Christmas 1999 in Italy
Christmas of 1999 was the first time beck to Italy since I was a college student. Cheryl's daughter was studying at the University of Bologna, so it was a great opportunity for us to visit. We arrived in Rome, and took a train to Bologna. Exhausted, we arrived in this wonderful city late in the afternoon, having traveled for quite some time. I remember we went through the Alps, and saw wonderful scenes of snow covered mountains.
Bologna was a beautiful city, with a Gothic Cathedral, still needing a facade. There was a Romanesque Church that I returned to a number of times. Bologna was the place where I saw my first opera, Tosca. What an opera it was! The hair stood up on the back of my head during one of the more beautiful arias. Just magnificent. I remember waiting in line, standing among all of Bologna's finest. All of the women were decked out in their furs. It being early in the winter season, most of the furs had just been taken out of storage, and the air in line was heavy with the scent of moth balls.
Firenze was magnificent on Christmas Eve. We had the Uffizi to ourselves, and celebrated dinner with friends. We went to the Duomo for midnight mass, here where the Medici had been stabbed, and the great dome erected. Such history. The Duomo was packed and I could barely see the altar. I was surprised that few dressed up for the service. We were way in the very back, near the full sized Crèche, populated with Joseph, Mary, shepherds, but no Baby Jesus. The end of the service brought a regal procession, which worked its way from the altar back to where we were. Much of the time al I could see was the cross weaving it's way through the masses of people, but then the procession turned a corner, and there they were, as they had been for year after year, celebrating Christ's birth.
Links to some of the wonderful sites of Italy