17.11.2006 - 19.11.2006 8 °C
Where do I begin? Everyone is asking me which part was my most memorable. I really can’t pin point that as they were all so unbelievable. Well we got in very late on Friday night and decided to call it a night but when we were checking in Cat noticed that the hostel was having a guided tour the next morning and lucky for us there were 2 spots left, so of course we jumped on that opportunity and I am so glad we did, as it was fantastic. Will our tour Guide was a history student and has lived in Italy on and off for the last 4 years so had lots of little bits and pieces to tell us. This gave a fantastic basis of Roman knowledge to find our way around the streets and also of its history. Yes we were also lucky enough to have the Tomcat wedding in Rome at the same time so there were a lot of paparazzi out and about to capture those moments.
On the tour we wandered around a saw heaps so I will try and rattle off some of the places we saw. I am finding it really had to describe the beauty of the buildings and places in Rome. Cat and I missed the Catacombs in Paris so we were very glad to see that the Roman ones were part of the walking tour. It may sound really grouse and in a way I suppose it was but it is classified as a Church by the pope so its not really that bad. I have heard this is a very small catacomb in comparison to the one Paris. In all of the rooms the walls were decorated not with beautiful paintings but with some really interesting artistry made up completely with human bones. We were unable to take photos in here so we bought some postcards and I will try to take some photos of the postcards so you can see what I am talking about.
We meandered on to see the Trevi Fountain, which is said that if you throw a coin over your left shoulder it will ensure your return to Rome, so I had to do that. The Trevi Fountain is a really nice monument/ fountain to see and of course as it is Rome’s most known there is always quiet a few people there. So I managed to not get a photo of the fountain in all is amazing glory but just of the statues at the top of the fountain. On past the Temple of Hadrian to the Pantheon, it looks exactly as I had imagined it would but I was really quiet surprised when I walked inside. When I look at all the photos of the Pantheon in the past I didn’t realise it has a big dome on top. Wow to see this from the inside is total amazing. We were told that this previously housed statues of the pagan gods (gods that ruled the planets in astrology) but when the Catholic Church took possession they removed those and replaced them with Christian figures. The dome the largest single piece of cement poured in Rome. They poured the bottom of the dome with heavier cement made with limestone and as they got to the top they changed it to a lighter material like volcanic ash. There is hole in the top of the dome that allows both the sun and the rain and is designed in a way that it is a sun dial and at certain times of the day the sun would come through and highlight specific god that ruled for that period of time. The floor has lots of small drainage holes in the marble tiles to allow the rain to drain away immediately.
Then on to the Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II, Campidoglio and on through the Forum, where we saw the Temple of Saturn, Arch of Septimius, Sanri Luca e Martina, Curia, Basilica of Constantine and many more ruins on the way to the Colosseum.
After all that walking we felt we deserved a nice meal so one of the girls from the hostel walking tour suggested we check out the Hard Rock Café and its art work, we ended up walking past the Palazzo del Quirinale, which is the old papal palace (palace of the Pope) which is now the official residence of the Italian President. We actually got to see the changing of he guard as we passed through.
After food it was on to the Spanish stairs, also known as Trinta dei Monti. Lovely spot but so happens that Tom Cruise and all his guests were staying at the hotel at the top of the stairs so there were was an influx of visitors to the area that night. After our dinner at the hostel we wandered out to see St Peter’s Basilica in the evening and wandered past the Castle San Angelo and the numerous beautiful Bridges along the Fuime Tevere an the way back we stumble upon the Piazza Navona where we had another of our many serves of gelato.
Next day we decided to head straight to the Colosseum to avoid the queues, got in straight away and did a guided tour which was interesting to hear some more history of the area, while on this tour they talked about the Palatine ruins and the gardens on the hill overlooking the forum and as it was included in the price of the tickets we though we would check it out.
We then wandered over towards the river to see St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City, awesome sight to see both on dusk and in the daylight. There is a long road built like a castle wall that runs from the Basilica to the Castle Sant’ Angelo for the pope to escape along in times of need. Of course the queues here were long so we thought we would try to get into the Vatican Museum to see the Sistine Chapel but that was closed. We wasted few hours at the hostel before having our free dinner at the hostel and headed out to see a few more monuments and night shots of the Colosseum.
Out early this morning to see St Paul’s Basilica but no that was not possible as the President was it there, it was supposed to open at 1pm so we thought why not see the Sistine Chapel while we wait and obviously everyone else was thinking the same thing so we had to queue for about an hour to get in but boy was it worth it, we managed to sneak a couple of photos in the Sistine Chapel itself but they are not the best as you are not allowed to use cameras in there and we had to hide our camera under a jumper.
We went back to see St Peter’s Basilica after we had seen the Sistine chapel but unfortunately it was still closed, after waiting for about 3 hours we decided that it was probably best that we keep going and see the other things we hadn’t seen yet. We jumped on the Metro and travelled down to see some more monuments, on our way back I noticed that we hadn’t been to a monument in Repubblica, when we got there we came across a very rustic looking church called the Basilica Santa Maria degli Angeli, it didn’t seem to be anything special, but then again it didn’t look like any of the churches I have ever come across before. It looked quiet small with mud coloured rendered walls with a really simple cross, we decided to look inside just for the sake of it and I tell you my jaw dropped. I was absolutely amazing. Both Cat and I said it was almost like the church didn’t want anyone to know they had spent so much money on this church as it looked really poor on the outside and outrageously rich on the inside and it was huge. I would have taken some photos but there were military officers setting ups chairs for some kind of service and I didn’t want to risk deportation. After that experience both cat and I sat on the fountain in the Piazza and watched about 7 flocks of birds dancing in the sky. Then there was just enough time to grab some dinner, pick up our bags and head off to the airport. Well there is soooo much more to tell you about Rome but it really is something you must experience yourself so I recommend that you take a break and see Rome for yourself.