My husband and I kept a travel blog for our family and friends, but it contains information about things that were "surprises" during the trip, and I don't want to spoil things for anyone. So here is the edited version for those of you who have an upcoming Viva Italia adventure or are thinking about booking this trip. Andiamo! Day 1: Benvenuto We made it! After 15 hours of traveling and 35 hours with no sleep, we have now made it to the end of our first day in Rome. I am happy to report that our bags arrived in Rome at the same time as we did, although they were a little worse for the wear. One of the outside zipper pockets on Daniel’s suitcase split open, so some kindly airport workers somewhere along the way taped it back together for him. My lovely green Eddie Bauer now has some unidentified black smudges all over the front. Daniel says it gives it character. Somehow we were able to slip right out of the Rome airport without going through customs. Disney magic, perhaps? I hope it doesn’t present any problems when we show back up at the airport to leave and we have no stamp showing that we ever arrived! Despite the failure of our plan to sleep on the flight to Amsterdam (let me just say there was a German dance team involved), we sucked it up and went through with our plan to visit the Borghese Gallery today. We are glad we did. There was so much to see, but the Bernini sculptures and Carravagio paintings were by far the highlight of our visit. Daniel and I had a great time opining on Bernini’s artistic skill as well as his masterful engineering. Even though we had seen all of his sculptures before on TV, nothing could compare to seeing them in person. I was absolutely amazed by all the different textures Bernini used within each individual piece. Bernini’s work is famous for the action that it shows, as well as the “air” that is incorporated into each scene (as opposed to pieces that are just a solid piece of marble), but words really cannot describe how impressive each piece actually is. Genious comes close, but still it does not seem like enough. After the museum we rested for a bit before meeting our group for our welcome reception and dinner. We were pleasantly surprised to find that there is another couple our age (just one, though), and they just happen to be from Clarksville, TN. There are 28 of us total, and I think it is going to be a fun group of people. We’ve got a full day tomorrow exploring ancient Rome, so now we’re off to sleep. More to come tomorrow. Ciao!