Friday, April 25, 2008


Well, Spring has sprung and so I thought I'd post a few shots of us enjoying the beautiful weather we've had.

Andrew and Augustin playing in the apricot tree in the yard. You might be able to see a few golfball-sized green apricots if you look closely.

A shot of Mom, Dad and Philly in the kitchen window.

You didn't know there was a species of monkey indigenous to Italy did you? We had fun tossing raisins in this monkey's mouth as he was hanging upside down from the tree. I think he'd eaten a fermented mango or two because he was no good at catching them.....

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Latest mosaic

I've started another mosaic recently. I haven't had as much time to work on it as I'd like but it's progressing. This time, I chose to do a bianco e nero, "black and white". This style is very common in the baths of Ancient Rome, and uses just two colors of natural stone - black and white.

Here are my tools of course, and the blocks of stone before I cut the pieces I need out of them. You can see various shards as well: the "leftover".

A photo of the design I'm doing on the left, and my work on the right.

Here is the original design which we were able to see in the Capitoline Museum here in Rome. It's a representation of a season - most likely Spring.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Some candid shots from the Kembles' visit

Our friends the Kemble family took a trip to Italy and passed through Rome to spend four fun-filled days with us. To Nadia, Ana and Thomas (the kids that couldn't come) we missed you!

Augustin getting ready to ride the train into town.

Mr. Kemble had a private workout by the Mediterranean for the upcoming NFL draft.

Stephen getting ready to tackle his lasagna.

Andrew and Philomena actually managed to catch a pigeon near the Colloseum!

Mom and Mrs. Kemble share a laugh as they walk to the station to go into town and do retail therapy. (Mom's checking the contents of her purse to make sure she's well provisioned, see? Mom and Mrs. Kemble, don't try to deny it!)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Some shots from the Storys' visit

Below, please find some random pictures taken throughout the week of the Storys' visit here in Rome. They're not in any particular order, and are presented just so that you can have an idea of the splendidly excellent time we had!

Mrs. Story and Charlotte in the Colosseum.

Andrew, Augustin and Thomas waiting on the bus near Piramide.

The girls shopping.....

The three stooges.....

We went up to Vigne to visit the sisters. Here's Sister Maria Pia showing the kids the Convent's new rabbits.

Philomena, Charlotte, and Augustin at dinner that evening.

Thomas enjoys a drink of water near the Catacombs.

Augustin (why's the littlest kid carrying the backpack?) Philomena and Thomas "gamboling in the meadow" along the Via Appia Antica.

Olé! Mrs. Story and her two kids wave from the Colosseum.

Thomas and Augustin are in awe of the Vatican Museums.

Monday, April 7, 2008

A visit to the Vatican Mosaic Studios

We had the unique opportunity to visit the official mosaic studios of the Vatican the other day, which turned out to be everything we could have hoped for and more. It was arranged by a priest friend of ours here in Rome, Fr. Mark Haydu, who is in charge of the department of the Vatican that solicits benefactors for the restoration of Vatican artwork. By good fortune our friends the Storys were in town visiting us so they got to come along as well.

We arrived at St. Peter's Square to a crisp breeze and slightly hazy day.

We took the "back entrance" past the exit from the Scavi to the entrance of the Studio, marked with a mosaic sign of course.

The head of the Studio, Paolo, explained its history to us before we got to see the work area. Here he shows some of the many colors the artists choose from before working on a piece.

One of the artists working on a Roman scene.

This is the vault showing some of the cubbies where the 27,000 different colors of smalti are stored.

Adriano, one of the artists, shows us a picture from his trip to Monument Valley, AZ.

We got to see the preparation of spun glass, or filati. This is a process where small cubes of smalti are heated at an extremely high temperature, until they become soft and melt together. The molten mass is then stretched out into thin rods and cooled, and the rods are then cut to desired lengths to make micro-mosaics.

A stunning Our Lady of Guadalupe mosaic that was nearly finished.

We next walked up the staircase where dignitaries and heads of State walk to be received by the Pope..... Fr. Mark's office, where he explained a little bit about his work and we said our goodbyes.

We walked out of St. Peter's Square and came to the restaurnt "L'Isola della Pizza" which I highly recommend, should you ever be in the area.

A shot of us all at the table.

On the way home we passed this guy riding his very unique bicycle....