Friday, March 30, 2007

Trip to Janiculum

Today I, Alex, and Andrew met with a friend here in Rome (Jozef) and took a day trip to Janiculum Hill. I know Jozef through a mutual friend and he is here in Rome for a semester studying abroad. Janiculum is the second highest of the hills Rome is built on, and offers the best view of the city and its many domes and arches.

We began our trip by taking the train to the Station of the Pyramids. The Pyramid is a tomb built around 12 BC.

From the Pyramid we took various busses up the hill overlooking the city. It was a bit overcast but still offered an excellent view.

On top of the hill is an enormous fountain, considered to be the second most magnificent fountain in Rome behind Trevi.

This is a photo of Alex with Rome as a backdrop. In this picture you can see a bridge crossing the Tiber and the Vittorio Emmanuele monument in the background.

This is another shot of Rome. The massive dome in the middle is the Pantheon.

We just had to take this picture for fun. It is Andrew hanging off the wall on top of the hill.

You can't do all this walking in Rome without stopping by one of the clean and public water fountains.

We took some backroads to get to the bus station on our way back home including this street which led down many flights of stairs.

We arrived home very excited about what we had seen. The Janiculum is definitely somewhere we will be taking you guys when you all come over!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Trip to town

We took a trip to town today to get some more stuff like garbage cans for the bathrooms and groceries. The town is a busy little place with all kinds of shops all around. There's a bar, a gelateria, a pizza place, several tobacco shops, several restaurants, a photocopy store, a laundrymat, a department store, grocery store, library, and various other little shops. The people are all crazy drivers, and are fond of double parking. When you get into a double parked car, it is customary to just lay on the horn until whoever is blocking you strolls out of the bar they are in and moves their car. Here is a picture of the town.
Our trip to the grocery store was quite nice. We went to the biggest grocery store we've found to date. It's very clean, nice, with a good selection. We made sure to write down the bus stop so that we can know where to get off if we take the bus from our house. It's about a 20 minute walk to the grocery store from our house, although there are 2 smaller ones 3 and 5 minutes from our house respectively.

Those big things that look like elephant tusks are actually salami.

Here's the bakery.....

And the produce section. Oh and we found Granny Smith apples! YES!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Dad had to do some business in town, including registering with the town police department. The station was about 2 blocks from the Mediterranean so we all walked down to the beach. Perfect weather for a trip along the beach side. The kids all found some shells and tumbled rocks. Some pictures are below.

Getting settled in

Well, we are making more progress and getting more settled. We took a trip to a place called IKEA ( which is a HUGE department store with all kinds of furniture, household goods, etc. We got some knock-together cabinets, wardrobes and bookcases to put together so that we actually have something to unpack everything into. The stuff is pretty decent quality for being pre-fab, and quite cheap. We really needed to get this stuff because the house doesn't have any closets, and the kitchen has pretty limited cabinet space. Here are some pictures of us putting it together.

We also got the bikes unpacked for the kids, and put up our patio furniture outside. The weather is pretty nice, it is cool in the morning, warms up during the day and then cools off in the evening. Having stuff like the patio furniture out really is giving it a "homey" feel.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

First day in Rome

Well we had a busy first day in Rome. Our air shipment arrived at about 9 o clock this morning. We've spent all day unpacking it and getting it put where it goes. Our only excursion was a trip out this afternoon to the grocery store and to get some stamps. I've added some commentary to the pictures below.

The peppers in Italy are big......

Anthony walking up to the gate to our house.

We discovered that there is a flock of sheep in the field across from our house. Every morning a dog brings them out, where they graze for a few hours. Then he brings them back to wherever they go. (We can't see them when they disappear over the hill.)

This is a picture of the movers bringing over our air shipment.

When we went to the grocery store we saw an interesting sight. The butcher in the back was cutting up a whole calf for veal. It was pretty amazing. He was fast.....he pretty much cut the entire thing up while we watched. The store is about a mile from our house and is quite nice. The butcher (Danilo) is also nice and volunteered to grind us up meat for sausage or whatever we need.

