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April 2, 2002 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Italy and Olives

On the way to Rome, we stopped at Assisi. First we went to a winery, where we got to sample the locally made stuff. They also had a pottery factory where these people were hand-painting the wares. They had about twelve different kinds of olive spreads (YUM) and a lot of things to sample. We then drove up to the older part of Assisi, which has been here since the eleventh or twelfth century. The main reason for the town is the Francescan church, or St. Francis of Assisi. I’m not Catholic, but I learned that he is the patron saint of animals so I can’t help but like the guy. What a neat town, all built on the side of the hill. We got a tour of the church by a friar…who happened to have been raised in New York City! Apparently a lot of them come over to do two-year stints in Italy. He was a nice guy and showed us the whole church, and explained a lot of the beautiful paintings inside of it. For lunch today, the Denises and I went to a little cafe and had the most wonderful food. We sampled a plate of local cheeses, then passed around plates of ravioli, tortellini, and something else I cannot remember the name of. It was so good. I also saw an olive tree. A grove of them, actually. So far I am meeting all of my goals for this trip.

We then drove to Rome, but didn’t arrive until a bit late in the evening. We drove around the city because we couldn’t wait to see the sights. We saw the Colosseum at night, very very neat. It is rather surreal to be here. We walked to the Trevi fountain, which is an ENORMOUS, beautiful fountain into which you are supposed to toss a coin over your left shoulder. The act is supposed to guarantee your return to Rome. You also have the option of making a wish. I threw fifty eurocents in there, so hopefully my wish will come true. The ice cream in Italy (gelato) is unreal. So good that some of us have had three or four of them. (I’m personally on my second but plan to catch up). There was this flavor called “egg creme” that is my favorite.

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