Retro-Trip: Italy 1983


Rome - Vatican City - Venice - Florence

In order to save a few bucks, JoBeth and I decided that taking an overnight train from Vienna to Rome was the way to go. 

Not so much.

Sound asleep when our train came to a screeching halt, we had just crossed the Austrian/Italian border.

In a flurry of activity, arm-waving and unintelligible loud directives by Italian train personnel, we were thrown off our comfortable Austrian sleeper-car and sent to wait for another train to Rome. 

Our cattle car train arrived several hours later. 

Boarding the train, dense with cigarette smoke, we were careful not to step on the people seated on the floor as we meandered our way to the 'spot' that we would occupy for the next 10 hours to Rome. No seat assignments.

I was less than impressed.

Beginning our journey through the Italian countryside, we made our way to the first open window. Within two hours, we had polished off the equivalent of a full pack of cigarettes - via second-hand smoke - so finding it was welcome relief. It was then, that I recall Jobeth all wide-eyed, hair whipping in the wind with a broad smile exuberantly saying..."Don't you just love Italy?!!"

Maybe it wasn't cigarette smoke that we were being exposed to.
Trevi Fountain - Rome
Soon after our arrival, we found a cheap three-story-walk-up to stay in. Choosing against sleeping in the scary-looking twin concave beds, JoBeth and slept with our heads laid on a tabletop... "When in Rome".
JoBeth at The Coliseum
The Coliseum
Rome is so culturally full that we decided to find an American Express Travel Agency and book a bus tour of all the spots we didn't want to miss. It worked out well for us.
The (alleged) spot where Brutus assassinated Julius Caesar
A key stop on our 1983 tour of Italy was Vatican City. We had to be there on a Wednesday as that was the day The Pope would be having his Public Audience.

We had no idea how many people would be there...
Or that tickets were required to get in...
Or that the Public arena was heavily guarded...
I was OK with not seeing The Pope. 

JoBeth? Not so much. 
Dejected, she took it upon herself to gently nudge me into a gaggle of Argentinian Nuns as they entered the gates.
Argentinian Nuns: (foreground) Dark Blue Habits
Done. Our new best friends.
Pope John Paul
Vatican City Postage Stamp
St. Peters Cathedral
Michelangelo's painting on the ceiling of The Sistine Chapel
Our first three days in Rome were spent at The Vatican. 

Day One: Public Audience with The Pope
Day Two: Vatican Holy Day - spotted the Pope in a procession
Day Three: We happened upon a Mass being delivered by Pope John Paul in St. Peters Cathedral.

Was it a 'sign'?  I think not.

Venice was next ... 
It was everything and more than I had imagined. I loved it.

And finally, Florence. The last stop on our Tour of Italy. 

Strangely, I can't seem to find any pics from Florence. 
It probably had something to do with running out of film - it was 1983.

Next, we were off to Switzerland

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