Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

There are so many historic sights and I loved learning about it all.  My family and I visited basically everything. It was great.  We rented an apartment for 6 nights and it was in the heart of Rome. This was our street and apartment…IMG_5436 IMG_3417 IMG_3139

We were like locals and walked to everything.  I’ll start with the Piazza NavonaIMG_5232It is a square with 3 different fountains in it. The one big one in the middle was my favorite. There are 4 statues on each corner of the fountain and represent a river.  You can see in the photo that the statue representing the Nile River has a palm tree next to him. IMG_3164There is a giant Oblesk in the center of the fountain, from Egypt.  I’ve been doing a lot of research on Egypt and I recognized the hieroglyphic of “life”  and a couple of other symbols too such as the “eye of horus”  This is the symbol for “life” I was proud to show my parents that “I recognized the symbol.”

Fun Fact: The Fountain of Four Rivers and was sculpted in 1651 by Bernini.
The statues were all very big, it must have taken a long time to sculpt.

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TREVI FOUNTAIN

Sculpture is not really the right word for the Trevi fountain.  It is more of a piece of Art and a structure. The fountain part is as big as a pool and the statues are over 15 feet tall. This was the one attraction we visited that was crowded (even at this time of year) We must have arrived when all the tour busses got there.

FUN FACT: Legend has it that if you throw a coin over your right shoulder into the fountain you are destined to “return to Rome.”  This is true, because my Mom was here 26 years ago and she threw a coin in and now she is back!!!  When will I be back???? The Trevi Fountain is also sculpted by Bernini.   IMG_5296

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The Pantheon: The oldest building in Rome that was not destroyed or had to be reconstructed.  Built in the first century. I was amazed at how well preserved the building looked, it had a dome shaped roof and people say even NOW it would be hard for archetects to design a building like this.  I can’t understand how they did this so long ago.  I liked the shape of the building. Here we are hugging one of the oldest ancient structures in Rome. Cool. IMG_5270

FUN FACT: The Roman Pantheon is the most preserved and influential building of ancient Rome. It is a Roman temple dedicated to all the gods of pagan Rome. As the brick stamps on the side of the building reveal it was built and dedicated between A.D 118 and 125.IMG_3180 This is us eating Pizza in the back of the Pantheon.  It is amazing to think of what this building has been through. IMG_5249It is also free to enter.

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PROFESSIONAL SOCCER (FOOTBALL) for the non-Americans.

We went to an A.S.  Roma vs. Pallermo game at the Olympic Stadium. It was a very good game, 5-0 Rome! The fans were very active, they sing and they chant. There were a lot of security guards in the Pallermo section, I guess to keep them in check. LOL.  As you  know my family loves soccer and we couldn’t pass up this game. It was last minute, KIDS FREE and adults only $25.  What a deal! We purchased the ticket the day before in a store on the street.  This was the only thing in Rome we did not walk to, we took a very crowded public bus with other fans.

 

FUN FACT:  The 1960 Summer Olympics were in Rome, Italy and many events were at this stadium.

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The Vatican and the Vatican Museums.

There is so much to write about the Vatican. Did you know that Vatican City is it’s own COUNTRY.  I walked right into another country. It is very small and only 500 residents.

FUN FACT: Unlike other countries, even if you are born in Vatican City you are not automatically a citizen.  The Pope has to appoint you a citizen and can take away that citizenship at any time.

I learned a lot about Vatican City and the Pope.  We read and watched some great video’s on Vatican City and it’s history.IMG_3221

FUN FACT: The Pope is also the King of Vatican City.  He can act as “either” the Pope or  the King to make decisions.IMG_5597Michelangelo’s Pieta. One of his earlier works .  IMG_5632IMG_5623  This is the bronze and gold alter that only the Pope can give mass from. There are other alters in St. Peters. IMG_5589Upon entering the basilica  of St. Peters you are overwhelmed at the size and detail.

The most amazing thing was we got to attend a mass that the Pope gave outside of St. Peters Basilica. We got there one hour early, got a great view. I stood next to some Nuns, from Italy, who saw me writing notes in my little pocket notebook and they told me about the statues in the courtyard and how they are all “saints.” There are 167 statues and 288 columns outside of St. Peters.  The Nun’s also wrote in my notebook.  Pope Francis blessed the crowd and there were Nun’s handing out rosary beads that were blessed by the Pope.  I was so happy we all got a few.IMG_3234Doesn’t the light coming down in this picture look like it is coming from heaven, while I am with the Nuns at the Vatican.

St. Peters Basilica is HUGE. Entering this church can not be explained. The ceilings, the paintings, the carvings, the statues, the alter, the floor, the granite, it’s so amazing.  The artwork is “Louvre worthy” for sure.   The Vatican holds so much art. We spend over an hour in there and visited separate areas for praying and 3 Pope’s are entombed here, that means there bodies are rested here.  Very old Pope’s.  Most Pope’s are buried below St. Peters.  We visited the “treasury” area , where all the gifts that were presented to the Pope’s over the Centuries by Presidents, Kings, Royal Families and Nations.  Also the Pope’s themselves, donate something special.

The Vatican museums are gigantic, it is easy to get lost. So many exhibits, the Hall of Maps was cool. the statues, the paintings, the sculptures and of course The Sistine Chapel.IMG_3372 (1) This is a painting in the Vatican Museum. It seems so real and it is also huge, covering the entire wallIMG_3356 (1)famous bronze and marble statues in the museum. IMG_5657Early Maps drawn right on the walls. IMG_5422It is said the Louvre (in Paris) and these Vatican Museums are the two best museums in the world.  I agree.  This room had floor to ceiling masterpieces of artwork.

