Posts Tagged ‘Rome’

Who knew? Fun Facts about the Sistine Chapel

As I wrote the headline for this blog post, I chuckled. Fun facts about this famous religious structure, the Sistine Chapel? Shouldn’t I be more respectful, a bit more reverent? Actually, adding some joy and mirth helps me take something overtly intimidating and venerated and bring it down to a human, touchable, enjoyable experience.

I first visited the Sistine Chapel when I was 13. I remember my parents “dragged me” to see some church that had “famous” paintings on the ceiling. Growing up, I had red geraniums on my bedroom’s ceiling, so I thought maybe this would be amusing. I allowed the crowd of tourists to move me through the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel as I daydreamed about having great pasta for lunch.

Fast forward past a couple more attempts of awe at the splendor of the Sistine Chapel, eventually understanding the enormity and genius of the creation, and we arrive at April, 2012, where I had that OMG moment of awe.

Andrea Grisdale, Managing Director of IC Bellagio, our partner for exceptional Italian experiences, led a group of Virtuoso-affiliated Travel Advisors ( read that as extremely well-travel, hard-to-impress travel professionals) through the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel AFTER HOURS! Say good-bye to long lines and crowds and say hello to an up-close-and-personal experience.

When we entered the Sistine Chapel we were allowed to wander and take photos, with no flash (apparently a no-no according to the list below), then find a seat along the edge of the chapel. A man slowly walked to the center of the chapel, looked around the room at all of us, cleared his throat, and began to sing the Ave Maria, a Capella.

Sorry for the blurry photo! A tenor singing the Ave Maria a Capella

I was transported to some mystical world, a world where I was a fortunate noble who could enjoy listening to a talented tenor sing one of my favorite songs – just because. As I recall that moment now, I am immediately overcome with gratitude, even non-prosaic goosebumps.

The Sistine Chapel came alive! It became personal and relevant. So, in the spirit of bringing something so special to my soul, I invite you to delve into these facts!

15 Lofty Facts About the Sistine Chapel


The Sistine Chapel


Ceiling at the Sistine Chapel


21 Romantic Getaways


I know, I know, I know—that oh so romantic and oh so commericial holiday of red hearts (aka Valentine’s Day) has passed. That’s fine by me because I believe romance is a 24/7/365 activity. Romance is in songs, words, photos, flowers, sunsets, starry nights, nature, and, of course, travel. Almost any type of travel is romantic. Google defines romance as “a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life” and that is a key ingredient of any vacation, isn’t it?

So, whether it’s Valentine’s Day or any DAY, why not indulge in a little romance?

Enjoy this video of 21 places chosen by us, the travel designers at Great Getaways Travel. What’s your favorite romantic destination?

A loaf of bread, a jug of wine…and Chef Debbie Gold!

Chef Debbie Gold is going on a journey to Italy, France and Spain aboard Regent Seven Seas Mariner May 15 – 22, 2013. What a great holiday gift for the food and wine lover! Most shore excursions are included and you can also join some special vineyard visits with Chef Debbie Gold! Consider staying a few days in Barcelona after cruise and explore Barcelona’s gourmet side. Contact *protected email* for details.

Me-driving in Manhattan? I think not!


Driving in Manhattan, London, or Rome is NOT on my bucket list. It’s not on any list I have unless you count lists that start with “Are you serious?” I could tell you it’s the influence of becoming more eco-aware, but the reality is I’m intimidated by people who, when behind the wheel, drive like Mario Andretti.

On one of my favorite sites, Netted by the Webbys, I discovered an app that offers interactive transit maps for many US cities as well as some in Europe and a few in Australia. Test drive it and let me know whether you’d use this app. There are several apps available per city and very few that cover the world. The downside of this app is it is not available on android and that, while created in Germany, most maps are for the US. I still like the ease of using Google maps, with transit routes available in the US. As global as Google is, I am surprised they haven’t conquered the world’s transit maps yet….maybe tomorrow?

Special values on Oceania Cruises from Great Getaways!

Experience Value without Compromise!
Contact *protected email*, Great Getaways 800 546 TRIP (8747)

Free airfarepre-paid gratuities$300 in shipboard credits
and complimentary champagne are yours when you
book one of these voyages through your Virtuoso® travel advisor
between February 21 – March 6, 2011.
Rome to Venice on Marina
10-Day Voyage – April 26, 2011
Virtuoso fares from $3,999

Rome to Athens on Nautica
14-Day Voyage – June 13, 2011
Virtuoso fares from $5,699

Copenhagen to London on Insignia
18-Day Voyage – June 23, 2011
Virtuoso fares from $6,999

Rome to Venice on Marina
12-Day Voyage – August 26, 2011
Virtuoso fares from $5,199

Istanbul to Barcelona on Nautica
14-Day Voyage – October 1, 2011
Virtuoso fares from $5,699

Rome to Istanbul on Nautica
12-Day Voyage – October 21, 2011
Virtuoso fares from $4,999

Venice to Rome on Insignia
10-Day Voyage – November 12, 2011
Virtuoso fares from $3,499

Contact your Virtuoso® Great Getaways travel advisor to book your cruise today!

Virtuoso fare includes airline fees, surcharges and government taxes. Some airline-imposed personal charges, including but not limited to baggage, priority boarding, and special seating may apply. Offer expires March 31, 2011. Early Booking Fares, rather than 2 for 1 Cruise Fares, apply to Insignia 6/23/11. Amenities shown are per stateroom based on double occupancy. All advertised fares are per person based on double occupancy, subject to availability at time of booking, may not be combinable with other offers, are capacity controlled and may be withdrawn without prior notice or remain in effect after the expiration date. All fares listed are in U.S. dollars, per person, based on double occupancy and include Non-Commissionable Fares. Any “Fares From” pricing is based on Category G unless otherwise indicated. Cruise Ship Fuel Surcharge may apply and, if applicable, is additional revenue to Oceania Cruises. “2 for 1 Fares” are based on published Full Brochure Fares. Full Brochure Fares may not have resulted in actual sales in all cabin categories, may not have been in effect during the last 90 days and do not include Personal Charges, Optional Facilities and Services Fees as defined in the Terms and Conditions of the Guest Ticket Contract. Full Brochure Fares are cruise only. “Free Airfare” promotion does not include ground transfers and applies to economy, round-trip flights only from the following Oceania Cruises Primary Air Gateways: ATL, BOS, ORD, DFW, DEN, IAH, LAX, MIA, YUL, JFK, EWR, MCO, PHL, PHX, SAN, SFO, SEA, TPA, YYZ, YVR, IAD. Airfare is available from all other U.S. & Canadian gateways at an additional charge. Oceania Cruises reserves the right to correct errors or omissions and to change any and all fares, fees, and surcharges at any time. Additional terms and conditions may apply. Complete terms and conditions may be found in the Guest Ticket Contract. Ships’ Registry: Marshall Islands. This offer is only valid in the U.S. and Canada. Fares, schedules, Virtuoso exclusives, events and amenities are subject to availability and blackout dates and may change without notice. Restrictions may apply. See your Virtuoso travel advisor for more details and applicable restrictions. Virtuoso is not responsible for any errors in pricing. The trademarks VIRTUOSO, the Globe Swirl Logo and SPECIALISTS IN THE ART OF TRAVEL are registered trademarks of Virtuoso, Ltd. Virtuoso, Ltd. has a U.S. copyright registration for the Globe Swirl Logo, ©2000. All rights reserved. Virtuoso CST#2069091-40 NA 351172 02/11


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