Guest Feature – Joy M. Lilley

Something a little different today. Author, Joy M. Lilley has recently returned from a cruise and she was inspired by the sights in Italy that she wanted to share on Patricia’s Pen. Hope you enjoy.


Joy M. Lilley

A recent trip away with my other half prompted the writing of this piece. We were on a long-awaited cruise. Cancelled twice because of Covid-19. The trip took us over 786 nautical miles from Southampton docks to Rome and back. We visited seven countries, including; The Vatican City, areas of Spain, France and Italy. It is two sightings in Italy I wish to focus on. The first being The Field of Miracles where we found The Leaning Tower of Pisa and the second, the Vatican City, sitting in the capitol, Rome. These two places made the most impression on me.

Pisa is in the Provence of Tuscany, Northern Italy. We headed to the Field of Miracles where the leaning tower sits, and lean it does. Although crowds visited that day we did not let it deter our fun as the sun shone with clear blue skies and we were glad of the exercise. Held within the same area stand two grand structures made in part of the famous Italian marble. They all exude grandeur. The cathedral in the picture stands to the left of the tower on entering the complex. (You enter from the far end of this scene.)

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Pisa’s main tourist attractions are The Leaning Tower Cathedral, Baptistery and Campo Santo. All are close together and comprise a UNESCO World Heritage site. Pisa Cathedral is a medieval Roman Catholic one. It is the oldest of the three structures in the Plaza. It’s construction began in 1063 and was completed in 1092. The photo gives you an idea of just how much the tower leans, you can also see the Cathedral behind.

The Vatican City

The second stop in Italy was Rome. We took a trip to the Vatican city, the smallest country in the world, and walked from our coach to St. Peter’s Square. The photograph below shows its lovely architecture within the square and looking straight ahead you can see a window (slightly to the right of my head) where the pope stands to give his Sunday message which unfortunately we just missed.

We regret not having enough time to visit the museums or the cathedral due to long queues. Within the square stands a glorious sculpture dedicated to migrants named Angels Unaware. It is a boat cast in bronze by the Canadian artist, Timothy P. Schmalz, depicting 140 migrants ranging from a Jewish man escaping Nazi Germany to a Syrian refugee fleeing the civil war. The boat faces in the direction towards St. Peter’s Basilica. The statue depicts the inclusion of every migrant experience over the centuries. Humanity has always experienced migration it is also Inclusive of all races, cultures and religions. The 20-foot sculpture is the most awe inspiring piece. The artist was influenced by the passage:-

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

I was profoundly affected, not just by the amazingly beautiful Vatican city but this bronze cast statue, reminding me of the migrants fleeing countries and suffering conflict today.


Has Joy’s piece inspired you to write something about these wondrous sights? A poem or story?

Let’s find out a little more about Joy.

About Joy M. Lilley

Joy M. Lilley is the pen-name of Joy Gerken. Joy has been writing seriously since 2013. She has published eight books and is soon to publish two more short stories. A number of short stories and articles have been published in British magazines. Interesting writings can be found in her blog.

Her writing journey began after she retired for a life time career in the world of healthcare where she was a trained nurse for almost fifty years. Joy is married and lives in Kent. She is a mother to four children, grandmother to six, and great grandmother to four.





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