Rome was not built in a day, but it turns out if you work pretty hard, you can see a lot of it in a day. I have 409 photos to prove it. I have posted a few more than normal and hope you don’t mind. We put some miles on the poor feet today and I was grateful for the extra ibuprofen I brought with us. Breakfast begins outside on the plaza next to the Pantheon. It is quite a site and way to begin a morning. By the time we finished, the Pantheon was open and we were able to walk through. It is impressive inside and the open dome interesting. The art and marble work is impressive. It is one of the few examples of a surviving building from Roman times. As we will likely describe elsewhere, much of ancient Rome was used in the construction of the Vatican.
|The morning view from our hotel room|
|Inside the Pantheon|
|Inside the Pantheon|
We are starting to get the impression that Rome is a Catholic city. I cannot believe the number of churches. I used to think there were a lot of Mormon churches in Salt Lake, but that seem nothing compared to here, particularly when you add in the size and grandeur of each. I felt a little bad for Tyler because as we walked if there was anything that looked like a church, we went in. I enjoyed it thoroughly and he got into it as well. Though, he did grown a bit each time I found another. Some allowed pictures, some did not. I gave up trying to keep track of their names and such. In fact, by the time we finished the second day, we had repeated some.
While we walked a lot, the distances really are not that great. Three or four churches later, we arrived at Campo de Fiori which is a plaza with a series of outdoor shops – think Seattle’s Pike Street Market. We then went to another plaza and into another church. It was the Santa Maria Dell’Orazione E Morte and was dedicated October 20, 1737. It was small by Rome standards, but exquisite inside. There as a small nun at the front who was excited we had come in and pointed us to the back and through a small hallway and down some steps. Down the steps we came to a room filled with skulls in shelves, skulls made into a cross and other bones. A couple of real skull and cross bones also. Tyler thought it was pretty creepy. We may have to make it to the catacombs before we leave. Up the stairs and we looked around at the church for a while. In most we usually come in and simply sit for bit and then walk around. In smaller ones such as this we will leave an offering.
Through the Piazza Navona which has an impressive fountain and, I might mention, an impressive church. It is also filled with street vendors and artists. We pressed on to the Piazza Venezia which houses Italy’s tomb of the unknown soldier. We went up a lot of steps and then took an elevator (10 euros) to get to the top and some amazing views of Rome. Down a few levels and would you belief there was an impressive church. We were trying to press on to the Coliseum, but kept getting side-tracked. We made it to the Coliseum and joined a tour group. The guide was great and we spent a couple of hours with him and then on our own. We joined up again at 3:30 and then went to Palatine Hill which is where the emperors lived. Palatine is the root from which the term palace comes from. There is not a lot left and there was some bitterness in the guide as he explained that we can see it all at the Vatican: the columns, the flours, the sculptures and so on. Some of the marble was ground up and put in the cement used. It was interesting to walk through a garden that was built on the remains of the palace of Nero, which was built (I think) on the remains of the palace of Caligula which was built on the remains of the palace of Octavius (I may have the stack wrong, but you get the idea). And at the bottom of it all is where the cave where Romulus and Remus were. We then wandered through the Roman Forum area and walked where the Caesars walked. We headed back to the hotel and it was a welcome site.
The weather has looked beautiful, but it is HOT. In some ways we are glad that nearly all the white marble from outside and inside the Coliseum was gone. It was like being in a solar oven and wherever there was marble it was warm too hot to the touch. I don’t know how the 80,000 held in it survived a day of spectacles. We have enjoyed the fountains and have trusted the water. They are cool and refreshing. If you hold your finger on the flow of water on the bottom of the pipe it forces water up and out a hole on the top like a traditional drinking fountain. To have some cool water to drink and rub on your arms and face has been most helpful.
A quick stop in the hotel to make sure the air conditioner was on – it wasn’t – and then to the streets and a pasta dinner. As you will see in one of the pictures, we are pretty close to the cars, but they don’t come through that frequently. From there we walked to the Spanish Steps. Along the way, I was tickled to see a sign for McDonald’s as part of the street identification sign with the street being the “Via Di Propaganda” – somehow it just seemed appropriate. We stayed for just a short time on the Spanish Steps and decided we would come again the next day before 8:00 PM so that the churches would be open. We drug ourselves back to the hotel with a quick stop for gelato. We have it down pretty good. We each taste at least one, and then get a small cup with two flavors in it. We walk from there to the hotel eating gelato and enjoying the cooler nights. By the time we get to the hotel/Pantheon plaza the gelato is gone and we are next to a fountain to rinse our mouths wash our hands and arms and get some final refreshment. We then crashed. Tyler said I went to sleep so fast and started snoring that he couldn’t believe it. That’s why you didn’t get an update yesterday. I am starting to feel that way again.