Fun Fact: The Sistine Chapel is without doubt one of the greatest art treasures of all time, one of the most celebrated masterpieces in the world. It’s the last stop on the Vatican Museum tour and is the most ardently awaited moment for the millions of tourists from around the world that come here every year to admire it.

Step into the Sistine Chapel and the magic completely envelops you because literally everything in this place is priceless and rich in history, from the pavement to the amazing frescoed ceiling by Michelangelo.

The Sistine Chapel was so awesome, Not one inch was left blank, the ceiling and the walls were of the scenes from the bible were so realistic it was like they were coming down from heaven. The clouds, the people, etc.  While I was in there they gave a small prayer or mass in Italian.  You are NOT allowed to take any photos in there so here is some from the internet so you can see for yourself….

 There  is a story behind every person in all of these paintings.  Who they are, what they represent and the historical significance behind it.  So interesting. 

I watched a great documentary and read a lot about the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo, the artist. He really struggled to do this because he considered himself a “sculpture” and not an “artist.” In fact, his sculptures are in St. Peters as well.

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St. Angelo’s Castle: On the way to Vatican City .

IMG_5400IMG_5386IMG_5316The River Tiber is nice, it has a strong current. We walked over it a lot to get to the Vatican city.  We passed this castle. We visited inside, I like the shape of it the best, it looks better from outside than inside, it was just blank walls and stone, I like the view from the top.

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Roman Colesseum.

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The Roman Colesseum is so cool. it is very big. It can get very crowed at times. luckily we came first thing early in the morning and had NO line at all.  some days in the summer, the line raps all the way around the building! Poor saps.

My favorite part about the Roman Colesseum was probably learning about it.  The history is so interesting and my brother and I did a report on it.

FUN FACT- The  colessuim was built in 72 AD. they had slaves that were forced to work until it was complete. It took 8 years to finish. 

Here is a typical day of Entertainment for the Romans at this time.    Gladiators fought in the  Colesseum. The games went on all day. In the morning they had Gladiators vs animals( the animals were shipped here from all over the world… there were tigers, cheetas, lions even elephants!) next came the execution of prisoners. They would chop off there heads. and for the grand finally….the gladiator fights. It would be gladiator vs gladiator down to the death. The crowd would cheer people on just like we cheer on sports teams. The only reason they had gladiator matches was because no one else wanted the job, and only the prisoners faught against each other. Whoever won usually got rewarded and was free from prison. The looser was well, dead.IMG_5703

– Just like any other modern stadium today, the Roman Coleseum made people by tickets to the games before entering. There are a lot of doors and exits in the Colesseum and each one had a Roman  number above it so people could find the areas of where they are sitting.  I saw this in person. plus, there used to be a lot of water fountains for the fans and 2 bathrooms. cool right. the rich people sat on the bottom row along with the Royalty. Poor people and other criminals sat at the very top. the women also sat on the top because they were not allowed to sit anywhere else.

IMG_5720 I liked exploring the Coleseum. I cant get over the fact of how old it is.  This building has been through a LOT! you can see in the picture toward the bottom area  the dungeons.  There used to be a floor over the dungeons and that is where the battles were fought. The dungeons were where the prisoners waited to go fight and where they kept the wild animals. All the Gladiators must of been really nervous before battle knowing that it may be the end for them.

Now a days part of the Roman Colesseum is destroyed due to earthquakes and stone robbers. It was left abandoned for a long time because when they stopped having Gladiator fights, the building was useless.  And the seats that people used to sit in are destroyed. There were a lot of openings in the Roman Colesseum and each one used to have a statue in it. But they all got robbed a long time ago. This is what it looked like in it’s heyday.

  I cant believe that there used to be a statue in every window! I wonder what they looked like? probably naked. That’s how most of the statues are here, I guess it was the style. LOL!

I liked seeing and learning about the Colesseum.  So did Sawyer.  I can only imagine all the blood shed here that went on. I cant believe people actually found that as entertainment. Crazy right?!  Almost unhuman. I have friends that cant bear to watch someone bleed yet these people were cheering away when someone’s head was chopped off.  They were like barbareans.IMG_3392

here are a couple more FUN FACTS-

Did you know that there were sometimes naval ship battles in the Colesseum? it used to be considered untrue but scientists have found evidence.  There are underground tunnels leading to the  Colessuem to make it flood with water. There are drawings of ships on water fighting inside the Colesseum.  Very cool finding.

There was one person in charge, like the head director. They organized events and trained the Gladiators.

The Romen Colesseum has a great history and I suggest that you research it. There are some great  video’s on you tube.  I am glad I got to see the Roman Colessuim.

IMG_5731 I liked trying to imagine what it looked like back in its hay day.

Roman Forum:

Next to the Colesseum is the Roman Forum, which is “ancient ruins” of a town in Rome.  Julius Ceasar ordered many off the work.  I can’t believe I walked the same streets as Julius Ceasar.  The columns must have been very strong because so many columns are still remaining. We ate lunch on broken ruins, sitting on a broken column. I liked looking at everything and imagining what it used to be like.  There a lot of half standing structures.

It’s weird how the ancient ruins and the Colesseum are right in the middle of a modern city like Rome, next to a big road with traffic and busses. It’s like two different worlds. Sawyer and I liked jumping from stone to stone.IMG_5809IMG_5802IMG_5786   IMG_5501IMG_5561

ROME WAS AWESOME! I did not exspect it to be so great! I am glad we got to see everything. I had a lot of pizza and gelato’s too….because as they say….”When in Rome…” Hope the Trevi Fountain legend is true and I come back someday.

I can be reached at rileymeckley@yahoo.com