When we arrived, we did as most tourists do and got into the longest line we could find, inching forward to see St. Peters Basilica and hovering in any sliver of shade we could find along the way.

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It’s hard to explain a church known as one of the greatest of all Christendom but let’s just say good ol’ St. Peter lived up to the hype. Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo IMG_5196 Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangelo Vatican, Rome, Italy, honeymoon in italy, roma, vatican city, pope, sistine chapel, st peters basilica, bernini,  michelangeloWe grabbed a bite to eat at a local spot recommended by our friend John, who lives in the area, and spent the rest of the afternoon working our way through the Vatican Museum and towards the Sistine Chapel. If we were allowed to take photos in the Sistine Chapel or even speak above a whisper, we still could not translate the beauty and history of one of the most famous pieces of art in history.

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Are you ready for some ruins?!

It’s Day two in Rome and you’ve got a date with a Gladiator in the Colosseum.

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There are several career paths you’re now husband has mentioned over the years that fit his personality type and high tolerance for pain. Firefighter. Police Officer. Top secret member of the U.S. Army Special Forces or Navy Seal. But a Gladiator? Weren’t they all unfortunate criminals or prisoners of war with no citizenship? Sure, some of the attributes line up: brute strength, athleticism, courage and enough craziness to fight to the death, but who would choose that path? Well, if you measure it in giddiness and chatter during our tour of the Colosseum, he would.

And apparently he wouldn’t be the only one. Even free men opted to enter the ring in search of glory and prize money. Confident in your abilities, my dear, but happy it’s no longer an option for you.

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Having a hard time picturing what all this rock is about? Let’s revisit a classic scene to put us in the Gladiator spirit.

That’s better.

It’s really hard to believe this building still stands after thousands of years, earthquakes, floods and fires, but it does. There are parts of the massive arena that still showcase the original marble flooring as well as a reconstructed area that simulates what it looked like in its prime.

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You try not to compare it to familiar places like Soldier Field, but it’s hard not to when so many of today’s mega-stadiums resemble the same framework the Colosseum originated so many years ago. roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,

Now uncovered, the area below the main floor housed two levels of compartments and included trap doors that could spring the animal up onto the main stage to excite the audience and challenge the gladiator. Kind of reminded me of the bushes behind my old Montessori school where I used to run an imaginary zoo. Much friendlier animals in my care, of course.
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Thanks to high-end designers like Tod’s and Fendi, historic sites like the Colosseum and Trevi fountain are getting the funding for much-needed restorations that they otherwise couldn’t afford. Check out this recent 60 Minutes episode to learn more. It’s really fascinating.  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,

 

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We wrapped the Colosseum tour and spent the rest of the afternoon trying to find our way out of the fiery maze that was the Roman Forum. Fortunately we had learned a lot about it the day before so the main focus became trying not to suffer heat stroke and keep our minds clear. The fresh water fountains helped.

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One of my favorite parts of the forum and surrounding hills were the contrast of bright poppies and fresh water against the red and brown rubble.
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Remember popular 90’s game Labyrinth? Yeah it was kind of like that. roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,

That saying, all roads lead to Rome? Thanks to Augustus, technically all roads lead to this rock.  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,  roma, rome, honeymoon in italy, colosseum, gladiator, ruins, roman forum, vacation, honeymoon,

After the forum, we headed back towards the hotel to try what our guide John said to be the most authentic and homemade gelato in the city. And with a line out the door 100 or so flavor offerings, I’d say he was right.

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We wrapped day two with an evening aperitivo on the rooftop followed by a heaping plate of carbonara. IMG_0423_2 IMG_0425

When in Rome!

Rome: It’s like Chicago but older

Today we land in Rome and I must admit this city far exceeded my expectations in the three days we explored it. I was excited for Rome because I knew Matt would be really excited for Rome. Why do you ask? In the short six years we’ve known each other, I’ve come to learn that my new husband is a bit of a history buff. Falling slightly behind any shows that involve ultimate survival and fast and loud car restorations, chances are if he’s watching television, he’s tuned to the History Channel.

So I knew Rome would live up to Matt’s expectations and for that I was pleased. And while I did really enjoy Mr. Peterson’s World History class, I must admit I went into Rome a little rusty on my ruin knowledge. Fortunately for Matt, my parents gifted us with a private tour from a family friend who lives in Rome and just so happened to have a Masters in philosophy, a PHD in theology and a rich knowledge of local gelatology. The amount of knowledge our guide, John poured into our carb-and-wine-filled brains was enough to fill a semester-long course, but it set a foundation (no Roman pun intended) that we were able to use for the rest of our trip and for that we are very grateful. If you plan on going to Rome, check out John and his wife Ashley’s web site and be sure to meet up with them. You’ll be glad you did.

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I’ll tell you a little more about the forum when we go back for a closer look on Day 2 but just imagine the above photos some 2000 years ago. And if you still can’t picture it, this may help.

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We were privileged to learn that John also served as a consultant in restorations to the local Catholic churches in the area so we got an in-depth lesson in Art History and more Catholic facts to supplement our recent marriage prep workshops.

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dome is not in fact a dome but painted. Take that Rationalists.

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John also set us up for a dinner reservation that evening, stopping by the restaurant towards the end of our tour and putting in a good word for us with the chef. A tour guide and a concierge!

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We wrapped Day one sharing a good bottle of shiraz, mussels and linguine with black truffle.

Next up, a tour of the Coliseum.

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