We recently had a wonderful family vacation in Italy - Rome, Florence, Venice and skiing in the Dolomites. Even the wife suggested it was the best family vacation we have ever had. 

Before the trip the three boys were really excited about the prospect of seeing the Colosseum,  a city with no roads, the statue of David and, at the top of the list, skiing. What they did not seem too keen about was spending time wandering in and out of churches and galleries.

We landed in Rome late on a Wednesday afternoon and, after getting sorted in the apartment, pretty much hit the bedroom as we had been travelling for almost 24 hours and were all pretty pooped. After a slow start on the Thursday morning we headed out to get some sort of breakfast and commence the real vacation.

About 150 metres from our apartment was, as we later discovered, the world HQ of the Jesuits. As we passed the building we noticed a small crowd was gathering, some of the local Carabinieri were standing around waiting and watching, and a couple of super fit young guys with earpieces were stationed in the doorway of the building. After a little while it was very clear that the first highlight of our trip was not anything we had even contemplated. 

Not long after a nondescript Volvo pulled up outside the building; the authorities started to become more active and, as we could see from their eyes, much more alert. Five minutes later from behind the closed doors and not more than 20 metres from where we stood HE appeared.

A big smile, a wave of the hand, a quick chat to a couple of nearby nuns and he was off. And from that point on, all our non-Catholic boys wanted to do was see where the Pope lived. Our holiday was off to a flying start!!!

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