Brundidge Rotarians enjoy virtual tour of Italy

Published 2:00 am Friday, December 11, 2015

SUBMITTED photo Stanley and Jennifer W. Garrett presented a virtual tour of Italy to the Brundidge Rotarians Wednesday.

Stanley and Jennifer W. Garrett presented a virtual tour of Italy to the Brundidge Rotarians Wednesday.

The Brundidge Rotarians were treated to a virtual tour of Italy at their Wednesday meeting with guides Stanley and Jennifer W. Garrett.

The Garretts, owners of the Brundidge Piggly Wiggly, participated in a tour of Italy offered by Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing Company in Birmingham. Garrett’s brother, Steve and his wife, Jennifer C. Garrett, also joined the tour group of 175.

As might be expected, the first slide the couple showed the Rotarians was of a pine tree. Nine flight hours from the home, a pine tree — an umbrella pine — was a welcomed sight, they said.

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The Garretts toured many of the famous sites in Rome including the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Colosseum.

“Everything was amazing but the Colosseum was most interesting to me,” Jennifer said. “We were able to see down into the lower halls. In one area, they had reconstructed a portion of the floor and that gave us some idea of what the Colosseum must have been like. It was really something to see.”

The Garretts said all the historic buildings have an appearance of being covered in black soot.

“We were told that the buildings have to be cleaned continually,” Stanley said.

“When they finish cleaning the front, the back is to do again.”

Jennifer said something that amazed her was that, rather than tear building downs, they are built over.

“Buildings are built on top of each other,” she said. “And, sometimes buildings are stripped of their gold, silver and marble and it is used in the construction of other buildings. All of that interested me.”

The couple visited the “fashionable” city of Florence and spent time in the Historic Centre of Florence. They viewed Michelangelo’s famous statue of David and statues that the artist never finished because he was called to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling, Jennifer said.

The tour group visited Vatican City and, although the Sistine Chapel was incredibly beautiful, both Stanley and Jennifer found it “a sensory overload.”

“There was so much color and so much detail,” Stanley said. “You could stay there 24 hours and not see it all. Some people were lying on the floor trying to see the ceiling. But, there was no way to take it all in.”

Before leaving for home, the tour group visited a vineyard. Stanley said, of all the things he had seen, the vineyard was the thing he enjoyed most.

“I asked if I could go out and pick a few grapes,” he said. “I was told all of the grapes had been picked but I found a handful. They were sweet but they were small.”

Stanley was invited to take off his shoes and join in the stomping of the grapes.

“It was fun. It was like walking in mud,” he said, laughing.

Not many people can sum up their trip to Italy as having had a foot-stomping good time. Stanley Garrett is one of the few.

The flight back home was 11 hours and both Stanley and Jennifer said it was good to see the green, green pines of home.