Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bella Italia: Roma

A few weeks ago, I got to do something I have literally been dreaming about for years. I'm going to try to recap it here, but as you can imagine, travel blogs can be tedious, and there is no good way for me to summarize such an important experience.

But I'll give it a shot.

Russ and I flew out in the morning, but did not arrive until the next morning. Since I can't sleep sitting up, the overnight ride was rather boring.

We arrived in Rome, and caught a shuttle to the place we were staying: the monastery of St. Gregorio del Celio. This is what we saw when we arrived.
The building was built in the 1600s. We actually had to have keys to that big iron gate so we could come and go. The monks who lived at the monastery were very kind, and they showed us up lots of winding stairs to our rooms.
My favorite part was the windows!

Our first stop was the Vatican. We visited the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica.

The Sistine Chapel was larger-than-life. Literally making me dizzy. (But that may have been due to the fact that I had been awake for around 36 hours at that point.) I was alarmed and embarrassed by the tourists' behavior at the Sistine Chapel. There are signs (in many languages) telling people that they are visiting a sacred site, and asking them to remain silent. And yet, every 60 seconds or so, an employee has to loudly shush the idiotic crowd! I was ashamed FOR them! Just shut up!

I still haven't thought of a word that can succinctly describe St. Peter's. I have never seen anything that fit into the same category of such immense grandeur. Everything about it was mammoth-sized, ornate, and detailed. Absolutely overwhelming!

The next morning, we got up (relatively) early and walked across the street to see Palantine Hill and the ruins surrounding the Roman Forum.

This (above) is a view of the monastery from Palantine Hill.

Palace ruins.

That afternoon we had an appointment at the Borghese Gallery where we saw works of art that I had studied in Humanities and History courses for years. These included paintings by Rubens and Raphael, incredible frescoes, and (my favorite) sculptures by Bernini. Apollo and Daphne and Hades and Persephone were so life-like that they were almost eerie. I also really liked Bernini's David because it there was so much movement within the piece.

That evening, we went on a walking tour of Rome. We started at the Spanish Steps and wound our way through some of the oldest parts of Rome.

Trevi Fountain

Fountain of the 4 Rivers

The next morning, we hopped on a bus and visited the Campo di Fiore, which is an outdoor market that specializes in produce. We bought our lunch (giant red grapes, apples, and some bread), and headed back over to the Pantheon.

The Oculus

We also swung by the Colosseum (which was at the end of the block from where we were staying) before packing up our things and heading toward Termini Station to catch a train to Florence.
Our trip to Rome was fast and busy. In fact, it was by far the busiest portion of our trip. We saw a lot of incredible history very quickly, and I will admit that I am afraid I did not process everything we saw as quickly as I would have liked. But hey, that's what you get when you can only spend 3 days there, right?


Mike and Judy said...


Mars said...

What an awesome freaking trip!

Megan and Kenny said...

Wow so I'm jealous. That's so awesome that you got to do that.