Italy 2015 #3: Mosaics to Palatial Grandeur

You’d think by our third trip to Italy that we would have the phone situation figured out, but it confuses us every time. This time we went to the Vodaphone store on base and got Italian SIM cards for our phones. That way, when Matt was away from me working, he could text me to let me know if he would be later than he thought. We got our SIMs and bought what we thought were enough minutes to allow Matt to use his phone for work and for my phone to have a few texts sent. But in one day, all the money on the cards was almost gone! Oh yes, this sounded familiar. We still aren’t sure where all that money goes, but it seems that something happens and it disappears. So back on base we went to put more money on the phones. Of course, since it was Sunday, the store was closed, so the next adventure was finding a shopping mall with a Vodaphone store.  That being accomplished, we had a couple hours to be tourists and off we went to see ancient mosaics.

Does anyone else have a love/hate relationship with their GPS? I don’t know how we would accomplish what we do in Italy without it, but sometimes it takes us on some whopper roads. We were headed to the middle of Sicily to Piazza Armerina, a small village in the middle of farm land. There didn’t seem to be any straight forward way to get to this little gem, but there were highways. Our GPS preferred smaller roads and at one time had us turn on what looked like a path through farmer’s field. This dirt road got smaller and smaller and started going up and down hills. I smelled something hot and was beginning to be concerned about the brakes on our rental car. Then we saw that the fields were burning on either side of us. The road got even worse with huge ruts. At one point our car bottomed out and started slipping going up the hill. I pictured me having to push the car up the hill! But we got through it somehow and onto a rather nice road on the other side of the hill. How crazy! Thankfully, this paved road took us the rest of the way to Piazza Armerina.

Just outside this village, there was an ancient Roman villa called Villa Romana Del Casale.Villa Romana Del Casale, Sicily

It is thought that this villa was the hunting lodge of an emperor.Villa Romana Del Casale, Sicily

More than 50 rooms were preserved by a landslide in the 12th century.Villa Romana Del Casale, Sicily

The beautiful floors are one of the largest collections of unspoiled Roman mosaics.Villa Romana Del Casale, Sicily

I kept looking at the designs thinking of incorporating some of them into rug designs.Villa Romana Del Casale, Sicily

These women athletes are one of the most famous of the mosaics.Villa Romana Del Casale, Sicily

Even the servant’s work rooms had gorgeous mosaics on the floor. I just can’t imagine having that much wealth.Villa Romana Del Casale, Sicily

I kept thinking of all the talent of the mosaic artists. And all the time spent on these floors.Villa Romana Del Casale, Sicily

After the mosaics we drove back to our agriturismo. This time, the GPS took us on only major roads. I was thankful, but wondered why she was mad at us earlier in the day. After a tiring day in the heat, we were glad for a good bed.

Matt worked the next day while I did laundry in the sink and wrote a blog. Our time in Sicily was over and we had a flight to catch to the mainland of Italy. The next morning, we went to the airport with lots of extra time. But everything always seems to take longer in a different country. Lines were long but we got to our gate in time. Matt and I discussed what sort of plane it would be to take us to Naples from Sicily. I thought a prop plane, but Matt pictured a larger plane. We saw a plane come to the gate and it was a jet, so I thought I lost. However, when it came time to board, we were put on a shuttle to take us to the plane. The bus drove right past what we thought was our jet and headed towards a smaller prop plane. I was grinning as a victor, but then the crew on the ground shooed our shuttle away. We drove a bit away and wondered what was going on now. As we watched, a police van drove to our plane and proceeded to board people. Would we be flying with prisoners? Sure enough, as we boarded at the back of the plane, all of us passengers had to pass by handcuffed men that each had an armed escort. I sure would be glad when that flight was over!

The next day, Matt didn’t need to go into work until evening. And since this was a large amount of work, another person had come over to do the work with him. We met Scott and his wife, Linda at the hotel and had dinner together. It was fun for each couple to share our Italian experiences thus far. And I was excited that I would have a new friend to spend time with as the men worked.  First, we had a morning and afternoon to fill, so we visited the Palace in Caserta, Palazzo Reale.Palazzo Reale, Caserta, Italy

Palazzo Reale, Caserta, Italy www.joyfulwonder.comAgain, I was amazed by the opulence.Palazzo Reale, Caserta, Italy

This palace boasts of being Italy’s largest palace with over 1000 rooms and 94 staircases.Palazzo Reale, Caserta, Italy www.joyfulwonder.comPalazzo Reale, Caserta, Italy

The palace gardens are huge as well so we splurged on a buggy ride. Our driver was proud that he had the best carriage and the prettiest horse. And indeed he did! It was great fun to share the ride with Scott and Linda.Palazzo Reale, Caserta, Italy www.joyfulwonder.comPalazzo Reale, Caserta, Italy www.joyfulwonder.comPalazzo Reale, Caserta, Italy

But it was time for the men to go to work. Linda and I explored Caserta, but soon found that the town was closed for siesta time in the afternoon and didn’t come back to life until around 6 pm. Dinner is never before 8 pm, so we relaxed and chatted until it was time to eat. What a joy to share the time with a friend. God supplied as He always does. Our hardworking men came safely back ot us and we were glad to see their tired but happy faces. It was off to bed as we would be driving part way to the next work stop. But first, an over night in Florence!

Don’t miss the other posts from this Italy trip! Italy 2015 #1   Italy 2015 #2   Italy 2015 #4


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7 thoughts on “Italy 2015 #3: Mosaics to Palatial Grandeur

  1. Pingback: Italy 2025 #5: Romantic Verona On My Own | Joyful Wonder

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