A Travellerspoint blog

When in Rome...

We were recently in Rome, and of course we loved it. Who wouldn't? But man oh man did we stay busy. Everyday we went nonstop because there is sooo much to see and we were only there for 5 days. It was kind of strange for me (Lynette) since I visited Rome when I was in college many moons ago and I immediately noticed some differences when we stepped into the main train station. The first and most obvious was the lack of gypsies. When I was in Rome before they were everywhere. They were dressed in billowy gowns and travelled in packs with kids in tow and they would come right up to you and ask for money and pretty much nothing you would say would make them leave you alone. I think they are still in Rome but I didn't see them in packs like I remember in the train station. Maybe it was due to the police presence I noticed. The other thing that was different was the lack of cats at the Colosseum. I remember there being cats all over the place and this time we saw a few cats around the general area but absolutely none in the Colosseum itself. This is weird and kind of sad since I wonder what happened to all those cats, but not so sad about the lack of gypsies.

Here is a list of all the things we saw in Rome...

The Colosseum, The Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain (at night), Borghese Museum (please go here if you are every in Rome), Spanish Steps, Keats House, Trevi Fountain (daytime), the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, the 3 fountains in Piazza Navona, about 5 or 6 churches that I don't remember the names of, various obelisks, lots of monuments and old buildings, Vatican City including St. Peters and the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, the castle near St. Petes, the Pope.

We saw the Pope! Every Sunday at noon he gives a blessing and a bit of an address to the people who gather at St. Peter's square if he is in town. Lucky for us the Pope was in Rome and so we actually went to St. Peter's and heard him speak - in Italian mostly but he did say a little bit in English. There were a lot of people there so we couldn't really see him well. He was about the size of a peanut to us but they had large screens up so we could see him better. After blessing all the people in attendance, he got into a little car - "the Pope mobile" - and drove through the audience but again not close enough for us to get a good look at him. We could make out the top of his hat basically. We greatly enjoyed the opportunity to see and hear the Pope in person and definitely something I didn't expect I would ever experience.

The Sistine Chapel was a major highlight of Rome also. Dave said it was one of the highlights of his life to see it in person. The thing about going to a place like Rome is that you get to see the actual painting, sculpture, and frescoes by people like Michelangelo, Raphael, Da Vinci, Botticelli, Bernini, and on and on. It is hard to wrap your head around the concept that you are actually looking at Michelangelo's frescoes that he did with his own hands - things we studied in our classes in school, and are popular to most people in the western world. We are now in Florence and experience a whole new set of classical works of art. We hope to post some pictures of that in the near future.

---Hey this is Dave with a few photos:

Colliseum
rome_colliseum_lyn.jpg

The Sofie Star is still in one piece and it made its way all the way to Rome! (unlike the backpack that Lynette bought in Nepal and was forced to finally lay to rest yesterday) Here it is at the Colliseum. (For any newcomers who missed the Sofie Star explanation way back when- My niece Sofie made me this craft piece before we left on the trip and I thought it would be cool to take it with us and photograph it going around the world.)
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I was particularly excited to see the Pantheon. Its amazing how old this thing is - from ancient Roman times. Centuries later, during the Renaissance the building was not looked on with much affection. At one point the Pope almost decided to demolish it but instead just melted down the Bronze which covered the coffered ceiling and used it for an emmense sculpture centerpiece inside St. Peters Church. The dome inside the Pantheon with the huge hole in the top is quite a sight to see in person. Here is a shot of the front of the building:
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The Bronze sclupture for St. Peters Church was sculpted by Bernini. This is a guy I learned a bit about in art history class in college. But to me all those sculptors kind of blended together back then. However, to see the works of art in person I now have a great appreciation for Bernini's work. We saw three of his most famous marble works at the Borghese Museum in Rome. His "Rape of Persephone," "Apollo and Daphne," and "David" (not to be confused with the famous Michalangelo's "David") are some of the finest artworks I've ever seen in my life. I can't believe what this guy could do with marble. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos. But it doesn't matter because I've seen photos of them before and its just not the same as seeing them in person. My jaw actually dropped when I walked into the room and saw the "David" sculpture.

Here's some photos from around Rome:
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Another artist I now have a greater appreciation for is Raphael. Lynette and I agree that his "Transfiguration" painting somehow goes beyond just being a painting, its an experience. You ARE allowed to take pictures of the artwork at the Vatican Museum but this piece was in such a dark room that the photos came out kind of blurry.

But I do have a photo of another Raphael painting that I was excited to get to see in person, "The School of Athens" fresco mural at the Vatican Museum. I've always loved this painting and to see it in person and actually be in the place where Raphael painted it was great fun.
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Here's one of the amazing ceilings inside the Vatican Museum. this place was decked out with all kinds of ornate decoration and art works.
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After the Vatican Museum we went over to St. Peter's Cathedral. Here's a couple shots of the inside:

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Here's some shots of it the next day when we went back to see the Pope:
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If you look close at the bottom of the large central doorway you can barely make out the Pope's white umbrella.
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Here's a shot of the church at sunset.

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That's all for now. Should have some stuff from Florence soon.
(Please excuse any type errors, artwork title errors, and historical errors. I was going by memory and didn't have time to look up to verify.)

Ciao!
-dave & lynette

Posted by schuckley 09:14

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Comments

WOW!!!
Love you. Safe travels. Angie

by aprochaz

Hey guys! We got your postcard. Thanks for thinking of us! We miss you!
MJ and Family

by mjcisinski

Ah! You're bringing back some great memories! Binky, Petey and I received your postcard from Greece. I tried to get them to read the back but they just tried to eat it, so I put it on the fridge. :) I'm loving these photos. Anna

by AnnaMac66

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