Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Pantheon in Rome

They say that the Pantheon in Rome is an architectural marvel.  How is it still standing today?

The most important problem the Romans faced during the construction of the Pantheon was the massive weight of the large dome. In order to support it without proper reinforcement as it is common today, the thickness of the walls gradually decreased as the height increased. The Romans also used a different type of concrete for the dome as for the walls. 

The dome is over 140 feet tall! 

At the top of the dome is a large opening, the oculus, which was the only source of light. 

What happens when it rains?  I heard that water only comes through the opening if it is a direct downpour.  There is an area on the floor that is roped off and there are drains to catch any water that comes in.

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Michelangelo felt it was the work of angels, not men.

Pantheon comes from two Greek words pan, "everything" and teon "divine". 
Originally, the Pantheon was a small temple dedicated to all Roman gods. and was built between 27 and 25 B.C.

After being destroyed by fire once and thirty years later, being hit by lightening (and catching fire again), it was rebuilt in its present shape.

“Where it stands was not chosen by chance, but is a legendary place in the city's history. According to Roman legend, it is the place where the founder of Rome, Romulus, at his death was seized by an eagle and taken off into the skies with the Gods.”  source

The Pantheon now contains the tombs of the famous artist Raphael and of several Italian Kings.

Seriously. this thing was built more than 1800 years ago!

This is what the front of it looks like.

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Wow, this Rome trip is turning out to be pretty darn amazing!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bir & Fud, Rome Italy

Ha, ha, love the name of this place and totally didn’t get it at first.  Duh, Beer and Food.  We took a chance on this place after reading a review on Trip Advisor.  I totally love Trip Advisor, this is my go to travel website. 

The review said this was a great place to have a craft beer.  We love craft beer and why not try one in another country! 

We took a cab from our hotel around 8 p.m.  When we got there, there was a one hour wait to eat….OK, this is a good sign! 

We sat outside while we waited and in the meantime, two of our friends joined us.  Time passed quickly and before long, we were inside and ready to eat!

We thought we would be getting typical bar food, but the menu was pretty extensive for a bar.  When in Italy, you have to have the pizza, so we ordered two different pizzas as well as bruschetta. 

Our pizza had cheese, eggplant, and mushrooms and it was to die for!  I only wish I would have taken a picture.

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Outside waiting area...

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Make sure to check this place out if you’re ever in Rome…..it’s definitely a place that the locals frequent.

Our travel tip:  Our cabbie spoke broken English and I think he understood where we wanted to go, but just in case, we had a print-out from Trip Advisor with the address.  Once we showed him the address, he knew exactly where we wanted to go.

To see more stories about ancient Rome, check out some of these posts.

Have a comment about a great restaraunt or bar you visited while travelling?  Please let me know by leaving a comment below. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spring/Summer Front Porch Ideas

How do you like the table display?  The table top is really an old medicine cabinet mirror that I picked up from the thrift shop for $3.  I sat it on top of TV/valet tray bottom that I also found at the thrift store for a few bucks.  Both had been sitting in the garage for a while when I decided to pair them up....

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I like the reflection you get from the mirror

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I added a plant to the vase sitting under the table.

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This cute welcome sign was revealed in another project a few weeks ago.  You can read about it here.

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Flowers from Sunny Ridge Greenhouse in Nelsonville, OH.

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Love using old ladders for display!  This is the perfect size for a porch.

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Weeds pulled – check

Edging – done

40 bags of mulch – thanks Brent and Mitch!

I think we are ready for summer!

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Put A Bird On It

The other day, I was talking to a co-worker about my new ventures in screen printing and he asked me if I knew what a Hipster was? I thought about it and responded, “not really, what is it”?  He went on to explain and I later looked it up in the urban dictionary.  

Hipsters are a “subculture of men and women typically in their 20's and 30's that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter.”

He told me about this new television show called “Portlandia” which is aired by the Independent Film Channel. Portlandia focuses on how life really is in Portland, Oregon and stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. The shows characters are all hipsters. 

Still not sure what it is?  There is this really cool clip on You Tube (which has been viewed 1,432,560 times) where characters Lisa and Bryce put birds on things. This particular clip is from episode 2.

What am I telling you this for? I wanted to debut my new screen printed medium size back-pack with you guessed it – Put A Bird On It!

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I love this backpack – what do you think?

Put A Bird On It!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Pickled Poppy and Three Years Down

Twelve Discovery Drive is being featured at the Pickled Poppy, head on over and check them out -  Autumn has a great blog!  There's also an Etsy shop discount waiting for you....so go ahead, just do it :)

I am also being featured at Three Years Down.  Check out Brittany's blog too!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

St.Peter’s Basilica in Rome

First off, let me start by saying this place is free to get into!  I’m all about free stuff, aren’t you?  Also, we went twice.  The first time was a group tour with a combination Vatican tour.  I wasn’t feeling well that day, so we went back a second time and I’m glad we did.