Flight to Italy

well, I have finally found the time to update this blog about our flight over to Italy. We had a little bit of trouble at the airport with regards to our checked baggage. Evidently they changed the weight limit, and a couple of our boxes were overweight. So we had to re-pack 3 of them there in the airport. Luckily we had arrived in plenty of time. We departed Charlotte at about 2:00 pm, and arrived in Philadelphia about 4:00. We had a 2 hour layover and then took off from Philadelphia for Rome. The flight to Rome was uneventful. Even the airline food wasn't that bad! We didn't have any window seats, but the flight was only 8 hours long so it wasn't bad at all. We arrived in Rome on Wednesday morning (local time). It was slightly chilly outside, but we found the fellow that was taking our baggage to our house and got on board his van. We got to the house, dad singed the papers for the house and we were officially tenants. The house is really nice. (See earlier posts.) I've added a picture of us on the plane to Philadelphia below.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Goodbye Party

We had a send-off party at the hotel where we were staying prior to our departure. We were really amazed at how many people came. There were over 60 people there. Thank you everyone for coming, it was wonderful to see you! Saffire, thanks for coming all the way from Chicago. We had a wonderful time with everyone catching up with folks we hadn't seen in a while. Thanks also to Aunt Debbie and the Story family for your help with transporting us to the airport. I've included some pictures below for everyone to check out.

Alex pushing our luggage cart into the hotel room.

Anthony, Augustin, and Isaiah in the lobby.

The lobby of the hotel from the top floor. Isn't is pretty?

All the kids hanging out in the hotel room.

Theodore, Alex and DT talking.

Our family and the Kemble family.
Theodore and Anthony

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Mac's New Home

On Saturday we took our dog MacDougal (Mac) to his new temporary home. We were very lucky to find what appears to be an ideal situation for him. He'll be living with a lady who works with Border Collie rescue, on 11 fenced, wooded acres, with 2 other dogs for company. She'll be keeping him for us while we're in Italy.

Friday, March 2, 2007

We have an address

Well, the contract got finalized and approved, so we officially have an address. Here it is, just in case you're interested.

De Piante Family
Via del Fosso del Fontanile 12
00125 ROMA

I added a map of where we are to the left. The green arrow marks our house. We're about equal distance from downtown Rome and the Mediterranean.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

House Pictures

At the request of many, I'm adding some pictures of the house we've got a contract on. We'll know later today if we definitely got it. It's in a suburb of Rome called Malafede, not too far from the Mediterranean, and Rome itself. Anyways, here it is from the exterior.

It is actually a duplex house. There is one other couple on the other side. The chimney is the line that splits the place in half. Our part is to the left.

When you enter the door, you go up the stairs to the upstairs bedrooms. There is a small bedroom to the left of the stairs, and further to the left is the kitchen. The kitchen is small, but that's how all Italian kitchens are. It's nice though, no scuzzy appliances.

There are three floors in the house. The basement, or bottom floor has a big area for doing school or entertaining (so all of you can come over). It also has a spiral staircase that leads upstairs, and a woodfired pizza oven.

Air Shipment

Well the movers came to take our air shipment today. We're allowed a certain weight limit, so it was quite labor intensive preparing everything to go. Everything had to be inventoried, assigned a value, and weighed. We got everything done that we felt we needed, and were still under the weight limit by quite a bit so we were able to add some "fun" stuff like bicycles, patio furniture, tool box, etc.

The movers showed up in the morning. I went and picked up lunch from the little Italian place down the road (how appropriate, no?). They didn't like pizza (go figure) so we got them meatball subs, and pizza for everyone else. Then we watched them finish up the packing.

The air shipment takes about 21 days to arrive over there, clear customs, and be delivered to our new place. This is why we shipped it off early. We'd rather do without our stuff on this end, where it's easier to run to Wally World and get paper plates.

Everyone brought a box of their own "no questions asked" stuff. Highlights include Augustin's rock collection and Andrew's toothbrush collection, 1 gallon of Texas Pete, several 5-gallon buckets of laundry detergent (we want to smell the same there as we do here) and my portable safe.

Hopefully everything makes it over there in one piece.

Preliminary Things

Welcome to this blog! I've never had a blog before, but I hope this will provide a way for everyone to check out what we're up to when you get a minute. I'll of course be more elaborate in email and IM conversations, but I'll definitely update this as much as I can.

I'll post another entry as soon as I get physical contact information. This is going to be a blog published by me, but I'll include the family's adventures. We're leaving the 20th, but I'm sure I'll have something to say before then, so check back often! And do comment, if I know people are reading this I'm more likely to update it.