Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summer Snapshots - Rome, Italy

We finished our cruise in Rome and decided to spend a few days here.  From all of our friends that have traveled extensively in Europe, they all said that Rome is a great city.....and it didn't disappoint!  We had plenty of time to walk among the ruins, tour the Vatican, and check off all of the famous sights.  Just being here made me want to start reading Dan Brown again - by the way, they actually give "Dan Brown: Angels and Demons Tours".

Basilica Santa Marisa d Angeli-built using one of the oldest Roman baths.

Marisa in front of Michelangelo's steps on Capitoline Hill, holding her trusty Rick Steve's guidebook. Don't travel without one!

Copy of the famous "She-Wolf" statue on Capitoline Hill.

Victor Emmanuel Monument - built to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Italy's unification in 1870; he was Italy's first king

"Four Rivers Fountain" by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in Piazza Navona - for all the Dan Brown lovers out there, I think this was used in "Angels and Demons" when one of the cardinals was dumped in here to drown by "water".  The four rivers, characterized by gods, represent the Nile, the Ganges, the Danube, and the Rio de la Plata.

St. Agnes church in Piazza Navona - stands behind the Four Rivers Fountain; the obelisk on top once stood on the Appian Way

Trevi Fountain at night - this place was bumping at all times of the day.  It was built by Nicola Salvi in 1762 to commemorate the reopening of an ancient aqueduct that powers it.  It is said that if you throw a coin in over your shoulder that it will ensure your return to Rome...........I threw in a 2 cent coin, so maybe I'll pass through the airport or something.

"The School of Athens" by Raphael - ridiculously famous painting in the Vatican Museum that features many of the great thinkers of the ancient world such as Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, Pythagoras, etc.

With a closer look at the right side of "The School of Athens" you can see a self-portrait of Raphael (wearing the black hat).  Sort of like the original "Where's Waldo?" painting.

Contemporary art - Vatican Museum.  While not mentioned by many, we were impressed by the modern art that was on display at the Vatican.  There is more than the Sistine Chapel to see here.

Van Gogh

Marc Chagall

Salvador Dali

Vatican Guard - don't let the striped parachute pants fool you.......this guy is for real and can pull off a nasty roundhouse kick in those bad boys.  "You think anyone makes fun of me when I dress like this?........forget about it!"

St. Peter's Basilica - pretty spectacular church that lived up to the hype.

Michelangelo's "Pieta" in St. Peter's Basilica. For those like myself that didn't know what a Pieta was for a long time, here is a definition from WikipediaThe Piet√† (pl. same; Italian for pity) is a subject in Christian art depicting the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus, most often found in sculpture.

Marisa took the opportunity to write and send postcards from the Vatican post office. They have their own stamps and everything.

St. Peter's Square - Vatican City

Colosseum - built in 80 AD, at the peak of the Roman empire with a capacity of 50,000.......that's larger than Bobby Dodd Stadium before the expansion!

Colosseum - originally it was named the Flavian Amphitheater and had a 100 ft statue of Emperor Nero outside

Arch of Constantine - this guy was the first emperor of Rome to legalize Christianity (312 AD)......kind of makes it sound like the gateway drug or something.

Colosseum

National Museum of Rome - awesome bronze statue of a resting boxer

National Museum of Rome - Roman copy of Greek discus thrower

National Museum of Rome- you had to see this close up to appreciate it, so much going on.

Filippo Zamboni - I figured the inventor of such an amazing device would get better real estate than under a tree in a random park.......no respect!

View of the Vatican

We were impressed by the generous public drinking fountains all over Rome.  The water tasted great, was cool, and tons of people used them.  They constantly run from who know's where. This was one of the cooler looking ones - most of them just come out of a spout.

Along the Tiber River at night.

Mamertine Prison - the same dungeon that once held Peter and Paul while in Rome.  It was pretty dank and I couldn't imagine being chained to a wall down here.

The Circus Maximus - where the chariot races would've been held.  Sort of like the first Talladega I reckon.  I can picture the rednecks parking their chariots on the hill to the right, drinking Busch Lite with no shirts on.

The Appian Way - the ancient road that once connected Rome to the Adriatic port of Brindisi; built in 312 BC.  We walked along here for a nice break from the city and checked out some catacombs built to house some of the early Christian martyrs and popes (around 500,000 people were buried there!).  

Piazza Popolo

-- justin
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