What’s the difference between a group tour and an individual tour?  The line.  If you go on your own, you will wait in a long line to get in.  But, it moves pretty quickly.

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Peter, the first Apostle and the first pope (he reigned for 25 years) and leader of the Church was the reason that the most important basilica in the Christian world, the St. Peter's Basilica, was built in Rome. Peter was given his name by Jesus because he was destined to be the foundation on which the church would be built.

Peter died by crucifixion in 64 AD on the Vatican Hills. Emperor Constantine, the first Christian emperor of Rome, ordered a basilica be built on Vatican Hill. The location was symbolic: this was the place where Saint Peter, the chief apostle, was buried.  The church was completed around 349 A.D.

Eventually, the Basilica began falling into ruin and Nicolas V ordered the restoration and enlargement of the church. After Nicolas V died, works were halted. In 1506 pope Julius II laid the first stone of a new basilica which was to become the largest in the world.

Julius II appointed Donato Bramante as the chief architect of the new Basilica. In 1547 Michelangelo succeeded Bramante. He designed the imposing dome and altered some of the original plans. Michelangelo died in 1624, two years before the St. Peter's basilica was dedicated. Ever since, this church has been the center of Christianity, drawing pilgrims from all over the world.

The building itself is truly impressive and is considered the the largest church in the world. The dome reaches more than 450 feet. The interior, which includes 45 altars, is decorated by many famous artists. Some of the most important works in the church are the Pietà by Michelangelo, the papal altar by Bernini, the Throne of St. Peter - also by Bernini - and the Monument to the Stuarts by Canova.

The papal altar by Bernini (NOTE: This picture was taken with an IPhone).  Isn’t it absolutely beautiful with the light shining through)


The Throne of St. Peter - also by Bernini

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The Door of Death so called because it used to be the exit for funeral processions:

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Other images from inside the Basilica – this place should definitely be on your bucket list!  It is beautiful beyond words.

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List of the Popes buried in the Basilica:

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Here is the front of the Basilica.

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Near the entrance of the Basilica you will probably encounter some of the famous Swiss guards.

Since 1506 when pope Julius II invited Helvetian soldiers to join the small Vatican army, they have been the guards of the Vatican and the pope in particular. All entrants to the army must be Swiss, catholic and they must take the oath of loyalty to the pope. This oath is taken May 26th.

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Sources for the history of St. Peter’s Basilica   

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Forum in Rome Italy

If you visit the Colosseum, you have to see the Forum – it’s literally right across the street.

The forum known as the Forum Romanum looks like a disorderly collection of ruins and rock that can make the imagination run wild.  Just look around and try to imagine what it looked like all those years ago.  Remains of many buildings from different periods are visible.  The forum used to house temples, basilicas and arches.  The area is massive and is a must see site if you ever get a chance to visit Rome.

The forum is “one of the most important archaeological sites in the world." Three thousand years ago, this valley, which was to become the future social and political center of one of the greatest empires of ancient times, was submerged in marshland.  By an incredible invention of engineering, a canal that is still in function to this very day, allowed for the drainage of the land. The area soon began to develop and by the end of the 7th century BC, it was home to many markets and buzzing with social activity.  Source

The forum was the heartbeat of a modern city. “Here the masses would flock to see the meetings of the orators, attend criminal trials and discuss internal politics or the latest military campaigns, or quite simply to comment on the games or running races (an activity that the Romans particularly enjoyed).  In the area around the Forum, the city was also home to markets, shops and taverns.” Source

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I suggest going with a tour guide who can point out what many of the buildings used to be.  Also, they will be able to take you to areas at the Forum where you can get amazing views of the Colosseum. 

If you enjoyed this story, you might want to check out some of my other Rome Adventures:

The Piazza Navona

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lost Letter for Mother’s Day

My almost 19 year old nursing student daughter just moved back home from her freshman year at college and somehow, she brought back way more than what she left with.  So, to make room for everything, she began cleaning her room.  This girl is a big time pack rat – the sentimental kind; one of those who have lots of trouble getting rid of things…..we all know someone like that!

In the process of cleaning her room, she found a letter she wrote on April 16th, 2007 in 8th period middle school.  I am assuming this was some type of writing assignment geared towards Mother’s Day.
As a side note, she is not the writer in the family – she is more of a math and science kind of girl – hence, the nursing program of study.  Also, when she refers to “living with my mom” she uses this term because I was a single parent for eleven years before getting re-married.

As a broke college student, I think this might end up being my 2012 Mother’s Day gift (update:  LOL, she also got me an owl for my garden).

