A Marriage Blessing

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I posted about my confirmation into the Catholic church at Easter.
This past weekend Jacob and I had our marriage blessed.
What exactly does that mean?
Well, we weren't married in a church which means we didn't receive the Sacrament of Marriage. This also means that technically our marriage wasn't recognized by the Catholic church.
Now, I love our wedding day. I wouldn't have changed any of it, and I don't regret not initially getting married in the Church. Everything happens for a reason, and at that point in my life I wasn't ready to dive into religion. I felt a bit of pressure about it, and I am not someone who responds well to outside pressure. I didn't want to be doing anything for the "wrong reasons." If I decided to become Catholic, I wanted to be doing it for me, and not anyone else.
So my husband and I had a beautiful vineyard wedding on September 3rd, 2010.
I think I always knew I would at least learn about the Catholic religion, but I would do it at my own speed.
We knew we wanted to have our marriage blessed, and it was really important to me that I be confirmed beforehand.
So this past Saturday, April 21st,  we had our marriage blessed and received the Sacrament of Marriage here in Italy during the 5pm Mass.

We had a few friends come, as well as our friends from the church. It was a wonderful experience, and although we are far away from family we could feel all of their love and support.

Things are starting to get busy around here, preparing for Jacob's deployment which is in about a month and a half. We may not ever be able to spend an anniversary together (so far it looks like were batting 0 for 2) but we do get to share special moments like these. And as a military wife you learn to appreciate those times, and to celebrate important dates (like birthdays and anniversaries) differently.

Under the Tuscan Sun

Monday, April 23, 2012

As I mentioned at the end of my last post, Tuscany is my favorite area of Italy.

Although, my new favorite city isn't technically in Tuscany... But more about that in a bit.

After we returned home from Rome, we took a day to relax.
Well, that wasn't exactly the original plan but after a bit of car trouble it all worked out for the best.
We headed to Tuscany well-rested and ready for the second half of our trip. We stayed at a wonderful hotel at the base of the hill-top town of Cortona.

Cortona is in a GREAT location because it is in easy driving distance of so many travel destinations.
Cortona itself is beautiful, sitting on a hill-top with steep narrow roads.

The following day we ventured out to one of the most gorgeous cities I have ever seen.


Assisi was the home of Saint Francis, and is known for both it's beauty and peaceful atmosphere. 
The entire city felt incredibly surreal.

The first place we stopped at was the church of St. Francis.

 It was absolutely beautiful inside, but you couldn't take pictures.

Next we climbed up the hill to the Rocca Maggiore, a castle that you are actually able to explore on your own. 
So many castles that we've visited in Europe have all been restored for tourists, and it feels as though you are in more of a museum than a castle. 

This isn't the case with the Rocca Maggiore. 
I felt like we had been transported to some medieval time, and I couldn't wait to explore!

The view from the top of the castle was absolutely breathtaking.

Assisi is without a doubt the most beautiful town I've ever been to in Italy. 

Nothing else even compares.

After our day trip there we headed back to Cortona, and in the morning ventured off to Siena.
Jacob and I had visited Siena once before, and I remember not being a huge fan. 
Well, I didn't care much for the city this time either. 
I think after a while all of the Tuscan cities begin to look the same. So we headed over to Pisa, because everyone needs to see the leaning tower of Pisa.

The day after Pisa we headed back home to Northern Italy.

It was so wonderful having my parents here, and I can't wait for them to come visit again :)

When in Rome...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A couple of weeks ago my parents flew out for a wonderful two week visit. It had been close to a year since I had last seen them, a length of time that I am certainly not accustomed to.
After giving them a day to adjust to the time change and what not, we ventured out for the first half of our vacation:

This was our first time visiting Rome, and I have to say that my initial reaction upon arriving in the city was awe. There is just SO much going on, so much to look at. 
The apartment we stayed at provided us with transportation from the airport, which was super convenient. We were dropped off right in front of this thing of beauty known as the Trevi Fountain:

I figured we would have to walk a bit in order to get to our apartment, but I was wrong. It was literally right in front of the Trevi fountain. We couldn't have asked for a better location. Since we had arrived in Rome fairly early, we didn't waste any time and immediately set out to explore. After a delicious lunch (one of many yummy meals) we ventured over to the Roman Forum.

The ruins were really neat to see, and it felt as though we were stepping into a different century.
We eventually made our way over to the Colosseum, which is larger than I expected.

The whole time we were looking at the Colosseum I kept playing the movie Gladiator in my head... It was amazing to think we were standing somewhere that old. Since the main arena floor had been removed, you could see the underground mazes that lay beneath the arena. 
Day two in Rome was dedicated to Vatican City. 

The Vatican was gorgeous.

The inside was huge, and we definitely spent a good chunk of time in there. Afterwards we headed over to the Vatican Museum to see Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. 

It was neat to see, but I have to admit some of the artwork on the way to the Sistine Chapel was even more beautiful. There was SO much to take in that it was almost overwhelming. 
For our third day in Rome we decided to take it slow and relax a little. We headed over to the Spanish steps and did some shopping along the way.

Truthfully, you probably only need a full two days in order to see all of the main sites in Rome. Having an extra day there definitely gave us a chance to slow down our pace and really experience the city. We walked around, ate yummy food, shopped, and people watched. 

Rome was great to experience, but in all honesty I don't feel a need to go back. It was wonderful to visit once, but I'm not sure a second trip will be on my agenda anytime soon. There were so many people and the narrow streets were so crowded (and we were there during the low season!). I would personally rather vacation somewhere more relaxing. 
I've heard from a lot of people that you either really love Rome and don't really care for Paris, or you love Paris and don't really care for Rome.
I'll let you guess what category I fall under- I'm much more of a Paris girl. 
After this trip to Rome I think I have a good feel for the different areas of Italy, and I have decided that Tuscany is my favorite. 
And that's exactly where we went after we returned home from Rome!