Not all the students that live here in Bernardi are from the University of St. Thomas. In fact, we have several students from other universities including Marquette University, University of Pittsburgh, University of St. Catherine and the University of Notre Dame.
Since I’ve been a bit crunched for time, I asked Emily Laloggia, write a blog on her experience here in Rome and our household trip to Turin.
As a little birthday gift to myself, I decided to do a day trip to Pompeii to see it a second time. The first time I was there it was only for about an hour and a half, and let me tell you, that was not enough. Mike and I headed out to Naples (after a rough start- we were on the wrong train for about half an hour, waiting to depart Termini. Fortunately he decided to see if we were one the right train, and they directed us to the correct train). Pizza in Naples, and then off to the Archeological Museum. This time they had more rooms open! I just love this stuff! We toured the museum, and then we were headed to Pompeii.
Pompeii is only a short ride away from Naples, and now that it’s closer to summer they are open much later. This time I had done more reading about the city, and I was our personal tour guide. Pompeii in the afternoon is just enchanting.
This past weekend has been a whole lot of walking, waiting, and walking! John, Mike and I flew down to southern Italy for the week. We anchored ourselves in Brindisi, and toured some southern cities. It was nice change from the crowds in Rome.
Day 1- Brindisi!
We checked into our hostel, and took the little “water bus” to the center of town. Southern Italians take their pranzo very seriously. We arrived in town just in time to see everything closing for the lunch hour. We walked to quiet town, found some lunch, and relaxed in the sun for a few hours until dinner time.
Day 2- Lecce
We discovered it wasn’t just Brindisi that shuts down in the afternoon. So did Lecce! We walked around looking at church doors, since they were closed and we couldn’t get in. We found a nice park, bought some sandwich stuff, and enjoyed a sunny picnic. We wandered the town, and as evening approached we started searching for a place to eat. Mike saw a little old priest, and asked him if he could suggest a place for us to eat dinner. He motioned for us to follow him. Now, John’s Italian is pretty good, and Mike is decent, and my Spanish helps me understand most Italians, but none of us could figure out what this priest was saying! So we just followed along. We were able to communicate to him that we were from America and studying at the Angelicum. He led us down some winding, dark street, and took us to a small restaurant. He introduce us to the owners, and we had one of the best dinners: homemade pasta and great wine.
Day 3-Beach Day in Brindisi
We kept it easy this day. Just a trip to the beach. Since it’s not tourist season, we were the only ones on the beach. Not much to say about this day- just sandwiches, towels, sun and sand. It was a good day for this California girl.
Day 4 -Bari
I fell in love with Bari. We took a train there from Brindisi, and arrived a few hours before lunch. You have to make it through the modern end of town, with its perfect urban planning, before getting to the heart of Bari: the medieval center. Beauty. Beauty. Beauty! It had small winding streets, and colorful laundry hanging from the windows. We also payed a visit to St. Nick.
Day 5- Otranto
Otranto is pretty small, but we had two goals: venerate the relics of 800 skulls of martyrs killed by the Ottomans in 1480, and spend some more time in the sun. Done and done.
Day 6- Maria de Leuca
We had to travel the farthest to get to this town, but it was well worth it. We took a train from Brindisi to Lecce, and then another from Lecce to another town, then a bus to another town, then a taxi to Leuca. We made it, and walked along the coast. The significance of this town is that it’s the farthest point on the heel of the Italian “boot”. We enjoyed our time there, but soon realized that we were not going to be able to find a taxi back. So we walked 6.4 k, waited for an hour and half to get the bus to take us to the train station, to get a train to Lecce, to take another train to Brindisi, to take a bus to the hostel. Phew!
Here we are in the midst of Easter. After dealing with the long lines, crowds and waiting for hours, I’m glad to finally have a moment to breath and take it all in.
For the Easter Vigil at St. Peter’s, the members of Bernardi camped out for almost 7 hours outside in the square. After some crazy shoving to get in, we made it. Candles in hand, and Fr. Carola by my side (he translated for us) I was ready for this mass. I found myself easily distracted, but I would stop and remind myself to be present. Never have I been to an Easter Vigil with the Vicar of Christ, and I might never have the privilege again. And then I would think of my grandparents and the rest of my family. There is even a great chance that they will never have this opportunity. Being in Rome is something they would only dream of. And there I was, sitting in St. Peter’s. It’s because of my family that I am here, and I am here now for them. The thought brings me to tears. What a gift they have given me. Their sacrificial love has borne beautiful fruit. What a gift to partake in the fruit of the greatest sacrificial Love in the same mass as the Pope.