Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Eternal City

Sam, Miranda, and I boarded the train on Saturday morning to meet Maddy in Rome! After meeting up and getting situated at the hostel, Alessandro Palace, we went to explore.

The Colosseum is the largest amphitheater in the world and is considered to be one of the most impressive works of architecture and engineering during the Roman Empire. At one time it could hold 50,000 to 80,000 spectators! So of course, we had to go see this iconic structure!

During the early medieval era the amphitheater was “retired”, but prior to that it used for gladiator contests, executions, the production of Classical mythological dramas, and much more.

...The Arch of Constantine

After, we made our way to the Roman Forum, which is a today, a home to the ruins of several significant ancient monuments and government buildings. 

The Roman Forum was center of Roman public life. Surrounding it are some of the Roman kingdom’s earliest shrines and temples.

...The "So-Called Temple of Romulus"

Above the Roman Forum is the Palentine Hill, the centermost of the “Seven Hills of Rome”, and is considered one of the most ancient parts of the city.  According to the myth surrounding the founding of Rome, this is the hill is where the cave was when the she-wolf came across Romulus and Remus and nursed them to good health.

After exploring this ancient area of town, we decided to walk over to the Pantheon (not the Parthenon—that is in Greece—as my art history professor likes to emphasize).  The Pantheon, “temple to all gods”, was originally built during the reign of Augustus, and then rebuilt by Hadrian in 126 BCE.

The Pantheon is one of the best preserved of all Roman buildings and has been continued to be used throughout its existence.

Today it is being used as a Catholic church.

Next, the Spanish Steps! I love old movies, and after seeing Roman Holiday (starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck) I knew it was one of the many places in Rome that I just had to see.

Oh my goodness, there were so many people at the Steps. I don’t think any of us were expecting it, so we quickly snapped a few pictures and headed over to the Trevi Fountain.

The Trevi Fountain is a massive, impressive, and breathtakingly beautiful piece of art. The fountain was designed by Nicola Salvi and completed by Pietro Bracci in the Baroque style.

As tradition notes, we all took turns tossing in a coin to ensure our return to Rome!

...Some of us were a little more awkward than others while trying to toss a coin and pose for a picture at the same time

Sunday was dedicated to Vatican City! …And we saw the Pope! At noon he appeared from the window of the papal apartment to deliver the Angelus, followed by a quick message, and concluded with the Apostolic Blessing.

Maddy, Sam, myself, and Miranda waiting for the Pope!

Although Italian has been more difficult for me to learn than I had hoped, I did pick up on some of his message and loved what I did understand. To watch it click on this link. If you have Google Chrome, you can even translate the page into English.

I wasn’t able to get a picture of it, but he does have one of the most genuine smiles I have ever seen. What can I say…I’m a fan of a great smile!  

Unfortunately we weren’t able to get into the Sistine Chapel in St. Peter’s Basilica or the Vatican Museum due to the massive amounts of people who were there, but we did get to see the Pope. I think that’s a pretty good trade off!

Rome is truly “The Eternal City”, where the ancient harmoniously meets the modern. I have been lucky enough to had visited Rome before, but it was over this past weekend that I feel in love with the city. I am already looking forward to going back!

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