Thursday, January 1, 2009

Tour of Rome, Day 3.5

Still Christmas Day. ;)

We left the Vatican and headed toward the Coliseum. We passed by Tiber Island while on the bus. Sorry, no pic, but you can see it if you visit the site. ;) We also made a stop to take a picture of Circus Maximus. We didn't actually go to it and I don't remember what I was thinking about, but I didn't even get off of the bus for this picture. LOL

We next stopped for our walking tour. Our first stop was the Colosseum. My first impression was that it wasn't as big as I thought it was going to be. My next thought was that there were a lot of vendors for Christmas Day. LOL Guys with little stands selling mini-colosseums and books, etc as well as guys walking around selling scarves and little glass blocks w/ an etched colosseum on them. There were also lots of knock-off bags being sold. ;) The vendors were very pushy. I looked at some of the scarves that one guy was selling. After I told him that I wasn't interested, he had gone down from 15E to 5, it took another 10 minutes to shake him. He followed us and finally ditched us when someone else showed interest. LOL

Picture of vendor that flickr won't let me take.

We were bummed that we couldn't go into the Colosseum b/c it was closed for Christmas Day, but we walked around it and took pics. It actually only took us about 15 min to walk all the way around the Colosseum and that was with a bathroom not that big, really, although it could accommodate 80,000 people.

Right next to the Colosseum is the Triumphal Arch of Constantine, which " was erected to commemorate Constantine I's victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge on October 28, 312. Dedicated in 315."

We then began to move away from the Colosseum toward The Forum Romanum or Roman Forum. "It is the central area around which the ancient Roman civilization developed." Also, it "considered to be the center of the Republic and Empire." Our tour guide compared it to having the Vatican, Washingon DC and Wall Street in one area.

In this pic, D and Ch are facing the Colosseum and the Forum is in the back.

We continued walking and saw some other ancient sites. We then passed by where Michelangelo died. Although, I haven't found any record of this online....just what our tour guide told us. Anyway, Michelangelo was much loved by the people of Rome, however he was from Florence and wanted to be buried there. Supposedly, he was buried for a few months in Rome, but then some Florentines smuggled his body out of Rome, so he could be buried in his hometown.

Next was Trevi Fountain, "largest — standing 25.9 meters (85 feet) high and 19.8 meters (65 feet) wide — and most ambitious of the Baroque fountains of Rome." "The fountain at the juncture of three roads..." It was here that we saw some of the illegal bag sellers haul ass! They must have gotten a tip that the cops were coming b/c they had ALL of their handbags picked up in LESS than 5 seconds, I swear I am not exaggerating, and were running down the street. Since David and I were waiting for C and Ch to come back from the bathroom we witnessed it all. Including the cops that came along a few minutes later. LOL

Here's D and Ch throwing their coin into the fountain. "A traditional legend holds that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return to Rome." I hope if they go back to Rome they have a job and can pay their own way. ;)

Can't visit Rome and not have gelato!! I am not a fan of ice cream, but I can promise you that gelato is better! Ch had vanilla, D had coffee and I had chocolate. I bought it for C b/c I don't ever order ice cream and if I would it would be lemon, but even I liked this chocolate. :)

We then continued walking to the Pantheon, "is a building in Rome which was originally built as a temple to all the gods of Ancient Rome, and rebuilt circa 126 AD during Hadrian's reign." This was David's #1 pick for the trip. Again, we had A LOT of vendors walking around selling knock-off handbags and toys for the kids. They were quite insistent, but one was agressive, I had to get a little forceful w/ him.

AFter that we saw a couple of other sites, including Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. Most interesting is that Catherine of Siena is buried here, except for her head. "St Catherine died of a stroke in Rome, the spring of 1380, at the age of thirty-three. The people of Siena wished to have her body. A story is told of a miracle whereby they were partially successful: Knowing that they could not smuggle her whole body out of Rome, they decided to take only her head which they placed in a bag. When stopped by the Roman guards, they prayed to St Catherine to help them, confident that she would rather have her body (or at least part thereof) in Siena. When they opened the bag to show the guards, it appeared no longer to hold her head but to be full of rose petals. Once they got back to Siena they reopened the bag and her head was visible once more. Due to this story, St Catherine is often seen holding a rose. The incorruptible head and thumb were entombed in the Basilica of San Domenico, where they remain."

After that we headed to dinner. However I won't put a link to the restaurant b/c we were not impressed at all. Their spinach ravioli was good, but other than that? Eh.

Enjoy! Pompeii and Sorrento tomorrow! :)


Shannon said...

I love the evening shots of the Pantheon! And the one of the 4 of you at the Colosseum is great, too.

I can't wait to see your Pompeii and Sorrento entries. Did I tell you I'm going to Sorrento for a conference in March, preceeded by a few days in Rome? I'm getting all my travel homework done just reading your travel journals. :)

Anonymous said...

Loving the pics and trip details SL!


TaraMetBlog said...

Oh there's the Trevi! :) love the pics, thanks for the tour