Our final day of Tuscany: A Creative Journey began with a bus ride up to the Galleria Borghese, one of the finest private collections of art in Rome. The palazzo itself is a work of art —- frescoed ceilings, beautiful fabrics and, of course, Bernini!

While the paintings and other works at Galleria Borghese are incredible, this is the place you come to fall in love with the genius of Bernini. His sculptures, which include Aeneas and Anchises, Pluto and Prosepina, David, and Apollo and Daphne provide the term “Baroque” with its true definition. A room full of works by Caravaggio was also a big hit with everyone.

We then hiked down the hill to the Cappucin church that contains the bones of the monks who had been buried there in previous centuries, exhumed and used as decorative elements in the cemetery. While not for the faint of heart, it was an amazing experience to view the patterns made on the walls by vertebrae, femurs, scapula and other skeletal parts. “I was once as you are, you will be as I am now” is the take-away message for the living…

We agreed to meet at the largest apartment where 8 of the women are staying for a reception to share our sketchbooks and enjoy some appetizers before heading out for dinner. Everyone was dressed beautifully and we shared our thoughts and appreciation for each other for making this such a wonderful four weeks. A surprise birthday cake for Kendra who turns 20 tomorrow!

Off to dinner at a restaurant whose name translates to something like “Tripe is not for Cats” — a neighborhood place run by an elderly woman named Giselle. Though we had a few bumps in the road based on a miscommunication over the menu on which we settled earlier in the day when we made the reservations, we had what was inarguably the best meal we’ve had in Rome. Fantastic primi, secondi and contorni followed by tiramisu. It was a wonderful culminating group dinner together. Each student was given a certificate of completion, a group photo taken at Scarperia, and a miniature Romulus and Remus with the She-wolf, symbol of Roma.

There were some teary moments, but as a few of the students had ridiculously early flights tomorrow morning, we savored our last moments together and gave hugs all around.

Ciao, tutti. Tuscany, out!

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