Expect the Unexpected in Italy - Part I

June 10, 2011

... continuing on our Istanbul to Barcelona cruise, we stop at the port for Roma:  Civitavecchia.  Although there is a tremendous amount of history tied to this port most cruisers disembark for transportation to visit Roma or other Lazio regional destinations.

(Disclaimer:  My belief is that once dead one's soul or whatever makes one human is gone. The physical body is just bones at that point. Your belief may be quite different and if it is you may not want to read the rest of this post.)

We were no different and selected a visit to a Catacombe and the Lazio countryside.  I love creepy and underground things.  One of my favorite TV shows was I think on Discovery channel where they featured the Catacombs, Seattle Underground, WWII bunkers in Germany, etc.  My husband doesn't like to be scared, but he didn't seem worried, because as he said:  they're dead.

At the end of the tour I was DISAPPOINTED.  Although we had a fine guide, I went around every corner and down every narrow passage way that was dimly lit expecting at every turn that I'd be chilled to the bone or scream in surprise.  There were no exposed bodies.  It turns out that there are many Catacombe tunnels throughout the area and in Sicily.  Apparently at some you do get to see bodies, but not us.  Grave robbers disturbed them many centuries ago and those that weren't unsealed were left sealed.  An interesting fact that I did learn from the visit is that the Catacombs in Roma pre-existed the Christian faith. Christians continued to bury their dead in these underground tunnels not because they were persecuted, but because they were continuing a practice that was already established for those that were not wealthy.  Martyrs were buried there and then Christians wanted to be buried as close to the Martyrs as they could.

So all was not lost and speaking of lost, I did get a very creepy feeling about two third's of the way through and grabbed my husband's arm when I started having thoughts of the power going out and being down there in the dark.  It was like being in an Ant Farm:  a complete maze of corridors that went off every direction, up, down, left, right, angled into the dark.

Deep breath... now we are off for a drive in the countryside and to the town of Castel Gandolfo, the location of the Pope's summer palace.

"Just" a nice Villa

Street Scene in Castel Gandolfo


Papal Summer Palace, Castel Gandolfo:  actually part of the Vatican state and not Italy

Mosaic restoration 

Part II of Expecting the Unexpected in Italy will follow tomorrow.