A while back my friend, Catherine, asked me to list the places I wanted to travel to while I'm living here. One I mentioned was Rome, and she said Rome would be do-able over a bank holiday (that's what they call their rare 3 day weekends here) and she'd make all the plans for us to go. I know I'm not going to get a lot of sympathy when I say this, but I'm so busy traveling whenever I'm not teaching or lesson planning, that it's really hard to find time to actually plan my travels. Poor me, right?
Anyway, Catherine's goal is to visit 40 countries before she turns 40 (which she is going to do easily, as she's already visited almost 40 countries and is not so near that number in age) and she hadn't been to Italy yet, so she got right to work doing one of the things she does best, making reservations.
Catherine arrived in Rome a day ahead of me, but when I got there on Saturday morning, we headed off to Vatican City the first thing.
|Me and Catherine in St. Peter's Square|
Don't ask me why, just google it.
|Courtyard of the Pinecone|
|Giant Granite Bowl from the Home of Nero|
|One of the Statues in the Hall of Muses|
|Mars of Todi|
or as I like to call him,
|One of the Many Maps in the Hall of Maps|
|Even the ceilings were amazing!|
We went to the Sistine Chapel, which was super crowded and the guards kept loudly shushing people. It was beautiful, however, and a delight to stand below Michelangelo's famous artwork.
|Photos were not allowed in the Sistine Chapel, so I had to|
get this image off the internet.
After dealing with the crowds in the museums, we ended up inside St. Peter's Basilica. It is huge inside, and even with lots of people felt wonderfully spacious. St. Peter's is filled with almost countless pieces of art, but I was on a mission to find what I really wanted to see here, the Pieta. I'd seen a copy of it before and really loved that, so I wanted to see the real thing.
|Interior of St. Peter's|
|The Pieta was even more beautiful that I had hoped.|
That Michelangelo was pretty darn good.
|One of the Swiss Guards|
Now that's my kind of uniform!
As unlikely as this might seem, friends of mine from California just happened to be in Rome while I was there. Rick and Karen Neal, who are some of the wonderful parents at my school in Meadow Vista, invited Catherine and me to join them for dinner in the Jewish Ghetto. If you think Ghetto Food sounds anything but delightful, you would be wrong. We ate at a lovely place at an outdoor table so we could enjoy the sights as we sipped our wine, ate our meal, and chatted. I'm a seafood girl, and that might have been the best tuna I have ever tasted! And getting a chance to talk about what's been happening back home was a fabulous treat!
|To get to the Jewish Ghetto from the Vatican, we walked across|
the scenic Ponte Sant'Angelo lined with angel statues.
|A Delightful Dinner with US and UK Friends!|
|On our way back to our hotel we walked by the Roman Colosseum|
all light up for the night!
We did get a sneak peek that night, but the next day was the day we were really focused on Ancient Rome. So bright and early we got up and walked across town to one of the world's most iconic buildings and largest amphitheatre, the Roman Colosseum. It's incredible to me that this gigantic ancient site is right in the midst of modern Rome! The Colosseum was built between 70 and 80 AD, and could seat up to 50,000 spectators who gathered there to watch gladiators or other public spectacles.
|Outside the Roman Colosseum, also known as|
the Flavian Amphitheatre
|We learned that below the level of the floor, which would have rested|
on the supports you can see in this photo, was the space that the
gladiators and animals occupied before the contests began.
|These two women seemed to have infiltrated the good seats!|
|There is a small museum within the Colosseum|
walls. We thought this ancient Roman looked
a lot like Sylvester Stallone. Maybe his great, great,
great, great granddaddy?
|Another view of the Colosseum|
"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"
Maybe not, but I couldn't help but use that line. Those of you who have traveled with me before know I am a bit of a flight risk. I have a bad habit of wandering off to see what's around the corner and snap a few photos. Well, we entered the Colosseum with one guide and were supposed to meet a different guide upon our exit, but I didn't spot the new guide, so I went to take a few exterior shots. In the meantime, the new guide left with the group. Oops! That meant that Catherine and I were on our own at our next stop, Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. We might have learned more with a guide, but it was nice to be away from the crowds and wander a bit at our own pace. (Here's where I would apologize to Catherine, but she doesn't like me to apologize, so I will refrain.)
Now I don't really understand where the Roman Forum leaves off and Palatine Hill begins (I suppose I would if I hadn't lost the tour guide) but I'll do my best to identify the photos below.
|The Roman Forum|
|Site of the Stadium|
|This is where the Vestal Virgins lived near the|
Temple of Vesta.
|Statues of some of the Vestal Virgins |
The Vestal Virgins were priestesses of the
Goddess, Vesta, and committed 30 years of their lives to her service.
They had the task of making sure the sacred fire did not go out.
|Arch of Titus|
|Temple of Venus and Rome|
|Temple of Antoninus and Faustina|
|Temple of Castor and Pollux and Column of Phocas|
|Telling a Lie to the Bocca della Verita.|
|Beautiful Trevi Fountain|
|Me and Catherine at Trevi Fountain|
|I'm tossing a coin in the fountain to assure my return. This photo was taken at the same time as the other photos, but Catherine's camera that has a better flash.|
From Trevi Fountain we headed to another of Rome's most celebrated locations, the Spanish Steps. Like Trevi Fountain, they were swarming with people, but we found a spot to stop and sit for a while amid the many flower pots on one of the 135 steps. It's really a fun place to be at night; lots going on. I I had wondered what was Spanish about the steps, and learned that the name comes from the fact that they are a link to the Spanish Embassy which is located nearby. Adjacent to the steps (on the right side of the photo on the left) is the house where the poet John Keats lived when he moved to Rome in hopes that the climate would improve this health. It didn't. Keats died of tuberculosis at the age of 25 in this house. The house is now a museum with memorabilia related to not only Keats, but also other Romantic poets.
|The Portico of the Pantheon|
|Inside the Pantheon--it's huge.|
|My head kept blocking the oculus when I tried to get a shot|
of us below the dome by putting my camera on the floor.
You can see a bit of it behind me.
|A Small Portion of the Ceiling of Sant'Ignazio Church.|
|Trevi by Day|
|Oceanus in his Shell Chariot|
|The coin I tossed in last night worked! |
I'm back already!
Numerous times over the past two days we had passed by this very big, very white building and kept trying to figure out what it was. Eventually we found it was the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, built to honor the first king of a unified Italy. It houses a museum that wasn't open on a Monday, but that was okay with me, as what I wanted to do there was to go to the top, up where you see those winged statues. There is a glass elevator that takes you up for a fabulous 360 degree view of Rome. So up I went!
|This building is not popular with Romans, who find it a bit garish...|
|....but the view from the top is great!|
|View of One of the Fountains from my Cafe Table|
|My Farewell Pizza|