Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Roaming in ROME

On Monday evening and Tuesday we explored the sites and sounds of Rome. Rome became the capital of Italy in 1871. This city has a population of 2.9M within the city limits and another 4.3M in the surrounding area. During its Golden Age in 117 AD the Roman Empire had up to 120M people. When it dwindled the population dropped to between 13,000 to 17,000 at the end of the middle ages.

We explored numerous points of interest in the city center including an organized, guided tour of the Vatican. The options for eating pizza, pasta and gelato are endless when walking the streets from one point to another. Many of us visited the Trevi Fountain, Navona Square, Pantheon, and the Collosium. Along the way we saw The Roman Forum, the Arch of Constantine, and numerous churches and palaces…all which are beautiful and stately in their own way.

The Trevi Fountain
My top two favorites were the Trevi Fountain and the Sistine Chapel (no photos allowed). The Trevi Fountain finished in 1762 depicts Neptune as the center statue with others representing Abundance and Health. Common practice is if one makes a wish while throwing a coin into the fountain, the wish will come true and you will certainly return to Rome. 

Shoulders and knees covered and silence are required in the Sistine Chapel. Once inside this chapel, I was brought to tears thinking about the history depicted through the painting of Michelangelo on the ceiling between 1508 and 1512. The studying of the paintings in the chapel ahead of time definitely paid off, although I found out there is even so much more to learn about the history of this world renowned chapel.  
St. Peters Basilica
A few of us wandered around Rome on Monday evening and made it to St. Peters
Square at about 10:30 p.m. We enjoyed the lack of crowds and also the beauty in the lighting.
The entire group toured the Vatican on Tuesday morning. 
The Pantheon, a Roman Temple dedicated to all the gods of pagan Rome,
was built and dedicated between A.D. 118 and 125.  
In A.D. 608 the Pantheon was gifted to the Pope at the time
and has been used as a church ever since.
The Victor Emmanual II Monument (aka The Wedding Cake) is a national symbol
of unity for Italy. Construction started in 1885 and it was completed and inaugurated
in 1911. This is also the sight of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  
The Roman Colosseum.
Time did not permit us to go inside, but the outside alone was spectacular and a
great way to end our trek from west to east across the Rome city center.
Dedicated in 315 A.D. the Arch of Constantine was awarded to Constantine for his army's
victory over of the army of Maxentius  in 312 A.D. The Romans had a period
of peace following this victory as it brought an end to many years of civil war.