The letter is titled “My Mother is Great” and I’d like to share it with you.

 “My mom may not be a world super star, but she is mine.  I live with her so

she has to deal with me 24/7.  I play lots of sports and she is always

practicing with me.  If I have any problems, she is always willing to help me

solve it.  When I have friends over, she always lets us do whatever we want. 

I’m glad I have my mom in my life.

    Living with my mom is a real joy!  She cooks, cleans, and does my laundry

and doesn’t know how much I appreciate it.  Even when there is about 80

loads of laundry in the hamper, she takes her time to do what needs to be

done.  I know how hard she tries to make me like living there and her effort

shows.  Whenever I have my friends over, she lets us do what we want and

most of the time, she orders pizza and rents us a movie.  No matter the

circumstances of who is over and what we do, my mom never tells me how

she really feels about it.  Even if she hates it, she doesn’t admit to it.

    I also play travel softball and I play ever weekend in the summer.  I know

she loves to watch me play but I think she gets sick of going weekend after

weekend but she never complains about it.  She knows I love it, so she learns

to love it too.  Every Saturday she is there supporting me, cheering me on.  I

not only play softball, but I play other sports like volleyball and track.  Every

game or meet, my mom is always there rooting for my team and cheering me


    My mom is also my chauffer.  I always want to got a friends house and she

is always the one to drive me there.  Night or day, she takes me there and

picks me up just so I am happy.  Also, with all my softball on the weekends,

she drives to the games and practices and clinics so I can get better. 

Without my mom driving me everywhere, I would be stuck at home everyday

with nothing to do.  When my mom is old and I have a my license, I promise

that I will drive her anywhere in the world she wants got go. (This just totally craked me up, I'm holding her to this)

    My mom has put a room over my head for the last 13 years and doesn’t

know how much I appreciate it.  When she is not doing stuff for me, she is

doing stuff for the rest of my family.  Hardly does she ever have time for her

herself anymore.  With the driving me around and putting up with me

everyday, I love her with all my heart.  She doesn’t and will never know how

much I truly care.

My little country girl wanna-be who lives in the city :)


senior pic fav 2 kat

Thanks honey - great letter!

Photo Source: Gerheart Photography

Friday, May 11, 2012

Wake Up and Smell the Flowers....in Italy!

Street vendors in Rome selling fresh cut flowers.  A little eye candy for the weekend - enjoy :)

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Small front container garden we passed while walking back to our hotel

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Fountains of Piazza Navona

I had the pleasure of dining at a beautiful restaurant at the Piazza Novona.  It was a true 5 course meal and I was full after the third course which was pasta – I mean, who wouldn’t be full after a plate of pasta! 

I cannot remember the name of the restaurant, but we sat in outdoor seating and they served our group of about 300 people.  The service was exceptional and the food was amazing.

Here’s a little sample of Course #1.  Does this make your mouth water or what?

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As I looked around the Square, I knew I was in a beautiful place full of history.  So, while waiting on the rest of the group to arrive and be seated, I wondered around the square and snapped a few pictures before it got dark.

The square is built on the former Domitian's stadium, built by emperor Domitian in 86 AD. Hence the long, oval shape of the square.

The stadium, which had a larger arena than the Colosseum was mainly used for festivals sporting events.  Source

The main attraction of the Piazza Navona are the three fountains.

The central and largest fountain is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (fountain of the four rivers). It was constructed between 1647 and 1651. The fountain features four figures, each representing a river from a different continent - the Nile, Ganges, Danube and Rio della Plata.

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The two other fountains on the piazza are the Fontana di Nettuno (Neptune fountain) at the northern end and the Fontana del Moro (Moor fountain) at the southern end (I did not get a picture of this fountain).

After dinner, I was able to snap a few photo’s of the Neptune Fountain.  It looks beautiful at night.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Eating in Rome: Pizza, Cannelloni or Cannoli...Careful what you Order

After touring the Vatican, we had a chance to try some local food before hopping back on the bus.  What would you try if you were in Italy? 

Pizza of course!  Let me just say - DELICIOUS!

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This is the restaurant we tried – Pizzaria Luzzi.  Note the dish called CANNELLONI which is next to last on the menu below. 

Yep, my hubby read it wrong and thought he was ordering a CANNOLI as a dessert.  He ordered it, but the waitress never brought it out.  There was a waiter that walked by our table and Greg asked where our CANNOLI was.  The waiter looked at him kind of funny and said – “you want a CANNELLONI,  that’s a meat dish.”

Oops – how embarrassing!  Good thing the waitress forgot about it!

Lesson learned:  Read the menu closely - if there are extra letters in the word, it's probably not what you think it is :)

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Instead, we ordered Tiramisu for dessert!

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