When you travel to Europe it’s hard not to see as much as you can with the time and budget you have. Having been to the Netherlands a couple times, I thought it was time to see a new city while I was here, so why not Rome! I had never traveled to Italy before and there are so many wonderful vibrant cities to choose from in that country but Rome was the winner this time. There is so much to see in the city any time of the year and we packed in as much as we could in a few days.
Day 1 was just wandering around seeing the sites and fountains throughout. By far my favorite place was the Trevi fountain. There really is something magical about that place … and not just because they say you can make a wish by throwing a coin into it. The crystal clear water against the white marble with a massive architectural backdrop is such a beautiful site. Later that day was the Pantheon, a structure like no other. It is one of the many marvels in Roman architectural history, being the only structure of its kind. A massive ornate building inside, surrounded by the world’s largest concrete dome, with a lot of the original building still standing. Even the massive columns are original and solid granite hauled from Egypt hundreds of years ago. It’s a shame though that a lot of the decorations of bronze and marble have been stripped off and recycled for other buildings or sculptures.
Day 2 was all about the Coliseum and Roman Forum. Saying we took a step back in time is an understatement. I’d call it a leap. The Coliseum is a spectacular site to see and so much history happened there. We were able to go on a tour that allowed us to see parts of the place you normally can’t go. Unfortunately, due to the weather, the dongeouns were flooded and no one was able to go underground where the gladiators and animals once stood. Aside from that small setback, we were able to tour all around including up to the 3rd tier of the arena! Even with parts of the wall collapsing due to earthquakes, you really do get a feel of what once stood there. I couldn’t imagine what it must have been like for the men participating in the arena when it was fully functioning.
As if the Coliseum wasn’t enough, we also toured around the old Roman city painting a visual picture of what it was once like. It’s an amazing feet to see how much of the original structures, dating back to the 1st century AD, are still standing. Everything today is built with speed to save time and money, but back then it was a slow and thought out process to show off the wealth of the empire. It makes you wonder what of the modern world will still be around hundreds of years from now.
Day 3 we went to the Vatican, the smallest country in the world. We started off going through the Vatican museum. There were halls dedicated to marble busts of ancient Roman political figures, heros, and people from all walks of life. I had no idea where to look when going through the museum. The walls, to the floors, even the ceilings were magnificently decorated with works of art, not to mention the architecture of the building itself which was a trick to the eye. The yard in the center appears flat but in reaity the buildings are designed to trick the eye into thinking the yard is flat. The architects of that time were a stroke of genius which you can see all over the city not just in the Vatican.
After going through the vatican museum, you end up in the Sistine Chapel and there are no words to describe what a site that is. Having studied Michaelangelo some in College it really was something to see his work at that magnitude. Four years it took him to paint the ceiling alone and another four later for the wall behind the alter. I must say for someone who believed he was a mere sculpture sure did create some amazing works of art adored and studied by millions now.
Last but certainly not least was St. Peters Basicilica. This was by far the largest, and will always be the largest church of its kind. Just like the museum everywhere you look was a new work of art. Back then not a spot was missed with some sort of decoration. We took a tour up to the top of the dome of the basicilica. Halfway up we were able to walk around the inside and the walls were covered in mosaics, something small enough that from the ground it looked like it could have been a painting, if you could see it at all. It was so high and hard to see what it was that no one could guess it was covered in tiny stones. This is certainly a one of a kind building.
I highly recommend this city to anyone looking to travel back in time, and I didn’t even touch on the food! It is full of art, culture, and history and has a little something for everyone. That’s all for now though.
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