A good friend that I've had for quite a few years recently returned from a trip to Italy with his cousin.  He was able to return to his grandfather's hometown and meet some of his relatives and cousins for the very first time. He is a very sharp and funny guy who remembers every detail and has a keen appreciation for things that your average tourist might miss. His account of the trip was intriguing - but his wit and humor, along with TONS of photos, made it all come alive.
This temple is actually a fairly recently excavated Greek edifice built just below the town his family hails from. He also found out that he is descended from these Greeks that settled there.....he had one fascinating revelation after another. Reminds me of that TV program "Who Do You Think You Are?"  Pretty cool!

He was thoughtful enough to capture this chair - he said he knew when he saw it that he needed to snap a photo of it for me!


He attended the New Year's Eve Mass at St. Peter's which wasn't exactly a low-key affair....

He even got close enough to get a great picture of the Pope in his distinctive ride.

He didn't forget the "Umbrella Pines" of Rome - I love these trees!  Seeing his photos made me want to go back again and now that I've found I have some family roots in Lucca, it would make another trip to Italy even more interesting. Andiamo!